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When I worked in catering, one of the most frustrating things was a shortage of specialty knives. It wasn’t that we never had any– but often I’d be forced to use a regular chef’s knife when what I needed was a paring or brisket knife. Let me tell you: knowing how to find the best brisket knife can make a big difference.
You don’t have to be in the catering or food service industry to make the most out of a great brisket knife. If you’re entertaining or grilling for yourself, a brisket knife can make a difference in your food prep- and even the taste of your meat.
In this guide, I’ll share why you might want to add a brisket knife to your knife collection. I’ll also tell you how to select and find the best brisket knives. By selecting brisket knives for different budgets and needs, you’ll be able to find a style that helps you take your brisket prep to the next level.
Bottom Line Up Front Summary
It’s important to have a specialized brisket knife to cut under the fat cap and slice without shredding. The best brisket knives are made of stainless steel or carbon steel with a handle with a great grip. Scalloped or Granton blades are effective, and it’s best to avoid fully serrated knives. Brisket knives should be longer– anywhere from 11 to 16 inches. 12 inches is the best length for average use.
If I had to select just one brisket knife to buy right now, it would be the CUTLUXE Slicing Brisket Knife. This knife is not a premium knife, but it lasts better than most brisket knives under $50. The carbon steel blade is strong and efficient for the price point. The high customer reviews, ease of shipping (from Amazon), and construction make it a great option for a starting, staple brisket knife.
My Top Picks
- SpitJack BBQ Brisket Knife: Best Budget Brisket Knife
- CUTLUXE Slicing Brisket Knife: Best Budget Carbon Steel Brisket Knife
- Shun Classic Brisket Knife: Best Professional-Grade Brisket Knife
- Warther Cutlery Brisket Knife: Best Brisket Knife Made in the USA
- Steak Sets Long Brisket Carving Knife: Best Brisket Knife with Ergonomic Handle
Purpose of a Brisket Knife
To understand why you might need a brisket knife, think about how you prepare brisket. It is possible to buy brisket with its fat cap trimmed. However, the whole brisket is going to be more flavorful and often less expensive.
The reason why a brisket knife is useful is that it’s far more efficient than other types of knives. Brisket knives are designed to slice beneath the fat and cut across smoothly. Other knives may tear or shred the meat. A general knife isn’t as effective for carving.
Selecting a Brisket Knife
Knowing to find the best brisket knife isn’t too tricky. Here are the specifications I look for, and all of the best places to buy this type of knife.
- 10-14 inches long- 12 inches is ideal
- Carbon steel or stainless steel
- Granton or scalloped blade
- Grooved, ergonomic handle
The first thing that distinguishes a brisket knife is its length. A brisket knife needs to be long enough to cut underneath the length of the fat cap. Some prefer a versatile knife that’s 8 inches long, but that should be a minimum length. For a brisket knife, I like somewhere between 10 and 16 inches long. 16 inches is harder to control and the least versatile, but 8 inches isn’t going to provide the best, most efficient slicing.
Serrated vs Non-Serrated
I’ve seen serrated knives reached for time and time again. That was the case when I was working in catering and also in fast-casual. Serrated knives, though, should mostly be used for vegetables, fruits, and bread. A serrated knife was really helpful for me for filling orders for paninis- not so much for a challenging meat-like brisket. Brisket knives are best non-serrated. While serrated knives can slice brisket, they tend to shred or rip it. Plus, non-serrated knives are easier to sharpen.
Of all blade styles, a Granton blade is the best, followed by a scalloped blade. Granton blades are distinguished by side divots. These divots provide a smoother, cleaner slicing experience. However, scalloped blades are more common, and also useful. They have tiny teeth (as opposed to the large serrated teeth of serrated) and are effective without tearing the brisket.
I recommend only brisket knives with either carbon steel or stainless steel blades. Both are fairly hardy, won’t rust, and are suited for slicing brisket. Carbon steel is more commonly seen for premium, chef-grade models, while stainless steel blades are lower cost. Stainless steel knives are easy to store, less brittle, and popular for at-home prep. However, carbon steel knives provide a finer cut and can be sharpened with precision. Both are excellent choices– be realistic about what you need, and if you’re willing to take care of a carbon steel blade.
If you don’t have wrist pain, an ergonomic handle may not seem necessary. But a sturdy thoughtfully designed handle is nonetheless an important consideration for a great brisket knife. Look for a handle that provides a great grip for better control. A slightly grooved handle, like a Fibrox handle, is an excellent choice.
