Tips for Picking the Best Meat Carving Knife

braised lamb shank on cutting board with offset knife

Offset Slicing Carving Knife 12" | Shogun Series ELITE

Working with large portions of meat and serving it can seem like an intimidating task, especially if you’re a home cook. But you don’t have to worry about that anymore because slicing and serving centerpiece protein is relatively straightforward. With the right tools, you can carve and slice up turkeys, pot roasts, and tenderloin in a jiffy. You don’t need to be a professional to properly carve your cuts, all you need is a ruthlessly sharp and efficient carving knife. 

    smoked brisket with carving knife laying on topSlicing & Carving Knife 12" | Phantom Series

    1. What Is A Carving Knife? 

    Simply put, a carving knife is a knife with a long, narrow blade that allows you to cleanly cut through meat and comes with a pointed tip to maneuver around bones. The steel blade also has some flexibility to make it easy for you to follow the curves of a turkey carcass or a crown roast. 

    Often, carving knives are confused with slicing knives, which have a similar blade but come with rounded tips. Some carvers and most slicers have hollowed edges that feature indentations all along the blade. This helps create small air pockets that reduce friction when you’re slicing and help food fall off the knife easily. 

    Although this knife won’t be used every day, these knives do a wonderful job of carving or slicing big roasts. If you’re laying out the money and putting in the time and energy to prepare special meals, having a carving knife around is a worthwhile investment. With the right steel and blade profile, your carving knife can also be used to cut large melons, starchy tubers, and winter squash. Baguettes, bread, or layer cake can also be carved and sliced with a carving knife. Looking for some hot tips on how to improve your technique? Read this blog on how to properly carve meat for the best meat carving tips and tricks. 

    2. What To Look For When Shopping For A Carving Knife?

      Let’s take a look at some crucial factors that you must consider when shopping for a carving knife: 

      Manual VS Electric

      Carving knives can be either electric or manual. Manual carving knives consist of a long sharp steel blade that curves to a tip. The blade length and curve allow the user to slice through meat by making a long fluid stroke with the knife. Since they have smooth blades, standard carving knives create cleaner cuts through meat than the serrated bread knife, steak knives, or the edges of electric knives, which can tear the meat and leave marks on every cut.

      On the other hand, an electric carving knife consists of 2 steel blades that brush against each other and are held together by two small rivets. The rivets have channels they travel in, allowing the blades to oscillate back and forth against each other. The butt ends of the blade fit into a handle that has an internal motor that moves the blades back and forth.

      An electric carving knife has a serrated blade that allows you to cut quickly through the meat. A pressure-sensitive trigger allows the user to adjust the speed of the blades while cutting. These knives are ideal for bigger jobs, like carving or slicing a turkey or a ham. The one thing about this knife that bothers me is the fact that it does not cut as cleanly through the meat as a smooth manual blade. 

      Size Of The Knife

      A carving knife must have a blade that is long enough to create large slices of meat. If the blade is too short, it might require you to make a sawing motion to cut through the meat, resulting in uneven and less appealing slices. A blade that’s too long for the job can be slightly awkward to use. A knife with a handle that is about 4 inches long is ideal and comfortable to hold for most adults. 

      A manual carving knife is usually at least 8 inches long to slice a small ham, a roasted chicken, or roast beef. Larger meats, such as a 10-pound turkey or an 8-pound ham, require a 10-inch long carving knife. Large roasts, like BBQ briskets, require a 14-inch blade. A typical manual carving knife will have a blade length that is 12 inches long from butt to tip, while an electric knife is around 18 inches long when assembled. 

      Blade Material

      While all carving knives have steel blades, not all of them are equally good. Steel is an alloy of iron with a small percentage of carbon in it. You must keep in mind that the more carbon in a blade, the harder it is. A harder blade can hold a sharper edge. However, the edge dulls pretty quickly and requires sharpening more often. More carbon in steel blades can make them brittle and more susceptible to chips and knicks. 

      Most carving knives rate around 56 on the Rockwell scale (a hardness scale), allowing the knife to hold a reasonably sharp edge while remaining soft enough to cut around bones without nicking. 

      Blade Design 

      Carving blades are long and thin with a narrower profile than a standard chef knife. This allows them to slice through meat without damaging or tearing the flesh and achieve precision cuts. Some carving knives also feature divots along the blade. These divots create air pockets between the metal and meat that help reduce drag, allowing the blade to glide through like butter with each slicing motion. 

