Here’s the real reason why you shouldn’t just use any old knife for meat carving
This sounds funny:
A while ago I had almost given up of carving the turkey for Thanksgiving. I was done. My knife skills pretty much sucked (at least that’s what it looked like) and my work was always lopsided and kind of haphazard slices.
Lo and behold, I discovered that my knife skills was not what was wanting, but rather the antique meat slicing knife I had been using all along. What I needed all along was the best carving knife I could lay my hands on!
Can you use a chef’s knife for carving purposes?
To be frank, you probably can but the wide triangular blade is actually better for everyday kitchen tasks and it’s simply too thick and blunt for precise meat slicing jobs. There’s that plus the fact that it just doesn’t offer you enough length to go all the way through a big roast in one stroke.
But here’s the problem:
Carving knives come in what seem to be an endless array of shapes, sizes and designs, so I totally get why some people just stick to their chef’s knife and hack their way along.
But don’t worry, I’m going to guide you through the process and give you all the tips you need so you can truly invest in the best carving knife out there.
In my opinion, the best carving knives have long (even extra-long) blades, sturdiness to create a straight cutting path and a round tip that’s not going to get caught mid-slice in the meat.
All jokes aside
But the majority of us American guys have one job on Thanksgiving or Christmas, and that’s to carve the damn roast. Carving has become synonymous with straight-razor shaving and musket cleaning, kind of like it’s just the manly thing to do.
You want to know something awesome?
Even if you’re not the world’s best carver, faking it is simply child’s play when you’re armed with the right tools and attitude.
What else will I need for carving the roast besides a carving knife?
Essentially, just a boning knife and a carving knife should get you through the process fairly painlessly. If you don’t already own one, make sure to check out my friend Mary’s article where she talks about the different kinds of cooking knives out there, so that you can just get up to speed with the “must-haves” of the boning knife. Your best bet would just be to invest in a set that includes a carver, a fork and a boning knife.
Are electric carving knives any good?
To be quite honest, my opinion about electrical knives (and sharpeners for that matter) all come down to one idea: they enforce bad habits so just don’t use them. I get that it’s my opinion, so it’s a little bias, but nothing cuts, sharpens and handles quite as well as a real steel knife that’s not battery operated.
Since I’m obviously not a fan, I’m not even going to list them here. Instead, I’ll show you what carving knife sets I tested and how they performed with regards to their quality, balance, functionality and obviously their sharpness and how easily they slice through chunks of meat.
Let me get to it already…
The Best Carving Knife for You
Wusthof Classic 2-Piece Hollow-Ground Carving Set
Okay so I actually own one of these and it has simply never let me down. I love the name that comes with a standard high quality assurance, the price that was very affordable and the overall sharpness and performance of this set.
- The Granton edge (hollow-ground) of the Classic Carving Knife in this set provides you with smoother slices than most other carving knives thanks to the scalloped bubbles in the edge of the knife.
- I always enjoy the superior balance and heft of the knife, and with the 6 inch long carving fork that’s slightly curved, handling just feels like a dream
- The knife handles paper-thin slicing as easily as it tackles cutting up large cuts of meat
- Since the carving knife is promoted as a non-stick, many people wrongly believe that they’ll never deal with food sticking to the blade of the knife.
Shun DMS200 Classic 2-Piece Boxed Carving Set
I’ve praised the quality and performance of Shun Knives before, and this Carving Set is no exception to the rule. What makes this set stand out is its beautiful Damascus-style finishing and the impressive little box it comes in.
- While the blade looks like Damascus, it won’t rust like Damascus thanks to the steel underneath the top-coat. This also reduces drag on the knife’s slicing performance.
- It’s not as heavy as the Wusthof set, so it’s going to be the perfect fit for those of you that prefer a lighter weight
- If you prefer Japanese steel for its ultra-sharpness and ability to hold its edge, the Sun set can’t be beat
- Like all other Shun products, this set is crazy expensive
J.A Henckels Four Star 2-Piece Carving Set
This set from Henckels doesn’t come in a storage box, which means it’s a little easier on the pocket yet still brings you awesome quality for the price you’ll pay. The ice-hardened steel blade on the carving knife offers you amazing sharpness and durability, and together with the bonded handles, full tang and laser-controlled sharpening, the Four Star set is well worth considering.
- I love the durable feel this German knife set gives me and with the ergonomic handles and balance of the blade that just makes carving seem effortless
- The carving knife effortlessly slices paper-thin cuts of meat and the long meat fork helps you easily control and move the meat around once it’s been cut.
- The full-tang blades are perfectly balanced and stain resistant
- Heads up dishwasher lovers! The handles on this set can (and most probably will) break if you put them in the dishwasher
Zyliss Carving Knife
This Swiss made stainless steel carving knife with its soft touch grip handle just feels right in my hand. For precise control over your slicing action, the ergonomic design is perfect. The best part is you can use this as a turkey carving knife or choose to fillet freshly caught fish with it, it tackles either job excellently. Bright and stylish, the Zyliss Carver also comes with a matching blade cover for safe storage.
- The Zyliss Carving Knife is ridiculously cheap for its capabilities
- It comes with a 5 year warranty and is dishwasher safe although hand washing is recommended
- It cuts with precision and ease and rally feels like it was made with durability in mind
- The handle might be a little awkward for larger handed fellas
- When you’re taking off and replacing the sheath cover you’d have to be very careful not to slice your hands by accident
Calphalon Katana Slicer Knife
I just have to say that I absolutely loved the Damascus style blade of the Calphalon Katana Slicer. The 7 inch high-carbon stainless steel blade is great at retaining its edge and the best part is that the knife comes with a lifetime guarantee.
- The blade is made from high quality VG-1 Japanese steel
- The integrated bolster design ensures a safe and secure grip
- The polyresin handles won’t crack, chip or break off
- You’re going to have to take good care of the blade if you want to avoid the issue of rust
- The adds promote this blade with the “less food sticking” gimmick, when in actual fact the air pockets just allow for an easier slicing motion
And that’s an end to this thinly sliced roundup of the best carving knives out there. Make sure you check back in soon to read what I have to say about the elusive grapefruit cutter and why you’d actually be better off with one in your pack out in the field.