Do I really need a carving knife?
Hi guys, Jes here. Just a bit about the carving knife. If you have read my introduction to steak knives, then you might remember the story I told about how round steaks used to make me cry. Honestly, I was not a spoiled child. I just really, really liked good steak at a very young age. As an adult and budding gourmet cook, one of the first things I learned how to prepare was pan-seared round steak with red wine and smoky onions. I got the recipe from the famous book, The Joy of Cooking. It made me realize that what my mother had been preparing was actually “cube steak”. And it typically looked something like you see here (canned green beans included). Just seeing now still makes me want to cry.
The carving knife and food presentation
Though it could be much better presented than it is that image, (but again, I can lean towards snobbery when it comes to food), this is what a pan seared top round looks like. It’s also enough to make want to cry, but in a good way. And this often under-estimated, exquisite cut of meat is one of the reasons you want to have a good carving knife, especially if you like a nicely blackened exterior with a medium rare interior. See how thinly sliced it is? That gives you just the right about of the blackening flavor, but still leaves all of the juice of a medium rare. Not to mention, it’s a gorgeous presentation when it’s done properly. You can easily get those thin slices with a carving knife because of its scalloped edge.
Your trail guide to the carving knife, Scott P.
Scott is the man who came up with this list of carving knives. Like all of us here at All About Kitchen Knives, he gets excited about finding good knives. He brings a high-energy, fun-loving vibe to anything he does. If you have read any of articles, you’ll know the 10-year old boy in him really likes swords. And knives are basically little swords.
Scott is our international kitchen knife guide. And like Sammy, the Pulse man, Scott likes history. He’s also totally into comparing and contrasting knives from all over the world. If you want to know more about Japanese versus German or American versus French knives, just click the links.
Clicking an image of the knives we review will take you there. Remember our article about cheap knives. For the love of good food and high-quality craftsmanship, don’t do it.
Buyers guide to carving knives
The humble carving knife has been around for many hundreds of years. It’s one of those knives that spends a large portion of its life in the drawer waiting to be used. It is only pulled out on special occasions, but on these occasions, it is an invaluable tool. Although you may not need to carve meat every day, it is still important to get a good quality carving knife. A quality tool for an important job, carving the turkey at Christmas, for example, can make the task a whole lot less stressful, as long as you know how to carve the turkey that is. I have actually written an article about carving a turkey (what a coincidence) so have a read of that if you aren’t sure.
A great carving knife can save you from embarrassment and save you time when you need to carve that delicious roast. A poor quality carving will leave the meat looking like you attacked it with a chainsaw. Unless you are holding a Halloween party, this tends not to be a great look.
Before we get started on our top picks for the best carving knives on the market, let’s talk. I thought that we would first have a look at the uses of a carving knife. I’m sure that a lot of you are thinking that your chef knife will do the job just fine. While your chef’s knife can handle most tasks in the kitchen, a carving task is best left to the tool with the same name, but let’s find out why.
What is the use of a carving knife?
Carving knives are used to make thin, precise cuts into meat. Chicken, turkey, ham, beef and more can all be thinly cut using a carving knife. The blade of a carving knife is between 8 and 15 inches long. This length means that even the biggest piece of meat can be tackled, which is great if you want to get all Stone-Age in the kitchen. The blade of the carving knife is thinner and more flexible than a chef’s knife. This flexibility allows you to cut around bone easily. While the thinness provides the precision for the task.
Some carving knives, as you’re about to see, have indentations on the blade. These are often called grantons, but have other names too. These cut out areas allow the knife to go through the meat easier by reducing resistance. So, a knife with these indentations can make wafer thin cuts of meat, at least that’s the theory, this does depend on your skill level too.
Although carving knives are thought to be for meat and meat alone, it might still be worth investing in one if you are a veggie or a vegan. You can use a carving knife to carve big veg and even nut roasts and things like that. Although it is designed to cut meat, it can be a great tool for veg in the right application.
