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Steak knives....

Hi folks, any ideas on steak knives that aren't going to break the bank? I LOVE these but can't seem to find enough spare changehttp://shun.kaiusaltd.com/knives/knife/premier-4-piece-steak-knife-set

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  1. What is your budget? There are some very modest priced ones among the top rated here: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/shop/c...

    The cheapest Wusthof ones look like a set I got at Marshalls that works great, better than the Yamazaki ones that match my flatware.

    1. We've got a decent budget....say 200 - obviously I want something very effective but with a bit of style.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kelly12

        Well, those Shun sure have style!

        Have you tried restaurant supply web sites? This one usually has good bargains: http://www.cutleryandmore.com/steak.htm

        These have a huge markdown: http://www.cutleryandmore.com/wusthof...

      2. Thanks for that, very interesting site!

        1 Reply
        1. re: kelly12

          Happy shopping! I learned about it through other CHers. Have gotten a number of incredible bargains there.

        2. Hey Kelly,

          2 camps here:

          SERRATED: Kind of saw the meat but keep the actual cutting edge off the hard ceramic plate and stay sharp longer.

          NON SERRATED: When "sharp" cut with scalpel like precision. These are what I have and being a steak fanatic I wouldn't have anything else.

          $200. easily gets Wusthof Classics & Henckels equivalent. Great knives and quite prestigious. Probably 1 in 1000 households have such quality. Dozen passes across a $35.00 12 inch ceramic sharpening rod and your ready for the next meal. Should be able to score an 8 pc set for about $200.00.

          The Japanese knives will be harder steel, take a frighteningly sharp edge & stay sharper longer but they will too lose the battle against ceramic plates. Because they are harder steel, more effort is required to sharpen them. Rolls Royce of steak knives but not something I would want to maintain if frequently used on ceramic plates. If this is going to be a special set for VIP guests the Wow factor of a set of Shuns is hard to beat. The steak better be pretty damn good too :-)

          25 Replies
          1. re: Tom34

            Thanks Tom. I'm looking at the Wusthofs, Henckels, and surprisingly the Swiss Army have a lot of followers and of course the classic Laguiole knives...all would be good.

            1. re: kelly12

              Hi Kelly12.

              I have a set of Wusthof classic steak knives and have mixed feelings about them. They’re not elegant enough for fine china dining, yet too pricey / fancy for everyday /backyard use. Cutting against a plate, and / or treating them like silverware (scooped up, tossed in the sink or dishwasher) mauls them.

              I suggest getting two sets. For everyday use…something like the Victorinox b/c cheap enough to replace / not fester over scratches. For fine dining…get something nice that matches your china, and treat them like knives – not silverware.

              BTW, like Sabatier, Laguiole is not an exclusive brand name. Many manufactures make them; including a lot of crappy knock-offs. The good ones are made in France from Forge de Laguiole.

              1. re: JavaBean

                Two sets is an option for sure - THANKS very much for the clarification on Laguiole as well, there are a lot of them out there. Loved the line "treat them like knives - not silverware" too! Thanks!!

                1. re: kelly12

                  Two sets of the same would be my liking. 12 knives. Just in case more than 6 people show up. Same goes for eating utensils but for washing reasons -- Can't get one "feeds 4" set for a family of four unless I want to wash 3 times daily so... Those $50 Oneida sets I've been eyeballing, I'll have to spend $200 on 4 sets (16 forks, 16 spoons, etc).

                2. re: JavaBean

                  I wouldn't put any decent quality steak knives in the dishwasher. Just wipe with a soapy sponge, rinse and dry.

                  When I think of fine china steak dining a choice or better filet with a reduction sauce comes to mind. Cooked M/R a butter knife should cut it. I am familiar with the French Laguiole steak knives. They are sweet but certainly special occasion.

                  The stamped straight edge rosewood Victorinox are over $100 for a set of 6 which I wouldn't consider cheap. Good knives but for a few more dollars I would go for the forged Wusthof Classics.

