Dexter Russell Buyers' Guide
Dexter Russell Inc. has been manufacturing knives for nearly 200 years. Originally formed by the 1933 merging of two established American cutlery makers, the Harrington Cutlery Company and the John Russell Cutlery Company, the company adopted its current name in 2001. Today, Dexter Russell continues to produce high-quality cutlery in Southbridge, Mass., offering a variety of kitchen knives for professional and residential settings.
Types of Dexter Russell Knives
Dexter Russell offers a comprehensive collection of knives, from specialized pieces designed for specific tasks to a variety of basic knife types that can serve multiple purposes in your kitchen. These include:
- Chef's knives are known for being highly versatile. They are available with blades ranging from 6 to 10 inches long, but 8-inch blades are the most common. These knives are ideal for slicing, dicing, chopping, and cutting a variety of ingredients, including meat and large produce items.
- Paring knives typically measure between 21⁄2 and 4 inches long. Meant to be an all-purpose knife, the paring knife's smaller size makes it ideal for peeling and cutting fruit and vegetables, slicing ingredients, cutting designs, and other tasks that require precision hand control. A typical paring knife resembles a smaller chef's knife, but bird's beak paring knives, which excel at peeling, garnishing, and other intricate handwork, and clip point paring knives, which are designed for pitting, peeling, and seeding, are also popular.
- Utility knives can be used to supplement the paring and chef's knives in your kitchen. These usually have a 5- or 6-inch blade, giving you a knife that is bigger than a paring knife but smaller than a chef's knife. They are ideal for dealing with larger vegetables and fruit. Although bread knives are available, a serrated utility knife can be used to cut sandwiches or loaves of bread, as well as tomatoes and citrus.
- Butcher knives and cleavers are both suited for dealing with large portions of meat, but in different ways. The cleaver is heavier and meant to chop through bone without chipping, while the butcher knife's thinner blade offers more precision for cutting and sectioning the meat. Slicing and carving knives are even more precise than butcher knives, and are ideal for cutting and trimming meat. They often have a scalloped edge to enhance slice separation.
- Fillet knives are most often used with fish and have thin, flexible blades designed to separate the tender meat from the bones. Boning knives serve this same purpose, but will either be flexible, for working with thinner meat like fish, or stiff, for deboning tougher meats like pork and beef. Boning knives will usually have a 5- or 6-inch blade, while fillet knives are longer at 7 to 9 inches inches.
- Oyster knives are a must-have for any restaurant with those items on the menu. The flat, thick blades on these knives are usually shorter than 4 inches, allowing customers or kitchen staff to easily shuck the shells. Knives made for clams and scallops are also available.
- Chinese- and Japanese-style knives are becoming more popular with Western knife companies. Dexter Russell offers the versatile Chinese cleaver, which resembles a butcher knife but is actually designed to be a lightweight chef's knife that can cut, smash, and transfer ingredients. The company also makes classic Japanese-style knives like the Santoku, which is comparable to a chef's knife, as well as the Deba for filleting, Nakiri for preparing vegetables, and sashimi and sushi knives.
- Specialty knives for cheese come with one or two handles, while pizza knives and cutters, dough scrapers, and produce knives can round out your kitchen knife collection and make those specific tasks easier. Serving utensils, like spatulas and turners, are also manufactured to Dexter Russell's high standards.
To ensure you can find the perfect Dexter Russell knife no matter what your budget, the company produces several lines with different features and materials. All of these knives arrive honed to the sharpest cutting edge and are designed with superior blade shapes that can be sharpened again and again without losing performance. Several of these lines feature DEXSTEEL™, the company's proprietary high-carbon stainless steel. Many of these knives are NSF certified, which means the health inspector should be glad to see them in use in your commercial kitchen.
The International line features a durable polypropylene handle and a stain-free, high-carbon steel blade. This line also includes stainless steel serving utensils like pie servers, perforated spoons, and pizza cutters.
The SofGrip, V-Lo, Sani-Safe, and DuoGlide lines all feature DEXSTEEL blades and handles designed to provide a superior grip. The rubber handles on SofGrip knives are contoured to provide enhanced comfort, and are sealed from debris and bacteria for sanitation. V-Lo knives have composite handles that combine a polypropylene core, which offers firm control, with comfortable Santoprene™, surrounded by a textured grip. Sani-Safe knives are available in HACCP colors, which makes it easy for kitchen staff to prevent cross-contamination, and feature a textured handle for a better grip. DuoGlide knives feature a stain-resistant handle that has been textured to provide a secure grip and sealed to the blade for sanitation.
For chefs that prefer the look or feel of natural wood handles, the Traditional line features formed and polished rosewood handles, secured with brass rivets, and DEXSTEEL blades. The premium Connoisseur line features stain-free, high-carbon steel blades and full-tang rosewood handles that have been engineered to include polymers and resins for enhanced sanitation.
No matter which piece of cutlery you decide to add to your kitchen, it's important to keep it properly stored and maintained. The company produces knife blocks and cutlery cases that will let you easily store and protect your Dexter Russell knives, while honing steels and sharpening systems will help you keep each knife in perfect cutting condition.