The hash knife is one of the most unique cutting tools ever made, with its wide boat-shaped blade and two-pronged handle on top. Originally used to make beef and potato hash, a common fare among cowboys in the 1800s, this is used as a chopper (rocked back and forth over the cutting board), a slicer, and a spatula (pan-frying flipper).
There are hundreds of different knife designs, far different from the conventional ones commonly used in the kitchen nowadays. The hash knife is a very good example of this.
Although many say that this originated in Texas and was used by cowboys as aforementioned above, there are other slicers quite similar to it such as the Ulu of the indigenous tribes of North America and the Messaluna which originated in Italy.
There could be a relation, sure, but we’ll focus on this All-American piece of design ingenuity for now as it is incredible on its own.
What Is It?
A hash knife is considered the ultimate cowboy cooking tool.
It can be used to cut vegetables, meat, and fruits with ease and speed and is considered a staple and essential in a Chuckwagon, which was a type of mobile kitchen that was usually used to store and transport food on the prairies of the United States and Canada.
It traces its roots all the way back to the 1800s and can be used as a chopper, dicer, flipper, and scraper.
This is a fairly unique knife as the handle isn’t wrapped around the end of the blade and is instead mounted on the spine, which offers a unique grip.
The curved shape of the blade and the placement of the handle allows users to use a rocking motion to easily chop through vegetables and since it uses a large and flat blade, you can also use it to scrape pans or flip ingredients that are being cooked.
While they aren’t very popular in modern kitchens, they are still used by cooks as they are very useful, ergonomic, and unique tools that can really boost your productivity in the kitchen.
What Can I Use It For?
As mentioned earlier, this is an all-around knife.
Typically, it can be used to chop and dice vegetables really quickly using a rocking motion, since the curved shape of the blade is ideal for this technique.
These blades are fairly heavy, so they will easily cut through heavy vegetables such as potatoes, beets, and other root crops, but are still sharp enough to slice through the ingredients with precision.
On top of that, they are also used when cooking.
Since the blade is very large and flat, it can be used in the same way a spatula is used to scrape ingredients and even flip them when they’re cooking in the pan.
All in all, these are useful tools that are meant to last you a very long time, so while they may be fairly hard to find, the functionality they can add to your rustic kitchen will be very worth all the effort.
Where Can I Get One?
Now, we’re going to answer one of the harder questions that come with this knife.
One of the easiest and simplest ways you can find it is by looking at antique shops.
This is because not a lot of companies make these tools nowadays, so finding a brand new one can be tough.
When looking at hash knives in an antique shop, there are a couple of things you need to look at, however.
First, you have to take a look at the yield of the blade.
The rivets can typically be reattached using a hammer or wagon wheel, so you won’t have to worry too much about them.
Another you’ll have to look at is the edge of the blade.
Check for chips and dents, as a blade with a lot of chips can be hard to sharpen.
Additionally, if you hold the knife and notice that it’s gotten thin over time, you might want to look for another blade altogether.
If antique shops don’t find you any luck, you can also find brand new hash knives online, though the search will be pretty tough.
That being said, buying online will allow you to have a brand new forged blade that can last you a very long time.
Hash Knife Maintenance
Aside from regular sharpening and honing, one of the best ways to maintain it is to clean it after every use.
This means washing it with hot water and soap immediately after use and giving it ample time to dry before storing it.
It might even be better if you wipe it dry with a clean cloth instead.
On top of that, remember never to stick the knife in the dishwasher as that can damage the blade very badly.
So that’s about all you’ll need to know about this old-school cowboy tool.
While they may be very old, they are still very useful in the kitchen and would be a great addition to any rustic, cowboy chef’s tool kit.
And if you think a hash knife is something you’d need in your kitchen, it might be prime time for you to actually get your hands on one yourself!
Last Updated on August 19, 2021