STAY SHARP. KNOW YOUR KNIFE GEAR.
Before that plate with the perfect steak slides in front of you, there's a little prep work involved. That prep is where your knife gear comes in. To get you the results you want, make sure your kitchen is stocked with the proper gear. From portioning the meat to slicing it to cutting the finished masterpiece on your plate, you'll want the right tools for the job. Here's a quick rundown of what you'll want to have on hand when you're working with meat.
Your everyday workhorse. This is what you'll reach for 98 percent of the time, so consider investing in a good one. Which one? The one that feels right in your hand. We know it sounds more like relationship advice than kitchen advice, but finding the right chef's knife is a deeply personal choice.
You can save big by buying larger cuts of beef and trimming and breaking them down on your own. Plus, you'll have full control over portioning. Here is where your butcher knife will help both your skills and your wallet.
Of course you want your slicer to be sharp. You want all your knives to be sharp. With a slicer you also want the blade to be thin and long so you don’t tear the meat. A good slicer will glide through roasts in virtually one stroke giving you beautiful even slices without tearing (the way a serrated knife would).
Since these will be at your guests' place settings, you might want to find a good-looking set of steak knives. But the most important thing is performance. Stick to serrated blades as they'll last longer than straight-edged ones. Cutting on a plate, which is what you do with a steak knife, will dull a straight blade over time.
Like anything that gets a lot of use, your (non-serrated) knives need some TLC. Running them along a sharpening steel before you use them helps to keep your blade aligned. It's not sharpening so much as straightening, but you'll notice the difference in your day-to-day kitchen duties. Eventually your knives will need to be sharpened. Just remember: a dull knife is a dangerous knife. Keeping your blades sharp means you don't have to apply as much pressure, reducing the chance of slippage.
It's important to customize your kitchen with the gear that works best for you – and this gear is a great place to start. When you have these tools on hand, you'll find that you're prepared for all types of tasks – beef-related and otherwise. And when you're fully prepared, you always look sharp.