                  1. re: Tom34

                    Yeah....reduction sauce.....mmmmmmmm.....I may go back to the Henckels after all..........

              2. re: Tom34

                I'm a steak nut and I love serrated. Good ones make neat, clean cuts and can also be sharpened but don't require it as much.

                Whatever floats yer boat.

                1. re: mcf

                  I have used good serrated. Much better than the free sets from Banks & S/H Green Stamps of the past but IMHO no comparison to a razor sharp non serrated.

                  30 seconds on a $35.00 12 inch ceramic rod after each meal brings a non serrated back to scalpel sharpness.

                  1. re: Tom34

                    The usual steak knife at a higher end steak house like Smith & Wollensky is a massive serrated man-sword.
                    Amusingly, does a tender steak require a scalpel-sharp knife, or is that sharp implement a harbinger of tough meat ahead?

                    1. re: Veggo

                      The big cheap serrated Chinese made steak knives at high end streak houses are there for 2 purposes:

                      1. That $75.00 Plus dry aged mid/high prime steak could be cut with a big toe nail clipping if push came to shove.

                      2. $12.00 buys a doz big hunkering cheap Chinese steak knives (vs) 1 decent straight edge knife. Commercial dishwasher also comes into play.

                      1. re: Tom34

                        I'll confess I have the S&W steak knives and I like them and they don't go into the dishwasher. Nor do they get much use!

                        1. re: Veggo

                          S&W to me means Smith & Wesson. Do they make steak knives?

                          1. re: Tom34

                            Haha...that's what I thought too, but no they're talking about Smith and Wollensky

                    2. re: Tom34

                      I don't need another unnecessarily high maintenance utensil.

                      1. re: mcf

                        I guess it depends on one's definition of high maintenance.

                        A dozen passes across my ceramic honing rod (same as a steel but ceramic) that sits in my knife block takes less than 30 seconds per knife. Probably less than 10 seconds if I am sober. To me thats no big deal.

                        1. re: Tom34

                          I just wanna cook it good and eat it. I spend enough effort keeping my prep knives sharp. And I guarantee my steak is as good as anyone's.

                          Better, even for not coming off a corn/grain feedlot. :-)

                          If I splurge, I might get the hollow edged ones just because they look so cool, but I probably won't.

                          1. re: mcf

                            I like the Victorinox rosewood, straight edge, almost-full-tang.


                            A nice compromise between art and tool and value, as I believe cooking should be.

                            1. re: Muddirtt

                              For every pot, there's a lid. :-)

                              1. re: mcf

                                Haha, very true. Nothing is perfect. Just like a Dodge truck has the best diesel motor, being a Cummins, yet the rest of the truck is junk, so get a Ford diesel because the engine is second best and the rest of the truck is top notch, lol.

                                1. re: Muddirtt

                                  Oh geez, DON'T bring trucks into it.....grin....but okay how about posting a few of your favorites?

                                  1. re: kelly12

                                    Nah, that's hijacking a thread and for an automotive forum :)

                                  2. re: Muddirtt

                                    Ford body, Dodges Cummins engine & GM's Allison transmission.

                    3. re: Tom34

                      Murray's in Minneapolis would argue that a butter knife would be all that's needed !

                      1. re: BoneAppetite

                        I would agree that a $75.00 dry aged mid to high grade prime steak needs only a butter knife. I think that quality steak is the exception though, not the rule.

                    4. Whatever steak knives you buy, make sure they are not serrated. They leave little bits of meat on the knife. A regular blade will make a clean cut.

                      1. I'm an outdoorsy type so Victorinox is my favorite brand for in the kitchen, although I've never bought them yet. I've just read a ton about kitchen knives for when I purchase this year sometime. Swiss made and a happy medium for value. I use a Buck 102 and 105 for hunting and trout. Another made in USA Buck fillet knife. Cold Steel for bushwacking. Estwing for the heavy tools. All these are best bang for buck, I think. I'm not rich and refuse to pay over $150 on a blade or axe. Also, harder Japanese steel is just a pain to hone or sharpen, in my opinion.

