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Nolan Richardson
Nolan Richardson

Buy Steak Knives

One of the biggest considerations with steak knives that distinguishes them from kitchen knives is that you usually use them on surfaces that are tough on blades, such as ceramic plates. That can cause knives to lose their sharpness more easily than cooking knives, which you tend to use on more hospitable surfaces, like cutting boards.

buy steak knives

Pros: As with larger serrated knives, these are designed to work well on items with a tougher exterior and more tender interior, such as a seared steak. Because of their design, they stay sharp longer than straight-bladed knives.

We purchased 10 sets of popular, well-reviewed steak knives, 6 serrated and 4 straight bladed. The serrated knives had different levels of serration; some had pronounced, deeper teeth, while others had smaller, shallower teeth. We cooked two different types of steak, chuck steak and flank steak, both to medium rare, and sliced them. The chuck is a thicker, firmer type of steak, while the flank is thinner and ropier. We also cooked pork sausage in the casing. We used all of the knives to cut through each. We evaluated how easily (or not) each knife cut through the different types of meat, whether the blade went through smoothly or dragged. We inspected to see if each knife tore the meat, or cut through cleanly. Then we sliced the sausage to see if each knife cut easily through the casing and whether or not it tore the softer meat inside.

True Laguiole knives, made in the town by the same name in France, are very expensive (usually more than $100 apiece), but this set gives you a similar look and is very serviceable. With a full tang and a pattern with one larger groove followed by several smaller ones repeated on the 4-inch blade, this is an attractive-looking and effective set. Though in general we found non-serrated blades cut more smoothly than serrated, this knife sliced with very little or no drag or tearing. It has enough heft to feel sturdy in your hand without being unnecessarily heavy.

Our favorite steak knife set is the Messermeister Avanta, which performed incredibly well and comes with a very reasonable price tag. We have a few other top picks, which you can read about below, but we don't think you'd be disappointed by the quality of the Avanta.

But in our original steak-knife test, a consensus did emerge: everyone strongly preferred straight edges. Even the least-impressive straight-edge knife sliced through the meat smoothly and easily, whereas even the best serrated knife forced everyone to saw back and forth. So for 2016's update I focused my research exclusively on straight-edge knives.

One thing I learned right away: You can spend $2 on a steak knife and you can also spend $200 (or more). On the former, you get what you pay for: not much, aesthetically or functionally. On the latter, you mostly pay for looks, not vast leaps in performance over well-made mid-priced knives. Between the extremes are knives of every quality and price.

Insisting on straight-edge blades also eliminated a huge swath of the inexpensive and mid-priced serrated steak knife options. Serrated blades are very cheap to manufacture; almost every steak knife set under $100 features them. In fact, finding good straight-edged knives at low prices proved to be the biggest research challenge.

Several testers diverged from the pack on steak knife aesthetics, preferring something with cleaner, modern lines instead of the traditional look. If that also describes you, the Opinel No. 125 Bon Appetit Set, which used to be called the South Spirit, is our recommendation. The Opinel blades are noticeably less sharp than the Messermeister and Wüsthof, but they still cut our tough test-steaks neatly and efficiently. The beautiful handles are made of olivewood, which, in addition to being pretty, is naturally water-resistant (though not virtually waterproof, like the pakkawood on the Messermeisters; the Opinels absolutely must be hand-washed).

First and foremost: hand-wash them, and dry them afterwards. (This is especially important for the Opinel and Chicago Cutlery models' natural wood handles.) Dishwashers are hard on knives, both because of the high temperatures and chemicals in the soap, and because of the banging around. Spending a few minutes after dinner hand-washing your steak knives will go a long way toward keeping them performing well for years.

Stainless steel is steel alloyed with at least 12 percent, and usually 14 to 18 percent, chromium. The chromium forms a dense layer on any exposed surface which rapidly oxidizes, preventing oxidation (rusting) of the steel underneath. There are multiple types of stainless steel, some more corrosion-resistant than others; all those used on our recommended knives (and all those used by major manufacturers) are high-performing: extremely corrosion-resistant, capable of taking and holding a sharp edge, and easy to re-sharpen.