      Sharper blade edges will indeed cut more smoothly, but then will also require sharpening between each use to hold their edge. What you should remember is that typically, the bevel on the cutting edge ranges between 14 and 20 degrees, which is enough for making clean cuts through raw and cooked meats. The lower the number, the sharper the edge. 

      Weight and Balance

      A good carving knife will have a balanced feel. The knife’s weight should balance at the bolster (the part of the knife that connects the handle to the blade). The bolster should be hefty enough to give the knife enough weight for driving the blade backward and forward through the meat. 


      A lot of people often ignore the importance of good handle designs and land up with a carving knife that becomes uncomfortable to work with for long hours. Handles come in a variety of different materials, including plastic, wood, and steel. Steel and plastic handles require less maintenance and can handle being cleaned in soapy water. 

      On the other hand, wood handles demand more maintenance and require a few drops of mineral oil to preserve the wood. Top-quality carving knives will have full tang blades, which means that a single piece of metal extends from the blade’s tip to the butt of the handle. Knives made from one piece of steel are more durable. 

      Many carving knives have durable plastic resin handles with an ergonomic shape that conforms to the hand’s contours. This lets you maintain sold grip. Most carving knives also come with a deep guard that prevents the hand from sliding forward onto the blade when slicing. 

      3. Top Product Recommendations For You

        If you enjoy prime rib, ham, or roast beef, a carving knife is a must-have in your kitchen arsenal. Here is a list of my favorite Dalstrong carving knives that will change the way you prep and serve large chunks of meat like roasted chicken, turkey, or anything else. 

        1. Carving and Slicing Knife 12”- Gladiator Series | Dalstrong

        Carving and Slicing Knife 12”- Gladiator Series | Dalstrong

        This extra-long 12” classic carving knife from the gladiator series is super versatile and can be used for tasks like carving roasts, prepping large fruits and vegetables, and slicing bread loaves, and layer cakes. This knife is designed to help you create beautifully long, thin, and uniform slices of a large cut of meat without tearing or shredding the meat. Cut anything, from brisket and prime rib to roast ham, turkey, a side of salmon, or a juicy Thanksgiving turkey with one single stroke. 


        • This blade is precision forged from a single piece of imported premium quality high-carbon stainless steel, ensuring an ultra sharp edge with excellent wear and stain resistance. 
        • The edge of the blade is painstakingly hand sharpened to 16-18 degrees per side, maintaining the perfect balance between blade sharpness and maximum resilience. 
        • This beautifully hand-polished, satin-finished blade is also low maintenance and cleans easily. 


        • This 12” knife can be a little intimidating to use if you are new to the kitchen. In that case, you can start with an 8” knife and then get a longer one once you feel confident enough. 
        • If you are looking for a knife that can also help you scoop and transfer food, then this might not be the one as it has a narrow blade that could make it difficult to lift things. 
        • This blade can be too simple for those with a slightly bold sense of style. 

        2. Carving and Slicing Knife 12” - Quantum 1 Series | Dalstrong

        Carving and Slicing Knife 12” - Quantum 1 Series | Dalstrong

        Here’s a blade that is meticulously crafted and engineered for exceptional performance. Be it in the heat of a professional kitchen, or experimenting in a home kitchen, this carving with stand by your side through all your culinary adventures. Boasting extra-durable, ultra-sharp steel, this knife is created to help reduce drag and increase efficiency. 


        • The uniquely designed “Nova Prime” blade pattern helps reduce drag and increases efficiency. 
        • The tapered design of the blade equips it with hardness and flexibility while the fiber-resin military-grade handle is nearly impervious to heat, cold, and moisture. 
        • The tall blade of this 12” carving knife gives knuckle clearance to assist with food preparation and other chopping activities. 


        • If you are new to cooking, you might take some time to get used to the size of this blade, but once you do, there is no going back. 
        • The tip of the blade is razor sharp and can cause cuts if not stored properly in the sheath that comes with the knife. 

        3. Carving and Slicing Knife 12” - Shadow Black Series | DalstrongCarving and Slicing Knife 12” - Shadow Black Series | Dalstrong

        Here’s another classic carving knife that features an exceptional grip, ultra sharp cutting edge, and is engineered for maneuverability. It is designed from the ground up to be sleek, aggressive, muscular-looking, and aggressive. This gorgeous red knife creates an unforgettable look and is sure to make heads turn in any kitchen. 


