Home cooks everywhere often have trouble making perfect cuts of meat.
A big reason behind this is the relative lack of skill, as meat carving is as much a culinary process as it is an art. However, another important reason this happens is the knives cooks use.
No matter how skilled you are, you can say goodbye to well-carved roasts and steaks if you have a wobbly handle or a dull blade.
That’s why you need to invest in a good quality carving knife. But, “What should I look for in a good carving knife?” you may ask.
Above all else, you need to consider value for money. Now, this doesn’t mean you must jump at the cheapest product you see on your screen.
Quite the opposite. Instead, you need to look at several product features and weigh them against the price the seller/manufacturer is insisting on.
If the features/benefits you need in a knife are available and they match the price, you’ll be good to go.
In this article, we’ll more or less be covering said features and helping you discover what you should look out for in a good carving knife.
The Most Important Things to Look Out for in a Good Carving Knife
The following is a list of nine things you should consider when trying to get a good carving knife.
On the market, you will see two different types of carving knives. The first option resembles a slicing knife with a long blade and a sharp tip.
The sharp edge of these knives helps you work around bones.
However, a conventional carving knife features a long, thin, straight blade with delicate dimples all along the edge.
The subtle dimples on the blade keep the meat from sticking to the sides while you skillfully slice it.
Such knives have more circular blade tips. Their blades are not much taller but have a medium length.
2. Price and Budget
Carving knives are a must-have in households where big holidays or weekends are celebrated with immense love and mouthwatering food.
That is why carving knives are considered more premium than other kitchen blades with a more comprehensive price range due to their worth.
You can make a one-time investment in carving knives by spending anywhere from $20 to more than $400.
Having provided a range here, it’s worthy of note that you shouldn’t use it as your only filter for determining which product to go for.
The most expensive isn’t always the highest quality, and the cheapest isn’t always the best deal.
As we mentioned earlier, consider the value the product offers in tandem with the price, and consider how much money you’re willing to part with.
That way, you can get the perfect carving knife without putting a sizable dent in your wallet.
Length and weight are the two fundamental dimensions that require your consideration while buying a carving knife.
You must not neglect these factors since you will work with larger pieces of meat.
Choosing a carving knife with the right length and well-distributed weight will help you get a uniform set of meat slices.
If you buy a blade that is too small or light in weight, you might regret your purchase later.
Most carving knife sets on sale have a range of lengths. You can easily spot a carving knife of 8 to 14 inches.
You should be looking for a knife whose size is greater than the largest material you will be carving.
For example, using a short blade on Thanksgiving would be a bad idea. However, this doesn’t mean you should jump at an offer to buy an uncomfortably long knife.
As a general rule of thumb, you might consider buying a 10-inch carving blade. This length is more versatile than other options and is best for slicing small to medium-sized turkeys.
Nonetheless, if you’re more inclined towards longer knives, you can also explore those between 11 and 12 inches.
Weight is a deciding factor since carving larger pieces of meat requires a heavy enough knife for slicing.
If not, you will be unpleasantly sawing your meat while struggling to keep the light blade from wiggling around and making downright terrible cuts. This would end up producing frayed ends and an unappealing presentation.
We suggest you buy a carving blade ranging from 8.2 to 9.1 ounces. A knife with a weight anywhere between these extremes would likely work for you, as it seems to be the go-to for many professionals.
Beyond making better cuts, using a carving blade that is heavy enough to slice small to medium-sized items will keep you from tiring your hand and arm while you carve the meat.
4. Blade Attributes and Type
It is crucial to consider the blade of a carving knife because large meats require a honed edge that evenly slices.
Therefore, the carving knife should have a lot of sharpness and durability, reducing the need for resharpening after every use.
Since carving knives have thin and long blades, you will not feel much resistance to slicing. Mostly, carving blades come with rounded tips, but some options at hand have a sharp end.
What’s more, the knife’s body should have dimples or grantons. These cause far less carving resistance, keeping your sliced meat from sticking to the blade.
Types – Stamped and Forged Blades
You can check the designation of a carving knife on its profile, showing if it is stamped or forged.
A stamped blade is cut out of a steel sheet and treated for durability. A forged blade is created by pounding a single steel bar into shape after exposing it to intense heat.
This process can be done by either a trained blacksmith or a machine.
Whether forged or stamped, both blades have their unique advantages. However, we recommend buying a forged blade rather than a stamped one.
The quality is often high, and the amount of work that goes into it ensures its durability.
5. Blade Material
Many carving blades are composed of a blend of different materials. While this mixture might seem to reduce the “purity of steel,” manufacturers mix different materials to achieve greater durability and sharpness.
The following are some of the common materials:
It is an excellent material that keeps your blade rust-free. Not only that, there will be fewer contaminants. Still, the sharpness of stainless steel blades will be inferior to that of carbon steel blades.
