What is a Sujihiki knife?The Sujihiki knife is a long traditional Japanese knife that’s usually used for cutting meat and flesh. The Sujihiki knives bear a close resemblance to another traditional Japanese knife, the Yanagiba, although in practice these two knives are used for very different tasks. The long length of a typical Sujihiki’s blade makes this knife suitable for making sweeping cuts and slicing using the push-and-pull method.
Sujihikis, like many western knives, are double-bevelled, which makes these knives lighter and easier to sharpen compared to single-bevelled Japanese knives. The name ‘Sujihiki’ means ‘muscle cutter’ in Japanese, and the double bevel of the knife allows chefs to slice meat and raw seafood quickly using a single slicing motion without having to ‘saw’ through the flesh.
The history of the SujihikiLike many Japanese knives still in use today, the Sujihiki knife was first created in Japan during the Meiji era. This was a time when blacksmiths were regularly experimenting with new blade shapes for cooking knives because the commercial demand for swords and combat weapons was on the decline.
The exact history of the Sujihiki knife is a mystery, though many people think that Japanese blacksmiths took their inspiration either from western carving knives or Japanese Yanagiba knives, which are - surprisingly, considering the Sujihiki’s specialism in meat - usually used for cutting vegetables.
Tips for using a SujihikiThe type of Sujihiki knife that’s right for your kitchen depends largely on what type of meats you intend to use it on. Larger Sujihiki knives with longer blades will be capable of cutting larger cuts of meat in a single sweeping motion, even in the case of tougher meats like beef and pork.
When you’re using a Sujihiki knife, you can use the slicing technique that you’re most comfortable with: both push and pull slicing methods work equally well with this type of blade. Many chefs follow the rule of using the push method for cooked meats and fish and the pull method for raw meats and fish.