Having a great carving knife in your hand not only ensures you have an easy time slicing the Thanksgiving turkey, but it can also be used year round to carve roasts, pates and so much more. The line between carving knives and slicing knives blurred long since, but traditionally, a carving knife has a pointed tip while a slicing knife has a rounded tip.
In this article we take a look at the two different styles and see why both work just as well when carving or slicing meat. We also review some of the best carving knives around to help you choose the right carving knife for your next Thanksgiving dinner!
With its pointed tip and German steel construction, the 10" Mercer Culinary Genesis carving knife is our traditional best pick carving knife.
For faster carving and dishwasher safe blades, the Black+Decker electric carving knife is our budget pick of the carving knives.
Table of Contents
- Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Carving Knives
- 1. Mercer Culinary Genesis Forged Carving Knife
- 2. Black+Decker Electric Carving Knife
- 3. Cangshan S1 Series 61895 German Steel Forged Carving Set
- 4. DALSTRONG Slicing Carving Knife
- 5. Zelite Infinity Slicing Carving Knife
- 6. MAIRICO Ultra Sharp Premium Stainless Steel Carving Knife
- 7. Kitchen + Home Carving Bread Knife
- 8. Victorinox Swiss Army Cutlery Fibrox Pro Slicing Knife
- 9. DALSTRONG Shogun Series 12" Slicing Carving Knife
- 10. Wusthof Gourmet Carving Set
- Things to Consider Before Buying A Carving Knife
Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Carving Knives
1. Mercer Culinary Genesis Forged Carving Knife
The 10" Mercer Culinary Genesis carving knife is made from high carbon no-stain German cutlery steel to resist discoloration, corrosion and rust. The precision forged blade has a taper-ground edge for lasting sharpness and easy honing and also has a pointed tip.The black handle is ergonomic santoprene for a non-slip grip even when wet and santoprene will not break down when exposed to kitchen oils and temperature extremes. This knife is also NSF certified and comes with a lifetime limited warranty. The manufacturer recommends that this knife be hand washed rather than through the dishwasher. The odd buyer has had to sharpen this knife on arrival and the packaging can be very difficult to open.
2. Black+Decker Electric Carving Knife
The Black+Decker electric carving knife (EK500B) has 9" stainless steel blades that can be easily removed with the blade release button for cleaning in the dishwasher. This black handled electric carving knife has an ergonomic and comfort grip handle with a safety lock button to prevent the knife from turning on when it is plugged in.This is a 100W knife which can also be used for slicing breads, cheeses and for craft projects. Some owners consider that this knife is underpowered compared to older Black+Decker models and the odd buyer had found that the blades would not stay in the handle when using. The lifespan on this may not be as long as expected either, although it does come with a two year limited warranty from the manufacturer.
3. Cangshan S1 Series 61895 German Steel Forged Carving Set
The full tang Cangshan S1 Series two piece carving set (61895) is forged from X50Cr15MoV German steel and has a Rockwell hardness of 58 + 2. This set comprises a carving knife with a 9" Granton edge and pointed tip blade and a two prong carving fork with an overall length of just under 11". Both of these have cream ergonomic handles which have been triple riveted.Coming with a lifetime limited warranty, this boxed set is also NSF approved for use in commercial kitchens. It is recommended that these knives be handwashed rather than in the dishwasher.
4. DALSTRONG Slicing Carving Knife
Made with imported and high carbon German steel, the DALSTRONG Gladiator Series 12" slicing knife is a full tang forged blade with a triple riveted black pakkawood handle. The 56 Rockwell blade has a hand polished edge of 14 to 16 degrees on each side and has been finished to a satin shine.
This forged knife has a rounded tip and its taller blade gives greater knuckle clearance. This also comes with a stain resistant and BPA free sheath as well as a satisfaction guarantee and a lifetime limited warranty. Some owners have found this knife has not had as sharp an edge as it should have on arrival and it has been unable to hold the edge for as long as expected.
Some have found it more useful slicing some types of meats compared to others, probably because the blade is more flexible than other slicing/carving knives.
5. Zelite Infinity Slicing Carving Knife
Made from ThyssenKrupp X50Cr15MoV German steel, the Zelite Infinity Comfort-Pro Series 12" carving knife is forged and has a Rockwell hardness of 56 + 2. It has also been hand finished. This full tang carving knife has a tapered bolster for balance and the handle is made from black ABS.
This rounded tip knife also has a Granton edge to aid thin slicing and comes packaged in a box suitable for gifting. It also has a lifetime limited warranty from the manufacturer. The odd buyer considers that this should be a little sharper on arrival than it actually is and as a longer carving knife it may be a little unwieldy if you want it for smaller carving tasks.
