There is nothing worse than cooking the perfect steak and then using a dull knife to cut it. A dull knife will release all the juices from the steak, causing them to end up on your cutting board instead of still in the steak, which will hinder its taste. How you cook your steak will dictate about 90% of how it tastes, with the other 10% coming from resting and slicing. This 10% should not be overlooked! It will allow you to fully experience the hard work and dedication you just put in when cooking your steak.
A few different types of kitchen knives work great for cutting meat, but the most important thing is using a sharp knife. A sharp blade will slice through the meat easily and cleanly, keeping the juices in the steak. In this blog post, we’re going to dive into the best knife for cutting meat to help ensure knife safety, the proper way to slice up a steak, and other knives that are necessary to have in your arsenal.
What knives are best for cutting meat?
There are so many blades that you can use in your knife set to cut meat. These include a boning knife, butcher's knife or cleaver, paring knife, santoku knife, electric knife, and so many more. So, how many knives do you need to cut meat? There are actually three knives that are perfect for cutting meat.
What knife cuts meat the best? A carving knife features a long blade with a shorter height than most other standard knife blades. Its blade allows you to work around bones, and the long length will provide clean uniform cuts at any thickness or size you want. Of course, you won’t use a carving knife every day. As the name implies, it is used for carving large roasts, such as turkeys, chicken, prime rib, and others. If you don’t find yourself cooking whole birds or large-format meat dishes, and want a knife that you can use for other items, then look for a chef knife.
Chef knives also work great for carving meat. This type of kitchen knife has a large blade with an ergonomic handle, as well (though not as long as a carving knife), so you can still achieve uniform cuts. Most chef’s knife blades are eight inches long, which works excellent with slicing steak, chicken breast, pork chops, and more.
The one downside when using a chef knife for carving larger roasts such as a whole turkey or glazed ham is that you may not be able to produce significant even cuts. However, what’s great about a chef's knife is that you can use it for other things, like slicing, mincing, or chopping vegetables. Once you learn how to hold a chef knife, you’ll be able to get a lot of use out of it in your kitchen.
Lastly, you have a bread knife, or serrated knife. It is similar to a carving knife with a long blade but features a profile of sharp points. These are perfect for slicing bread and the sharp points or serrated edge can slice through the crust without ruining the interior. The same goes for tomatoes, as the points allow the blade edge to cut through the delicate skin of the tomato.
A serrated knife works for carving roasts, as the points of the steel blade slice through the crispy skin of a bird easily and provide long even cuts. If you have a chef knife or a carving knife, use those, but know that a serrated knife is always a fallback option.
How to Slice Meat
Before you go ahead and slice your meat, it is essential to let it rest. Letting your meat rest allows all the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. If you slice your meat with a kitchen knife right away, all the juices will spill out onto your cutting board, and you’ll be left with dried out meat. If you’ve prepared a steak, let it rest for 5-10 minutes, and if you’ve roasted a whole bird, it can take anywhere from 30-45 minutes to rest.
Next, slicing your meat against the grain will produce incredibly delicious and tender bites. To slice against the grain, look for the direction that the fibers in the steak run. Simply cut it using your meat knife perpendicular to them, and you’ll be left with incredibly tender bites.
What to Look For in a Knife
Once you’ve selected which shape is best for you, make sure it has all the features necessary for it to last you a lifetime.
You want a good knife that is fully forged and full tang. This means that your knife is made from one rod of steel, which adds durability and balance to your knife. Having a balanced cutting knife is especially essential when carving meat so that you can make uniform cuts.
When it comes to cutting meat, there are a few different knives that will work great. A carving knife allows for even cuts with its long stainless steel blade. A chef knife also works great for cutting meat, however since it has a shorter blade, it won’t produce as long cuts.
However, its functionality and ability to handle other tasks like cutting vegetables and other ingredients makes it necessary. And lastly, you have a bread knife, with a long serrated blade, able to cut through crispy skin and produce even cuts.