In ancient times, Damascus referred to a special type of steel created by Middle Eastern smiths. In legend and perhaps in fact, it was tougher, harder, and held a better edge than any other steel in the known world. Today, Damascus simply refers to a decorative, layered type of common steel, formed by stacking slabs of different alloys, welding them into a solid block, and folding the block over itself repeatedly. (Watch here.) Despite loud claims to the contrary, Damascus knives are not sharper or stronger than knives made of a single piece of steel, but many people consider them more beautiful.

The Wüsthof Gourmet Steak Knife Set was not more highly recommended than the other Wüsthof and Henckels knives we tested. We also tried this set out at Williams-Sonoma and thought the handles felt cheap.

The Wüsthof Classic Hollow-Ground Knife Set looks identical to the Wüsthof Classic set we tested, except the knives have dimpled blades, which are supposed to slice more easily. The Classic set we tested received better reviews, so we opted not to test this one.

"A sharp knife is the best knife for a steak," says James Beard nominee Laura McIntosh, the executive producer and host of Bringing it Home on PBS. "That being said, the serrated knife gives you a bit more ease when cutting into food with a thick outer crust because it acts like a saw. The serrations keep the knife sharper longer but also give a bit more grip when cutting through tough exteriors."

According to McIntosh, you should never place your steak knives in the dishwasher. "I think the most important step is drying your knife," she says. "Even while using your knife during cooking prep, it's important to keep your knife dry. Drying especially after hand-washing removes excess water, thus preventing rust. It can also help remove missed debris not otherwise cleaned with soap and water."

Yes! Steak knives can be used for more than just cutting through beef. Since they're designed to be sturdy enough to slice through tough meat, they can be used in myriad useful ways, from coring apples and slicing avocados to cubing cheese. With tofu and alternative meats more popular than ever, even vegetarians may find room in their kitchen for steak knives.

Crate & Barrel boasts a collection of steak knives and steak knife sets in a variety of styles and finishes. Made from high-quality materials such as stainless steel, high-carbon steel or forged steel, each steak knives set combines cutting-edge technology with sleek looks. From Scandinavian-inspired forms to traditional steakhouse designs, you'll find the best steak knives for every occasion. Serving a tri-tip roast or prime rib at your next dinner party? Lay each place setting with a steak knife to help guests effortlessly cut through their food, maximizing their enjoyment. Pair the meal with a rich cabernet or malbec in served in long-stemmed red wine glasses to complete the elegant feel. Prefer chicken or pork to beef? With their ultra-sharp blade, steak table knives can slice through all types of meat, regardless of the preparation method. To give your table a modern look, find steak knives with handles in unexpected shapes and blades in contemporary finishes, such as copper. The French steak knives offered by Laguiole, for example, feature contemporary monochromatic handle and blade combinations as well as comfort-contoured handles. Prefer a classic style? Select a set of steak knives with traditional black or wood handles and a sleek, stainless steel blade, such as J.A. Henckels or Wusthof steak knives.

As you try to find the best steak knives for your table, you'll notice that there are two primary types: serrated steak knives and straight-edge steak knives. Serrated steak knives, also known as scalloped knives, are the more classic and common of the two. The tiny "teeth" along the blade are designed to cut through both tough exteriors and soft interiors. This type of steak knife tends to require less frequent sharpening but is also more difficult to sharpen when the need does arise. Straight-edge steak knives, in contrast, rely on a precisely honed blade to slice, rather than saw, through meat. Fans of this variety prefer the straight-edge steak knife because it cuts without tearing the meat fibers, preserving more of the dish's flavorful juices. However, this cutlery does require more maintenance than serrated steak knives sets do. In the end, it all comes down to a matter of preference and which variation meshes best with your needs. Once you've selected a steak knife set, put your new utensils to good use by cooking up a juicy sous vide steak with a side of potatoes and roasted vegetables for dinner.

A steak knife takes a meal from everyday to elegant. While they're traditionally used for slicing into choice cuts of meat on your dinner plate, you can use your steak knife set to enjoy any dish that requires a clean cut. Select your steak knives in pairs or sets. They get used frequently and quickly become a favored utensil, no matter what you cook. 041b061a72


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