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Chef's knife vs Carving knife vs Turkey.

I have a sharp, 8" Messermeister chefs knife. I love it and use it for almost everything in the kitchen. I've carved half a dozen turkeys with it and it does a good job. Is there any advantage to using a Carving knife?


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  1. It's more ceremonial.

    Aside from that, a carving knife is less 'tall,' which generally makes meat stick to it less (better for carving very thin slices without mangling them) and makes it more maneuverable around joints. And if the carving knife is longer (and many aren't anyway), it makes for slightly more efficient slicing.

    In practice, the difference is pretty minimal though. A chefs knife is fully up to the job, as long as it's sharp.

    1. <Is there any advantage to using a Carving knife?>

      Yes. You will look like an elite nobleman instead of a butcher.


      I think cowboyardee is spot on. In theory, the narrower and longer carving knife will reduce tearing the meat. The craving knife is suppose to allow you to cut the meat in one stroke with minimal sticking instead of a back-and-forth, back-and-forth motion.


      While this is true, in practice, I think a sharper knife makes a much bigger impact in term of minimizing meat-tearing.

      1. As always, cowboy and chem are spot-on. Partly it depends on *how* you are Carving The Bird (great Charlie Parker tune BTW). If you are doing a Presentation Carving, slicing the breast length-wise, a long carving knife looks cool, but gives you stringy-er breast slices. I prefer to dismember the bird in the kitchen, debone the breast and thighs, then slice them cross-wise. Reassembling the boneless slices plus wings and drumsticks on the serving platter in roughly the shape of the bird. A chef's knife is ideal for this.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mwhitmore

          <I prefer to dismember the bird in the kitchen, debone the breast and thighs, then slice them cross-wise>

          An excellent point indeed which we did not mentioned.

        2. For the past 3 yrs I've been using my 8.3" gyuto & loving the results. For me, I have no need to buy a specialized knife to perform a task I do once or twice a year.

          1. I love using my sisters electric carving knife. No pomp and circumstance at our holiday meals...

            1. I suspected it was not so much about function. I'm going to friends house and they requested I bring my sharp, chefs knife. Not sure if I'm going to be doing the carving and wanted to make sure what I was bringing wouldn't cause a catastrophe.

              I do like to remove the thigh/leg and the breasts in the kitchen, slice and put it on a platter.

              Honestly I prefer to let others do it when I'm at their house. Too much responsibility. :)

              Thanks for the replies. Happy Thanksgiving.


              9 Replies
              1. re: JuniorBalloon

                A responsibility, yes. But you are probably up to it. I would rather do it than have someone else botch it.

                1. re: mwhitmore

                  I am up to it and will supply whatever assistance they ask for, but it's not my turkey. I am only there to eat. :)


                  1. re: JuniorBalloon

                    <but it's not my turkey. I am only there to eat. :)>

                    Can't you say "I did my job. I bought the knife. Now, you go cut the turkey"?

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      I could, but I don't mind carving, I just don't want to step on the cooks toes. If elected I will serve. :)


                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        You gonna trust somebody with one of your good blades? You are a braver man than I. ;)

                        I'll bring a sharp beater but not one of my primary favorite.


                        1. re: knifesavers

                          As it turns out I've been drafted to carve the turkey, so I won't have that issue. As long as people use it for what it's intended I'm ok with others using my knives, though I completely understand why someone wouldn't. Mine is a sturdy piece of German steel and pretty hard to abuse. though I once had to stop my Mother from using it to open a bottle of some sauce. That was a bridge too far. :)


                          1. re: JuniorBalloon

                            <though I once had to stop my Mother from using it to open a bottle of some sauce...>

                            What doesn't kill you makes you stronger -- the bottle could have made the knife stronger.

                    2. re: mwhitmore

                      Once the bird is properly cooked, I don't really care how it looks on a platter. Lovely slices, big or little bits and chunks, just pass to me NOW! :)

                      1. re: DuffyH

                        :-) I'm with you on that sentiment.

                        Oh, & make sure I get some crispy-browned skin, too....