Best Brisket Slicing Knife
- Shogun Series 12" Slicing & Carving Knife
- Gladiator Series 12" Slicing & Carving Knife
- Shogun Series 10" Butcher's Breaking Cimitar Knife
- Shadow Black Series 12" Slicing & Carving Knife
- Gladiator Series Extra-Long 14" Serrated Slicer
- Omega Series 12" Slicing & Carving Knife
- Shogun Series 12" Spanish Style Meat and Ham Slicer
Cooking brisket is a long and arduous process, but by the end you’re rewarded with a tender, succulent piece of meat. In order to best enjoy this tough cut of beef you should use a slicing brisket knife, otherwise you risk damaging the meat and making a mess of the burnt ends.
It is worth investing in a good slicing knife to make sure all the effort you put into the preparation of the meat isn’t ruined by a dull kitchen knife. There are many types of slicers available, with different types of blades for specific uses. Additionally, we’ll talk about the specifics of this very special cut of meat, the challenges it poses, and how its preparation process should influence your choice of knives.
Between straight, serrated or scalloped blades, electric vs. manual knives, and the different sizes of slicing knives, there are many factors to take into consideration when deciding what knife to buy.
What You’ll Learn
- Where does brisket come from and how is it cooked?
- Why should you use a special slicing knife?
- Do you need a manual knife or an electric knife?
- What kind of blade do you need?
- How big should a brisket slicing knife be?
- What is the best slicing knife for brisket?
- What is the best brisket recipe?
The joy is in the process
Barbecue brisket and slow-cooking enthusiasts know that there’s so much more to the process of cooking meat than the simple act of putting it on heat. Where’s the fun in that? Preparing a meal doesn’t have to be a utilitarian pursuit or a quick and easy thing. Cooking a large piece of meat over the course of several hours might sound grueling to the uninitiated, but it’s actually extremely relaxing and downright enjoyable. Invite some friends over and you can make a day of it.
The noble beef brisket is one of the best examples of this, as its long preparation process rewards you with an utterly delicious feast. When done right, a good brisket can be an experiential odyssey: tending to it through the day, letting its aroma gradually fill the space, steadily building in anticipation. And once it’s ready, the act of carving and serving. This final step before the feast might seem like an afterthought, but it’s actually crucially important.
After it’s been slow-cooked to perfection, this tender and flavorful piece of meat will require a careful touch -- and a sharp, precise tool -- to give you the best enjoyment of the meal you just poured hours of your life into. It’s true: the way you slice a brisket will have an enormous effect on the appearance and the taste of the food you just slaved over. For best results, you should be using a slicing knife.
Sure, in a pinch, any old kitchen knife you have lying around will cut it (get it?), but why not shoot for excellence? Why not bump this meal from merely “good” to absolutely legendary?
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best brisket slicing knives on the market, at a number of price points, for you to find the tool that’s going to help make the next family or neighborhood cookout all the more unforgettable. But first...
1. Where does brisket come from and how is it cooked?
Brisket is a large cut of beef (generally weighing between 10 and 20 pounds whole) that comes from the breast of the animal, just below its first five ribs. It’s one of the cow’s heavy-duty pectoral muscles, which means it gets a lot of use over the animal’s lifetime.
See, cattle do not have collar bones, so these muscles have to support approximately 60% of the body weight as they stand or move around. It also means that the cut is naturally tough, with a lot of connective tissue. This may have you wondering “well, why would I want to bother with that?”
That’s where the slow cooking comes in. Brisket is extremely flavorful, whether it's smoked beef brisket or made in a slow cooker. But in our opinion, the best way to experience that flavor is by cooking it low and slow to break down the connective tissue and make it extremely tender, rich and delicious. And because brisket is able to hold its shape after hours and hours of cooking (as opposed to, say, chuck or short ribs), it won’t completely fall apart when you try to slice it.
The resulting slices are meltingly tender, and can be shredded or served in sliders, among many other presentations. And if you’re a beef brisket novice, you might be reading this and wondering to yourself if the end result is worth the hours and hours of preparation. The answer is an enthusiastic “yes, especially with the right mouthwatering barbecue sauce”.
2. Why should you use a special slicing knife?
Let’s get the superficial aspect out of the way first: you want your bbq brisket to look good. People say you eat with your eyes first, so it’s important that this thing you just slaved over for hours looks like the world-class meal it surely is. If you use a dull blade or even a chef’s knife that isn’t meant specifically for carving, you’ll likely end up with uneven brisket slices with a “feathered” surface, giving the appearance of dryness. Not super appetizing.
