When I started researching the best knife for slicing brisket I found people were were split between two options.
- Traditional meat slicing knives with a Granton edge.
- Electric meat slicing knives.
Let me walk you through the pros and cons of these knives.
Electric Meat Slicers
These knives have two blades that act like a saw as they power back and forth through a brisket.
One advantage of an electric knife is that they can help you cover up mistakes. If your brisket is tough then an electric knife is very good at making thin slices. If your brisket is overcooked then an electric knife is great at cutting thick slices that wont fall readily fall apart.
A second advantage of an electric knife is that they can help preserve the appearance of the bark. When you use a traditional knife to slice a brisket you have to hold the brisket in place with one hand while you slice with the other. The act of holding the brisket in place often results in the surface bark getting pushed around and smeared. If you are a competition team then little details on appearance can make a big difference.
Granton Edge Meat Slicers
These are far and away my favorite brisket slicers. The granton edge (the scallops on the side of the knife) lets you cut cleanly without the brisket sticking to the knife.
I use the slicer by placing the butt of the knife guard right up against the brisket and then drawing the blade back towards me in a smooth motion. This lets me get a clean slice of brisket in a single stroke.
There are some drawbacks to both knife styles.
Granton Slicer Drawbacks:
I use a 14 inch slicer to make sure that I will be able to get a clean cut for any size brisket that comes off my pit. Finding a place to store a knife with a 14 inch blade and a 4 inch handle is challenging. I ended up buying a blade guard and then shoe horning the knife into a utility drawer. It is not an ideal situation.
The 12 inch version of this knife is massively popular and is easier to store. The downside with the 12 inch knife is that sometimes you will have to use a two stroke sawing motion to get through a really large brisket.
Electric Knife Drawbacks:
The biggest problem with electric knives is that they leave a jagged edge on the face of the brisket slice.
Here is a head to head comparison of these two knives on the same brisket.
Here are some typical slices when the brisket is sliced with an electric knife:
Here are some typical slices when the brisket is sliced with a granton edge meat slicer.
And here are the slices side by side with the effects of different lighting, etc minimized. The slice from the electric knife is on the right.
I have a strong preference for the smooth, clean cuts that you get with a traditional meat slicer with a granton edge. I also think the knife itself looks cool as heck.
The choice of which granton edged slicer is the best gets a little more difficult.
I tend to go for cheap and practical so I bought the Mercer Culinary Millennia. It’s a nice knife and gets the job done.
If you are in the market for a high end brisket knife then the Wusthof Gourmet Hollow Brisket Slicing knife is what you need. Wusthof knives are among the best you can find. You will pay a premium for this beauty but shelling out the cash for a classic will only hurt once.
The only downside to the 14 inch slicers is that they can be tricky to store. If your knife drawer can’t handle a 14 inch knife then Victornox makes an excellent 12 inch version of this blade.