How to Choose the Right Kitchen Knives for You
When it comes to essential kitchen tools, there’s none as important as a good quality knife set. Whether you need to cube, chop, slice, dice, or mince, there are many different kitchen knives for different techniques. We’re not going to get too formal here and analyze which techniques you should use, but the point is that a good knife or set of knives can make a big difference to your cooking prep time, safety, and quality. Here are some things you should look for if you’re considering some new kitchen knives.
Choosing a Kitchen Knife
Before we get into specific knife recommendations, what exactly makes a knife so good? While a lot of the argument comes down to using the right knife for the chosen purpose, there are some common features to look for that separate high quality from useless.
The actual material your knife is made of has a big impact on its performance. Most knives will be constructed from metal of some sort, although there are also ceramic knives. We utilize several types of steel, from stainless to high carbon. High carbon knives work great as kitchen knives because they are durable and hold a sharp edge longer than many other metals.
Shape, Size, and Balance
To use a knife safely, it should be designed for the task you’re doing. Chopping some herbs with a small paring knife isn’t a good move, but a common Chef’s knife would be great for that purpose. Likewise, a kitchen knife should be balanced well so that you cut foods efficiently. This one is very subjective, as some people feel that heavier knives handle better while others prefer lightweight ones.
You’ve probably heard it before, but a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp knife. When kitchen knives lose their edge over time, it’s harder to actually slice through foods. This is when you can accidentally slip off the food and nick your fingers. The material of the knife determines how well it holds its edge and how easy it is to sharpen again. When you need to julienne carrots or cut thin slices of wild game meat, a sharp knife is a must.
Flexibility really makes a difference depending on what food you need to cut. For example, a thin and flexible boning knife is great for working around animal bones and getting as much meat off as possible. Whereas, a thick, study knife is nice for chopping or dicing vegetables. The knife’s flexibility ultimately relates back to the material, as some are more rigid than others.
This one partially comes back to balance, because if it’s not balanced well between the blade and the handle, it will feel awkward to hold. But find a knife with a handle that is both durable and comfortable to use. This will make it easier to control and reduce fatigue if you have to chop a lot of vegetables.
Cold Steel Kitchen Knives
The Cold Steel commercial series and kitchen classics series kitchen knives are made to last. They are built with steel that holds its razor sharp edge well and ergonomic, non-slip grip handles to make sure you maintain control and don’t fatigue easily. Here are a few of the common kitchen knives you should add to your collection.
Chef’s knife – if you had to pick one knife to be in your kitchen collection, a Chef’s knife would probably be near the top for most people. Our 8” Chef’s knife is durable enough to slice through thick rind melons or chop loads of vegetables easily, yet is maneuverable enough to use for small tasks. The German 4116 stainless steel will hold a nice edge, but is easy to sharpen.
Flexible boning knife – any hunter or serious carnivore needs a good boning knife. Similar to a filet knife, the flexibility in our boning knife lets you maneuver around bones easily to effortlessly slice the meat off for further processing. This knife blade measures 6” so you can easily use it to butcher deer or just carve ham off the bone.
Utility knife – it’s always nice to have a utility knife in your possession. From slicing tomatoes or fruit to cutting venison summer sausage, a utility knife can do a decent job of most tasks. Ours has a 6” blade with Kray-Ex™ handle material.
Steak knife set – everyone needs a good set of steak knives. Our knives come with a unique serrated edge on a 4 5/8” blade that easily slice through food, while our handles are non-slip and comfortable to hold throughout dinner.