Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away, and many families are already planning their menu and finalizing their guest list.
There’s a lot that goes into planning Thanksgiving dinner. But after choosing the turkey to deciding on the various sides and desserts, a lot comes down to presentation and taste. As delicious as your mom’s cajun turkey recipe may be, it won’t be nearly as enjoyable if whomever tasked with carving hacks it to pieces.
From the bar knives to the cheese plate — and finally that all-important carving of the turkey — having the right knives as you prepare for Thanksgiving couldn’t be more important.
So, what knives are the most essential for a Thanksgiving celebration? The obvious answer that most think of immediately is a beautiful carving set. “There is something really great about having a wonderful, reliable carving set to carve and serve the roasted turkey at Thanksgiving,” said Bobby Griggs, Vice President, Hammer Stahl Cutlery and Heritage Steel Cookware.
But a great chef’s knife and paring really should be top of mind. “There is nothing more frustrating than pouring your heart into a wonderful meal to share with friends and family and to struggle with a dull knife while prepping,” said Griggs.
A great chef knife and paring knife will accomplish most tasks needed for easy meal preparation. “The chef knife will be your kitchen workhorse and will be able to make a lot of your plates look flawless. A paring knife helps with precision and will make all of those smaller cuts, garnishes and finishing touches so much easier,” said Griggs.
You’ll be able to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your guests if you have the right type of knives.
Some great options:
WÜSTHOF Classic 8 Inch Chef’s Knife
HAMMER STAHL Bird’s Beak Paring Knife
In addition to staple knives, when it comes down to entertaining, you should definitely add a cheese and bar knife to your collection. They’re helpful tools and definitely make entertaining easier – everything from prep to presentation! “As your friends and family gather pre-meal or just hang out having cocktails and catching up, having a couple great knives on the charcuterie board and to help with cocktail garnishes and juicing will be a nice addition,” said Griggs. It helps when the knives have a focal point, too.
Some great options:
Kuhn Rikon Colori+ Cheese Knife Set
Marble Honeycomb Cheese Knives Set
The easiest way to sharpen your knives is to keep them sharp. “You should consistently hone your knife with a quality honing steel to keep the blade aligned and it is much easier to keep your knives sharp,” said Griggs.
Carving the turkey
The person tasked with the carving of the turkey has a big job ahead of them, and a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. “I actually carve the turkey myself. It’s my responsibility for our home every year and I take a lot of pride in it,” said Griggs. There’s a beautiful science to this, too. “The first thing I do is carve the bird completely to make clean-up easier after we eat,” said Griggs, whose favorite way to carve is to begin by separating wings and legs first, then separate the breast along the backbone with a carving knife. “I work slowly against the breastplate. And then finally, I separate with a perpendicular cut near the back plate and near the neck to remove the entire breast. I make sure I slice nice, even slices against the grain so the bird remains super tender for serving. It’s definitely become my favorite way to carve,” said Griggs.
Prepping for the carve
Look for a long blade that is slender with a defined pointed tip when buying a carving knife or a set of carving knives. “The tip is needed to work the knife against the breastbone and to help separate at joints,” said Griggs. And, you are going to want a super sharp knife to help slice easily through the skin.
Finally, look for a beautiful knife that is also durable and gets the job done. “A show-stopping knife adds to the presentation and to the entire experience for gatherings with friends and loved ones,” said Griggs.
Some great options:
Dalstrong Shogun Series Sujihiki Slicer Knife
Zwilling Pro 2-Piece Carving Knife & Fork Set