Whether roasted, stewed, smoked or braised, brisket is a favorite cut for many us. To do brisket justice it always needs cooking slowly, allowing it to tenderize and remain moist. Once our tender brisket is ready to serve, it is only right that we cut it with a suitable knife to cause least damage to the meat and prevent its juices from escaping.As there are so many types of kitchen knife available, it can be difficult deciding which is the right one to use for slicing brisket. The slicing knife is a traditional long sharp knife perfect for slicing meats - whether thick or wafer thin. To help you choose the best knife for slicing brisket and other types of meat, this review looks at some of pros and cons of bestselling slicing knives, as well as an overview of what makes the slicing knife what it is.
The high carbon Japanese steel Mercer Culinary Millennia 14” Granton edge slicer is our best of the bunch for slicing brisket.
The Cuisinart CEK-40 electric knife brings one touch power and speed to slicing not just the brisket, but also the bread.
Quick Comparison: Top 6 Best Knife for Slicing Brisket
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1. Mercer Culinary M13914 Millennia 14-Inch Granton Edge Slicer
The Mercer Culinary Millennia 14” Granton edge slicer is made from a stain-free, high carbon Japanese steel, which allows it to resist corrosion, rust and discoloring. As this is a high carbon blade, it keeps a razor-sharp edge which is particularly helpful when needing to slice meat thinly and uniformly. It is also suitable for commercial kitchen use as it has been NSF certified.
It has a santoprene and polypropylene handle with a protective finger guard designed for ergonomic gripping. This knife is suitable for hand wash only and the manufacturer recommends against leaving it soaking in a stainless steel or aluminum sink as this can cause the blade to pit. It does not come with a protective sheath, so you may need to buy one separately, especially as this is an exceptionally long knife which may not fit in an existing block.
As this blade has a Granton edge, it stops brisket, tri-tip or any other meats or foods from sticking to the blade as much during use and because this is a high carbon blade, honing after use will help to keep its edge sharp.
2. Cuisinart CEK-40 Electric Knife
The Cuisinart CEK-40 electric knife is a corded model with two stainless steel blades. This means that as well as cutting meat or vegetables, it is also ideal for cutting crusty bread. The design of the handle makes it suitable for use by either left or right handed users and the power switch is a one touch on/off.
You may find it underpowered when cutting some types of meat and it does need some careful handling as there may be an increased risk of the plastic casing cracking due to its design features, although if this does happen, it does come with a three year limited warranty.
3. Victorinox 12” Pro Slicing Knife
Complete with a Granton edge blade, the Victorinox 12” pro slicing knife is suitable for slicing meats, sandwiches or even larger cakes! Its blade is high carbon, which gives a razor sharp edge and the extra flexible blade is optimally weighted with European steel to help minimize fatigue in your hand and arm during use.
To keep its edge sharp, like other high carbon blades, it will need honing regularly after use as well as sharpening when needed. There is a lifetime warranty against any defects in workmanship or materials. This long knife has a durable and light weight Fibrox Pro handle and is NSF certified. Although dishwasher safe, the manufacturer recommends hand washing only.
4. DALSTRONG Slicing Carving Knife
The Damascus clad, Tsunami Rose patterned Dalstrong 12” slicing knife is ideal for large cuts of meat, vegetables, fruit, bread or layer cakes. Made from AUS-10V Japanese steel, its 62+ Rockwell blade is extremely sharp yet allows some flex to follow contours in the meat. Its 8° to 12° beveled ground edge also helps reduce the risk of meat tearing. This lower angle does need considering when sharpening, as many knives are ground to a greater angle – around 20° or so. This means you may find using a whetstone or professional sharpening service better than your typical home knife grinder.
Unlike many similar knifes, the Dalstrong comes with its own sheath that locks with a traditional pin and string and as this knife is extremely sharp, always keep it in its sheath and far away from small fingers when not in use do take extra care when handling and using.
As a full tang blade, it also has a Grafton-style edge and a tapered holster to counterbalance the blade and protect your fingers. The handle is a triple riveted military grade G-10 that is resistant to cold, heat and moisture as well as being durable.
5. Sani-Safe Dexter 12 -Inch Roast Slicer Knife
The Dexter 12” roast slicer knife has a sani-safe textured handle made from molded polypropylene. This means it is easy to clean and safe at heat or cold temperature extremes. It is also NSF certified for using in commercial kitchens and safe for dishwasher cleaning. Made from stain-free high carbon steel in the US, it is scallop/serrated edged to allow easy cutting of meats.
Like similar slicers, this is a very sharp knife, so you may want to store in a sheath or block rather than leave it in the kitchen drawer. As this is a serrated edge knife, you may need to buy a sharpener that can sharpen this type of blade, otherwise, a local kitchen store may be able to recommend a professional sharpening service.
6. Wusthof Slicer Knife
German made, the 10” Wusthof slicer knife has a combination of high and low frequency serrations on its blade edge for sharpness and to improve its performance. It is precision forged from a single piece of stain-free high carbon steel.
It has an ergonomic riveted handle that is also magnetic – allowing you to store it on a wall knife rack or suitable metal appliance. It also has a full protective bolster to aid with balance as well as safety.
Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Knife for Slicing Brisket
The Difference Between a Slicing Knife and a Carving Knife
Slicing and carving knifes both have flexible, long, thin blades that cut food cleanly with minimal friction and tearing of the meat. They are both suitable for cutting large joints of meat or fish, but the carving knife is slightly less flexible and has a pointed tip - useful for slicing from a joint that still has its bone.
The slicing knife has more of a rounded tip. This helps stop the knife damaging meat fibers as much, as well as helping prevent the inevitable release of meat juices when you cut into the meat. Slicing knives tend to be more flexible than carving knives and because they are usually long blades, they often double as large fruit, vegetable, bread or cake knives!
When using a slicing knife, if its blade is too short, you will end up having to insert the blade up to its hilt. Likewise, if the blade is too long for what you need, then you may find it quite awkward to slice with. A rule of thumb is to match the knife to biggest joints you will cut, so if you supersize your brisket, then a 14” blade is probably a worthwhile investment.
Advantages of an Electric Slicing Knife
An electric knife can be helpful with larger joints, or greater quantities of meat as it needs less physical effort in its use. Electric slicing knives are unable to cut through bone unless the manufacturer says so.
Corded models are usually more powerful that cordless knives, but without a nearby power supply, a corded knife does limit where you can use it.
How a Granton Edge Helps When Slicing
Granton edge is the name given to the divots or channels ground into the edge of the blade. Extending towards the middle of the blade, the air pockets that form at the Granton edge help reduce the amount of food that sticks to the blade; particularly when slicing foods wafer thin. The edge also helps minimize friction when slicing, stopping meat from tearing and losing moisture.
Use of High Carbon Steel in Slicing Knives
High carbon steel is harder and can sharpen to a sharper edge than stainless steel. It will also keep its sharp edge for longer.
High carbon steel may be ‘stain-free’ or ‘no stain’. This is a middle ground between the corrosion and rust resistance of softer stainless steel and the low corrosion resistance yet sharpness and edge holding of the harder high carbon steel.
High carbon steel usually develops a blue-gray sheen or patina on its surface with use. As this patina helps prevent natural rusting and corrosion it is especially important to wash and thoroughly dry high carbon blades straight after use. These blades may also need occasional oiling with a food safe oil.
The Rockwell scale is how a measure of the hardness of steel. Knives with a 55+ Rockwell rating usually have a very sharp edge that lasts and are easy to re-sharpen when necessary.
New to Using a Slicing Knife?
A sturdy and large cutting board is always useful when cutting meats and if your board is prone to sliding about on the countertop, then try putting a damp towel underneath the board.
Some slicing knives come with their own sheath, but if not, it is always safer to store knives in a block or box rather than the drawer. Keeping them away from other cutlery or knives also reduces the chance of the blade edge getting damaged.
Unless dishwasher safe, you should always wash your knife straight after use in hot soapy water, rinse and then dry off. Never leave a high carbon steel knife soaking in the sink as this will increase the risk of corrosion or rusting and may also damage the edge of the blade.
Sharpening Your Slicing Knife
Honing a knife with a steel or hone after its use will help keep the edge sharp. Honing does not actually sharpen the knife; it helps keep it sharp by straightening the edge of the blade.
To sharpen a knife, it needs a sharpener such as a grinder or whetstone. These can smooth out any nicks on the edge of the blade and sharpen it. If you do not want to sharpen your own knives, then a local kitchen supply store may be able to recommend a sharpening service.
Some manufacturers may also offer a sharpening service, so you can return your knife to them for care. If you have a serrated or scalloped edge knife you may need to use a professional service as not all home grinders can sharpen serrated edges.
Getting the Best from Brisket
Brisket comes from just under the shoulder and across the chest. Brisket benefits from a slow and long cook as it can be quite firm and a cut with more fat, such as the ‘first cut’, is usually more tender when cooked. Whether you oven braise, smoke, pot roast, poach or stew in chunks, brisket is a versatile and budget-friendly cut of beef.
The USDA say we can keep fresh brisket for up to 5 days in the refrigerator before cooking, or frozen for no longer than 12 months to keep its quality. Cooked brisket will start to lose moistness and flavor if frozen for more than a couple of months.
Brisket usually needs around 2-3 hours before being ‘fork-tender’ and its internal temperature should reach at least 160° to make sure it cooks to a safe temperature. If reheating, the meat should reach 165° and then stay at 140°.
Once cooked, brisket should stand for around 20 minutes before you slice. If you keep your knife at the same angle for each cut it will give uniform slices. It is also important to slice across the visible grain of the meat as when you do this it stops the meat fibers from pulling apart and helps keep the meat’s tenderness. It also makes it easier to slice.
Leftover brisket should go in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking or reheating.
In this review we have looked at some of the bestselling knives available to make slicing brisket easy. We have also looked at how the slicing knife is different to the carving knife, the advantages of a Granton edge and how a high carbon blade helps to keep a slicing knife sharp. For those of you who may not be as experienced with larger cuts of meat, we have also added a few tips to help you get the best from a brisket!Whatever the size of brisket and however you choose to cook it, by buying the best knife for slicing brisket it means that the effort you have put into cooking a perfectly tender piece of brisket will also be rewarded when you offer moist, uniform and wafer thin slices of brisket to all around the dinner table.