Thursday, July 8, 2010

F. Dick Meat Cleavers

Oye! Will hilarious culinary names never end!?!?! No sooner do I encounter Spotted Dick & Custard Sauce than I discover F. Dick Meat Cleavers. No bullshit. Let me tell you how I discovered these little bad-asses.

As you know, I like Paella. Most of the time, I prefer a fully authentic Allevante Valencia Paella. That means chicken, rabbit and snails. There is just one problem: Bristol Fams is the sole local source for fresh rabbit, and they only sell whole rabbits. You cannot buy rabbit meat by the pound, as you would chuck steak, or chicken breasts. Of course, they kill, behead, and skin the rabbit for you. You don't have to kill him yourself. They also get out the bandsaw and cut him in half. However, this is where the process stops.

Half a rabbit is too much rabbit to lay down in the paella. It doesn't cook well, and it doesn't divvy up well amongst guests. Rabits have relatively tough meat, and soft bones. You can work through it with a Wusthof Chef's knife, or a Cutco French Chef's knife, but why damage your edge? This is the workload intended for the meat cleaver. You are supposed to bust up that rabbit with a good meat cleaver.

Chicken is also less expensive if you buy whole chickens, or leg quarters. The problem is that this leaves you with the undesirable tail, back bones, and knees. Once again, you can work through it with a chef's knife, but why spoil your edge? This is the workload intended for the meat cleaver. You are supposed to bust up that leg quarter with a meat cleaver.

So, about a week ago, David goes on a question to discover who makes the ultimate meat cleaver. I don't like buying rubbish. Do it once. Do it right. Make the right call up front and prosper. The search went in several different directions.

The first name that came up was the Global G-12. Global is well respected and endorsed by Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurenttis on the Food Network. I handled the blade yesterday at Sur Le Table. It did not impress me much. It is a simple 6 inch blade which is not particularly heavy weight. Sure, it will probably work, but it just wasn't compelling. Use might have changed my mind, but I did not like it much.

The next name in line was J.A. Henckels. I also handled those at Sur Le Table yesterday. They were even lighter in weight than the Global. It did not feel right in my hand. I was turned off. I didn't want it.

Extensive research on the net yesterday evening yielded two findings:
  • There is a clergy layman distinction in meat cleaver market
  • Butcher's equipment is made by different vendors than Chef's equipment.

You will find the so-called 'experts' on-line pleading the following case:
  1. There is such a thing as home kitchen gear
  2. There is such a thing as professional butcher gear
  3. Never the twain shall meat (pardon the pun)
  4. Butcher's gear is not appropriate for the home environment
  5. Chefs and cooks need a tiny fraction of butcher's power.
  6. If you are a chef or a home cook, stick with your fancy-lad little cleavers.
  7. Home cooks buy Global, Henckels, and Wusthof.
  8. Butchers buy Wenger Swibo, Victorinox, and F. Dick...

F who? F what? F. Dick?!?!

Oh, I hate 'dem goddamn fancy lads. If this was reverse psychology designed to undermine the big vendors, it worked perfectly on me. Global, Henckels and Wusthof were instantly disqualified. I see no reason why I aught to own a weapon inferior to the one a butcher would use.

Reviews of Butcher's gear on the Internet are very sketchy things at best. Butchers just ain't 21st Century Internet kinda people. They don't seem to be the sorts of guys who post-up on webforums around the net. Reviewing their tools on line is not the sort of thing they seem to like doing.

From the few meager breadcrumbs of information I could gather on the web the following information seemed to emerge: F. Dick makes some of the best butcher's gear in the world. Victorinox also makes some of the most respected gear, and the dudes at my local Whole Foods tell me it works great. Unfortunately, Victorinox does not make a good cleaver. Swibo does, but I didn't much like it.

F. Dick specializes in the meat cleavers. They have them in all shapes and sizes. They make more models than anyone else. They have crazy cleavers. They make some cleavers that look more like Medieval weapons of war (Bishamon Yari spear, battle axe, kilij, or war scythe) than meat cleavers. I would hate to be attacked in the dark by a moefoe with one of those things. One shot with an F. Dick and it's all over.

So to make a long story short, I purchased a 9 inch 3.5 pound F. Dick meat cleaver last night, on-line, at Mad Cow Cutlery. Mad Cow Cutlery is another hilarious culinary name for you.

Mad Cow seems to specialize in butcher's gear. I loved the fact that I could use PalyPal informed me this morning that Mad Cow has already shipped out my cleaver. You gotta love that efficiency! I will shop there again.

I hope I get this cleaver tomorrow or Saturday. I would like to do another Paella this weekend. It would be very good to cleave Bugs Bunny down to to nice cookable and edible bits this weekend. Kilw da Wabbit! You gotta chop those little fuckers up. There is no alternative.

The next step, of course, is to cut up some Spotted Dick with the F. Dick meat cleaver. This is the natural thing to do.

Of course the F. Dick Meat Cleaver is the perfect tool for use in circumcision. F. Dick also makes sharpening wheels for wet grinding. F. Dick Wet grinding, aye? F. Dick also has a tool called the Rapid Steel, for male enhancement.