5 Knives and a pile of ribs.

Ree-ibs is a two syllable word

Continuing the weekend festivities, and taking advantage of a great crop of sweet corn from the garden, we cooked out again today. This time it was ribs. I know that it is blasphemy to many in the South, but this Yankee transplant parboils my ribs before throwing them on the grill. Before I throw them in the simmering brine, I separate the ribs into 2-bone sections. Since I had 3 slabs to cut up, I figured it would be a good opportunity to do a little testing.

I am almost finished testing the CRKT Hootenanny and Gerber Propel Auto. The Hoot has seen about 6 weeks of EDC use, and the Gerber has been in my pocket since it arrived two weeks ago. Every.Single.Day. What the latter lacks in duration of use, it makes up for in intensity. I probably have fired the mechanism 150 times a day or more. It has sliced a lot of cucumbers in the course of making a dozen quarts of pickles.

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The Propel does a surprisingly good job for a tactical folder.

Of all the knives I tested, I was most curious about how the Propel would perform. A serrated tanto is not exactly a butcher knife, but other than a little catching on the serration boundary, the knife did a great job.

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Ken Onion designed the Hootenanny to be a folding game knife, so it is no surprise that it cuts the ribs so well.

I wasn’t worried about how the Hoot would perform. Dressing game is part of the design, and the hollow grind drop point doesn’t disappoint in any manner of food processing tasks. The ribs were no different.

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The MD Caldwell’s high grind and textured scales did an excellent job.

Likewise, I was pretty comfortable in guessing that the Caleb White Penance and Caldwell knives would do a great job. The latter is a drop point hunter with a very high grind. The G10 scales are highly textured and provide a firm grip.

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Knife porn. Food porn.

The Penance is more of a leaf point, but is very effective in the meat. It has a differential heat-treat, so the edge is very hard and can be honed extremely sharp. I am enjoying watching the carbon steel develop patina with use. The Micarta scales became extremely grippy in the pork blood. A solid effort from what is proving to be an all around wonderful knife.

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Gerber Strong Arm is a solid knife, and has a heft that makes it a decent food prep blade.

Lastly, I was curious about the Gerber Strong Arm. I have only just begun to test this knife, so I don’t have much time yet with it in my hand. It turns out that while this knife is quite thick, its sharp edge and natural heft make it an efficient rib-slicing tool. It was especially good in muscling through cartilage.


Mission Accomplished

In a sense, this is whole test is a bit of,  “Well, duh!”Sharp knives ought to be able to slice meat. However, none of these are kitchenware. The two high-ground hunters (Hoot amd Caldwell  performed flawlessly, as could be expected. The burly Strong Arm, performed surprisingly well, the Caleb White continues to impress and the Propel tanto proved to be adequate despite its more tactically oriented blade shape.




  1. stuartb says:

    Given that the White was a loaner, does the lovely patina it’s developing give you any problems when returning it? Is there a way to ‘buff it out’and get back to that new knife finish?

  2. AW1Ed says:

    My go-to site for all things ‘Q:


    Meathead says, “If you boil ribs the terrorists win.”

  3. cwhiteknives says:

    I think at this point considering how comfortable you two are with each, and how deep of a relationship you have developed, it would be a shame to ever part you from your Penance. Consider it a gift my friend…use it, abuse it, and let me know how it all turns out; good, bad, or ugly!

    …I mean, when you share a pile of ribs like that with a person or a tool, your basically in a ‘committed’ relationship! Ha ha…good times!

    p.s. This is not a joke – Caleb

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5 Knives and a pile of ribs.

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