You’ve been slaving away for hours, and it’s finally time to slice before finally tucking into that delicious brisket.
But before you hack into it with any old knife, you need to understand one thing:
How you slice a brisket has a MASSIVE impact on the appearance and taste of your finished product. It makes zero sense to slave over a piece of meat for 12+ hours, only to hack into it at the last second with any old knife you have lying around.
Our Smoke Kitchen 12″ Meat Slicing Knife was designed specifically for slicing brisket (and pork ribs and just about any large cut of meat).
The best knives for slicing brisket
1. The best all-around knife for slicing brisket – Smoke Kitchen – 12″ Meat Slicing Knife
Between us, our team has tried dozens of different knives for slicing brisket. We’ve found the cheaper ones do a good job, but they struggle to hold a sharp edge, while the more premium ones cost an arm and a leg.
So we decided to design our very own brisket slicing knife.
After a lot of trial and error, we went with a custom carbon, and chromium blend for the blade. This helps keep it razor sharp for longer without needing to sharpen it.
Excuse the cliche, but this bad boy slides through brisket like butter.
Thanks to the full tang construction, the slicing knife feels both weightier and more balanced in the hand. Because you don’t have to exert as much force, you can make much. more precise slices.
If you don’t know about knife design, full tang just means that the knife’s blade extends fully through the handle both in length and width.
Finally, the handle is light yet extremely rugged handle and is a huge upgrade over the chunky plastic handles you see on less premium knives.
While we designed this knife specifically for brisket, we’ve used it with great results on pork ribs and turkey breast.
It can even slice tomatoes paper thin and does a great job on bread too.
Why we think it’s the best:
- 12″ blade is long enough to cut through even the largest packer briskets in one continuous slice
- VG-10 carbon chromium blend blade stays razor sharp for longer and resists rust
- Store your knife securely in the magnetic box
- Perfectly balanced and easy to grip
- Granton edge prevents the blade from sticking, so you can make perfectly even cuts without any tearing
Right now, you can get free speedy shipping, and if you also need a boning knife for trimming brisket, you can get our Pit Master Essential Knife Bundle.
2. Runner Up – Victorinox 12 Inch Granton Edge Slicing Knife
If you want a more budget-friendly option, you really can never go wrong with Victorinox knives.
At 12 inches long, the knife can easily slice large briskets in a single stroke. While you could easily slice paper-thin with this knife, it does an equally good job holding a straight line while cutting pencil-sized brisket slices.
If you’ve tried to carve brisket before using a shorter chef’s knife you’ve probably struggled with tearing.
The shorter length of other knives means you have to make multiple cuts per slice, resulting in uneven cuts. Not to mention the awkward motion making slicing lots of brisket a massive pain the backside.
Granton edge refers to the hollowed-out grooves that run along the sides of the blade. These grooves fill with any meat juices or fat. While slicing brisket this allows for thin, even cuts without any tearing.
What we like:
- High carbon steel stainless steel blade slides through brisket like butter, and holds its edge well for the price
- Granton edge is perfect for cutting through fattier cuts of meat like brisket.
What we don’t like:
- Fibrox handle grips well but feels cheap and can easily scar
At a fraction of the cost of a good quality chef’s knife, the Victorinox represents great value.
Even if your knife skills leave a lot to be desired, upgrading to the 12″ Victorinox Slicing Knife will make a huge difference in improving the quality and appearance of your brisket.
3. The best extra long knife for slicing larger briskets – Mercer Culinary Millennia 14 Inch Granton Slicer Knife
In our opinion, a 12″ knife is the perfect size for brisket slicing. But some people can’t say no to an extra two inches.
At 14″, the Mercer Granton slicer is a great knife to add to your arsenal if you are going to be slicing a lot of larger briskets, and other large meats.
Mercer is a highly regarded brand among professional chefs and pitmasters alike. For a budget price, you are getting high quality Japanese steel that is easy to maintain and keep razor sharp.
The thinness of the blade and 17-degree bevel angle allows you to cut extremely accurate, straight lines. We’ve made it pretty clear that we are big fans of the Granton grooves, which help you avoid the blade sticking while slicing brisket.
It’s hard to find much to fault this knife for without starting to nitpick. At this price point, you are not going to get premium materials, but the Santoprene plastic handle and Japanese steel are more than satisfactory.
If you think you’ll be cooking a lot of larger cuts of meat, then the 14″ Mercer is a great option.
The Dalstrong is the most expensive of the five knives we looked at for this round-up. When you hold it in your hand you can see why though.
It’s a premium knife with high-carbon German steel, full tang and 56+ Rockwell hardness.
The packaging is also really nice. You’ll want to hold on to the box and use it to store the knife in.
The balance of the knife is good and the blade has a razor-sharp edge.
If you have the money, the Dalstrong is the knife we would recommend if it weren’t for the fact we think we designed a better knife.
5. The best budget knife for slicing brisket – Dexter 12 Inch Scalloped Slicer Knife
While we’re personally not big fans of using serrated knives for brisket (goodbye bark!), Aaron Franklin recommends using a 12″ serrated knife for carving brisket.
People queue for hours to get a taste of Aaron’s brisket so we think he probably knows a thing or two about slicing brisket.
This 12″ Dexter slicing knife is usually available for less than the Victorinox, making it a great value brisket slicer.
