Sujihiki Knife FAQs

Sujihiki Knife FAQs

Posted by Ramon Elzinga on

Sujihiki Knife FAQs

The Sujihiki knife is a Western-style Japanese kitchen knife that is used for slicing boneless protein. It is a long and narrow double-bevel slicing (or carving) knife with a short height that enables them to effortlessly slice through fish and meat with as little as friction as possible. The design enables these knives to cut paper-thin slices of meat from just a single stroke. Some chefs regard the Sujihiki knife as a Western-style equivalent of the traditional-style Japanese kitchen knife, the Yanagiba.

What is the Sujihiki Knife? 

In Japanese, Sujihiki literally translates into ‘flesh slicer’ and this is a very precise description of the specific purpose that this knife is put into in the kitchen. It is long, has a short height (narrow), and is double-beveled, qualities that make it ideal for slicing and carving different kinds of boneless meat including raw meats, roasts, fish, turkey as well as various other kinds of meats. 

Its extended blade length is central to this function. The long blade enables you to slice through your boneless meats with just a single stroke. That means you don’t have to do a cumbersome and customary back and forth sawing motion that we are more familiar with when it comes to slicing meat. Unlike the Bunka or the Deba knives, the Sujihiki is not a tall knife. The short height gives it a relatively small surface area that prevents the blade of the knife from sticking to the meats you are cutting. This design makes Sujihiki the ideal knife for making clean cuts of slices of brisket. You can also put into other ultra-thin slicing work such as of Carpaccio.

Beyond slicing meats and fish, Sujihiki knives can also be used to slice foods such as smoked salmons or cucumbers.  

Where does the Sujihiki Knife Fit in Your Kitchen? 

The Sujihiki is your slicing and carving knife that you will use on boneless meat or fish. It is a double-edged slicer with a long and narrow blade that slicers through meat in one stroke. If your knife collection lacks a slicer, then you can fill that in with the suji. 

How long is the Sujihiki knife?

The Sujihiki is a long knife with a narrow blade. Their blade lengths vary from 210mm to 360mm. The most common blade lengths for these slicers are the 240mm, 270mm, and the 300mm. Most people will be comfortable with the 240mm and 270mm blade lengths.   

What is the typical spine width of the Sujihiki knife?

The spine thickness for the Sujihiki knives varies widely and so do the preferences for chefs. Some like them laser-thin while others prefer thicker and heavier Sujihiki knives. The thicker Sujihiki knives won’t give you much flex (although the flex also varies depending on the steel type used) compared to the thinner ones and this is precisely what you need when slicing or carving your meat. The most common spine width for Sujihiki is 2.0mm although spine thickness can carry widely from 1.95mm to 3.0mm. 

What is the blade profile of the Sujihiki knife?

Sujihiki knives have narrow and longer blades that are suited for slicing tasks. The blades are sharply pointed at the tips. Their profiles look like that of carving knives.

What is the Sujihiki knife best suited for?

This is a long, narrow, and pointed double-beveled knife that is suited for slicing and carving uses. Sujihiki knives will come in handy when you frequently cut and slice your meats, fish, and hams among others. You can use them to slice both raw and cooked meat including roasted turkey, ribeye, pork loin or sirloin steaks. 

It is a long, narrow, and graceful knife that also lends itself easily to tasks such as trimming, filleting, or making very fine slices of your meat or fish. It is mostly suited for the meat. The long and narrow blade enables you to slice either your meat or fish in a single drawing motion from the knife’s heel to the tip.

The narrow blade leads to an acute edge angle, a build that minimizes the effort that you need to slice through your meats and other ingredients such as cucumber. It is clear that this design aspect will give you the best performance if you choose the longer Sujihiki knives. When shopping for these Western-style Japanese slicers, it is therefore recommended that you go for a knife that is as long as your budget and workspace would allow. This is why some Sujihiki knives extend to lengths of up to 360mm. 

When you combine the long, narrow, and graceful blade profile with its acute blade angle and a good cutting technique, you can make precise and clean cuts without much cellular damage on the surface you are cutting. When used in preparing foods that are to be eaten raw, it will almost fully preserve the texture and the original flavor of the food.

However, if you mostly slice fish such as Sashimi or Sushi, you’d be better off with a Deba knife or a Yanagiba, a traditional-style single-bevel Japanese kitchen knife that is built precisely for cutting fish. 

What is the Sujihiki Knife Not Suited For (Weakness)? 

The Sujihiki is a long and narrow knife and while it works beautifully on boneless meat, it is not suited for boned meat or meat with thick or large bones. This knife is best used as a slicer rather than a heavy-duty kitchen knife or as a general-purpose chef’s knife. 

The sujihiki is no chef’s knife so it will certainly not be the primary blade in your kitchen arsenal. Use it more as a specialized slicer, the knife you use when you need to slice and carve your boneless meat and fish.

Because they are narrower, sujihiki also does not offer you sufficient flats to let you lift your dice into a mise bowl. They also feel awkward when used in chopping or push-cutting motion. This is just another good reason not to use a sujihiki for any other purpose other than slicing and carving. Some chefs still use it as a chef’s knife anyway but you can be sure you will come face-to-face with these limitations when it is used that way.

What is the Sujihiki Knife’s Core Strengths?

The Sujihiki knife is a super-slicer. It is a long and graceful knife with an acute edge that lends itself more easily to slicing or carving of boneless meat or fish. This slicer works best for cutting thin and straight slices of your fish or meat. Its narrow profile gives it a needle-like shape which also makes it better suited for getting under the fat or sinews and clearing out the unwanted connective tissue or fat. The length of the knife also allows you to easily glide through the larger cuts in just one stroke.

Who Should Use the Sujihiki Knife?

If you are a chef who prepares lots of meat and fish dishes and constantly needs to do those very thin cuts and slices in your cooking, then it may be worth adding a suji to your knife collection. However, it is important to understand the areas where the sujihiki knife will be most versatile. If you mostly do the boning, cutting, and filleting of fish of various sizes, you will need the Deba knife rather than the Sujihiki knife. For processing meat including bones, you will need more of a gyuto than a sujihiki which works best on boneless meat. 

Overall, the double-bevel sujihiki knife is not only easier to use but also easier to wield and easier to sharpen than a single-bevel knife such as the Yanagiba. They will be the best choice for you if most of your work in the kitchen entails slicing and carving different kinds of boneless meat such as ham, prime rib, sirloin, or even fish.

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