                        1. Well there are two distinct camps regarding serrated vs non serrated as always. I LOVE non serrated knives but for steak knives I really like this logic:


                          4 Replies
                          1. re: kelly12

                            My logic is to use non serrated because once a knife is sharpened at whatever given angle, a honing is all that is needed thereafter (for the most part), and serrated are not fun to put an edge back on. Honing a straight edged knife after every few steaks takes all but 10 seconds. Serrated are for cutting seatbelts and sawing walnut :)

                            1. re: Muddirtt

                              I hear ya...and beer cans and.....can you say Ginsu? Interesting question though isn't it...steak knives are obviously important!!

                              1. re: kelly12

                                I have some pretty good sharpening equipment Kelly but honestly I would chuck a serrated before I tried to sharpen one, let alone a 1/2 doz of them.

                                Non serrated Wusthof Classics are a good middle ground. Very sharp out of the box and with a 12 inch ceramic rod (same as steel but ceramic) 30 seconds brings them right back.

                              2. re: Muddirtt

                                The Deep East Texas wife of a friend calls them serenaded knives. Same woman that calls Vermont's neighbor New Hamster. She doesn't need to know and we won't tell her.

                            2. If you ever hit the lottery BIGTIME check out this site (i just discovered it)... bladesofthegods.com/sickening prices but oh the workmanship

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: 51rich

                                I'll guess before I look - Damascus?

                                  1. re: Veggo

                                    at the very least *L*. but at least it is a set of 8 knives.found them by searching for william henry knives-they used to make kitchen knives,and i thought they were nice-but only pocket knives currently-also worth looking at-extreme eye candy

                                1. Many years ago when I was in collwge I bought my parents a set of six Walnut Tradition Chicago Cutlery steak knives with a block at Shopko (discount chain store) for $36.

                                  My dad still has them. A few years ago I found many of the same knives on separate occasions at thrift stores for about a buck each. I found blocks for about a buck each as well. I ended up wity three sets of six steaks knives. We kept a set and gave the others away.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: John E.

                                    If I am not mistaken, those older numbered series (US made) CC steak knives were highly rated. Hard enough to keep an edge but yet easy to sharpen. 20 yrs old, used, they still bring almost 2x what the new cheap Chinese serrated ones bring.

                                    1. re: Tom34

                                      I would never recommend to anyone the Chicago Cutlery knives sold today. Those old walnut handled, numbered knives are still good knives that take an edge well. A few years ago I made a habit of stopping at a few thrift stores in the area and bought several dozen of them at an average of a buck each. I think I got at least a dozen 8" chef's knives. I have given a few away and the rest will end up in the kitchens of my children and my nephews, if they want them. Those knives were ubiqitous in the 80s, at full price.

                                      We have a full set+ of Wusthof Classic knives that were also thrift shop finds. We have two Wusthof 8" chef's knives that cost $1.80 each. Those deals quit appearing so I don't stop into the thrift shops too often these days.

                                      1. re: John E.

                                        I remember years ago Cook's Illustrated rated the older CC numbered steak knives as a best buy. Maybe 626 or something along those lines. Good virgin steel with a similar German compromise of hardness (vs) ease of sharpening.

                                        1. re: Tom34

                                          Ah yes the late great CC 103S steak knives. It wasn't just the steel but also the angle, like a meat processing boning knife, that made them killer steak knives.

                                          Fancy? God no but excellent.


                                          1. re: knifesavers

                                            Your right it was the 103S.......still some used ones on Ebay.

                                            After Mundial switched to the cheaper serrated steak knives, I came across a dealer who had a full box of old stock bolstered straight edge, blew the dust off the box & sold them to me at cost. Gifted many but kept a doz.

                                            Guests used to serrated are blown away by the effortless precision of the non serrated. Couple light passes across the ceramic steel and back in the block they go.

