In Japanese, gyutou or gyuto denotes a beef sword, as it was initially made for this reason. Today, it is recognized as the Japanese counterpart of a chef’s knife, typically featuring a Western-style. In other words, the Gyuto is the blend of strong Japanese steel and stunning Western style. Thus, you get the benefits of both styles.
This combination is the reason why a gyuto knife is considered extremely versatile. It can slice, cut, dice, mince veggies, herbs, and non-vegetarian items. Thus, it can be seen in most kitchens in Japan. This post will guide you to choose the best gyuto knife easily and smoothly.
2020’s 3 Best Gyuto Knives Reviewed
Tojiro DP Gyutou
At the available price, the Tojiro DP gyuto is not that good looking or high in performance. However, it is also not a disappointer. Indeed, the features it has are truly admirable. It comes with a VG10 steel core due to which you can continue to use it without any tangible drop in sharpness for a satisfactory number of sessions.
The 10.5-inch long blade is double-edged or double-beveled due to which left- and right-handed users can comfortably use it. The handle is made up of composite wood and facilitates a superb grind on each side of 9 to 12 degrees, a feature present in exclusive brands such as Yoshihiro.
- Exceptional edge retention
- Easy to maintain
- For both left- and right-handed
Yoshihiro VG-10 46 Layers Hammered Damascus Gyuto
This is a high-end gyuto for both home cooks and professional chefs. It is forged with 46 steel layers in the Damascus cladding to not only give a sleek look but also to avoid food sticking on the blade.
The VG-10 core is known for giving an extremely sharp edge, long edge retention, and a hardness level that is higher than most stainless-steel tools. The sharp edge means the blade can flawlessly cut almost any recipe ingredient. The octagonal handle is in the wa style. It is light and ergonomic to ensure seamless use.
- No food sticking
- Easy to maintain
- Wooden sheath included
- A bit costly
Simple Song Traditional Japanese Professional Gyutou
This gyuto is not built in Japan but has high-quality construction. It is a professional tool whose blade is made up of forging from 420HC stainless steel (high carbon) that is treated by heat for optimal hardness.
The steel is blended with chromium to ensure resistance to stain and rust. The blade is sharpened by hand to 15° angle exact on the right side to ensure maximum sharpness, while the remaining part is flat.
The 8-inch blade is versatile enough to cut different foods and perform different tasks such as thinly and evenly slicing, cutting, and carving due to a single-bevel edge. The Rosewood handle is polished and features full tang and rivet on its bottom for ensuring a powerful balance.
- Cozy grip
- Frequent sharpening
Why Buy a Gyuto
Before you go out to buy a gyuto knife, it is worth knowing how it looks or what its distinct features are. A gyuto is an all-purpose Japanese culinary tool that holds the characteristics of a Western-style chef’s knife.
It typically has a longer blade than usual and is quite light. The length is around 8 to 12 inches. Just as a chef’s knife, a gyuto comes with a spherical belly that contributes to it being an all-purpose knife. However, the cutting edge’s belly cure is less noticeable.
As per the blade profile, some gyuto knives can even perform rock chopping. Still, it is a fact that most gyutos are made for ideal push chopping. The knife’s double-bevel design makes it sharp on both sides.
The precise edge profile allows a gyuto to get more exposed to a cutting board. This gives a bigger work surface than those European models. Further, you need not elevate a gyuto much while using it due to which you get more efficient performance with less exhaustion.
Its tip is usually a bit lower to align with the center of gravity instead of being near to the spine. This position allows the knife to perform detailed and decorative work with finesse.
Coming to the handle, it is either designed in an ergonomic Western style or the conventional ‘wa’ style. The latter features a round or an octagonal along with a straight profile and hardwood build.
The high-quality steel build adds good thickness to the blade and facilitates better edge retention than most other knife types. While this lightweight knife tops at precision work and fine preparation, it is not ideal for slicing big items such as Hubbard squash and cutting dense items such as bones.
Comprehending the Difference between Gyuto and German Chef’s Knife
The Japanese gyuto is the Eastern version of the Western chef’s knife. Thus, they both have the same shape and are also used in the same way. This makes it tough to identify the exact difference between them.
However, it is worth knowing that the gyuto is not meant for boning and other identical chores. This is because it is more vulnerable to chipping.
So, now the question arises as to whether you should buy a chef’s knife or a gyuto. Well, frankly, you need both, and none of them can make you feel disappointed. Both are required if you want to have a comprehensive arsenal of knives.
How to Choose the Best Gyuto Knife for You
The market is filled with several gyuto knives due to their high popularity. While they may seem similar, each one differs in some form or the other such as build material, price, and length. This can make it a bit perplexing to choose the best gyuto knife for you.
To avoid this confusion, it is essential to consider the buying factors or features of promising knives and compare them to know which one is most suitable for you as per your requirements. Let’s explore these factors now!