Where to Buy
Home goods stores and home improvement stores, including Ace Hardware, Bed Bath & Beyond, Home Depot, and Lowe’s usually have some grilling and brisket knives, though it depends. Walmart, Costco, and Amazon have a selection of different brisket knives, and sometimes you can even find some made in the USA. Sometimes a specialty chef store or even somewhere like Williams and Sonoma is a good bet if you want a higher-end selection. Celebrity chefs often have brisket knives and other specialty knives, available online and sometimes in department stores like Macy’s.
Brisket Knives: My Top Picks
Ready to find your ideal brisket knife? Here are some of my favorite knives you can buy right now. These knives were selected by their length, blade materials, blade type, overall value, reviews, and price. I also am only including brisket knives from safe, secure websites or stores that you can trust.
SpitJack BBQ Brisket Knife
Not everyone has tons of money to spend on a brisket knife. Not only that, but not everyone needs to spend a lot. If this is your first brisket knife purchase, this budget-friendly brisket knife may be the best fit for you. You should also consider a budget brisket knife if you don’t plan to use it often. While it’s not the best brisket knife you can buy, it is one of the best “cheap” options.
For an excellent price, you get a pretty solid knife for slicing brisket. This knife is excellent not only for beef brisket but also works for turkey, ham, and smoked salmon. The 11-inch blade is long enough to get under the fat cap but shorter for more control. The Granton edge is designed to help you cut evenly, without having to worry about meat sticking. The blade is made with a steel alloy, making it easy to clean and sharp. It’s safe to use in the dishwasher and comes with a protective sheath. Buy Here.
- Great Price
- Granton Edge
- Steel Blade
- Budget handle
- The sheath is very thin
- Not as strong or precise
CUTLUXE Slicing Brisket Knife
If you’re looking for an upgrade from a budget brisket knife, this style is a solid option. It’s more expensive than my budget pick, but still under $50. It’s one of the best value brisket knives you can get that has a blade crafted with carbon steel. This is a good option if you still want a brisket knife on a budget but plan to use it more than occasionally.
This brisket knife has been sharpened with precision for a more nuanced Granton blade edge. I like this upgrade from my lowest-budget pick. The pakkawood handle includes triple riveting for a firm, more comfortable grip. The laminate covering is more sanitary and easier to clean. I also really like that this brisket knife comes with a lifetime warranty against defects. Buy Here.
- Lifetime warranty
- Carbon steel blade
- Sharpened at multiple angles
- Laminate covering
- Not as sharp as more expensive models
- Slightly awkward handle
- Loses sharpness more quickly than more expensive styles
Shun Classic Brisket Knife
Professional chefs are held to high standards. Even though I was never a head chef, I know how messy it can get in a kitchen if you aren’t careful. Even with diligence, a rush time before an event or a dinner time slot can get hectic, quickly. But it’s really important to maintain safety standards. That’s where proper protocols and NSF certification come in. The NSF tests kitchen prep materials for safety, with a focus on sanitation. An NSF blade is easier to clean and use and less likely to carry harmful bacteria.
This NSF-certified brisket knife is a great fit for the serious home or professional chef. Shun is Japan’s most popular (and one of its oldest) knife manufacturer. The 12-inch blade is narrow and angled for smooth, efficient slicing. Unlike other knives, it’s been refined to slice through without releasing meat juices. That means you’ll retain the brisket’s flavor.
The tip of the stainless steel blade is sharp but rounded, making it easier and safer to work with. Small grooves reduce friction as you cut. I also like that the pakkawood handle resists moisture for easy care. Buy Here.
- Moisture-resistant handle
- NSF- certified steel blade
- Efficient grooved blade
- Hand-crafted in Japan
- The handle could be more comfortable
Warther Cutlery Brisket Knife
High-carbon stainless steel is sharper and more durable than stainless steel. This brisket knife is cheaper than my last pick– and a fantastic option that provides excellent performance for slicing brisket, ham, turkey, and more. It’s also my pick for one of the best brisket knives made in the USA.
This 12-inch brisket knife features a slim blade, optimized for slicing and carving. The blade is handcrafted with CPM® S45VN Steel. This material retains blade sharpness and provides a clean, single cut for thick meats and roasts. A grooved, slightly curved blade helps you make clean cuts. The wood handle is smooth, durable, and provides a nice grip. It would also make a great gift since you can order it engraved. Buy Here.
