HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
What are you cooking today?

Chef's knife vs Carving knife vs Turkey.

JuniorBalloon Nov 23, 2013 08:11 AM

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?


  1. Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. cowboyardee Nov 23, 2013 08:23 AM

    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. Chemicalkinetics Nov 23, 2013 12:17 PM

      <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. m
        mwhitmore Nov 23, 2013 07:13 PM

        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
          Chemicalkinetics Nov 23, 2013 07:35 PM

          <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. Eiron Nov 23, 2013 08:43 PM

          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. petek Nov 24, 2013 05:10 AM

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

            1. JuniorBalloon Nov 25, 2013 08:55 AM

              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
                mwhitmore Nov 25, 2013 10:37 AM

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

                1. re: mwhitmore
                  JuniorBalloon Nov 25, 2013 11:18 AM

                  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
                    Chemicalkinetics Nov 25, 2013 12:12 PM

                    <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
                      JuniorBalloon Nov 25, 2013 01:15 PM

                      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
                        knifesavers Nov 26, 2013 08:27 AM

                        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
                          JuniorBalloon Nov 26, 2013 01:14 PM

                          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
                            Chemicalkinetics Nov 29, 2013 08:03 AM

                            <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
                      DuffyH Nov 25, 2013 12:28 PM

                      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
                        Eiron Nov 26, 2013 08:25 AM

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

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

                  Show Hidden Posts