Choosing a Filet Knife

Choosing a Filet Knife

Filet knives are one of the most important knives in your kitchen arsenal. They vary in length from 4 inches to 9 inches and provide a great tool for preparing poultry, beef, pork and, of course, fish. There are a few tips and guidelines to follow when choosing a fillet knife to ensure you find the right knife for you.

First, look for corrosion resistant stainless steel; not all stainless steel is corrosion resistant. Yes, stainless steel is stainless but not stain proof. This will make the purchase of the knife a bit more expensive, but it will also increase the life expectancy of the knife and provide a better cutting edge over time; look for a carbon steel blade as they tend to last longer than other materials and have great durability.

Next, you will need to determine what you will be filleting; this determines the size of the needed blade. If you are a novice or beginner chef choose a versatile length around 6 or 7 inches. For those of us who are more experienced using blades and fillet knives choose the length best suited for your endeavor. Small fish and tenderloin cuts can be achieved through the use of a smaller 5 inch blade; large fillet mignons will need a longer blade as they are thicker and will provide a good weight for cutting the thick meat. Ultimately, the decision should apply to your needs.

While length is important, the blade needs to be flexible as filleting requires thin and oftentimes cramped cutting. Fillets are perhaps the most artistic cuts found in the kitchen and the flexible blade helps to ensure their presentational qualities. This is fairly simple; the thinner the blade the more flexible it is. Keep in mind that thinner blades are also more prone to bending if you are cutting foods like beef, pork and game animals such as venison.

The handle of the knife should be comfortable and easy to grasp. Typical or average blades have a wooden or inert plastic handle which is good for decreasing the weight of the knife. These materials are also more prone to becoming slippery when wet and can lead to a knife slipping. Rubber handles, found more often in fish filet knives, are great for reducing the slipping effect. Remember that the blade first and foremost needs to be comfortable for you; a carver using a less than comfortable blade is a recipe for an accident.

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