                                  2. I would scan Ebay for a nice vintage set. Many years ago I landed a set of 6 Case Russell Case steak knives in a red leather presentation case. A prized culinary treasure. Many times I have seen a set of 6 Case steak knives in mother of pearl for a reasonable price. You should land a nice set for less than $100. Class.

                                    1. I'd just buy whatever Costco is offering with a coupon and save the money on the steak.

                                      Good steak makes a knife - quality or otherwise - an afterthought (at best) and a discussion topic in between bites of steak (at worst)

                                      1. I used Henckels for years but couldn't figured out why the knives lost sharpness so fast until I realized that I was cutting against ceramic surface (I eat a lot of steaks). I decided to give ceramic knives a try and never looked back. Everything about them makes perfect steak knives.

                                        14 Replies
                                        1. re: wr3zzz

                                          Never even thought about ceramic steak knives. What brand did you get?

                                          1. re: Tom34

                                            I wasn't sure about ceramic at first so I just got some relatively cheap 5" slicing knives. The looks aren't great but I already have a nice set of Henckels for that but the ceramic knives is my go to for casual steaks because they function much better. If money is no object I might go for the Kyocera Kyotop Damascus which costs about $150 for ONE. The cheaper Kyocera knives look identical to the Chinese I got and if just for steaks I am not sure how much an upgrade I would get function wise for 3-4x price. They are kind of single task knives since you don't want to use them on anything with bones.

                                            1. re: Tom34

                                              Problems with ceramic:

                                              - Though they do hold an edge longer than steel, they still get dull and they're harder to sharpen once they do. A lot of ceramic users don't even bother and just buy new knives once they get dull. Just like with steel knives, cutting on ceramic plates speeds up the dulling process.

                                              - They don't generally cut as easily as a comparably sharp high quality steel knife because of their geometry. This isn't much of an issue if you're just using them for steak and other meats, but can matter if you also use them for vegetables and general prep.

                                              - They are more prone to snapping and chipping than steel knives. Again, this is not necessarily a big problem - it depends on how you use them, whether you tend to drop your knives or use them roughly, etc.

                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                Good information. I'm sure ceramic knives are expensive, what are considered to be the advantages that justify their cost? Thanks.

                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                  To be fair, the prices on some ceramics have dropped so dramatically that it's possible to use them as essentially disposable knives. There's still better value and performance in steel knives, but if buying a new set of ceramics every year or two to use as steak knives floats your boat and you have the cash, at least they're not $100 apiece anymore.

                                                  "what are considered to be the advantages that justify their cost?"
                                                  They hold their edges longer than steel knives. I don't think this justifies their downsides for most people, but it does make a kind of sense for people who don't sharpen their knives and haven't defaulted to serrated blades.

                                                  They're completely non-reactive. I don't think this is necessary in the kitchen, but it is admittedly an advantage. Ceramic blades are popular among underwater divers for good reason though.

                                                  There is also a common myth that ceramics are sharper than steel knives. This is not necessarily the case at all, but it's widely believed enough to help ceramics sell.

                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                    Because I never thought of them, I googled ceramic steak knives and a 4 PC Bench Made set came up at $19.99. Knowing absolutely nothing about them I can't even begin to comment but do wonder how fragile they are.

                                                    1. re: Tom34

                                                      Comparing ceramic to steel knives in general are unfair since ceramic is a very niche product. In terms of steak knives I do consider them superior, at least for those of us who are not expert at sharpening blades. No one used them as steak knives in the past because of high price but that's no longer an issue with entry by the Chinese. The first advantage is that ceramic knives are so much lighter so the edge rarely cut against the hard plate surface. Steel steak knives cut against the surface so often because of the weight in carry through. It's the plate not the meat dulling the blade. For my use I am pretty sure it will be many more years before I will notice a decline in sharpness. The second advantage is that ceramic has a harden shaper edge than almost all steel except the good stuff sharpened by master smiths. This results in cleaner, aka sashimi cuts and that's how I like my rare steak. The clean sharpness also contributes to advantage 1 as I mentioned above. My ceramic sliced better than a new Henckel out of the box. I am sure good steel sharpened by master smith can outperform any ceramic but I don't have the skill nor the luxury of affording one. In terms of fragility, they chip if you drop them while working on kitchen counter against hard tile/stone floor. Not a scenario for steak knives. Newer or high end ceramic knives supposedly can withstand serious pounding but I cannot attest to that.

