Meatgistics: How to Choose and Use a Steel
Meat Hacks: How to Choose and Use a Steel
Not all Steels are made for the same purpose, some are going to realign your knives and some are going to allow you to resharpen your knife. Learn how to choose and use the best steel for your needs.
Why Use a Steel?
First things first let’s talk about the purpose of a steel and why and when you should use one. A regular or polished steel, which is what most people have, is not going to sharpen your knife, it functions as a re-aligner for the edge of your knife. No matter how careful you are with your knives as you use it the edge of it will start to push one way or the other and a steel can be effective in pushing that edge back to center to give your knife a better edge. So, when should you use your steel? As soon as you think you notice that it might not be cutting as cleanly as it was. If you wait at all past that point then you have waited too long! For a steel to be effective it has to be used often! If you aren’t someone who is going to use a steel very often then save your money and buy a real sharpener instead!
You want to make sure that your steel is at least 2 inches longer than the knife you are going to use it on. We are going to go over two different techniques for using a steel. The first is the best way for beginners to become comfortable with using a steel. You will ground the tip of the steel onto a cutting board, then 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, try to think of removing the bark from a branch without cutting the wood underneath, this is an easy way to be in the 15-20 degree range. Once you have finished a stroke on one side do the other side, remember the goal here is to push the edge of the blade back to the center, so doing three on one side then three on the other is not going to work. For a simple touch up 3-5 passes a side should be enough. An alternate technique is to hold the steel horizontally across your body and then with your other hand work the knife from the tip of the steel towards the handle in the same motion as above. Make sure you move only your wrist on your knife hand, this way the tip of the knife should not be able to reach your hand holding the steel. Either technique you decide to use remember to select a steel longer than the knife and to keep your fingers behind the hand guard on your steel for safety!
If you have used a regular or polished steel and your knife is not cutting any better then it is time to move on to a diamond cut or multi-cut steel. These have an abrasive surface and will put an edge back on some knives. To use these types of steels following the same process as above but make as many passes as needed until you have the desired edge on your knives. This type of steel is not going to work on an extremely dull blade, if you have tried a diamond and multi-cut steel and it is still not cutting as cleanly as you like then you need to use an actual sharpener like the Tru-Hone. The Tru-Hone is a commercial grade sharpener that can put a razors edge on even the dullest of knives but most people will not have access to or want to pay for this type of sharpener. You can always send your knives into Walton’s and for a small fee we will sharpen them for you!
So follow the above tips to keep your knives working well for you in the kitchen. A sharp knife is an essential tool in the kitchen and having one will make your cooking experience much more enjoyable! Remember, sharp knives do not cause accidents in the kitchen, dull ones do!
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@parksider Thanks for the follow up!! I was really watching the internal temperature when they were in the rolling (HOT) water and making sure to pull them right at the 165. And then right into the ice water bath.
You guys got a great job! Im pretty passionate about this kinda stuff. I enjoy it a lot and love doing R and D stuff! Keep up the fun work!
@Jonathon Yes Jonathon-it’s in your head
@mikeihuntr My only advice is to keep the water around 170F, not a rolling boil. If the casing are too tight they WILL explode then you have a really big pot of bad soup! A nice simmer is the way to go, take them out 155-160 and into a water bath. Here is a pic, we just use the turkey fryer with the basket. It makes it really easy to remove from the water and rinse. I will also recommend keeping a temp probe right in the meat you can see the wire going into the water. Good luck!!
This was a big topic of conversation because we do freeze/thaw/process/refreeze venison and pork, never an issue. As a former restaurateur and certified food handler here is what Dept of Agriculture has to say. I’ll defer to the experts:
Author: Alice Henneman, MS, RDN
The U. S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) advises:
Once food is thawed in the refrigerator, it is safe to refreeze it without cooking, although there may be a loss of quality due to the moisture lost through thawing. After cooking raw foods which were previously frozen, it is safe to freeze the cooked foods. If previously cooked foods are thawed in the refrigerator, you may refreeze the unused portion. Freeze leftovers within 3-4 days. Do not refreeze any foods left outside the refrigerator longer than 2 hours; 1 hour in temperatures above 90 °F.
If you purchase previously frozen meat, poultry or fish at a retail store, you can refreeze if it has been handled properly, according to USDA.
DO NOT thaw meat at room temperature, such as on the kitchen counter.
Safety will depend on whether the raw product was handled properly before it was frozen, refrozen shortly after it was thawed, cooked to a safe temperature when it is eaten and handled safely if there are any leftovers.
What temperature should I pull my cured and smoked bacon out of my smokehouse?
@jonathon it is printed on the Box. I’m looking for a bag that has a evoh barrier. Does Waltons carry a four or five mm evoh High barrier bag?