You also want to maintain the structural integrity of the meat by using a specialized slicing knife that won’t sloppily tear through the fibers and damage the meat. Using a plain old kitchen knife will surely result in an awkward motion that will not only make it difficult to slice through a large cut like brisket, but it will also yield uneven cuts. Stumbling and bumbling your way through the slicing of a brisket with the wrong kind of knife will end up wasting a lot of the juices that have been accumulating in the meat over its several hours of preparation.
Also, you want something that simply feels good. As we’ve discussed, cooking should be an enjoyable process, and few things are as satisfying as cleanly slicing through a tender piece of meat. If you’ll be serving many people, you want the process to be smooth and seamless, instead of leaving you with a sore wrist from awkward motions.
Your brisket is awesome -- you made sure to follow all the right steps, and you exercised a tremendous amount of patience during the hours-long cooking process. Do you really want to throw it all away by using the wrong kind of tool? You probably don’t. So let’s talk about slicing knives.
3. Do you need a manual or electric carving knife?
There is no shortage of articles on the Internet extolling the virtues of electric knives for carving meats such as ham or turkey. Indeed, an electric knife is an extremely handy tool, especially for folks who are not super confident in their carving skills. If you’re a total newbie, by all means, feel free to go the electric route. They’re easy, convenient, and quick.
But over the last few paragraphs we’ve hit on the point of how patience and hard work will be rewarded with incredible results. Your choice between manual and electric knife is no different.
There is no question that slicing a brisket with a manual knife is both slower and more strenuous on a physical level. But with some practice, the slices you’ll get will be so much more beautiful, clean, and visually appealing than the ones you’re likely to get from an electric knife. What's more rewarding that a pile of manually sliced brisket? Nothing.
The central thesis of this article appears to be “hard work pays off,” and here’s where I realize I’m starting to sound exactly like my dad. But the old man had a point. In life, as in brisket, taking the easy path will not lead to optimal results. Manual knives will give you more control and are much less likely to result in tearing or unattractive jagged edges.
4. What kind of blade do you need?
Straight blade, scalloped blade, serrated blade… if you’re a knife novice, you might be a little overwhelmed when hearing about all the different types of blades out there, and wondering which of them will make for the best brisket slicer. Let’s talk about each one of them and their advantages.
A straight blade is good for slicing cleanly, and could easily be all you need. The catch is that they need to be extremely sharp in order to work properly. You’ll find it tricky to get a cut started with a dull straight blade, so keep your knife sharpener at hand if this is what you end up going with.
A serrated blade has “teeth” that will grab on to whatever you’re cutting and tear straight into it. It’s especially useful for tougher cuts of meat. Some chefs, like Aaron Franklin, have stated their preference for serrated knives when slicing brisket.
A scalloped blade incorporates elements of both previous types of blades. Their tiny teeth aid in starting the cut, but they have a much lighter touch than the serrated blade. You’ll be able to get clean and even cuts, but you will have to be careful not to over-exert it.
5. How big should a brisket slicing knife be?
You generally want your knife to be longer than the width of the meat you’re slicing, to allow for a nice and clean slice. For this reason, we recommend going above the 10” range.
You will certainly find great knives for slicing and carving that are smaller than that, but when it comes to brisket you want to err on the side of caution. You’ll find 10”, 12”, and even 14” knives much easier to maneuver.
6. What is the best slicing knife for brisket?
We’ve put together a collection of excellent, high-end products that will give you the perfect slicing experience for brisket and other meats.
Dalstrong’s Shogun Series 12” slicing & carving knife has gotten rave reviews for its ease of use, design, and durability. It may be the only slicing knife you ever need again. Perfect for home cooks and professional chefs alike.
Not only does it feel incredible to slice into meats like brisket, it’s also incredibly comfortable to hold -- its military-grade G10 knife handle is ergonomically designed for maximum comfort and maneuverability. It’s also staggeringly sharp, with an 8 to 12 degree angle per side. This absolute powerhouse will make it easy (and pleasurable) to climb any culinary mountain.
The Gladiator Series 12” is an excellent brisket slicing knife. As part of the more accessible Gladiator series, it’s still a premium product made of ultra sharp, wear resistant, single-piece, high carbon German ThyssenKrupp steel.
You’ll soon find yourself making brisket solely for the pleasure of slicing it with this incredible instrument.
Another entry in the Shogun series, this 10” knife is a little shorter than the others in this list, but it’s no less powerful. An extremely high-quality product with a AUS-10V Japanese super steel core, its tapered blade will make slicing through meats a texas barbecue dream.
And we’d be remiss not to mention the absolutely gorgeous engraving on this knife, which makes it as much of a display piece as it is a kitchen implement. Looks and performance -- it has it all.
