‘Gyuto’ is a Japanese word that roughly translates to “cow sword” or “beef sword” in English. A blend between the Japanese Nakiri knife and the Western Chef’s knife, a Gyuto knife is a fan-favorite among professional chefs.
These knives were originally designed for finely slicing meat, specifically beef. However, with time, Gyuto knives have evolved into all-purpose knives used for chopping and dicing vegetables, slicing meat, and even disjointing meat cuts.
Not only do these knives have a sleek and aesthetic appearance, but are also your cutting board’s best friend. Stainless steel Gyuto knives feature a sharp blade and a pointy edge.
Features of the Gyuto Knife
Considered a Japanese version of the Western Chef’s knife, the Gyuto knife has a blade with a pointed tip, which is excellent for precise cutting while working in tight spaces. Furthermore, it is thinner and lighter than a Western Chef’s knife. Therefore, these knives are a better option for people who don’t like using or don’t need to use very heavy knives.
In addition to that, the balance point of a Gyuto knife is more towards the tip. These two factors combine to make the blade agile and an excellent tool for precision cutting.
Gyuto knives come in a wide range of sizes. The blade length of a Gyuto knife can measure anywhere from 180mm to 360 mm. Home cooks and beginners generally prefer blade lengths between 180mm and 210mm in a Gyuto knife. However, professional cooks and trained chefs will also use the longer 240mm to 270mm length blades. We have a guide on which is the best gyuto knife you can read.
The heel of the Gyuto knife is relatively flat, which makes it a convenient choice for rock chopping. If this is the first time you’re hearing of this technique, rock chopping refers to chopping or cutting food by rocking the knife back and forth while cutting without lifting much from the board.
Also, most of the blade comes in contact with the cutting board, so you won’t have to raise the knife higher while cutting vegetables.
The heel section is also tall enough to provide you with good surface contact between the shelf and your knuckles. This gives the cook an advantage in tap chopping vegetables. In chef lingo, tap chopping is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: chopping food with small taps using either the tip or the middle of the blade.
Most Japanese knives have a thin layer of other material covering the blade, called cladding, to make them more wear-resistant. In addition to this, the steel blade of the Gyuto knives is covered with cladding, leaving only the edge exposed. This enhances the appearance of the knife and regulates the reactivity of the carbon in the blade. The most common types of cladding used are:
- Kurouchi Cladding – knives with Kurouchi cladding have a hard steel core supported by a softer steel cladding. This method of cladding creates eye-catching patterns on the blade.
- Damascus Cladding – one of the most popular types of cladding used in Japanese knives. In Damascus cladding, the manufacturers fold layers of steel alloys that form a spectacular wavy pattern on the blade.
The tang refers to the attachment of the blunt part of the knife to the blade. A knife can have either of the following:
- Full tang – a full tang knife is a knife in which the blade goes all the way through the handle to the tip. Full tang knives are stronger, more durable, and able to withstand more force.
- Partial or half tang – the blade is only partially embedded in the handle in a half tang knife. These knives are a little less durable than full tang knives but often cost less.
Gyuto knives sport two different types of handles: Wa handles or Yo handles.
Wa handles are traditional Japanese handles that are lighter than the blade. This allows chefs to grip the knife better and move it more swiftly. The Wa handle is common to both full-tang and partial-tang knives.
Western chefs’ knives typically have Yo handles attached to steel rivets. The handle material generally is a resin-like material like Micarta, Pakkawood, and wood composites. However, some manufacturers still make handles out of hardwoods like mahogany and birchwood.
Similarities Between the Gyuto Knife and the Western Chef’s Knife
Both the Gyuto and Western chef’s knives are versatile knives with a wide range of uses. Whether you need precisely chopped vegetables or a thinly sliced slab of meat, you can’t really go wrong with either knife.
The design of both these knives allows the chefs to easily control the movement of the blade and get precise cuts.
Differences Between the Gyuto Knife and the Western Chef’s Knife
Although Gyuto knives are very similar to Western chef’s knives, there are a few differences. A Western chef’s knife is made with soft steel, whereas Gyuto knives have high carbon Japanese steel alloys incorporated into the blade. Some examples of alloys commonly used in Japanese knives are VG10 Steel, SG2 Steel, AUS10A Steel, and others.
There is much debate among chefs on which type of steel is better. However, Japanese steel is very quickly and easily sharpened (like butter, one reviewer says), giving the blade a super sharp edge. This allows extremely precise and fine cutting. It can also resist dullness for longer than the steel used in Western Chef’s knives.
The blade of the Gyuto knife is lighter and thinner, so cooks usually prefer them over Western chef’s knives for dicing small vegetables. Another feature of Gyuto knives that gives them an edge (get it?) is that they are double beveled. This means that both sides of the blade have sharpened edges. Double bevel knives maintain sharpness for a much longer time.
If you’re looking to revamp your cutlery set with only a few new additions, you should definitely consider investing in a Gyuto knife. A highly versatile knife combining larger sizes with sharp precision, you’ll often find yourself reaching for the Gyuto in your kitchen. These multi-purpose knives make the endless cutting and chopping, slicing, and dicing less of a chore. In fact, you’ll take pleasure and satisfaction from your time in the kitchen, with its perfectly balanced weight, light handle, and precision, razor-sharp blade. Not to mention, these knives are beautiful!
The Gyuto knife, loved by many-a-chef, is a knife that has the ability to fully transform your cooking experience. A perfect addition to any kitchen, the slim and sleek Gyuto blade is also highly durable. A well-made Gyuto knife of quality material is a worthwhile investment and can last up to a lifetime with proper care.
Gary Portman is the founder and main author of Knivesadvice.com. With his extensive knowledge and experience, he is committed to assisting people in choosing the perfect knife for their needs. Through his articles, Gary shares valuable insights on various aspects of knives. With his expertise, readers can make informed decisions and find a knife that is tailored to their preferences and requirements. You can find more info about Gary here.