So, now you know what a carving knife does, hopefully. Let’s see which carving knives are awesome. Below are ten carvings knives that are great for all your carving needs. Stay to the end of this article to find out which carving knife you should buy with our handy carving knife buying guide!
Eight great carving knives
Dalstrong 9” Gladiator series carving knife and fork set
Dalstrong is one of my favourite knife makers. They make incredibly sharp knives from some of the best materials in the world. This is a knife set meaning that you get the knife and a massive fork to hold the meat you are cutting. The knife, and the fork, for that matter, are expertly made to ensure a perfect slicing experience. The blade has a hand polished edge and the grantons we mentioned earlier. The carving knife and fork set even comes with a honing steel so you can keep this knife razor sharp ready for the thinnest of cuts. This knife certainly isn’t the largest on this list, but it has everything you need to tackle the smaller cuts of meat. You can see or buy this knife here.
Dalstrong 12” Shogun series carving knife
The Shogun series from Dalstrong is their top-notch range. In theory then, this 12” carving knife is the best they make. First off, the knife looks beautiful thanks to 66 layers of steel running through the blade. It is also insanely sharp and stays that sharp for a while. It has a hardness of 66 on the Rockwell scale; it is Nitrogen cooled to maintain hardness and has a hand finished 8-12 degree angle per side. All of this ensures a scalpel-sharp edge that is perfect for any carving or slicing task you can put in front of it. From turkey, ham and roast beef to fruit, veg and bread, this knife can do it all and won’t bat an eye.
As the blade of this knife is very hard, it will retain an edge for longer. However, it might not be as flexible as some of the other knives on this list. All in all, this is an astonishing knife that is scary sharp! Please use with caution!
Wusthof 10” carving knife
I’m sure Wusthof is a name that you are familiar with. They make extremely good knives, and this carving knife is no exception. The blade is 10” long so not the longest, but will still be able to handle most cuts and roasts without too many issues. This knife also has the grantons, or hollows as Wusthof likes to call them. These hollows alternate so they prevent food clinging to the blade allowing for a cut that a Jedi would be proud of. All Wusthof knives are made in Germany, as a far as I can make out, so you know this knife has the quality steel and handle that German knives are known for.
Overall, this is a magnificent knife that would serve any pro or home cook very well. Wusthof makes several different carving knives, so you can compare them by clicking below if you want to see their differences.
Compare Wusthof Carving Knives
TUO 9” Damascus carving knife
This 9” beauty is from TUO’s Ring Series. There are rings on the handle which I am guessing gives the series its name, I didn’t research it. I genuinely don’t think it matters. Look at the knife! If a knife could be sexy, this a sexy knife! The sexiness is thanks to the 67 layers of steel creating a beautiful Damascus pattern running the length of the blade. The blade length isn’t crazy, but for most carving tasks, it will do you fine. The steel is nitrogen cooled to a 62 on the Rockwell scale allowing it to hold a very sharp edge for quite a while.
This carving knife isn’t as thin as others on this list so you might not be able to carve as thin, but for a general purpose carving knife, if that’s a thing, it is a beautiful thing. See more of their knives here.
Compare Tuo Carving Knives
J.A. Henckels 8” carving knife
This Henckels knife is a made in Spain from German steel; we are already off to a flying start. It is forged not machined made which is nice. However, this can mean that each knife is slightly different to use. It does feel great in your hand, though, with the bolster providing a perfect balance to the blade.
Although this is an excellent carving knife, the size does let it down a little bit coming in at 8 inches. This could pose some difficulty when you are carving bigger roasts. But for small carving tasks this is certainly going to perform marvelously!
Compare Henckels Carving Knives
Cangshan N1 series 9” carving knife
Another beautiful knife, only this one won an award for its beauty, so it isn’t just me who thinks so. We talk a lot about the value of a good knife handle. As you can see, there is a massive great hole in the handle. You’d think this would make the knife extremely out of balance, but it doesn’t. With the use of some form of magic, I imagine, this knife has great balance. Plus, with a hardness of 58 on the Rockwell scale, it has function as well as style. The hardness means that this knife can hold quite a sharp edge, but you will need to hone it before each use to retain this edge.
