Sometimes you have to feel like a warrior in the kitchen!
I’m going to get away from writing about BBQ or restaurants for a second and tell you about two knives I recently acquired to use in the kitchen. One of them is ultra ridiculous and one of them became instantly special to me.
The first knife, the ridiculous knife, is a bit of a novelty and something I’ve wanted for the kitchen for a few years. My interest in this knife started when I came across a cooking YouTube channel started by a couple of Serbian guys; Almazan Kitchen. They make incredible looking food in rustic conditions using rustic cooking methods and tools. One of the cooking tools featured heavily in their videos is the “Almazan Kitchen Knife”. I’ve also heard of it referred to as a Serbian Chef’s Knife and a kitchen chopper. All I knew is I wanted one to play with, so I reached out to the Almazan Kitchen via Facebook to inquire on how to order one of the knives they sell.
After contacting them on Facebook Messenger, I heard back from them with some information on their knife. Almazan Kitchen explained that they would be happy to help me order one of their knives, which are hand made and can be ordered with a sheath. I was told to expect around seven months for the knife to be made and shipped out to me. That wasn’t the bad part though. I was told the knife would be $250 plus an additional $30 for shipping. Yes, $280 for a knife to use in the kitchen. I’m pretty sure that would not have gone over well at home.
I looked around a little on the internet and found another business selling the same style knife, out of Almazan, Spain. This knife, at the time, was $130 plus shipping; thus a no-go. And it got me wondering about the true origins of the Almazan Kitchen knife from Serbia. Rumors abound on the internet claimed that Chinese butcher knives were being re-profiled and sold for a ridiculous profit, and that people were falling for it. I put the idea of getting one of these knives out of my head, until recently.
And recently, while scrolling through Facebook, I saw an advertisement for the same style knife, for a VERY affordable price! (Now the same knife can be found here on Amazon for a slightly better price with a little more assurance you’ll receive it!) I had no doubts that the knife was made in China, but at $41.06 shipped, I couldn’t resist the temptation to get one in my hands. So I went ahead and ordered one, and then waited. And waited. And waited.
It was actually a couple of weeks after I submitted my order before I ever got any shipping information from My Chef Knife. I had actually contemplated disputing the order with PayPal because I was worried I had been scammed when the shipping information came. And no surprise, it was shipping out of China. After several more weeks, my knife arrived in my mailbox! It was packaged very well, but the packaging was VERY beat up. It looked as if someone had kicked it from China to my mailbox.
I have to say, I am very happy with the purchase of this knife! It is very heavy, very thick, and very sharp! It also has a rustic, rough hammered appearance, with the bulk of the blade having a black oxide finish applied over it. I think this is supposed to make it look like its very roughly hand made, but there is evidence of the finish being brushed on and not a natural byproduct of some forging process. The handle is a simple, black painted wood handle that seems pretty solidly riveted on. The knife was very sharp out of the box. In fact, with just a very slight pressure, the knife blade sank easily down into the multiple layers of packaging the knife had shipped in.
The ridiculous knife also came with a real leather sheath with a retention snap on it. The sheath seems well made, but had a strong chemical smell, possibly from glue, emanating from it. The chemical smell seems to have gone away after a few weeks of the sheath being left out to off-gas. It’s very nice having a safe place to store the knife and keep the blade covered.
The ridiculous knife is a very neat knife that has a beastly presence. My wife, Stacey, refers to it as, “the big scary knife.” When you hold it, you feel it would be great for carving up meat, slicing vegetables (yuk!), or carrying into battle alongside a Viking army! It slices through steak with ease!
The special knife now, that is a whole different story. This knife looks very elegant and almost surgical next to the ridiculous knife. And this knife is special, because of who made it and gave it to me.
A very good friend of mine and former coworker retired from law enforcement, Craig Easterwood, sent me a text message with a picture of a handful of knives he had made. The knives looked very nice, and I replied to him that I’d like for him to help me make a long knife for slicing smoked brisket. He told me that he’d be happy to help me with that, but to wait until he got better at making knives.
A couple of months later, I got a text message that my knife was done and we needed to meet up so I could pick it up. I was surprised and excited to see what he put together.
I was even more surprised when I met up with Craig to pick up the knife. It is absolutely beautiful! The blade is matte finished metal and 12.5 inches long. The overall length is 17 inches, with the riveted, laminated G10 grips. The grips are nicely polished and I really like the “Thin Blue Line” color combination that Craig chose. The knife feels hefty and has a healthy thickness to it. The length of the knife will make it perfect for slicing a smoked brisket against the grain. It also feels like a short sword!
Craig made a solid sheath out of scrap wood that he had laying around. The sheath is a simple yet elegant clam-shell design with a simple press fit peg made of scrap G10 materiel use to retain the knife in the sheath. The wood was simply coated with mineral oil. The sheath looks perfect with the knife and is a welcome way to store the knife as well as keep it out on display in the kitchen.
An interesting thing about being “gifted” a knife; my good friend Craig INSISTED I pay him for this knife. He cited old superstition that receiving a knife can lead to some bad luck and told me to bring him something like a dollar bill to exchange for the knife.
I looked up this old superstition, and found an interesting explanation for it. It seems in the time of the Vikings, to give someone a knife implied that the receiver of the knife didn’t have the means to afford a knife good enough to kill the giver of the blade. This could cause the friendly nature of the relationship to be severed. A payment was traditionally received by the knife’s giver, typically in the form of a low denomination coin, in order to avoid insulting anyone.
When I picked up the knife from Craig, I thought I had a dollar bill in my wallet, but I was mistaken! We arrived at a deal; I gave Craig a quarter I dug out of my patrol car, and an IOU for some smoked brisket. It looks like I will need to get the smoker fired up soon so I can try out this beautiful knife on the brisket and make good on the rest of my payment!
Some words on these knives:
- My $41.06 ridiculous knife seems to cut VERY well, and I saved a ton of money!
- I hope my Chinese made knife doesn’t have some horrible chemicals in it from substandard manufacturing methods!
- The ridiculous knife is fun to wield in the kitchen!
- The knife “gifted” to me by my friend Craig is absolutely beautiful!
- I will wait to use it until I am slicing the brisket I owe him in payment for it.
- I can’t wait to see what else Craig has up his sleeve!