This Is the Least Amount of Money You Need to Spend to Get a Good Carving Knife and Fork

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

When it comes to recommending specific gear for Thanksgiving, for the most part I actually prefer not to. I hate telling people they need to buy something special, knowing they’ll only use it once a year — twice, at best. (I’m looking at you, gravy boats!)

But a carving knife and fork set is an exception to that rule. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving and plan on serving turkey, you kind of do need to make this purchase. Yes, you could get away with using a chef’s knife and a giant serving fork, but a specialized set really will make the task at hand easier. Carving knives are thinner and more flexible so they can get into all the turkey’s nooks and crannies for every last bit of meat. And the fork is long and narrow to give you a good grip on the bird and help guide the slicer.

The good news: You don’t have to spend a fortune. In fact, my favorite inexpensive set is just $30. Even more good news: Because it’s unlikely you’ll be slicing a turkey very often, your carving knife will stay sharp and in tip-top shape for a long time.

To reiterate, there’s no need to spend big bucks on a carving set. For just $30, you can get a flexible carver along with a long-handled fork.

The one I like: J.A. Henckels International Statement Carving Set

Why I recommend it: The knife blade is constructed of one piece of stainless steel that extends into the handle, which is riveted on to keep it firmly in place. While these pieces look like serious cutting tools, they’re also attractive enough if you like to do the Norman Rockwell thing and carve at the table. The blade is long and sturdy enough to make those beautiful, wide slices of white meat but is also nimble enough to work around the bones when you’re cutting off the wings, drumsticks, and thighs. These utensils are easy enough to wash by hand but if you’re the type who likes to put everything in the dishwasher, they’ll take the heat.

J.A. Henckels International Statement 2-Piece Carving Set
J.A. Henckels International Statement 2-Piece Carving Set

While you may be tempted to go with something even cheaper, I don’t suggest it. A $15 or $20 set might not be sturdy enough to give you good control or include a blade that glides smoothly. Plus, there’s the chance that it will only last through one Thanksgiving. Rebuy the set and you’ll spend what you could’ve on the Henckels in the first place.

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