                                                    2. re: cowboyardee

                                                      If you use ceramic to its strength (lightness and sharpness) with a much more lighter touch on the steak, the edge rarely cut against the plate surface. If you use them like on a cutting board then ceramic is not for you (and I know that's how many people cut their steaks). Nobody use a sashimi knife to chop stuff either and that's what ceramic really is function wise as far as steak knife is concerned.

                                                      1. re: wr3zzz

                                                        Right off the bat, I'm not strictly opposed to using ceramics as dedicated steak knives. It's an interesting idea. There's some novelty factor, which is just about as important as performance when talking about steak knives. They'll do the job, at least when new and sharp, and if you don't sharpen your knives, ceramics will stay useful a little while longer than straight edge steel knives (though serrated knives are generally a better value in this case). And with the price of a ceramic knife dropping to the $5/knife range, they're not as much of a money pit as they used to be.

                                                        But you're overselling the sharpness of ceramics, as well as their lightness (which frankly, makes no functional difference at all - we're comparing knives that weigh ~2 ounces to ones that weigh ~4 ounces, either of which is easily manageable for just about anyone), and overstating the difficulty in making a steel knife just as sharp or sharper than any ceramic on the market.

                                                        The technique for cutting a steak with a non-serrated blade without ruining the edge is the same whether we're talking about ceramic or steel - try to make sure the knife only touches the plate near the tip of it, keeping the rest of the edge sharp. This is easy to do on your own, but sometimes problematic if you invite guests over.

                                                        Buying a new ceramic at $5/knife every so often isn't really a terrible deal, and their downsides are arguably less apparent when they're used as dedicated steak knives than as chef knives - so I'm not saying there's anything wrong with using ceramics as steak knives. But don't do it for the wrong reasons. They don't actually cut better than decent steel knives (worse in some respects), they're not any easier on your plates, and they're not much more resistant to dulling from rough or sloppy use either.

                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                          I don't disagree with you assesment between the merits of steel and ceramic other than your insistence that ceramic is nothing but a novelty. As in steaks, thinly sliced ingreidents while rare in Western cooking is a common task in Asian cusines. The lightness and out of box sharpnesss does matter for casual people who are not experts at using and sharpening steel knives. There is a reason that ceramic are much more poupuar in Asia than in the West and it is not becasuse they don't know what they are talking about.

                                                          1. re: wr3zzz

                                                            I'll grant you that the factory edge on ceramics tends to be better than what you'll find on comparably priced steel knives. This is indeed an advantage and a legit selling point, especially since we're talking about fairly inexpensive blades.

                                                            I still don't think there's any real functional advantage in the lightness of ceramic steak knives, seeing as steel steak knives aren't heavy enough to be at all unwieldy anyway. That said, there's nothing wrong with a personal preference for extremely light knives. It just seems to me that you are assuming some of the extra control you feel while using ceramics is because of their lightness, when really it's just the extra sharpness helping your control.

                                              2. re: wr3zzz

                                                Dang near pulled the trigger on a set of Henckels but then I found these:

                                                Anyone know anything about them? I haven't heard of them at all before.

                                                1. re: kelly12

                                                  Hen & Rooster primarily makes pocket knives. They were considered a very good maker several decades ago, but they changed ownership and their pocket knives and outdoor knives seem to get lukewarm reviews today. They have made a few sets of kitchen knives in recent years, but nothing that's made any significant impression among kitchen knife enthusiasts.

