A carving knife is meant for a lot more than just carving. It’s used to process meat, remove bones, and debone fish. Its blade is usually 5 in or less, and it has a short thicker handle that gives you more leverage over the blade.
On the other hand, a fillet knife is meant for one thing and one thing only: filleting fish. As such, its blade is around 8 in long with a thin handle that makes it easy to hold onto small fish like trout or perch. This lets you ensure each side of your fillet meets with absolutely no resistance from the spine of your prey before you slice through it cleanly down to its belly.
But both fillet and carving knives are invaluable tools in a kitchen. While they look similar, they are not interchangeable. Since they are meant for utterly different tasks, it’s important to understand the differences between them to be able to use one or the other.
Common Uses of Carving Knives:
Carving knives are designed for slicing through meats like roasts, lions, and chops that have fat and connective tissue on them. They are also used to remove bones, like duck bones or ribs, for example. Since they don’t have any specialized features (such as serrated edges), their main job is just to cut through meat without interfering with anything else. Because of this, you’d think such a blade would be too small to handle large meat cuts (such as briskets), but you’d be wrong.
Common Uses of Fillet Knives:
The primary tasks of a fillet knife are to cut through bone without much resistance and make peeling fish as easy as possible without tearing or damaging the meat. If you try to fillet a fish with a carving knife, you’ll usually end up with broken bones, loose skin, and an unusable piece of fish. With a fillet knife, you can more easily slice through the bones without tearing up the flesh, and since its thin blade gives it more tangibility than other knives, it’s easier to get under flesh than regular carving knives.
Difference Between a Carving Knife and a Fillet Knife:
Though carving and fillet knives look similar, they are designed for different tasks. Because they are meant for completely different jobs, you can’t use one blade for all your slicing needs. You’d end up all the same issues that happen when using a regular knife to slice turkey or carve a loaf of bread.
Though, as mentioned above, they look similar, there are some obvious differences between the fillet and carving knives. The main difference between them is the length and weight of their handles and the width and shape of their blades. The thinner blade and longer handle of the fillet knife make it easier to cut through small bones. The width of the blade of the fillet knife makes it ideal for slicing thin cuts of meat. Though this makes it easier to slice quickly, it also makes it harder to get a deep cut on large items since its thinner blade punches through stuff much easier.
Since carvers are ideal for meaty things, you can use them for stuff like bread or large roasts, but you’ll need a fillet knife for finer, more precise cuts. Anything that would be difficult to handle with a carving knife (like duck or rib bones) is easier to cut with a fillet knife. Because it has a thin blade and long handle, it’s also easier to achieve deep cuts with a fillet knife than with most other knives.
How long my carving knife should be?
In most cases, the blade of a carving knife will be somewhere between 6 and 8 inches. It’s not really about length, but about heft. You want something light enough, so it doesn’t make your work harder, but with enough heft to make your job easier.
How do I find the best fillet knife for me?
Fillet knives come in a few different shapes and sizes, so it can often be hard to find one that’s just right for you. To keep things simple, stick to knives with long thin blades and handles less than 1 inch thick and 10 inches long.
What kind of sharpener should I use for carving knives?
The first thing you should do when you get a carving knife is to sharpen it. Use a sharpening stone or electric sharpener for the best, most accurate results. If you don’t have either of those, use steel instead. Keep in mind that even after sharpening, your knife will eventually need to be replaced, so keep that in mind and don’t force yourself to use your knives if the blade has been damaged beyond repair.