A blend of carbon and iron makes a robust carving knife with a long-lasting sharpness. Rust is the only downside of carbon blades if placed in water for too long.
Damascus or Laminated Steel
These blades are made from one of the premium materials, featuring a stronger and more rigid blade than other materials. Also, laminated or Damascus steel blades come with eye-catching wavy lines on the body.
Titanium blades are the preferred choice of chefs and cooks while working with seafood since they stay well in saltwater. However, it is not the best choice unless you get a blade with a balanced weight.
Ceramic is another luxury material used for making light and sharp blades. Because of their lightweight, ceramic blades are not the perfect choice as carving knives.
6. Blade Flexibility
Your focus on this factor depends largely on your preference and what you need the blade for. The goal is to find a blade with balanced flexibility.
A little resilience will help you work with poultry as you need to get through intricate bone structures. However, when working with hot and roasted meats, you should choose a rigid blade.
Therefore, you should stick with a blade that has medium flexibility if you are not buying carving knives for your restaurant.
7. Blade Width or Thickness
Primarily, blade thickness is measured in inches or mm. When you want delicious, uniform meat slices, you need to buy a carving blade with a precise width instead of a thicker blade.
We suggest you go for a 0.35 to 0.45 thick blade for a perfect carving knife.
HRC is a term describing the overall hardness rating of your blade material. What you should seek is a sweet spot.
Your blade should not be so hard that it becomes brittle. However, it should also not be so soft that it cannot retain the sharpness of its edge. Therefore, a carving blade should have an HRC of 55-58.
Tang refers to the blade metal extending into the handle construction or not. The tang length is directly related to the blade’s durability.
It is because you can safely apply pressure while slicing without fear of affecting any separation point. You should look for a full or partial tang in your carving knife.
8. Edge Profile
The edge of your carving knife is another deciding factor. It will determine the degree of perfection you will be slicing through different meats.
A sharper edge will reduce the amount of work, leading to more uniform pieces of meat.
So, there are three main edge types: convex bevel, single bevel, and double bevel. Convex bevels have slightly rounded edges.
While the single bevel has an angled edge on one side, the double bevel has two angles on either side of the carving blade.
A double bevel is the best for carving knives since it features a v-shape blade.
9. The Carving Knife’s Handle
As for the carving knife’s handle, we encourage you to buy a knife with metal or alloy handles for easy maintenance.
Thus, you should look for an ergonomic blade that is not slippery and fits well in your hand.
Do You Actually Need a Carving Knife?
Carving knives are worth it if you frequently arrange dinners for your family and guests involving large meat dishes.
Since they make it easier for you to break down roasts, lamb, chicken, and turkeys, you will never be unhappy about buying them.
Besides, carving knives elevate your food presentation game and garners appreciation from friends and family.
You need to invest in the best carving knife you can afford. While a poor knife might have you getting a replacement every year or two, a good blade would serve you for as long as you need it to.
Therefore, it’s vital to pick the right one for your needs, whether for home use or restaurants.
That said, we’ve taken the time to make a few research-based recommendations of the best carving knives for you.
Top Three Carving Knives that You Can Start With
1. Cutluxe Slicing Carving Knife
This blade, forged out of high-carbon German steel, is among the best on the market. Its razor-sharp edge and ergonomic design make it perfect for carving different types of meat, from turkey to brisket and everything else in between.
It has a full tang, meaning you barely need to worry about accidentally disconnecting the blade from the handle.
To cap it all off, Cutluxe offers a lifetime warranty on this knife, making it possible for you to buy it almost entirely risk-free.
2. MAIRICO Ultra Sharp Carving Knife
This 11-inch work of art is made of stainless steel and is designed to produce excellent cuts with minimal effort.
Its unique length allows it to easily carve up different meat sizes, from large Thanksgiving turkeys to briskets and roasts.
Much like many of its counterparts, it also offers a full refund if the product doesn’t meet the user’s expectations.
3. Dalstrong Slicing and Carving Knife
This knife comes in eight, ten, twelve, and fourteen-inch variations, giving you the chance to purchase precisely what works for you.
Its forged high-carbon German steel material comes with a 56+ HRC rating. In other words, it is highly durable and offers excellent quality for your carving.
To add icing to the cake, the brand doesn’t get left behind in customer satisfaction as it offers a 100% money-back guarantee on this carving knife.
When creating the perfect meal, a knife is the most crucial tool in creating that dish. However, finding the right one is not so easy.
There is a lot to know about carving knives, specifically their different parts and what they are used for in practice.
We’ve prepared a small but useful buying guide to help you make your choice easier.
You can use this guide with the most critical features that affect your choice of the best carving knife.
With our buying guide, you can pick the right meat carving set for your meal without overspending.
Make your next meal an absolute success from start to finish, as it all starts with the right knife!