6. MAIRICO Ultra Sharp Premium Stainless Steel Carving Knife
The MAIRICO 11" slicing knife is made from premium stainless steel and is a full tang and balanced knife with a triple riveted black handle. This knife comes in a presentation box along with a performance guarantee. Some buyers have received this knife with an imperfect blade, and you may need to sharpen it before first use as it may arrive blunt. This will also need regular sharpening to keep its edge.
7. Kitchen + Home Carving Bread Knife
Made from surgical grade steel, the Kitchen + Home 8" serrated edge knife is an all-purpose knife that is suitable for carving meats and various other tasks. This knife has a fork tip so that you can move food without the need of a carving fork. It has a black ABS ergonomic handle which non-slip and lightweight and although it is dishwasher safe, hand washing is recommended by the manufacturer.As well as coming with a 30 day satisfaction guarantee, this knife also comes with a lifetime limited warranty. A number of buyers have found this to be blunt out of the box and it may not slice as cleanly as expected through foods such as bread or tomatoes.
8. Victorinox Swiss Army Cutlery Fibrox Pro Slicing Knife
The Victorinox 10" slicing knife is a versatile carving knife with a rounded tip and the high-carbon stainless steel blade has been ground to a razor sharp edge. Made in Switzerland, this knife is NSF approved and has a lifetime guarantee against defects in materials and workmanship.The black handle is Fibrox Pro for a non-slip grip even when wet and the manufacturer recommends that this knife be hand washed. This is a lighter weight knife which not all buyers are as comfortable with and if you are cutting larger roasts then you may prefer the next size up.
9. DALSTRONG Shogun Series 12" Slicing Carving Knife
Made from AUS-V10 Japanese super steel the DALSTRONG Shogun Series 12" slicing knife has a Rockwell hardness of 62+. The full tang blade has been layered with 66 layers of premium high carbon stainless steel to give a Damascus-look finish and it also has a hollow edge for food release.The triple riveted black handle is made from military grade G-10 and this comes with a PerfectFit sheath and a lifetime limited warranty. The Damascus finish may not be as good quality as expected and the odd buyer had had to sharpen it before using for the first time. Some owners also consider that this blade is too thick for slicing thinner slices of meat.
10. Wusthof Gourmet Carving Set
The Wusthof Gourmet carving set (8542) comprises an 8" carving knife with a pointed tip and a two prong carving fork which have been made in Germany from European steel. The knife has a hollow ground edge for easy release and the set also comes with a bonus Epicurean US-manufactured slate colored cutting board which will not dull the blade.This is a smaller and stamped carving knife which will not be as suitable for larger roasts and the odd buyer has had to sharpen this on arrival. The fork is also straight rather than a curved fork. Both the fork and the knife come with a lifetime limited warranty from the manufacturer.
Things to Consider Before Buying A Carving Knife
Although carving and slicing knives may look similar and are both very sharp, they traditionally had different jobs when it came to meat. However, as these two types of knife have become interchangeable, the differences are no longer as clear cut and so.
Mainly used for carving bone-in roasts and poultry, a carving knife tends to be around 8" in length and tapers to a narrow and thicker blade which has a pointed and curved tip designed to separate meat from the bone.
A carving knife also has a ridged blade to give more control when carving and makes it easier to cut through the tougher connective tissue. A shorter length carving knife will make it more difficult to cut through larger joints as you need to cut up to the bolster.
A slicing knife has a narrow blade which is usually longer and more flexible than a carving knife - allowing it to cut thinner slices. The blade is usually the same width along the bone, and it may have a pointed or a blunt tip.
As well as for slicing large roasts, venison, pork and fish, the slicing knife can also be used for pates, foie gras, fruit and vegetables. Slicing knives often have a hollow edge to stop thinner slices of meat and stickier foods from sticking to the blade.
A hollow edge, also known as Granton edge or kullenschliff is where indents or dimples are cut into the blade. A true Granton edge has to be hand ground scallops which extend from the edge of the blade into the center. This creates a sharper edge.
The air pockets that form in the scallops, whether on a Granton edge or a hollow edge, help prevent food from tearing and keep slices intact, especially when slicing meats thinly. It can also aid easy removal of stickier foods from the blade.
Knives which are NSF certified or approved means that they meet the standards of the National Sanitation Foundation. These knives are made from FDA approved materials and are safe to be used in commercial as well as home kitchens.
Most carving knives are full tang blades, this means that the blade narrows after the bolster and runs to the end or butt of the handle; you can often see this. The handle is then fastened onto the tang; usually with triple rivets. A part tang blade means that only one or two inches of metal are fastened into the handle which can increase the risk of breakage during use.
A forged knife is one in which the blade is forged from a single piece of steel, while the blade of a stamped knife has been pressed out from the piece of steel. Forged knives are often more expensive than stamped knives and most have a bolster – metal between the blade and the handle.
