How to Properly Care for your Knives
Meat Hacks: How to Properly Care for your Knives
Learn how to properly care for your Knives with Walton's and Meatgistics. Read the guide and then post your questions or comments below.
Learn how to properly care for your Knives with Walton’s and Meatgistics. Read the guide and then post your questions or comments below
A question we often get asked is how can I keep my knives sharp? We will go over a couple of quick and easy tips that will help you keep a sharp edge on your knives longer. The first thing to think about is how good are your knives? This is going to make a huge difference in how long you can expect a knife to hold a good edge. If you have Vitcoronix or Henkels or some other premium brand then you should expect an edge to hold for a long time, if you have a bargain brand you picked up at the dollar store, well you are going to be sharpening often!
So let’s talk about why knives get dull. One of the main causes of a dull knife is improper storage, do you have a drawer full of knives at home? Well this is going to cause the knives to bang into each other and will dull them quicker than just about anything else. How do you prevent this? One easy way is to use a Wood Block they secure your knives and prevent them from dulling, plus they look cool on your counter top! If you don’t want to use a block then Victroinox has two products that will keep your knives safe in that drawer, the Knifesafe and the Edge-Mag both come in different sizes and are great options to keep your knives protected and as a bonus they protect curious little hands in the knife drawer!
Another reason that knives dull quickly is contact with the cutting board. The best cutting boards for your knives are ones made out of Bamboo as it is soft enough to not hurt your edge but hard enough to stand up to heavy use. Bamboo cutting boards do require some maintenance though, you will want to use a Conditioner but with occasional application you will have a great cutting board for a long time. If you don’t like the idea of a wood cutting board then your next best option is a plastic cutting board, they require less maintenance but are going to dull your knives faster than a bamboo cutting board. Just don’t use a stone or glass cutting board! Yes they look awesome but they are going to kill your knives!
Also, hand wash your good knives! Don’t put them through the dishwasher, the dishwasher is for butter knives not your food prep or steak knives. Hand washing them takes a few extra minutes but it is a super simple way to extend the life of your knives!
This next one is something that many people get wrong, it is using a “sharpening” steel on your knives! First of all most Steels are not meant to sharpen your knives, they are designed to realign and debur them. No matter how careful you are with your knives as you use them the edge is going to be pushed to one side or the other, a steel can be effective at correcting this. To properly use a steel you want to make sure that you are using a steel that is a little longer than the knife you are going to be using it on. Hold the steel vertically with your off hand so the point is resting on a cutting board, take your knife and place the edge of the blade near the handle at the top and pull down while sliding the knife back so that the entire length of the blade comes into contact with the steel. You will want to try to maintain a 15-20 degree angle when you are doing this, too little and you are not doing anything, too much and the edge is going to be dulled. Once you have finished a stroke on one side then do the other side, remember the goal here is to push the edge of the blade back to the center. Doing 3 swipes on one side then three on the other is not a good idea as you are just pushing the edge all the way one way and then all the way back.
They do make steels that will sharpen your knives a little, they are often called honing or diamond steels but it can be very hard to master the use of these.
So even if you have followed all of these tips and pamper your knives well guess what? They are still going to get dull! It will happen much slower if you follow the above tips but it is going to happen. At this point you really have two options, you can buy a Knife Sharpener or Sharpening Stone and sharpen them at home or you can send them into a company to do it for you! Both are good options but letting a professional do them is generally going to give you better results. We sharpen knives on our Tru Hone System its allows us to take a dull knife and put an edge on it that’s probably better than what it left the factory with! Read the expert review on the Tru Hone if you want to see how much I love this sharpener.
So for a quick recap, don’t put your knives in a drawer, or if you do use an edge protector of some sort. Do use a Bamboo cutting board, hand wash your knives, learn how to properly select and use a steel and when they do eventually dull bring or send them somewhere to get a professional to put an edge put on it! Remember, sharp knives don’t cause accidents in the kitchen, dull ones do!
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Just an FYI, everybody that received snack sticks for Christmas last year loved them… I just ordered another batch of Willie’s Snack Stick spice blend to do it again this year!
Jonathon, I have to agree that 275 is too hot… If you have the time I’d shoot for 225, but if it needs to be “done”, then 250 would be the max I would do…
I have always filled the water pan for everything I smoke… 2 reasons, first it does tend to add moisture during the long cook thus keeping the bark from turning to shoe leather… and second because the water pan acts as a heat sink and helps maintain the temperature (in my vertical propane smoker) a bit more accurately… I’ve heard folks tout using apple juice in the water pan to impart a sweeter flavor, but I’ve never tried it…
On the other hand, my dad smoked for years, mostly in a converted fridge with an electric hotplate in the bottom… he never used a water pan and never had an issue with dry meat…
As for the type of wood to use, that’s just a trial and error, personal preference thing… I happen to like steaks cooked with oak… that may be too strong a flavor for your taste (my GF hates it)… Recently I have been using a lot of maple for NC bbq, chicken and even cheese… I like the maple for the meats, but next batch of cheese will go back to the hickory / cherry mix that I was using…
I followed the instructions on the video. It may have something to do with the sausage not getting as firm as it should. I used the cotto salami on duck breast with pork fat. It sure tastes good. But it’s a little soft.
I’ve done a lot both ways. I would highly recommend a stuffer and I have the Weston grinder with the auger stuffing attachment. It’s slow, but if you’re doing 5# or 10# batches, it’s not that bad. I’ve had small 5# stuffer, old school cast iron Enterprise, 11# vertical and now a 35# hydraulic. Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t trade the hydraulic but the 11# vertical I got on amazon had a lot of versatility. I think your bigger decision should be what type of stuffer should I buy. I would recommend the taller, smaller diameter instead of the large shorter one. The smaller diameter allow for a higher pressure for doing sticks with cure in them. The large short ones would be great for doing pork sausage or larger diameter casings, not 19-22mm sticks with cure. It would be fine as long as you’re doing fresh like breakfast or something like that. If you go the stuffer route I’d get it from Waltons and get the Weston-they stock parts, other no name from amazon is a one shot deal, once ours broke couldn’t find parts. Plus they have so many tube sizes now and Walton’s does a great job helping with casing and stuffing horn sizes, they carry them all.
I purchased a stuffer off Amazon for under $100 and would never go back to using the grinder. With the grinder, it was always a two man job and took forever. The stuffer is much faster and have no problems doing it all by myself. Plus with a hand crank stuffer, no electricity usage and wear and tear on your grinder.
Thank You Sir: