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Old 04-04-2017, 04:03 AM   #21
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I know where that came from. There are days when I have had the very strong urge to kill. And it wasn't toward a chicken!

Note to self. "Get rid of the cleaver! Hurry. "
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Old 04-04-2017, 10:00 AM   #22
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Yes, you're right. It seems like guys who prefer whacking at a carcass rather than using the finesse necessary to butcher it like cleavers better than chef's knives I can butcher and dice a chicken easily with my chef's knife and not end up with a bunch of broken bones and torn tendons in it. I don't see the benefit of that.
Definitely overkill to use a cleaver on a chicken.
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Old 04-04-2017, 12:00 PM   #23
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My knife set came with 2 cleavers: A 9-inch meat cleaver and a 7-inch vegetable cleaver.



The 9-inch cleaver I use for heavy duty work like breaking down large pieces of meat or cutting through bones.



The 7-inch cleaver I use for more delicate work, such as fish and other seafood, or I can use it like a Chinese chef's knife.



I don't subscribe to the claims that you shouldn't buy a set of knives because there will be knives in the set that you never use. I have used every knife it my set hundreds of times, including both cleavers. If you are cooking from scratch, it's easier to do the job if you have different knives specifically designed for those jobs, so you don't have to fake it. It's much easier to bone a chicken with a boning knife than with a paring knife or an 8-inch chef's knife. Plus the block gives you a place to store your knives so they aren't floating around in a drawer banging into each other. That's not good!
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Old 04-04-2017, 01:25 PM   #24
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I can count on one hand the times Ive used the large cleaver that came with my Wusthof set 25 years ago.


My chef's knife does a fine job breaking down a chicken.
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Old 04-04-2017, 01:49 PM   #25
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I don't subscribe to the claims that you shouldn't buy a set of knives because there will be knives in the set that you never use. I have used every knife it my set hundreds of times, including both cleavers. If you are cooking from scratch, it's easier to do the job if you have different knives specifically designed for those jobs, so you don't have to fake it. It's much easier to bone a chicken with a boning knife than with a paring knife or an 8-inch chef's knife. Plus the block gives you a place to store your knives so they aren't floating around in a drawer banging into each other. That's not good!
I confess I am a minimal knife guy, but I have limited counter-space, an a block set would eat up some space I need for prep. My parents have a huge kitchen, and there block set is barely noticeable.

I do have a knife drawer with a built in wooden "rack" that keeps my knives safely parked. But, it holds six knives, so I'm limited.

I still say if I could only keep on of my knives, it would be my 8-inch chef's knife, but I don't have that rule to adhere to, so I have multiple knives, including a cleaver.

It seems like, in some parts of the world, the cleaver is their version of the chef's knife -- the one essential knife. Who am I to disagree with them. Martin Yan uses cleavers heavily on his shows. Chef Yan has two James Beard Awards, which is two more than I have.

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Old 04-04-2017, 02:55 PM   #26
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What Martin Yan uses is a Chinese chef's knife, not a cleaver. The chef's knife is thinner, lighter and easier to work with than a cleaver, and it has a finer edge.
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Old 04-04-2017, 03:16 PM   #27
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I can count on one hand the times Ive used the large cleaver that came with my Wusthof set 25 years ago.
I take it you have never dressed a deer?

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Old 04-04-2017, 03:36 PM   #28
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Definitely overkill to use a cleaver on a chicken.
A twice killed chicken.

We had a chicken house down at Maverick Square when I was a kid. You could go down and pick out the chicken you wanted, they would swing it around, supposedly breaking the neck, a quick plunge into hot water and ripping out the feathers for you. They could remove the innards if requested.

My uncle went down to get two chickens for my aunt. Brought them home and tossed the bag on the kitchen table and left. After a few minutes my aunt heard a rustling. She looked over to the table and the bag was moving. It seems the neck wringer didn't do a very thorough job. The two chickens came back to life, worked their way out of the bag and here were two bald chickens running around the house squawking as loud as they could.

My aunt grabbed the phone and jumped up on top of the dining room table. At that time we had operators who placed calls for you. And my aunt also had a party line. My aunt is screaming to the operator, "Get Joe for me, get Joe." No phone number. And the poor operator could not make my aunt understand that 'Get Joe' was not a number. At that moment her party line picked up her phone, heard the ruckus and gave the operator the number. Then the party line hung up so the operator could place the call. My aunt gets Joe on the phone. He comes home, grabs the two chickens, finishes the job of neck wringing for good, chopped off the heads, and heads out the door mumbling, "Damn women, they panic over every little thing." Joe slept on the couch that night.
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Old 04-04-2017, 03:52 PM   #29
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A twice killed chicken.

We had a chicken house down at Maverick Square when I was a kid. You could go down and pick out the chicken you wanted, they would swing it around, supposedly breaking the neck, a quick plunge into hot water and ripping out the feathers for you. They could remove the innards if requested...
My mom told me she remembers her grandmother swinging chickens around with such force the heads flew off into the cornfield behind the house.
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Old 04-04-2017, 04:21 PM   #30
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My mom told me she remembers her grandmother swinging chickens around with such force the heads flew off into the cornfield behind the house.
When we were on the farm, one of the kids got to hold the chicken, and the "man" of the house got to cut its head off. We would let go real quick and let the chicken run around the yard until it bled out.
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Old 04-04-2017, 05:02 PM   #31
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We weren't allowed to let the chickens run and bleed out. They were held over a pail and the blood saved for a fry up. That was "Depression mentality" and old country family tradition. Nothing went to waste.

I have a "Made in U.S.A." Chicago cleaver and think I used it once since buying it so many years ago. I never felt the need to use a cleaver on a chicken and learned to disjoint chicken and game as a youngster. Why did I buy it? It's there if I need it.
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Old 04-04-2017, 05:24 PM   #32
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Martin Yan

Yes, Martin Yan. That's the guy. I will never be that guy, lol. Already I can tell that my new cleavers are going into basement storage until needed. At least they were inexpensive.

It's back to my chef's knife and Santoku for me.
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Old 04-04-2017, 05:30 PM   #33
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Beautiful knife set.
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Old 04-04-2017, 05:48 PM   #34
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Well, I'm a guy, and I also prefer a chef's knife and kitchen shears for cutting up a chicken.
This is how I do it too. Nothing wrong with a cleaver if you can hit where you are aiming, but I'd do better two handed with an ax than I would swinging a butcher's cleaver.

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What Martin Yan uses is a Chinese chef's knife, not a cleaver. The chef's knife is thinner, lighter and easier to work with than a cleaver, and it has a finer edge.
It's a Chinese cleaver - Google it if you don't believe me. I have one, good tool in particular for chopping veggies, but I prefer my German chef for most things. I'm a better slicer than I am a chopper.

That knife you call a small cleaver looks more like a modified santoku - it's clearly designed for slicing, not "cleaving".
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Old 04-04-2017, 05:51 PM   #35
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Yes, Martin Yan. That's the guy. I will never be that guy, lol.
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Old 04-04-2017, 07:12 PM   #36
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I haven't used my cleaver enough yet to make an informed decision about it. I do know that you don't have to use it like an axe, you can do fine slicing with it. I really want to cut up a chicken with it, just to compare it to using my chef's knife.

I don't know if it will be any different, but I'll decide after I do it. I'll try to remember to post my observations here after I've done it.

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Old 04-09-2017, 08:29 PM   #37
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In thinking about this topic it came to mind another thing a cleaver can do and a chef knife cannot.

I have on occasion wanted to split frozen meat/poultry/fish. For example a salmon fillet large enough to serve two people, but I want one serving and don't want to defrost it.

My solution: I keep a big chunk of wood in my garage, maybe 12x12x2 inches which I use to protect my kitchen's tile floor. I set my Teflon chopping board on top of the wood block, and position the filet (in its package) on top, then align my cleaver with where I want to cut it and give it a whack with my kitchen mallet (rubberized mallet available in home improvement stores).

Result: two servings of salmon cut in half, still in original packaging. Then I pick the one I want to cook and vacuum seal the other piece and put it back into my freezer. I thaw the other piece and proceed as usual.

BTW I want to warn everybody to be VERY CAREFUL using a large cleaver. My Henckels cleaver weighs 3/4 pound and I'm sure if it fell from counter level and hit my foot it could easily cut most of the way through my foot or sever some toes.

Please be very careful if you are using your cleaver in a "tomahawk" style. I almost never use my cleaver without a mallet. Mini-cleavers are of course another thing as long as you keep your other hand out of the target zone!
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Old 04-09-2017, 08:47 PM   #38
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Thanks, Greg. Do you cook?

One of the reasons that I bought... well, spent a gift card on a cleaver is that it can be used for things that I wouldn't want to use my much more delicate chef's knife on.

As I posted before, I still want to go medieval on a chicken with it, but one time is enough for me. Hey, cooking should be fun, right?

If the cleaver doesn't do anything over the long term for me, then I will probably get rid of it, or put it in the nightstand as a home defense weapon.

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Old 04-09-2017, 10:28 PM   #39
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I cook a bit, but only maybe for some decades... I graduated from cooking from printed recipes to making my own about a decade ago, about the same time I decided that measuring ingredients is best done by eye or intuition.

You bring to mind the old saying, "Don't bring a knife to a gun fight." In fact it should really be "don't bring a knife to a fight," not unless you're pretty good because there are no winners in a knife fight, not if everybody bleeds and you win only because you're the last one standing. I'll admit if I had a house break in I'd run for my knife block if the miscreants didn't have guns.

I find it easy enough to use my kitchen shears (Henckels) to cut the middle of the rib cage of a whole chicken, but it's a lot harder to use my chef knife splitting the back bone. It's easy peasey with the cleaver.

But I'm not a cleaver advocate. I like mine although it's a special tool used only for rare occasions, but a great tool when I need it. -- Again, BE CAREFUL if you use one!

They're hella dangerous!
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Old 04-09-2017, 10:51 PM   #40
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You bring to mind the old saying, "Don't bring a knife to a gun fight." In fact it should really be "don't bring a knife to a fight," not unless you're pretty good because there are no winners in a knife fight, not if everybody bleeds and you win only because you're the last one standing. I'll admit if I had a house break in I'd run for my knife block if the miscreants didn't have guns.
If my Colt .45 single action (AKA: the peacemaker) revolver fails me (impossible), I have a Louisville slugger bat and a cleaver as backup. I'm old school.

Funny thing is, I am a long hair, tree-hugging, Birkenstock wearing liberal, and from time to time, I go to the local shooting range with one of the many thousands of gun nuts I deal with daily, and I act like I don't know anything about guns, then shoot a really tight pattern and act like it was beginner's luck.

We liberals aren't all wimps. Just sayin'.

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