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Nov 23, 2013 08:11 AM

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...