Chef’s and cooking magazines talk about slicing some meat “against the grain,” and there’s a good reason for that: Cutting against (rather than with) the striations on your steak shortens the length of the muscle fibers in each slice, which makes the meat more tender and easy to chew.
To get the job done without yanking or ripping those fibers as you slice, you need a quality steak knife. And like most other things in life, you get what you pay for. The most expensive knives on this list are going to outperform the cheaper models. But there’s still a quality cutter on here for guys of any need or budget.
EQUINOX STEAK KNIFE
$30 for four, amazon.com
At this price, you probably can’t expect them to last more than a few years. But the wood handle has a nicer look and feel than you’d expect for so little cash, and the serrated edge certainly gets the job done.
ZWILLING J.A. HENCKELS STAINLESS STEEL STEAK KNIFE
$80 for eight, zwillingonline.com
With good weight and balance, these knives have the kind of looks that will serve equally well as your everyday dinner slicer or your special occasion “good” knives. Made from high-carbon stainless steel, they’re a solid value if you want something relatively inexpensive that will still perform.
ZWILLING J.A. HENCKELS “STEAKHOUSE” KNIFE
$100 for four, zwillingonline.com
Yes, another Zwilling offering. But these guys are one of the largest knife manufacturers in the world for a reason. Designed and manufactured in Europe from ice-hardened steel, these beefy blades feature two rows of serrated teeth at various lengths. Even if the longer of the two rows eventually wears down, the shorter row will remain sharp—extending the knife’s lifespan.
JEAN DUBOST LAGUIOLE OLIVEWOOD STEAK KNIFE
$200 for six, wineenthusiast.com
To be honest, these aren’t the most comfortable knives you could wrap your mitts around. But the craftsmanship is excellent, the blades are slice-a-hair sharp, and the style packs plenty of panache—which figures, since they’re made in France.
CHROMA “TYPE 301” KNIFE
$200 for four, amazon.com
Made from Japanese steel, these distinctive blades were designed by F.A. Porsche—the same member of the illustrious automotive family who designed the iconic Porsche 911. They’ll definitely be a conversation piece when you have buddies or a date over for dinner.
WÜSTHOF “IKON” KNIFE
$300 for four, www.williams-sonoma.com
With a distinctive African Blackwood handle and blades forged from a single piece of high-carbon steel, these full-tang knives will stay sharp—both their look and blades—for a lifetime.
SHUN “CLASSIC” KNIFE
$428 for four, shun.kaiusaltd.com
The Japanese know a thing or two about forging high-quality blades, and each of these double-beveled beauties is hand sharpened to ensure they’ll cut at exactly 16 degrees on either side. This, the manufacturer says, allows them to “glide” through your meat while severing fewer blood-packed capillaries. It’s probably in our heads, but our mouthfuls of meat sliced with these blades really did taste juicier than those cut by the less expensive options.