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Not everyone needs a carving knife or meat slicer for every day use, but you’d be amazed how much easier they make shaving thin cuts of meat from large roasts, or for the ceremonial turkey carving at holidays. These knives are longer, thinner, and more flexible than chef’s knives, and designed to slice through large cuts of meat, but can also come in handy for vegetables (like squash), baguettes, salmon, and more.
What to Look for in a Carving Knife
Though technically different knives, carving knives and meat slicers are often used interchangeably and perform the same basic tasks. Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for the right product for your kitchen.
Size: Slicers and carving knives are between eight and 15 inches long by and large. Knives in the shorter, eight-inch range are often easier and less awkward to use than longer versions, making them ideal for beginners or anyone not 100 percent confident in their knife skills. On the other hand, the longer the blade, the larger the cut of meat you can work with. In general, 10 inches long is the sweet spot.
Grantons: This is the official term for the indentations found on the blade of many carving knives and slicers. The grantons reduce the friction between blade and meat, making for a smoother cut and enabling you to slice meat more thinly.
Materials: Look for high quality Japanese or German-forged steel blades, which will better maintain sharpness and outlast poorer quality knives. You can, of course, also opt for an electric carving knife, though we think this mars the elegant table somewhat.
1. Mercer Culinary Millennia Granton Edge Slicer
The two stand-out features that make the 14-inch Mercer carving knife a cut above the rest (no pun intended) are the ergonomic handle and extraordinary sharpness of the blade. Users are pretty unanimous in finding this knife’s well-designed and textured handle comfortable to hold and we like a blade that slices through meat like butter. The blade includes the grantons we look for in any carving knife and is well-constructed from a single piece of high-grade Japanese steel.
2. DALSTRONG Gladiator Series Carving Knife
Dalstrong is a trusted brand name when it comes to chef’s knives, and this carving knife in particular earns raves from us thanks to its thin, even slicing of everything from chicken breasts and salmon steaks, to tomatoes, bread, and more.
This 12-inch slicer achieves such precise cuts thanks to its full-tang, forged German steel blade, a precise, hand-sharpened edge, and a tall blade height, which gives greater knuckle clearance and makes working with the blade easier.
3. MAIRICO Ultra Sharp Premium Stainless Steel Carving Knife
For those who find the 12 or 14-inch blades a little too difficult or cumbersome (especially beginners in the kitchen), we’d recommend this 11-inch slicer, which is easier and more versatile to use. We also like the secure, comfortable grip which provides a bit of additional safety when using, as well as the included sheath to keep your knife protected when not in use.
4. TUO Fiery Phoenix Slicer
Not only does this 12-inch carving knife slice beautifully through brisket without tearing the meat to shreds, it looks great while doing so thanks to the Pakkawood handle, which has the appearance and feel of real wood, but is largely waterproof and dense, thereby preventing warping and splitting. The German steel blade is full tang for durability and strength, in addition to being easy to maintain and sharpen using a whetstone or other sharpeners.