Overall, I like this knife; its modern design makes it very appealing, it would certainly look great in your kitchen. The size is great for most carving tasks, and the edge is sharp enough to tackle even the most demanding meat, fruit and vegetables.
Shun Classic 9” carving knife
This Shun is truly a thing of beauty. I have said that a lot on this list, but what can I say, I’m a sucker for Damascus. VG-MAX steel, an incredibly good quality steel, provides the hardness and sharp edge that you need for carving. This knife has some of the best edge retention of all the knives on this list so if you aren’t a fan of honing your knives, this could be your perfect carving partner. The handle is Pakkawood which is epoxy infused, so it is moisture resistant and durable.
Overall, this is a wonderful knife, great to use, very sharp and stunningly beautiful. If you are new to professional grade knives, approach this one with caution, it could be very dangerous in the wrong hands. For an experienced hand, this knife can produce the finest cuts of meat and vegetables you have ever seen!
More carving knives from Shun
My top pick for a carving knife
Victorinox 10.25” carving knife
The reason this is my top pick from all of these carving knives is that it works wonders on any meat, fruit or vegetable you need it to. It might not be the prettiest knife on this list, but what it lacks in style, it makes up in function. The long narrow blade holds a great edge and the rounded tip provides the meat with some protection when carving. The grantons on the blade create air pockets allowing you to achieve an easier cutting motion. The handle certainly won’t win an award for its style, but the design makes it a lovely handle to hold. It feels lovely in the hand and offers all of the slip resistance that you need. The handle is also designed to counterbalance the blade perfectly, and it does this, perfectly.
Overall I loved this knife. I totally admit that it is ugly compared to some of the others, but it is a knife that does exactly what you need it to do. Sometimes function wins me over.
I hope you enjoyed our picks for the best carving knives on the market. I hope you have found your carving companion for meats, chicken, turkey, and more. Before you go, here is a quick guide to help you find the perfect carving knife.
Our handy carving knife buying guide
Before buying a carving knife, you have to think about a few things, including:
The biggest thing you will cut with the knife – make sure the knife you buy is longer than the biggest thing you’ll cut with it.
To be serrated or not to be serrated, that is the question – you should only use a serrated slicing knife for cutting bread. Although it’s your knife, you do whatever you like with it. However, a serrated blade can make the edge of the meat look like a chainsaw had a nibble on it. If you want the edges of your cuts to look pretty, go for non-serrated.
Rounded or pointy – Here is a tip about the tip. A round tip is rounded so it can’t poke holes in the meat you are trying to cut. A pointy tip is pointy because they have always been pointy. Rounded tipped knives are usually thinner because they are designed to be used on salmon. So, if true precision is what you after, perhaps the rounded tip is the way to go.
I hope this quick guide to buying to a carving knife has helped. If you would like to discover more about knives, we have loads of articles on here all about kitchen knives. From comparing different country’s offerings and reviews of some of the best knives in the world, we have the lot!
Carving Knife Comparison Table
|Knife||Features||Buy or see on Amazon|
DALSTRONG Carving Knife & Fork Set - Gladiator Series - German HC Steel - 4pc Hollow Ground - Honing Rod - 9"
DALSTRONG Slicing Carving Knife - 12" Granton Edge - Gladiator Series - German HC Steel - w/ Sheath
Wusthof Classic Carving Knife
TUO Cutlery Damascus Beef Slicing Knife 9" - Brisket Carving Knife - Japanese 67 Layers VG-10 Damascus Steel with Case - Ring Series
ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Four-Star 8" Carving Knife
Cangshan N1 Series 59991 German Steel Forged Carving Knife, 9" Blade, Silver
Shun Classic Hollow Edge Carving Knife
Victorinox 10.25 Inch Swiss Classic Slicing Knife with Granton Blade
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