The 10 Best Carving Knives
This wiki has been updated 18 times since it was first published in October of 2016. If you've ever struggled to serve a huge turkey or ham at a holiday dinner without the proper tools for the job, you'll welcome this selection of carving knives. Designed to cut through poultry, beef, pork, and even bread with ease, they will enable you to present beautiful slices to your guests every time, and some of them come with forks to hold your food in place as you cut. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
April 01, 2019:
The Top Chef by Master Cutlery and Cangshan German Forged come with meat forks that are useful for holding foods in place while you cut, and they also double as serving utensils. In addition to a fork, the Wüsthof Gourmet comes with a high-quality cutting board. The Zelite Infinity Comfort Pro, Mercer Culinary Millennia, and Victorinox Granton are the longest models on our list, which can come in handy when carving extra-large roasts or birds. For those who want to get the job done as quickly as possible, the Cuisinart Electric and Black+Decker Slice Right are both good choices, but the latter requires two hands for some to operate, especially users with small hands or arthritis.
What To Look For In A Carving Knife
However, that right there should tell you that they're not considered to be the best.
"Who cares? It's just a knife, right?"
If you ever said that to a serious chef, there's a good chance you'd never leave the kitchen alive. The fact of the matter is, knives are probably your most valuable cooking instrument, as a good one can make food prep a breeze, while a bad one could very well leave you missing a few fingers.
The most important thing you need, of course, is a strong, sharp, and durable blade. Unfortunately, there are a lot of options out there, so finding this knife-in-a-haystack can be difficult.
Stainless steel blades are the most common, and usually the most inexpensive. However, that right there should tell you that they're not considered to be the best. Instead, look for one that's made of high-carbon steel.
Check and see whether it's forged or stamped while you're at it. Forged knives are made from a single piece of molten steel; they tend to be sturdier and less likely to bend, but they're more expensive. Stamped knives, on the other hand, are created by a machine that can pump out quite a few at a time. While they're not quite as good as forged models, you can still find some high-quality stamped options out there.
Don't skimp on the handle, either. Since this is the part that will actually be coming in contact with your hand most often (knock on wood), you'll want to make sure it's comfortable to use for extended periods of time. It should be well-balanced, so that the blade is neither much heavier nor much lighter than the rest of the knife. Ideally, you should hold the knife first, to get an idea of exactly how it will feel in your hand.
Finally, pay close attention to the care instructions, and be honest with yourself about how likely you are to follow them. If you know you'll probably be leaving it in the sink for a few days before you get around to washing it, or even (gasp!) putting it in the dishwasher, then make sure you get a knife that has anti-corrosion properties.
Of course, how you feel about it is what truly matters, so feel free to ignore all this and just get the one you like best. Bonus points if the handle doubles as brass knuckles.
How To Carve Like A Pro
There's nothing more nerve-wracking during the holidays than being handed the carving knife and being set in front of the turkey while your family looks on expectantly. Slice it too thin, and you'll be a laughingstock. Too thick, and your family will undoubtedly abandon you.
Luckily, we've got some tips to make sure you're a hero instead of a pariah this Thanksgiving — or at any BBQ in the future.
You shouldn't need to saw the meat to make it fall off — if you do, you either need a sharper knife or meat that you didn't overcook.
The first thing you should do is...nothing. Let the meat sit for a few minutes, as it will continue cooking for a little bit even after you've removed it from the heat. While it's doing this, the juices are soaking back inside, which will make everything just a little bit more flavorful.
You can't do a good job without a proper surface, either, so make sure you have ample room on your cutting board. The last thing you want is to have meat fall on the floor (although that's a great way to make friends with the dog), or to let the juices run off, leaving your meat dry and bland.
Now, you're ready to make your first incision, doctor. Use a fork to hold the meat steady, and slice against the grain. You shouldn't need to saw the meat to make it fall off — if you do, you either need a sharper knife or meat that you didn't overcook. Don't use any more pressure than you absolutely have to, as this can change the texture and make the meat look less appetizing.
A Few Other Items No Well-Stocked Kitchen Should Be Without
Once you've found the perfect carving knife for you, you should pat yourself on the back (put the knife down first). Now, it's time to round out the rest of your kitchen.
Don't think you can survive with just one knife. You'll need a whole set, as most knives are designed for one particular purpose, and if you use one for something it wasn't intended to do, you'll wind up either working too hard or cutting yourself.
Now, if your budget allows, there's a seemingly-endless number of gadgets and gizmos that can make life easier, without being necessary.
You'll also need to invest in a variety of pots and pans. At minimum, you'll need a skillet, a saucepot, and a stock pot. If possible, get a couple of each (let's face it — you're not going to do dishes every night), as well as a wok, a Dutch oven, and a few roasting pans.
Grab a few spatulas, tongs, and spoons so that you have something to stir your stews and grab your meats with, and keep a couple of measuring cups handy, unless you're one of those maniacs who likes to wing it. A colander and a mixing bowl or two will round out the essentials.
Now, if your budget allows, there's a seemingly-endless number of gadgets and gizmos that can make life easier, without being necessary. For example, food processors can take a lot of the time and energy out of prep work, while having multiple cutting boards saves you from having to wash yours multiple times (and can possibly save you from getting Salmonella).
As you get more and more into cooking, you'll likely find that your kitchen will become absolutely overrun with utensils and machines. That's when the real fun starts — you know, when you have to remodel just to give yourself more room.
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