A carving knife is a larger knife with a keen edge, used to carve slices of meat from roasts, hams or poultry. It is an instrument of antiquity, having its origins in the earliest metal-working attempts by man. And since that age, man has looked for a way to make a sharper, stronger, more durable knife.
Carving knives usually have a straight edge, rather than a serrated one, and is generally 8 to 15 inches (21 to 38 centimeters) long. The blade is a bit shorter and wider than a slicing knife, although they are longer than a regular kitchen knife. A carving knife has a much thinner blade than a kitchen knife, which also enables it to cut thin slices of meat.
Like all knives, a carving knife may be made of several kinds of materials. The most expensive knives are high carbon stainless steel. These knives are durable and hold an edge well. A forged high-carbon blade will serve for many years, if cared for properly.
The first step in properly carving anything is to sharpen, or hone the knife blade. This may be done on a stone, or on a steel. A sharp knife will help cut more tender slices. It is also safer than a dull knife. The cook should also allow the meat to “rest” for 30 minutes or so after removing it from the oven. This will help the juices redistribute through the meat, resulting in a more tender slice.
Most people find it easier to stand while using a carving knife, and the carver should slice most meats across the grain, anchoring the meat firmly with a good carving fork. Ideally, the meat slices should be 1/4 to 1/2-inch (6-12 millimeters) thick, for the best results.
A good carving knife can cost upwards of $100 U.S. Dollars (USD) for a high-carbon, forged steel blade. Good, cheaper knives are available, but the shopper should always look for a knife with good balance, and that has the tang, or metal, at least halfway down the handle, which should be held together with rivets.