Wusthof Cutlery Guide There are fewer items in the kitchen more misunderstood and under-appreciated than knives.
When we go to big retailers, we see dozens of beautiful knife sets that seem like a great deal, so we snatch them up. Many people buy them believing that a “knife is a knife.” Why pay $100 dollars for a chef’s knife when you can go to Target or Bed, Bath and Beyond to buy a “brand-name” knife for $30? This is where some proper knife research comes in. It can ensure that you not only know what to look for in a quality knife, but that you’ll have a better idea about which knives you really need.
In America, there’s a general mindset that “more is better.” Because of that, it’s common to buy knife sets that are chock-full of knives we may never use. Also, many knife sets – even from some of the better-known brands –aren’t of great quality and won’t deliver a quality experience to the user. They may be sharp right out of the box and their grips may feel comfortable at first, but will that last? Let’s look at what makes a good knife and look at the only knives most folks really need. For this article, we’ll look at the Wüsthof Classic Ikon series, which meets the basic criteria for a great kitchen knife:
Full tang: This is the length of the blade as it meets the handle. A full tang knife takes the same piece of metal (or ceramic) all the way through the handle which results in a more balanced knife. This balance helps it feel better in your hands and ultimately helps to provide better knife control.
Quality of handle: What you want to look for are materials and components in the handle that speak to longevity of the knife. You’ll want to see if it’s riveted, whether the handle is made of rubber, polyoxymethylene, wood or some other material.
Quality of steel: The best knives use carbon steel. Carbon steel holds its edge longer which allows you to use the knife longer between honing or sharpening.
What we found with the Ikon series is that they have a wonderful balance to them, stay sharp a long time and are comfortable to use, even for longer durations. They quickly became our kitchen favorite. Their polyoxymethylene handles fit the hand well and won’t fade over the years from use and washing.
They’re not cheap; most great knives built to last a lifetime aren’t. Think of knives as tools, tools that you use every time you cook. The better the tool, the easier your work-load when you prep for a great meal. You’ll be better off investing in a few knives at a slightly higher cost rather than getting one of those bundle packs with a knife block at most department stores. The best way to see if you’re going to like a particular style of knife is to get out to your local kitchen cutlery store and hold one. Grip it. Does it feel balanced? Do you like the way it feels in your hand etc? All of these are important to know as you’ll likely keep your knives around for decades or even a lifetime.