- High-carbon steel blade
- Custom engraving
- Great handle control
- Made in the USA
- Not dishwasher-friendly
- More expensive than average commercial brisket knives
Steak Sets Long Brisket Carving Knife
Speaking of gift-giving, if you want a full set of knives with your brisket knife, here’s one option. Steak Sets, as the brand name suggests, sells sets of knives that are a great middle-ground between the cost of Williams Sonoma knives and cheaper knives on Amazon. While I was surprised to find this knife at Walmart, it’s a solid option.
The 12-inch knife features a Granton edge and is made with forged German stainless steel. The blade is sharp and hollow ground to increase slicing efficiency. It’s been cut by hand for improved smoothness and sharpness. But perhaps the most noteworthy feature of this knife is its handle. The ergonomic handle is made out of high-density pakkawood. The non-slip design is not only comfortable but also improves cutting control and efficiency.
- Ergonomic handle
- Forged German stainless steel
- Controlled slicing
- Lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects
- Not as high-end as carbon steel
- Tip requires regular maintenance
Frequently Asked Questions
Answer: Aaron Franklin is a chef and TV personality known for the PBS show, BBQ with Franklin. He also is the owner and head chef of Franklin’s Barbeque in Auston. The award-winning chef has used many brisket knives, but he shared his favorite in his book- A Meat-Smoking Manifesto. His go-to knife for preparing brisket is a Dexter 13463 S140-12SC 12-Inch Scalloped Roast Slicer Knife. However, the chef sells brisket knives to consumers, too. This includes other scalloped knives, as well other knife types, like boning knives.
Answer: If you’ve worked with knives, you know that they get dull over time. The good news is that you can sharpen your brisket knife to extend its life. It’s a little trickier with a scalloped curve, but can be done with care. You can sharpen a brisket knife in several ways, but one of the easiest and most controlled is by using crock sticks, such as the Lansky 4-Rod Sharpener. All you need to do is run your knife through half a dozen to a dozen times. With this system, you don’t have to worry about hitting certain angles and you’re less likely to injure yourself. Another tip is to always handwash your brisket knives. Dishwashers make them fuller more quickly.
Answer: Brisket can be both sliced or pulled. Sliced brisket is best for formal and dinner entrees and it’s a bit easier. Chopped brisket is also popular. Pulled brisket requires you to shred the meat and is delicious as an alternative to pulled pork. A great recipe for pulled brisket is this slow-cooked pulled brisket. The advantage of slow-cooking brisket is that you tenderize the meat and develop robust flavors. Instead of trimming the fat, you want to keep it for the look cooking process. Alternatively, a marinade helps retain the moisture.
Answer: There are many affordable brisket knives, as well as ones that will last you a long time. I prefer buying a brisket knife, but some like to do it themselves. You’ll need a super fine, thin blade of steel, a circular power saw, and great precision. I wouldn’t recommend it to most people, but if you’re interested in the process, here’s a DIY Brisket Knife Tutorial. In all likelihood, the result won’t be superior to the best brisket knives that you can buy.
While it is possible to prepare a great brisket without a brisket knife, there’s a great reason to buy one. Brisket knives make your preparation far more efficient and reduce the risk of uneven slicing or accidents. There are many styles and brands to choose from, so select a knife that meets your needs and your budget. Use common sense when using your brisket knife. Rinse it immediately and dry it by hand. Sharpen it every once in a while and store it in a safe place away from heat. A few steps for simple care go a long way in extending the life of your brisket knife.
Final Recommendations: Where to Buy Brisket
You can buy brisket at your local grocery store or butchers. But if you don’t like your selection, there are many excellent places to buy brisket online, from a la cart to the best meat subscriptions. Here are a few of my favorite places for organic, highly-graded brisket.
Porter Road meats are sourced from Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. They have both meat subscriptions and an a la carte shop. Their whole beef brisket is pasture-raised, hormone-free, and free of antibiotics. Buy Here.
Tru Organic Beef
Tru Organic offers organic, grass-fed, and grass-finished beef brisket. This ensures a healthier ratio of fats. I also think that grass-fed and grass-finished beef has a slightly ‘fresher’ flavor profile. Their brisket includes the fat cap. The company also has a great mission to promote biodiversity, reduce emissions, and provide greater sourcing transparency. Buy Here.
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