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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I believe the recommended curing time is 12 hours but can I go less than that? I was expecting my order to be here tonight and it won’t be here till tomorrow morning now.
I was going to mix up my batch of jerky tonight but will have to do it tomorrow on my lunch break. Just wondering if tomorrow evening would be long enough to let the meat cure.
Your recipe calls for 1. Sure Cure, 2. Sure Gel Meat Binder, and 3. Smoked Meat Stabilizer. I have all but the Sure Gel Meat Binder. Can I get by without using this? Second question- Is Excalibur’s Cure Excellerator the same as Sure Cure?
@andyman Great question, Carrot Fiber holds up to 26 times its weight in water, and while the 80 oz is still well inside that I have never done that before. I max out (even with Carrot Fiber) at 64 oz which is 2 qts. My only fear with doing 80 is that it might take a lot longer to cook as it will have more water content that will be trying to evaporate. Most of that water should be bound up in the carrot fiber though so it wouldn’t really be available to be cooked out. Hmmm, my recommendation, to be safe is to stick with 64 oz of water.
Now, as to should you add more seasoning, some people will taste the difference if you did not add additional seasonings and some (most) will not. Your water and your seasoning is technically part of your meat block (anyone who is reading this who doesn’t consider this don’t worry!) so adjusting your meat block to include your water is sometimes done. If you do decide to add more spices or seasonings I would add aromatics and things like Rosemary and Basil, don’t add more salt as that is formulated specifically for the meat block.
Hope this helps and if you do decide to go with 80 oz of water then I would be very interested in the results!
i use denuded round. higher cost, less waste, cleaner eating
@jonathon I enjoyed this line of questions and comments, it made me think. Here is my related question: Assume I use 25 lbs. of meat to make summer sausage and add one package, 4 oz., of Carrot Fiber and 80 oz. of water. The ratio is 20 times the weight of water to the weight of CF. In other words, I am adding 5 lbs. 4 oz. of water/CF paste to my meat dough. Should I adjust the amount of salt and spices, I add to the dough? I am concerned that the flavor will be weaker if I don’t add spices for the new total, 30 lbs. curious as to what y’all thinking.