Many people think that the perfect length of a knife is dependent on their physical height. Thus, a 12-inch knife is perfect for a user whose height is over 6′. Well, this is not always true. You should choose the length as per the size of the item to be cut and the size of your workspace and the cutting board.
A long gyuto is just not ideal for a short cutting board, while an 8.2-inch long gyuto is short for cutting big items such as cabbage and melons.
If you have ever used a chef’s knife, you must be knowing that the length of 8 to 8.5 inches is ideal for almost all tasks. So, if you are confused or are buying a gyuto for the first time, choose the length of 8 inches and then invest in a longer one if you will be handling long items.
It is wise to find out whether the length is gauged from the heel to the tip or from the handle to the tip. Usually, western models are gauged from heel to tip, which means along the edge. It is somewhat tough to measure the length of wa-handled knives. In this case, just confirm the length with the seller.
This feature simply refers to the look of a gyuto from the side. It would be either a German or a French profile. The former features a large rounded belly for ideal rock chopping, while the French profile comes with a bigger flat spot and steadier belly ideal for push cutting.
When it comes to gyutos, it is fine to have a profile ranging from the German Shun to flat Takeda. Here, there is nothing as wrong or right. It is all upon your preference. In simple words, choose the profile that aligns with your cutting technique or just be prepared to learn the new ones.
The best gyuto knives are razor-sharp and come with a truly thin cutting edge. The cutting angle ranges from 9.5 to 16 degrees, which means they can cut almost everything like butter.
Gyutos come quite sharp regardless of the brand or model you choose, as they are designed using the conventional handcrafting techniques. They can even hold their edge for a gratifying period and are easy to maintain. The credit goes to the premium materials in use.
The best gyutos are crafted using VG10 or SG2 stainless steel. Regardless of which you choose, they are durable, sturdy, and ensure superb edge retention due to which you need not bother about maintenance.
VG10 is a type of stainless steel with high-carbon content. In terms of performance, it is similar to SG2. However, its Rockwell scale of hardness ranges from 60 to 62, while that of SG2 can reach 64.
Regarded as the powder metallurgy steel, SG2 contains high-carbon as well as high-alloy stainless steel. It is capable of holding an edge of a low angle and being quite hard for ensuring exceptional edge retention. It also has additional vanadium to ensure better resistance to wear. The high hardness level, on the flip side, makes it a bit tough to sharpen as well as maintain it.
It is common to come across Japanese knives whose core steel material is layered with some cladding material. Only the part close to the edge is not covered. Gyutos are simply not an exception here.
Cladding is done for rendering distinct appearances and controlling the carbon reactivity. It has nothing to do with the performing edge. Following are the two major types of cladding to consider for gyutos:
- Damascus: Is popular and involves folding steel to make layers that render a premium look. Knives with this cladding belong to a higher price range. Different Damascus options exist. For example, it can be stainless or carbon-based Damascus cladding. If you prefer easy sharpening, carbon Damascus is ideal, although it reacts. However, for sharpening the core, you may have to remove some cladding part.
- Kurouchi: Is another common cladding material that renders a rustic appearance. There are different varieties here too. It might be lacquered, sprayed, or forged. Typically, the top close to the spine has this cladding, the middle area has the Kasumi finish. At the time of sharpening, just do not touch the middle area.
You will get two handle options for gyuto knives, which are yo (western) and wa (wooden Japanese style). The latter ones are lighter, but the blades are heavy. The former handles tend to have a more balanced weight and are bulkier. However, a heavy handle can make you end up with fatigue.
It is advisable to choose a blade-heavy knife, as it supports cutting. It also comes with thinner blades that are easier to change.
A gyuto knife typically features a tang, a design in which the blade is affixed to the handle. There are two types of tang profiles, namely, full and push.
A full tang means the blade passes through the whole handle. Both are welded to be one piece. This tang denotes quality construction, as most poor knives have a blade that loosens from the handle. On the other hand, full tang means a high-end design.
Are gyutos symmetric or asymmetric?
Gyutos are asymmetric.
Should the rear part of the cutting edge be thin or thick?
How thin or thick the section at the rear of the edge determines the knife’s performance. For cutting a hard item such as radish, it is essential to have a thin section behind the edge. Only such an edge can give you clean cuts. A thick one will result in wedging or breaking and will also make it unlikable to dice.
What is powdered steel?
It is also known as High-Speed Powdered Steel (HSPS). It is harder and yet not brittle, unlike other steels with high hardness levels. Knives made up of powdered steels are costlier than those made up of other steels. Only those who want maximum edge retention or are passionate knife users tend to invest in this kind of steel.
A gyuto is essential if you are a home or a professional chef. However, you need to choose the one that has a thin cutting edge, 8- to 12-inch long blade, Damascus cladding, and an ergonomic handle.