First thing to consider when you look for a carving set is the type of meat you will typically find yourself tasked with carving. This is mainly important for size considerations. For most everyday tasks an 8-inch carving knife is going to do the job, but if you’re a fan of cooking monster roasts on a regular basis you might consider a 10- or 12-inch. Serrated or scalloped carving knives run the risk of tearing your meat—and you know what a mess that can make of your Thanksgiving turkey breast. However, in cases with very large cuts where you might run into some tough outer layers a serrated blade can come in handy, and if you buy a serrated knife with a thin, finely honed blade, shredding is less of an issue.
Next consideration is the type of blade. High-carbon steel that keeps its edge is key. It needs to be strong enough to wrestle with joints but refined enough to cut delicate slices. Some cooks swear by “granton” or hollow edge slicers, like you see on Santoku knives, as those blades were designed to slide easily through meat without sticking.
The handle should be comfortable, so beyond what style appeals to you (holiday carving can be a bit like performance art, after all), check out some of the more ergonomically designed knives out there—it may help when you’re on that 30th slice of turkey.
Best Carving Sets
This sleek set features ergonomically contoured handles, a full tang and 8-inch blade forged from premium high-carbon German steel for durability and edge retention.
Encased in a bamboo box with black PakkaWood handles, the blade boasts the variegated “wave” pattern formed in the traditional Japanese 33-layer construction.
This scalloped edge carving set can do the job without tearing your meat. The 10-inch blade is laser stamped from high-carbon German stainless steel, with a full tang for balance.