Budget Pick: Chicago Cutlerys Walnut Tradition Set
*At the time of publishing, the price was $30.
Chicago Cutlerys Walnut Tradition steak knife set is the best low-cost set out there. The knives are not perfect by any metric: the blade-edges are coarse and uneven at 60 grams/2 ounces, theyre a bit lighter than wed like and the fit-and-finish is indifferent. In fact, they appear just to be industrial-grade boning knives with steak knife handles slapped on. Put it this way: if the Messermeisters give you more than you pay for aesthetically, these give you exactly what you pay for, and not a penny more.
They work far better than the serrated blades you usually have to settle for at this price.
But theyre built to last and they work perfectly welland, more importantly, they work far better than the serrated blades you usually have to settle for at this price. Theyre a great choice for outfitting a crowd, taking along on country picnics, or while car camping. Not fancy, perfectly functional, and if you lose one, youll shed no tears.
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PEtec edge, enhances sharpness by 20% and lasts twice as long.
- Exceptionally long edge retention / long service life of blade.
- Precision robots sharpen the blades on a whetstone.
- Extremely high initial cutting performance.
- Unique, consistently high and reproducible quality.
- Optimum cutting edge along the entire length of the blade.
- The knives are given a final polish using a special disc.
Who Needs A Steak Knife Set
Even if you havent seen the movie, you probably know the line: First prize is a Cadillac … Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is youre fired. Alec Baldwins speech is cinema legend. Its also insightful. Glengarry Glen Ross premiered in 1984, when there was nothing more quintessentially American than big cars, lost jobsand steak for dinner. Of course second prize is a set of steak knives! Almost everyone would have appreciated themif not the circumstances they arrived under.
Today, second prize would be something else. Americans are eating less meat in general, and less beef in particular, so not everyone needs a set of steak knives these days. But if you eat meat regularly, you really should have one. Its amazing how much nicer it is to slice a tenderloin or chop with a well-made blade designed for that purpose. And that will hold true even if youre already using a cheapo set of serrated steak knives, let alone if youre hacking away with the dull table knives that came with your silverware.
A nice set of steak knives also dresses up a place-setting, so if you like to entertainor just like to make a fancy meal now and thenyou may appreciate owning a set, too. Finally, one thing that held true in 1984 still holds true in 2015: steak knives are a special gift for the right person. You can even spend Cadillac money, if youre feeling extra generous.
Recommended Reading: Dalstrong Gladiator Series Steak Knives
Where Have You Been All My Life
Item reviewed: 6 Pieces
This set is an absolute must-have for any table and after buying these we are absolutely spoilt. The knives cut beautifully through any morsel on your plate and they’re actually quite lightweight without feeling flimsy. This was a great purchase almost 2 years ago and we are still impressed each time we use one of the knives.
I would recommend this product to a friend.
Just Replace All Your Knives With These
Item reviewed: 6 Pieces
At first I thought I’ll keep these for special occasions until my husband cut a piece of hard biltong as a test and it literally slid through the biltong and cut his finger. It’s definitely becoming a daily usage knife and I’m getting rid of all the old ones.
I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Types Of Steak Knives
As you try to find the best steak knives for your table, you’ll notice that there are two primary types: serrated steak knives and straight-edge steak knives. , also known as scalloped knives, are the more classic and common of the two. The tiny “teeth” along the blade are designed to cut through both tough exteriors and soft interiors. This type of steak knife tends to require less frequent sharpening but is also more difficult to sharpen when the need does arise. Straight-edge steak knives, in contrast, rely on a precisely honed blade to slice, rather than saw, through meat. Fans of this variety prefer the straight-edge steak knife because it cuts without tearing the meat fibers, preserving more of the dish’s flavorful juices. However, this cutlery does require more maintenance than serrated steak knives sets do. In the end, it all comes down to a matter of preference and which variation meshes best with your needs. Once you’ve selected a steak knife set, put your new utensils to good use by cooking up a juicy with a side of potatoes and roasted vegetables for dinner.
Notes On Materials And Construction
If youve spent more than a few minutes researching knives, youve likely run into a bewildering fog of jargon and technical specifications. Heres a quick guide, which applies to steak knives, chefs knives, and everything in between:
The phrase high-carbon steel is basically marketing hype: every steel alloy used to make knives is high-carbon. You can ignore the phrase it if its used, and you neednt worry if its not. Do note, however, that if a knife is listed only as high-carbon or carbon steel, it will easily rust. To be sure your knife is rust-resistant, make sure it is also listed as stainless.
Stainless steel is steel alloyed with at least 12 percent, and usually 14 to 18 percent, chromium. The chromium forms a dense layer on any exposed surface which rapidly oxidizes, preventing oxidation of the steel underneath. There are multiple types of stainless steel, some more corrosion-resistant than others all those used on our recommended knives are high-performing: extremely corrosion-resistant, capable of taking and holding a sharp edge and easy to re-sharpen.
There are thousands of different steel alloysmixtures of iron, carbon, and any of 20 or more other elementseach designed for a different purpose. Knife alloys alone run into the dozens, and the names are alphabet soup: AEB-L, VG-10, 19C27, ZDP-189. My advice is: ignore them all, at least for steak knives. Whatever alloy a good manufacturer chooses will perform perfectly well.
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Why Didn’t We Get These Sooner
Review by Sue & Johan H. on 16 July 2017, 1 month after purchase
Turfed all our old steak knives. We don’t just use these knives for steak – try slicing a tomato with a regular knife after you’ve experienced one of these!