The scalloped serrations are designed to cause less damage to food. This is crucial makes the knife more forgiving for newbies when it comes to slicing brisket and helps you minimise tears.
While we are reviewing this knife on it’s ability to slice brisket, it will also double as an excellent bread slicer or for carving any large chunks of meat.
- With the white plastic handle this knife isn’t winning any beauty awards, but the most important detail is that it arrives super sharp, and the handle is heavily textured which allows for a good grip.
- The scalloped blade is nice and high and makes cutting through fatty meat super easy. Also makes it a versatile bread or vegetable slicer.
Get the latest price on Amazon.
The difference between a slicing and carving knife
You’ve probably seen the term “carving brisket” and “slicing brisket” used all over this place. What’s the difference between a slicing knife and a carving knife?”
Generally, a carving will be thicker and less flexible with a pointed tip, a slicer will be thinner, more flexible, and rounded at the end.
A carving knife will get the job done, but we prefer the better cuts you get from a proper slicing knife.
Any true brisket expert knows that “half-decent” isn’t good enough. It’s all the little details that separate O.K. brisket from the kind that your neighbors will tell stories about for years to come.
Read more – Know Your Knife Anatomy
Using an electric knife for slicing brisket
Electric carving knives tend to get a bad rep around barbecue circles. Some people reject them outright, suggesting that we “throw out the electric knife right now. Don’t waste your time”.
We wanted to understand if this hate was justified and if there was any point making room for an electric knife in our kitchen. People that use electric knives claim a few key benefits:
- You can rest the knife blade on your knuckle which makes it easier to cut for longer
- Electric knives usually have a larger handle which can make them easier to use
- For large items or if you are cutting a lot of volume the electric can make the job a lot easier.
Daniel Vaughn from Texas monthly agrees that electric knives can make slicing easier if that’s all you’re going to be doing for hours at time:
Hardly a ringing endorsement though! With all these electric knife haters out there we were a bit surprised to see so many professional and competition cooks using electric.
If it’s good enough for bbq competition winners, then we think it’s good enough to recommend it.
There are really two main reasons many people look down on electric knives:
- Many smokers value old school, traditional methods. Just like cooking with charcoal is superior to using an electric smoker, carving brisket with a manual knife is just the “best way”.
- Lots of electric knives are pure crap. A cheap serrated knife will beat a cheap electric every time.
Some people also use a meat slicer as you would find in a deli, but these tend to run into the same issues as electric knives.
Best all-around electric knife for slicing brisket – Cuisinart CEK-41 Electric Knife
As we’ve mentioned previously, kitchens around the country are full of low quality electric knives that you shouldn’t let near a cooked brisket. This is definitely an area where paying a little extra goes a long way.
The Cuisinart CEK 41 is the weapon of choice for many competition smokers and backyard barbecuers.
Some other benefits include:
- Powerful motor and sharp blade can easily carve brisket and other roasts.
- At 5ft the power cord is long enough for you to manoeuvre around anything you need to slice.
- Knife and blade come apart for easy storage in the included wooden tray.
You also get a blade for slicing meat and a carving fork. The only issue with the Cuisinart is that the handle can get pretty hot with extended use.
Otherwise, the only issue is the same you would have with any electric. The cord can get in the way, and it’s frustrating to have the cord run through the meat juices. If you’re going to be carving a lot of meat for a decent amount of time then give the Cuisinart knife a go.
Get the latest price on Amazon.
Best knife for trimming brisket
While we’ve been focussing on the best knife for slicing brisket, you probably want to avoid using the same knife while preparing your brisket. To trim a brisket you want to use a good narrow boning knife.
Check out our video below for full step-by-step instructions.
A semi stiff, curved knife will be thin and sharp enough to easily slide the knife under the fat and silver skin and remove it without taking any valuable meat off.
Between 6″ – 8″ works best for trimming brisket, while still being a versatile knife you’ll keep reaching for when preparing different cuts of meat.
Best brisket trimming knife – Smoke Kitchen 6.5″ Boning Knife
We designed this knife specifically for trimming brisket, it does a great job squaring up a rack of ribs or even carving a chicken or turkey.
Caring for your new knife
The last thing you want to do after buying a brand new knife is chuck it straight into the dishwasher before understanding how to properly look after it. Learning proper care and maintenance pays for itself through the increased lifespan, better performance and less chance of your cutting yourself.
- Knives should never be washed in a dishwasher as the intense heat and detergents can cause the handle to deteriorate.
- Always wash knives by hand with soap and warm water before rinsing and drying right away.
- Store in a protective sheath to preserve the cutting edges
For keeping your knife sharp you have a range of options. We cover this in much more detail in our general guide to choosing and caring for barbecue knives. For a simple sharpener on a budget, we like the Presto Electric Knife Sharpener. So long as you are careful to avoid applying any downward pressure and focus on drawing the knife slowly across you can keep your knives super sharp.
Wrapping it up
While our Smoke Kitchen slicing knife isn’t the cheapest option, we’re sure you’ll appreciate the better-quality blade and handle.
But if you can’t justify the cost, any of the knives we’ve looked at will be a huge upgrade over any random knife you have lying around the kitchen.
Make sure you stay clear of using anything that comes in a carving set (which would contain a fork).
These are generally cheap knives and will not hold a sharp edge. Spend the money on a decent dedicated knife instead and you’ll thank us every time you start slicing into your brisket.