Learn how to sharpen a ham knife like a professional

If there is one thing we are proud of in Spain, it is Iberian Ham. If you were lucky this Christmas and have a Spanish friend or relative, you may have already enjoyed it. Maybe after that, you are looking forward to buying your own Iberian Ham.

If so, do you know what the key to success is, in order to enjoy the most out of your Iberian Ham? The key is to get really thin slices that allow you to enjoy the best flavour of this delicious delicacy. Therefore, there is no doubt that the ham knife should be well sharpened if we want to make the most of our ham. In this post we teach you how to sharpen a ham knife like a professional.

The importance of sharpening a ham knife

The ham experts explain that we need thin slices to enjoy the maximum aroma. If those slices are very thick, we will miss the charm of our Iberian ham.

We always say that the success of a good cut is to have a quality knife and, above all, to know how to take care of it and keep it every day. We must take time to look after our knives, with good cleaning and excellent sharpening. If you missed our post about knife care and cleaning tips, we recommend you have a look because we give you some important tips that will help you keep your knives much better.

In today’s post, our goal is to help you learn how to sharpen a ham knife. You may have a number of questions or doubts about this important process.

How to Sharpen a Ham Knife – First Steps

Before starting our sharpening we must study the knife’s shape, characteristics and main purpose of use. Ham knives are usually made of stainless steel, and are very long and quite flexible. In addition, you should keep in mind that because of the use is a knife that will lose its edge in a very easy way.

Regarding daily care, the ham knife should be cleaned with soap and water and it should be dried immediately afterwards in order to avoid oxidation. Also, it is not advisable to put it into the dishwasher because it could collide with other kitchen gadgets and deteriorate them.

The ham knife can be sharpened with two tools. We can differentiate between the sharpening steel and the sharpening stones. Next, we will learn more about these two methods.

How to mantain a ham knife with the sharpening steel

Normally, when we buy a ham knife it comes with a sharpening steel. First of all, we would like to clarify that the sharpening steel does not sharpen the knife; with it we can only prepare the edge to cut or, in more technical terms, “maintain the edge”.

Using other words, with the sharpening steel “we will delay” the sharpening. When the ham knife has a great use and its condition gets worse, only the stones will be an option to sharpen the knife and get the best cutting result.

In order to set the edge with the sharpening steel, we have to hold the knife with one hand and the sharpening steel with the other. Then, we should pass the knife blade on the sharpening steel as many times as is necessary.

Our recommendation is to keep the sharpening steel stopped when we are setting the knife edge and use an inclination of about 20º. The movement must be from front to back and we must raise the knife once we have finished the movement in order to return to the starting position. After several passes through one of the faces of the knife edge, we must change to the other side.

The sharpening steel must be passed along the edge of the knife. Although with the sharpening steel we can only settle the edge, it is important to have all the knife with a perfect sharpening. For this reason, sharpening with sharpening stones is absolutely recommended.

Once you have repeated the movement several times, you can check if the edge is sufficiently sharp.

How to sharpen a ham knife with a whetstone

The ham knife must be sharpened with sharpening stones. When we begin to sharpen the ham knife with the stones we must keep in mind that the ham knife has a very curvy shape and that it is a very flexible knife.

For this reason, our recommendation is to place the knife on the sharpening stone and press with several fingers on the stone; this will ensure that the width of the blade touches the stone and not just the corners.

The process to sharpen the ham knife with the sharpening stones consists of sliding the knife across the stone. Remember to place several fingers on the knife to avoid sharpening the knife only in some areas.

As the ham knife is quite long, it is advisable to sharpen it in sections or  Japanese style. To do this, we recommend starting with the area closest to the handle and then moving to the next area, ending with the edge of the knife.

When we have worked on one side of the knife’s blade, we will work on the other one in the same way. We will begin with the first section near the handle by sliding up and down, and then ending at the edge.

What is the best way to sharpen a ham knife?

Our recommendation depends on the situation of the knife. If the knife is a bit dull, with the sharpening steel we can solve this by setting the edge. However, in the long term, it will be necessary to use the sharpening stones to get the most out of the knife.

We recommend that there should be a daily care and frequent sharpening of the ham knife in order to achieve the best cutting result and to keep it in the best condition. After this, the sharpening method is up to you.

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