The knife is one of, if not the most important tool available to a chef. From chopping ingredients to carving the cooked food, knives are used throughout the cooking process. There are truly endless ways to use a knife when cooking, but it is always important to have the right knife for the right job.
With the dozens of different types of knives out there, it can be difficult to know which knife to use and when. This article takes a deep dive into the slicing knife, explaining exactly what a slicing knife is used for.
What is a Slicing Knife
To best understand what a slicing knife is used for, it is helpful to understand the characteristics of slicing knives. One important characteristic of a slicing knife is the blade length. Slicing knife blades typically range anywhere from 7” to 14” inches in length depending on the specific use of the knife. The tip of the blade is usually rounded rather than pointed.
This blade length is intentional and is meant to satisfy the demands of cutting through large pieces of cooked roasts and meats with ease. The longer the blade, the fewer back and forth strokes need to be made to cut the meat. The fewer strokes, the cleaner the cut!
Slicing Knife Uses
While a slicing knife specializes in many of the same areas as a carving knife, it should be noted that slicing knives are going to have a much more flexible blade than their carving knife counterparts.
Slicing knives are favored over carving knives when having to maneuver around bones in meats, or when the chef is looking for a thinner, more precise cut.
This is most notable when cutting big birds, such as chicken and turkey. Since these meats typically have a lot of bones to maneuver when cutting, a slicing knife would be favored in these circumstances.
Slicing knives can be used on any large piece of meat, such as a roast or ham, where a carver or carving knife would be used. The slicing knife will give you more control over the thickness of your meat slices.
One application where slicing knives really shine is when cutting very thin slices of fish, particularly smoked salmon. Similarly, some cured meats, such as prosciutto and Spanish Ham, are sliced so thin that you can almost see through the slices. A good slicing knife is critical for these meats, to the point that many high end Spanish Hams actually include a slicing knife and slicing stand when you buy it.
Granton Edge Uses
Slicking knives are commonly equipped with Granton edges. Granton edges are small dimples or divots in the blade that allow for air pockets to be present between the blade and the food being cut. This feature makes it difficult for foods to stick to the blade, as the air pockets encourage the foods to fall away, as it has less of a surface area to stick to.
In addition, this edge is also effective in preventing meat from tearing during the cutting process. This results in a cleaner cut, allowing slicer knives to slice thinner than many other blades.
This Granton edge makes slicing knives the perfect knife selection when cutting foods and ingredients with a wet or dense consistency. This includes many fruits and vegetables, not just meat. Pineapple, melon, and cucumbers are more easily cut with a Granton edged slicer knife. Of course, they can be also used wherever a normal blade would be used as well.
Further Reading: Best Pumpkin Knife
The slicing knife is a unique knife that was specially made for certain responsibilities in the kitchen. The main purpose of a slicing knife is to cut slices from large pieces of meat.
The Granton edge included on many slicing knives gives them a non-stick dynamic that makes it very useful in many different situations.
There are so many slicing knife uses that a slicing knife should be considered a mandatory knife in every quality set, as it is a tool that will be demanded frequently by those who cook often.