When you are shopping for a carving knife, or indeed any other type of knife, you may see a Rockwell hardness figure. This is the measure of how hard the edge of the blade is. Blades that have a higher Rockwell hardness are usually made from high carbon steel and these will have a razor sharp edge that will last for longer. However, blades that are made with higher carbon steel are also more brittle and will chip more easily than a traditional stainless steel knife.
However, it is probably worth noting that the type of steel used for a carving knife is not always as important as say that used for a chef’s knife. Some of us may only use a carving knife a few times a year and even in those households regularly dishing up a roast, it may only be used once a week or so for a few cuts.
Whichever type of knife you choose, the main aim is to produce long and thin slices with as few strokes of the knife as possible so that the slices look good when presented at the table. A carving knife should feel balanced in your hand and one which has some flexibility in the blade will help it to follow contours of the meat more easily.
A carving fork can also help when using a carving knife. A typical two pronged fork with a guard and long handle will help to hold the meat while carving.
If possible, you should hand wash your carving knife in hot soapy water as soon as you can after use. If the knife is dishwasher safe, it should be placed in the dishwasher with caution as its longer length can increase the risk of damage to its blade during the wash cycle.
Choosing an Electric Carving Knife
Although an electric carving knife minimizes your capacity for delicate cuts, it does bring some advantages; especially faster cutting of those larger joints. When selecting an electric carving knife look for one with detachable stainless steel blades which are dishwasher safe. Manufacturers also sell replacement blades which means you do not have to keep sharpening them yourself.
The handle of an electric carving knife should be ergonomic and remain comfortable while the knife is switched on. It should also have safety features such as a double locking mechanism or a locking trigger which will stop children from being able to turn it on.
A corded electric carving knife will offer more reliability as cordless models often begin to lose power as the battery drains. This can be unhelpful with larger carving tasks, or those where the meat may be tougher. The main disadvantage with corded models is that they are not always as maneuverable, while the cordless carving knife offers flexibility when dining outside.
Most electric carving knives also come with versatile, or even different cutting blades which allow you to use it for cutting vegetables and bread as well as meat. Some knives also have variable cutting speeds for different meats or types of food.
When cutting with an electric carving knife you should not exert any manual pressure; instead just guide the blades and press down lightly across the grain of the meat. You should not cut through bone with an electric knife and you should always use it on a carving board.
The Importance of The Carving Board
It is important to keep a separate board for carving meats on and this board should never be used for preparing raw meats or vegetables on.
Whether you choose a wooden or plastic cutting board, both types should be washed in very hot soapy water after use. They can then be patted dry with paper towels and allowed to air dry thoroughly before being put away. Once the surface of the board becomes cracked and knife-scarred, it should be replaced as this damage allows the board to harbor more bacteria.
Some Tips for Easier Carving
When your meat comes out of the oven, leave any skewers or strings in place; these can be removed as you carve along the meat. Before any roast is carved, you should leave it in a warm place covered in foil for 20 minutes or so. This helps the juices to redistribute in the meat and prevents less juice from running out when the meat is cut. At the same time, you can warm up your plates and serving platter (if using one) as once the meat is in slices, it will cool down quickly.
Always use a carving board for carving and the carving fork is useful to hold the meat in place while cutting. When you first start to carve, take a slice off the backside of the roast so that it will sit flat on the cutting board. You should only carve as many slices as will be needed for that particular meal as this will help keep moisture in the leftovers.
When using the carving knife, use it in a slicing rather than sawing motion and use the full length of the blade with each slice; you should only need to apply enough pressure to cut the meat fibers. If too much pressure is used it will tear or bruise the meat and affect its appearance.
Unless you are unable to do so, you should always carve across the grain of the meat. The grain is the direction in which the muscle and tissue fibers are aligned, or if you have bought the roast from your butcher, the strings are always tied against the grain.
Carving across the grain means that we cut through tissue fibers and when these are cut it shortens them which means the meat stays more tender. As the meat is sliced, move it onto the warmed serving platter and spoon a little of the meat juices over it to keep it moist.
Generally, thicker slices of meat are juicier, but some cuts such as tri-tip or tougher beef cuts are more tender when sliced thinly.
In this article we have seen that the line between carving knives and slicing knives has all but disappeared. Today’s carving knives can be long or short, pointed or rounded tip and may or may not have a hollow edge to assist food release. As well as what to consider when buying a carving knife, we have also offered some pointers on what to look for when selecting an electric carving knife.We really hope you enjoyed our article on what to look for when choosing a carving knife. If you prefer a pointed end knife for maneuvering around bone, a rounded tip blade with a hollow edge for slicing thinly, or even an electric carver for expediency, then we are sure that you will now be able to select the best knife from our top ten best carving knives.