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Jan 19, 2010 12:19 PM

Should I own an Electric Knife?

Like many others, I've been trying to stay away from purchasing unnecessary, space wasting STUFF and I'm wondering whether an electrick knife falls in to that category.

I've seen friends use it for the usual (i.e. ham, turkey, beef, etc) and I've even thought it might come in very handy to slice Mr. Millygirl's gravlox.

But I'm curious about you own one, do you get good use out of it? Or is it something hidden away to be pulled out once/twice a year?

Help me decide please.

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  1. I don't have one, and don't really think I'd get enough use out of it to warrant getting one. There is a specific knife for slicing salmon (that also works nicely with tomatoes), though I don't have it, I've used it at a friend's, and it was wonderful to slice the gravlax I'd made.

    3 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      Really, I was not aware of that. Must check it out, thanks MMRuth.

      1. re: MMRuth

        That seems unnecessary to me - I use a 30-year old Sabatier 8" carbon steel utility knife for such things. It sharpens to a razor edge (my wife won't go near it!) and slices tomatoes, smoked salmon, and darn near anything else with ease.

        There are very few tasks for which I can justify buying a special-purpose knife. And to the OP - no, you don't need an electric knife. All you need is a couple of top-quality "manual" knives and a good sharpener and you're set for life. Even during a power outage. ;-)

      2. Nooooo ... I think they are horrible. I don't own one, but I've had Thanksgiving with people who did, and the electric knife absolutely ruined the turkey. I believe it was serrated, not sure if they all are. They should be a cookware crime.

        2 Replies
        1. re: foiegras

          Really???? That bad, huh! Interesting because I thought it did a pretty good job of the turkey I had. That's what made me think, maybe I need one.
          It will be interesting to hear what others think.

          1. re: foiegras

            I don't favor electric knives, but in the case of your friend's turkey, I think that the tool was not at fault. They slice exceptionally well, but I don't need another gizmo in the kitchen.
            I believe that all electric knives are more or less serrated.

          2. Millygirl,

            I second foiegras. I don't have an electric knife and I have seen them used in a few BBQ joints. I think they are ok if you have a lot of cooked meat to cut through and you absolutely do not care for presentation.

            However, they are useless if you only cut cooked meat once a awhile and if you care about how your meat looks. You know traditional carving knife is very long, right? It is made long and narrow, so you can make your cut in one long stroke -- at least minimalizes the numbers of stroke. If you are to saw back and forth on a meat, you will tear the meat apart slowly. The more, the worse, and it will not look very good. Some will even argue the meat tastes worse. I am not going that far. This is the same theory as a Japanese Yanagiba for preparing sushi. Japanese chefs use one stroke to cut the fish meat.

            An electric knife will absolutely create a very rough surface for your meat if not tears it apart.

            Just try it at home. Do an experiment. Go get a cheese or a ham or something like these, cut it with one long stroke using a long knife and then cut it with repeat back and forth sawing action (intentional) with the same knife, and then look at the surfaces.

            The serrated part of an electric knife also does not help.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              And then eat both ;) IMO the electric knife ruined the eating experience by destroying the surface of the turkey slices. Texture is important ... not just taste.

              1. re: foiegras

                Ok, ok :) I thought only Sushi people care about the smooth texture of the meat. :D

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Wow, okay than....settled. Seems I don't need one. Right??? :)

                  1. re: millygirl


                    I didn't say it won't work. It certainly works, but it depends on your needs. I won't mind some BBQ chopped pork (cubed like pork) from an electric knife. However, it will be very difficult to create a nice smooth slice of meat using an electric knife. :) It all depends on your needs.

            2. Alton Brown seems to favor them for some unusual tasks but in general I don't think they are needed. I haven't owned one in over 20 yrs and I can't of a time I said "I wish I had an electric knife for this job".

              1. An electric knife is tops for cutting foam rubber; food, not so much. I was given an electric knife as a gift many years ago and after a couple of trys, it went out the door. No thank you for me.