If you eat meat regularly, or if you have found it difficult to find the best steak knives for your next dinner party then we are here to help. In this guide, we will be giving you some handy tips on what to look for. We’ve also got a handy quick care guide so you can get the longest life out of your new set of knives. So what makes a good steak knife?
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What Is a Steak Knife?
For example, a steak knife has a very good balance of durability and weight in the handle and the blade. This is actually one of the things you can look at when choosing steak knives as the quality of the handle usually denotes the quality of the blade and vice versa.
When you use a steak knife, you should be able to cut through the meat so that it almost feels as though the knife is gliding. You certainly shouldn’t have to struggle to cut.
Steak knives should not only be of exceptional quality but these are also very good-looking knives. Out of all of the utensils that people have in their kitchens, steak knives are ones that chefs like to proudly display. If they don’t look the part, this just doesn’t work as well. It is for this reason that you’ll often find steak knives to have decorative or unusual-looking handles.
A steak knife is a seamless piece of equipment and when you look closely, you will notice that there aren’t any gaps between the handle and blade or at any other part of the knife. The reason for this design is to ensure that the knife is rigid and stable enough to cut through the meat.
Steak knives aren’t only amazing for cutting meat, their razor-sharp blades are also brilliant when it comes to cutting other foods like vegetables. That’s why it is recommended that even vegans own a good set of steak knives, just to make life easier at the dinner table.
Do I Really Need Steak Knives?
If you do use the knives for their intended purpose of cutting meat then you will notice how much easier it is. Have you ever struggled to cut through a tough bit of steak or chicken with a regular table knife? You’ll know how frustrating this is but with a steak knife, that’s a thing of the past.
So, while it isn’t a be-all and end-all, because you could struggle on with your normal knives, steak knives just make eating your food less of a challenge. Moreover, they add a touch of elegance to a dining table which is great when you’re entertaining.
It is no good just heading to your local kitchenware store or online and buying the first set of steak knives you stumble upon. Sadly, there are a lot of inferior products out there and this is certainly something you want to avoid. In order to choose a good quality set of steak knives that are going to work well for you, we would suggest following these tips.
How to Choose a Steak Knife
Serrated Steak Knives
Traditionally, steak knives came with a serrated blade. The serrated edge to the blade has a series of gullets that run along its edge and the appearance isn’t all that dissimilar to a bread knife. The main difference is that where a bread knife has a rounded tip, a steak knife has a pointed tip. The great thing about the gullets on serrated blades is that they make the steak knife incredibly durable. What’s more, they deliver a very neat cut.
You will notice that, when using a serrated steak knife, the cut is surprisingly smooth. The blades are not only efficient and durable but they will retain their sharpness much longer so you won’t need to spend as much time doing maintenance.
But the obvious downside of these steak knives is that they don’t retain their edge for as long so you will need to sharpen them more frequently. This isn’t a difficult task but it is a little more work than when you own serrated knives.
In days gone by, steak knives were typically made from high carbon steel. The reason for this is that the material is incredibly durable and has a clean, sharp edge. What’s more, these knives are very easy to sharpen. But today, you will find that most steak knives are made from stainless steel.
When buying steak knives, we would suggest looking for those with stainless steel blades as you can pretty much rest assured that they will be of good quality. Stainless steel is very rust-resistant and durable. Plus, the blades are always very rigid and stable so you get a nice clean cut.
It’s very important to consider the steak knife blade but it’s just as important to think about steak knife handles. Remember earlier that we said the quality of the handle tells you a lot about the quality of the blade? This is where you really need to pay attention to the knives you are considering.
Steak Knife Handle
For starters, the knife should fit in the hand and feel comfortable to hold. You’ll find that some steak knives come with very showy handles and while they look great, they might not perform as well. Of course, which of these things is most important is largely down to personal choice.
You should also think about the material of the handle. Wood looks great but it is far more high maintenance than other materials. Pakkawood is a great choice as it’s low maintenance, has the appearance of real wood and is beautifully durable. Some also have stainless steel handles. This full tang construction makes the knife extremely robust.
If you are shopping in a store then make sure that you hold the steak knives before you buy as this will give you a true feel for them. Even when you shop online, there’s always a return period so you can try holding the knives before committing to them.
Now that you have chosen your favourite steak knives from our curated selection, there’s one more thing you need to know and that’s how to take good care of your steak knives.
How Do I Sharpen My Steak Knives?
If you want to limit how often you have to sharpen your steak knives then you must take proper care of them. The best place to start with ensuring sharp knives is by storing your them correctly. A knife block is an excellent choice but we would always recommend wood over plastic as plastic can dull the blades more quickly. A magnetic knife rack is also a fantastic option.
Before storing your steak knives, it is super important to make sure that they are clean and dry. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to wash the knives; note that not all products will be dishwasher safe. When they’re clean, thoroughly dry them to prevent corrosion while in storage. Yes, steak knives are designed with resistant materials but there is a limit to everything.
Also make sure that you choose the right type of cutting board as this can impact how quickly or slowly the blades dull. If you’re cutting meat on a board then wood is always going to be the most gentle option. Glass cutting boards and plates should be avoided at all costs.
Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. If you need to sharpen steak knives, the process is as simple as sharpening any of the other knives in your kitchen. A whetstone will produce the best results.
That said, it is more than possible to do this at home, you’ll just need a bit of patience as it takes time. This is because you have to sharpen each of the serrations one by one using a sharpening rod. Thankfully, this isn’t something you will need to do very often because most of the blade won’t actually come into contact with the plate or board.
You will notice when your steak knives need sharpening as they won’t perform as well and you’ll find that they rip through the food rather than neatly cutting. While there are other methods, a sharpening rod is usually the best option for home chefs. It is the most time-consuming and complicated but it does give the best results so it’s worth learning how to do it.
You’ll want to choose a sharpening rod with 1000 grit and ceramic is the best material. This will work especially well for knives that haven’t been sharpened in a long time. You’ll need to place the rod into each serration, one by one, and move it gently back. Never move back and forth as this carries a risk of slipping and injuring yourself.
Steak knives, forged with high carbon steel, or made with stainless steel should be treated with care to ensure longevity and edge retention. We would recommend hand washing only, in warm and soapy water, and then a thorough dry with a dry and clean kitchen towel, ensuring to remove all moisture to prevent corrosion and rust spots.
Caring for Your Steak Knives
If you don’t want to spend hours trawling the internet for the best steak knives then this guide shows you some of our top picks. If it’s quality, performance and durability you’re looking for, we’ve got you covered. With the right steak knife set, you can enjoy your steak dinners, even more, slicing steaks with ease, making you wonder how you ever managed with your table knives.