A Guide to Specialty Knives

The use of knives as a cutting tool (and weapon) dates back across millennia. The Vikings, Romans, and Egyptians were among the many civilizations to use blades.

As our knives have evolved, so have their specialties, to the point (pun intended) where today the knife world can seem complex to those coming into it for the first time. There are so many knife types, and it can be difficult to know not only what they do, but whether you need them. In this blog article, we wanted to focus on three of those knife types: boning knives, santoku knives, and carving knives.

What is a boning knife?

Have you ever been savoring an amazing fish fillet — until, that is, a tiny bone gets stuck in your throat? A boning knife prevents that from happening. It removes bones from proteins such as fish, pork, poultry, and beef. Its long and slim blade allows it to slide smoothly into small areas, and its super-sharp point gets tiny bones out of those areas with precision.

If you eat meat, a boning knife will come in handy in the kitchen. Its versatility across protein types makes it useful for a range of meals. Look for one that’s made of durable materials and gives you a firm yet comfortable grip on the handle.

What is a santoku knife?

“Santoku” means “three virtues” in Japanese, referring to the santoku knife’s uses for slicing, dicing, and mincing. This knife has a sharp, wide blade that creates a harmonious balance with its handle. A santoku knife has general-purpose use, so it can overlap with chef’s knives in terms of use. Use it for anything from vegetables to meat.

If you’re going to choose between a santoku knife and a chef’s knife, your best bet is probably the latter. However, a santoku knife does have some key distinctions that make it a worthy addition to the kitchen. The thinness of its blade allows for precise cuts, and its lightness and balance of handle and blade make it a good choice for smaller hands.

Santoku knife models that have hollow dimples along the edge provide an added benefit. They reduce cutting friction, which helps with safety and preventing slippage.

What is a carving knife?

A meat carving knife is long and thin, producing cuts of meat that can be thick or thin, depending on how you like them. Carving knives are thinner than chef’s knives, and they produce refined cuts along meats such as roasts, hams, and turkeys. They’re often a staple of Thanksgiving meals.

Meat carving knives often come as a set with a long, two-pronged fork, which helps the person doing the carving to keep a steady connection between hand, knife, and the meat being cut. The combination of the knife and fork has an elegance that makes them a great addition to a dinner party. Guests will love being served fresh-out-of-the-oven, off-the-grill, etc., meat that’s carved right in front of them.