Why a Sharp Knife is the Secret to These 7 Summer Barbecue Recipes

Your kitchen knife is perhaps the most used tool in the kitchen, and a quality knife will perform well with every single cut. A chef's knife is tasked with the most important basic functions in a kitchen, and without a sharp, quality blade, those tasks become all the more difficult. Most useful during the summer when you're moving between the grill and the kitchen counter, you need a knife that works anywhere, despite the surface or what it's cutting. The secret for a knife that always works is a quality knife sharpener.

Keeping your knife sharp enough to perform well isn't difficult when you have a tool that perfectly does the job for you, like the Work Sharp Combo Knife Sharpener. Small enough to fit on the counter top, the angle allows you to create perfect edge on your knife with ease, unlike most sharpeners.

To prove just how necessary a sharp knife is for your summer barbecues, here are 7 of our favorite summertime recipes that you just can't easily make without that freshly sharpened knife edge.

1. Beer Can Chicken

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When it comes to saving money, it's true that buying a whole chicken and purchasing pre-sectioned chicken from the store aren't that different in cost. There's just something about a whole chicken propped up a beer can on the grill that's just hard to beat.

Once you roast that chicken down, you'll put on a show of quartering it right at the barbecue table. Just run your carving knife along your Work Sharp Combo Knife Sharpener for the perfect, juicy slices. Find the recipe for the original beer can chicken here.

2. Grilled Onions

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If you've ever cut an onion, you've come into contact with syn-propanethial-S-oxide, the chemical that irritates your eyes. The best way to avoid tears is to not saw through the onion, but instead make clean slices in one cut. This way, you're not releasing the irritant that agitates your senses and you're finishing the job quickly.

The less chemical you release, the better grilled flavor you'll have because that irritant is acidic, which translates to the delicious smoky taste you know and love with grilled onions.

3. Fresh Summer Salads

Watermelon Salad

You can cut any leafy green in your kitchen into long even strands, known as the chiffonade. Basil looks pretty tasty in a chiffonade cut on top of your pizza hot off the grill, while you could toss some mint on top of a watermelon feta salad.

To pull off a chiffonade without crushing the herbs, you need an extremely sharp blade. When you begin to saw back and forth for an even cut, you end up bruising the herbs, losing the juice and flavor that they bring to a finished summer salad.

4. Meat Kebabs

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While we all know a good brisket is fork tender and juicy, you still need a good knife that handles your home cooking kebab needs. Most of the real kitchen work for a grill master happens when handling protein of any kind, whether it's a whole chicken (see above) or a lobster claw to crack in half.

When you're cubing protein for those perfect size kebabs, your knife is indispensable in getting that clean, perfect cut through any gristle or fat. The heft and weight of it also makes it decent for applying the right amount of pressure to a firmer, tougher cut of meat than a tender filet mignon. Run it over the honing rod a few times to be sure you're getting the smoothest slice.

5. Pickled Summer Vegetables

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Pickling is a delicious science experiment that is also one of the oldest ways of preserving food in human history. A successful pickle mixture is made from the perfect ratio of pickling object to the brine made of vinegar, water, salt, and sugar.

The pickling object, whether it's cucumber or hard boiled eggs or sauerkraut, needs to be of uniform sizes so that it all tastes the same after it's brined. To get those even sizes, your chef's knife will do the trick, but just make sure you keep that blade crisp so you don't lose the juice from the fruits and vegetables in the process of cubing them!

6. Homemade French Fries

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When you julienne vegetables, you cut them into uniform pieces resembling long matchsticks. Those carrots on your salad are almost always julienned. However, julienned potatoes are also more affectionately known as French fries.

You don't want a little tough potato skin getting in the way of your homemade French fries, do you? Run your handy knife along your favorite knife sharpener beforehand so slicing the vegetables into strips takes half of the time you could be spending with friends at the barbecue.

7. Perfect Boozy Pitchers or Mocktails

Summer drink - cold lemonade

A quality knife blade slices through the tough, protective skin of citrus fruits with total ease, making your homemade lemonade, sweet tea, or sangria a total snap to whip together at the last minute before company arrives.

Maybe you spike your lemonade with moonshine, maybe you don't, but either way, you'll have the most precise, thin rounds of lemons in the pitcher for all to drool over.

What's your go-to barbecue favorite? Let us know in the comments!

Watch: 10 of the Best Chicken Fried Steaks in Texas

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