I would recommend this product to a friend.
Also Great: Opinel No 125 Bon Appetit Set
Several testers diverged from the pack on steak knife aesthetics, preferring something with cleaner, modern lines instead of the traditional look. If that also describes you, the Opinel No. 125 Bon Appetit Set, which used to be called the South Spirit, is our recommendation. The Opinel blades are noticeably less sharp than the Messermeister and Wüsthof, but they still cut our tough test-steaks neatly and efficiently. The beautiful handles are made of olivewood, which, in addition to being pretty, is naturally water-resistant .
The Opinels underperform noticeably in one category: weight. At just 35 gramsbarely more than an ouncethey feel insubstantial in the hand. They also come in a simple cardboard case that wont last long in your silverware drawer youd want to store it somewhere less trafficked like a high shelf. But on looks and performance, theyre winners at the price. Lastly, if youre looking for something to brighten your table, Opinel makes a version of this knife set thats fitted with colored hornbeam-wood handles. You can also buy the knives open stock if you want to build your own set in different colors.
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Why You Should Trust Us
Ive been cooking for myself and for crowds since I left high school between that and various stints in construction and landscaping, Ive come to appreciate well-made, well-designed hand toolsincluding knives. And having wasted money on crummy, expensive knives more than once when I was younger, I have a particular regard for knives that truly justify their price .
For my own needs and as a journalist, Ive researched deeply into knife-making materials, knife design, and knife performance over the years Mark Richmond, owner of Chef Knives to Go, has been particularly helpful on several occasions. Our 2015 guide, researched and written by Wirecutter deputy editor Christine Cyr Clisset, produced a wealth of information also incorporated here. Christine gathered reviews from Americas Test Kitchen , Saveur, and Serious Eats she learned about knife styles and materials from Dexter Ewing of BLADE magazine and Howard Nourieli of Bowery Kitchen Supplies and she spoke to Rick Gresh, then the executive chef at David Burke’s Primehouse in Chicago for practical advice on steak knife performance and care.
Finally, weve now tested 15 different steak knives on 16 pounds of beef in two real-world test sessions, involving a dozen Wirecutter staffers and friends. If theres a question about steak knives, however obscure, weve asked it and found the answer.
Upgrade Pick: Wsthof Classic Ikon Set
*At the time of publishing, the price was $300.
Our testers all favored the Ikon’s classic understated elegance.
The Wüsthof Classic Ikon steak knives arent cheap, but they are the cheapest of the three high-end sets that we tested. With little to distinguish between the high-end sets on performancewhich was universally exceptionalaesthetics played the largest role in this pick, and our testers all favored the Ikon’s classic, understated elegance. Their razor-sharp blades have the ideal upswept shape. The unique double-concave curves of their satiny black POM handles fit the hand wonderfully both our smallest and our largest tester found them the most comfortable to hold of all the knives we tested. Their full-tang construction adds strength and, at 77 grams/2.6 ounces, pleasing heft. Lastly, their construction is flawlessas it should be for the price. Because in truth, its the flawless fit-and-finish, more than anything else, that separates an exceptional luxury steak knife from a really great mid-priced oneand that you pay for.
One criticism: the Ikons come in a simple, clear plastic box. Its sturdy enough to use for knife storage but left us wishing for something more distinguished-looking, particularly if the knives are intended to be a gift. For about $100 more, the blackwood-handled Ikon steak knives come in a walnut case its unfortunate that this is not an option for the standard model.
How We Picked
Theres no consensus on what makes a good steak knife. The fact is, there are so many different styles that making direct comparisons is almost impossible. Some steak knives are straight-edged like chefs knives some are serrated still others are whats known as micro-serrated and have fine-toothed blades that look like scaled-down wood saws.
Even the experts dont agree. Kenji López-Alt of Serious Eats prefers a serrated blade Rick Gresh of Chicagos Primehouse favors straight-edge, as does Americas Test Kitchen Saveur recommends straight-edge, traditional serrated, and micro-serrated models and Amazon customers review all three types positively.
And there are dozens of other ways knives can be differentiated: by blade shape and length, by blade and handle material, by the way the blades are made , and so on. On top of all that, best is a subjective term, especially for a simple tool like a steak knife, for which look and feel are almost as important as performance.
But in our original steak-knife test, a consensus did emerge: everyone strongly preferred straight edges. Even the least-impressive straight-edge knife sliced through the meat smoothly and easily, whereas even the best serrated knife forced everyone to saw back and forth. So for 2016’s update I focused my research exclusively on straight-edge knives.
You can spend $2 on a steak knife and you can also spend $200 .
How We Tested
For 2015’s test, Wirecutter deputy editor Christine Cyr Clisset cooked six pounds of chuck steak and two of tenderloin, and, with her husband and two friends, used 10 different steak knives to slice them up over the course of dinner. In 2016, Wirecutter senior staff writer Lesley Stockton and I pan-seared eight pounds of hanger, skirt, and flank steak, the toughest steak cuts availablewe wanted a real test, no tender cutsand invited half a dozen colleagues to lunch. Everyone used each knife repeatedly and under real-world conditions: The steaks were arrayed and sliced on china plates, the way they would be in your home.
I also made sure that our testers were diverse: we had men and women large people and small experienced knife-handlers and folks who dont give knives much thought at all. I asked everyone for their impressions on simple performance , on feel , and on looks.
After two hours and one brief-but-spectacular grease fire, we had our results.
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