                                                  I think you'll basically get what you see: a set of serrated knives. They make no mention of the steel used, so it's probably nothing special. Serration pattern is nothing unusual. There are less expensive sets of serrated knives out there, but if you like the looks of this set, then that's what you're paying for.

                                                  1. re: kelly12

                                                    You can get similar quality knives at any discount store (Marshall's Home Goods, TJ Maxx) for $29 if you don't mind rust after dishwashing.

                                                    If you'll hand wash and dry, that's not a problem.

                                                2. Something else important to consider. There is a reason you don't want classy steak knives to be really good knives. They could leave marks on the nice china you use with the classy knives. This is actually the main reason that good restaurants use serrated knives exclusively, the tips are made of soft steel so to avoid harming the plate rather than holding the edge. This is also why serrated knives don't get sharpen, sharpening the tips voids its purpose for protecting the plate. It's an unavoidable paradox regarding nice steak knives. Good knives with clean blade = better tasting steaks = bad for plates carrying the steak. This is why I prefer ceramic. Ceramic is harder than steel and potentially more prone to leave marks but handling a much lighter sharper blade properly is much less likely to cut anything other than what's intended, just ask any surgeon.

                                                  1. I was just at a privately owned knife store, established 1922, (4 generations of professional sharpeners) and asked them about steak knives.

                                                    Their budget recommendation for straight edge was the 4 pc set of Messermeister @ $50.00.

                                                    While made in China, they said like anything else, some Chinese products are well made with good materials & some are not. They said they have sharpened virtually every brand out there and the Messermeister are very good quality for the price. They can be custom serrated for an extra $10.00 and the serration will be such that they can be sharpened with a round serration rod.

                                                    I felt them and they are larger & weigh more than the Wusthof Classics. Nice sharp edge and nice handle fit.

                                                    One thing they did say is stay away from ANY knives with a pot & pan company name on them. They said these are made from very cheap steel and every cost cutting manufacturing method is employed including using hollow bolsters. They won't sharpen or repair them.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Tom34

                                                      Hi Tom, thanks so much for the tip - I've never heard of Messermeister before and their knives look REALLY good. I couldn't find a spot to order custom serrations on their website is this a service offered by them or by your custom knife store?

                                                      1. re: kelly12

                                                        Hi Kelly, I am not sure if they cut the serrations or if they send them to somebody who does. Their site is "Justknives101" & they list a phone number to call with questions.

                                                    2. I'm a non-serated guy. I like a sharp knife...and a serated blade doesn't meet that spec to me.

                                                      My steak knives are far from "style". They are just cheap Chicago Cutlery (not the 103s) sets from WalMart. Get them on deep discount around $6 for sets of 4. I can get them laser sharp and just hit them on the steel before using. Slices through steak like "budda". LoL

                                                      One poster said they would need several sets of 4 every single day to feed their family of 4. Glad I don't use steak knives for every meal. I bet we don't use our steak knives once a week, much less three times a day!

                                                      1. So okay, I've looked and analyze and ended up buying the Messermeister Avanta multi edge steak knives. Ultimately there was a comment from JavaBean (hey are you on CoffeeGeek too?) about treating these knives like silverware vs knives and frankly ours get treated like silverware. I love the styling and the weight looks good too. We've used some vintage and sentimental Sheffield steak knives for a long time now but I think that after 40 years they deserve a break!

                                                        Thank you to everyone for the engaging and thought provoking conversation - it helped!

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: kelly12

                                                          Enjoy them! I highly recommend breaking them in on a 2" thick ribeye. :-)

                                                          1. re: kelly12

                                                            I have very large hands and when I picked them up the weight was nice and they felt substantial. If I didn't already have a bunch of good steak knives I would have bought them. Enjoy!!!!

                                                            1. re: Tom34

                                                              Thanks, just put the order in today so it'll be a few weeks before delivery but I'll be sure to post the review and you can almost bet that it will involve a nice grilled rib eye!

                                                            2. re: kelly12

                                                              Congrats on the knives, they look nice.

                                                              I'm not on CoffeeGeek, just a coffee-holic.