The Shadow Black series is also a looker; a sleek and stylish black look. It’s not just appearances, either; its non-reflective titanium-nitride coating adds corrosion resistance, toughens the blade, and enhances non-stick properties. An extremely impressive piece of culinary engineering at a very reasonable price.
If you want a bit of extra length and a bit of extra bite, this 14” serrated slicer is just what you’re looking for. Thanks to its length and its ultra-sharp, high-carbon German ThyssenKrupp Steel blade, you’ll be able to slice large briskets with a single stroke.
We’ve already talked about how some of these knives look like pieces of art rather than just culinary instruments. And that’s especially true of this stunning 12” entry in the Omega series, which isn’t just an impressive piece of work in terms of build and quality -- it boasts BD1N American forged Hyper Steel with an added Vacuum Treatment, “the ultimate steel for the ultimate performance” -- but also like something that should be hung up on your living room wall. Beautiful design and engraving. A perfect addition to any grill master's collection.
We end this list with a bit of a departure. Another entry in the Shogun series, but this time a Spanish-style slicer. This sleek instrument will give you paper-thin slices, with its scalpel-like sharpness and incredible edge retention over time. If you’d like to try a different style of slicer, why not do as the Spanish do?
7. What is the best brisket recipe?
Before you can use the best brisket slicing knife, you have to cook the best brisket, and there are many ways to cook brisket. Note that cooking times vary by each beef brisket recipe. Some people like to use the grill, others an instant pot or even an oven. We like to innovate as much as anybody, but sometimes it’s good to stick with the tried-and-true.
In the case of brisket, we’re partial to a recipe that’s stood the test of time, whose rich flavors and irresistible texture will evoke fond memories of backyard cookouts on the grill and family gatherings.
Though you can use a grill, we're going with a very traditional slow cooker brisket with Texas style BBQ sauce. The very definition of comfort food.
How long will this take? Remember, we’re in this for the long haul, so set aside some lengthy cooking times. You’ll need 8 to 10 hours if you’re using a slow cooker on low. It's more prep time than an instant pot, but we promise it's worth it.
Unlike a smoked brisket recipe, you can also make this recipe in an oven, where it’ll take about 5 hours at 320 degrees Fahrenheit (160 C). We’re also making our very own spice rub and texas style BBQ sauce, so there is some prep time involved as well -- plan ahead!
Pro tip, use a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature.
What we’ll need
For the rub:
- 2 tablespoons paprika powder
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon mustard powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Half tablespoon cumin powder
- Half tablespoon black pepper
For the BBQ sauce:
- 2 tablespoons black pepper
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 2 tablespoons mustard powder
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1 and a half cup ketchup
- 1 and a half cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Half cup apple cider vinegar
- Hot sauce (optional)
Nice To Have
- Kosher salt
- Butcher paper
- Potato Salad
Put the rub ingredients together and mix. Once well mixed, rub all over the entire surface of the beef brisket -- make sure not to miss any spots. Note that since we’ll be slow cooking this over several hours, there is no need for any prior marinade -- the slow-cooking process will essentially serve that purpose.
Next, put the BBQ sauce ingredients together in the slow cooker. At this point, feel free to throw in a dash of hot sauce if you’re a heat lover. I like to dab a little bit of Tabasco, since its vinegary cayenne flavor will blend in beautifully with the rest of the sauce. You could also use Sriracha, but it might be too sweet. Either way, hot sauce is completely optional; feel free to omit if you’re not into a spicy sauce.
Mix well, then add in the beef brisket.
Next, we play the waiting game. Slow cook the brisket between 8 to 10 hours, depending on the size of your cut (10 hours would work well for a 4lb cut). When done, move the brisket onto a tray. Pour the cooking liquid from the slow cooker into a saucepan, bringing it to a simmer until it reduces into a syrupy consistency.
Drizzle the brisket lightly with oil and roast in a 390 F oven for 15 to 20 minutes until it starts to brown. You can then remove and baste with your sauce, then return to the oven for five more minutes. We want to repeat this process until it caramelizes. Three or four times should do it. Leave longer for burnt ends.
Finally, slice the beef brisket thinly across the grain and serve with BBQ sauce. Whether you want to serve it this way as a meal along with some sides (mac and cheese, fried okra, mashed potatoes would all be heavenly) or serve as sliders, that’s entirely up to you. The results will be delicious either way.
Pro tip: brisket is delicious when you slice and serve it immediately after cooking, but it’s even better the next day. This is because all the flavors have the chance to develop more depth and nuance. Just make sure to keep the brisket in the cooking liquid the whole time so it will stay moist. You’ll thank us the next day.
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Written by Jorge Farah
Born on the coast of Colombia and based in Buenos Aires, Jorge is a cooking enthusiast and kitchenware obsessive with a tremendous amount of opinions.