        • The high carbon stainless steel blade at 58+ Rockwell has gone through expert heat treatment that ensures top-of-the-line performance with maximum efficiency and minimum effort. 
        • The red coating adds corrosion resistance, toughens the blade, enhances non-stick properties, and adds to the killer appearance of the blade. 
        • The handle’s tapered bolster ensures that it is comfortable to hold, while the angular resin material is near impervious to kitchen damage and ensures lifelong durability. 


        • The red blade of this knife can be too bold for those with a more traditional sense of style. 
        • The handle of this blade is slightly short and may get uncomfortable for people with large hands. 
        • A premium quality knife like this comes with a heavy price tag which might not make this everyone’s preferred blade choice. You can take a look at some other budget carving knife options here

        4. Carving Knife and Fork Set 9” - Crusader Series | Dalstrong

        Carving Knife and Fork Set 9” - Crusader Series | Dalstrong

        This knife and fork set will change the way you slice and serve large chunks of meat. While the razor sharp blade of this knife allows for making long, clean cuts of meat, the piercing carving fork helps secure the meat and serve comfortably, without making a mess. 


        • The less-is-more approach of this series’ design ensures a perfect pairing with any décor, while the razor sharp German steel blade delivers exceptional performance. 
        • The stylized groove along the knife offers the added benefits of reducing friction and stuck-on food, while also subtly lighting the knife and improving balance. 
        • The edge of each stainless steel blade is painstakingly honed by expert craftsmen to 16-18 degrees, ensuring clean, precise cuts with excellent edge retention and ease of sharpening. 
        • The broad blade of this knife allows you to scoop and transfer food from the cutting board to the grill and vice versa. 


        • Depending on what meats you carve, the 9" blade may not be long enough for some users.
        • The minimalistic style of this knife might not be preferred by someone with a bold sense of style. 

        5. Carving Knife and Fork Set 9” - Shadow Black Series | Dalstrong

        Carving Knife and Fork Set 9” - Shadow Black Series | Dalstrong

        These are no ordinary fork and knife sets. This duo will bring everyone around the table and watch you carve. Use the long, slender tines of the carving fork to hold your turkey, roasted chicken, or other delicacies in place while the carving knife makes long, clean cuts for everyone to enjoy. 


        • The blade has a ruthlessly sharp scalpel-like edge and is hand finished by expert bladesmiths to 15 degrees per side using the traditional 3-step Honbazuke method. It is further nitrogen cooled for enhanced hardness and flexibility.  
        • The knife is crafted from a single piece of steel and the hand-polished stainless steel blade has a full tang with enhances its durability. 
        • The midnight-black ergonomic handle is made of fiber-resin and is nearly impervious to heat, cold, and moisture. 
        • This gorgeous all-black set is perfect for those with a bold sense of style. 


        • The narrow blade of this knife can make scooping and transferring food from one place to the other slightly uncomfortable. 
        • If you are slicing up very large chunks of meat, you might want to get a knife with a longer stainless steel blade. 

        4. Frequently Asked Questions

        What is the best knife to carve meat?
        If you are working with large chunks of meat, an 8 to 12inch slicing and carving knife is what you need. You can also use a boning knife that is sharp, thin, and flexible to remove both skin and bones from various meats like pork, beef, and lamb. You can go for a Dalstrong stainless steel blade or a Granton edge slicer. 

          What is the difference between a carving and a slicing knife?
          Carving knives are used for slicing and carving dense meats. Slicing knives are used for cutting thinner slices of roast, fruits, and vegetables. Neither of these knives is used for cleaving meat bones or smaller precision tasks. 

          What kind of knife is used for carving and slicing cooked meats?

          Carving knives are used for slicing and carving dense meats that are used in beef recipes, chicken recipes, and more. Slicing knives are used for cutting thinner slices of roasts, fruits, and vegetables. You can go for knives made of high carbon stainless steel or Japanese steels. 

          What is the best tool to cut meat?
          Butcher’s knives are mostly used by butchers, hunters, and professional chefs, but it is also the best kitchen knife for home cooks that portion meat often from big cuts. While a chef knife can be used, butcher’s knives are designed for butchering and breaking down large pieces of meat with their long and curved blade.

          Written by Himani Vaid
          Toronto-based food nerd turned food storyteller, Himani is a connoisseur of all things delish. Currently, busy thinking about what to eat next.

          Tips for Picking the Best Meat Carving Knife

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