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Since I can remember, I’ve watched my father slice up Thanksgiving turkey with a long, sharp blade and serve the rest of the family like we lived in a Norman Rockwell painting. (We didn’t.) So when my dad took me aside this year and showed me his new tool for carving up the bird — and it had a cord — I was shocked.

Though I’m sure the electric meat carver is a perfectly good tool (for cutting automotive seat foam) I just can’t get over the negative idea of a small, humming recip saw at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Something about this corded blade wounds my sense of traditional holiday spirit even more than the thought of my brother eating all the cranberry sauce before I get any.

Then I think of how much faster that thing can rip off hunks of meat for us to wolf down (with stuffing and homemade rolls) and it’s a complete toss up. What do you think? Let us know in comments.

Electric Carving Knife [Cuisinart]
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15 Responses to Hot or Not? Electric Turkey Carvers

  1. Cooks Illustrated did a nice review of electric knives in 2000:

    “We found that they are better suited for uniformly shaped roasts than for poultry. None of our contestants was nimble enough to negotiate the curves and inner spaces of a whole roasted turkey, so we judged them on how well they sliced the breast alone. We used our preferred carving strategy of removing the breast as a whole, laying it flat on the carving board, and cutting it crosswise into thin slices, each with a small piece of crisp skin still attached. Just try that with a regular knife.

    Where electric knives really excel, however, is in cutting foods made up of different layers with distinctly firm and soft textures.”

    They rated the cheap $25 Black&Decker model higher than the more expensive Cuisinart.

  2. fred says:

    “and it had a cord – I was shocked.”

    I expect a product recall shortly.

  3. Chris says:

    “Where electric knives really excel, however, is in cutting foods made up of different layers with distinctly firm and soft textures.”

    You mean like turducken? 🙂 (It is, after all, that time of year.)

    cl

  4. PeterP says:

    Alton Brown on Good Eats seems to use his a lot. Thats usually a good enough endorsement for me…

  5. Steve Thompson says:

    I bought one a couple of years ago to carve my first attempt at turducken (pics added to photo pool). While I don’t often use it for carving poultry, I don’t know how I’d live without it now that I have it.

  6. Justin Brashear says:

    My wife and I registered for one when we got married and ended up getting a couple of them. I thought the cuisinart model with the stand and knife would look cool on the counter.

    Ultimately decided that I’d rather have the $50 then to have something that I’d use once a year.

  7. lonbordin says:

    HOT…. as in I would be lost without one. It does have many other uses… thin slicing beef is what I use mine for the majority of the year.

  8. PutnamEco says:

    And they work great at cutting foam rubber too…

  9. der5er says:

    We’ve got a 20-30 year old one handed down from my wife’s mother. I love it.
    The only thing I’d like better is if they made one that looked like a Sawzall!

  10. NOT. Are you frickin’ serious? Is nothing sacred? Isn’t there enough crap in your kitchen?

    I’ve got two chef’s knives. I sharpen both to the point where you could shave with them in a pinch. One stays plain. One gets dragged sideways across a file to make mini-serrations that are oh-so-perfect for slicing crispy skin.

    Of course, you have to actually know how to use a knife and how to carve a bird The Right Way, which in my house involves removing the whole breasts from the bird as a first step, then slicing them crosswise so that each piece has an equal amount of tasty skin on it. Wide, thin slices might be theoretically good for a sandwich, but they cool and dry out pretty quickly.

  11. Bobk says:

    When I saw the heading but before I read your write-up, I already knew that I was going to be commenting on how I bought one SPECIFICALLY to cut memory foam blocks into shapes.

    Hot for that purpose.
    Not for cutting up turkeys, whether roasted or deep-fried.

    bobk

  12. Tony Clifton says:

    HOT. I’ve used an electric knife to carve up birds many times, and as long as you go carefully you can do a very nice job.

    As PeterP said, good enough for Alton, good enough for me.

    You can find the relevant section of his Thanksgiving episode at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEIDTZIqgUE , at around the 5 minute mark.

  13. JP says:

    Am I the only one that uses a Sawzall to cut the bird? I’d say its lukewarm because I’ve never used mine for food service, but more for cutting foam and other soft spongy materials. Perhaps I’ve used it once on a hard roll, but when it comes to the Turkey break out the fine cutlery and use the muscles that make you a man.

  14. Brian says:

    I actually own the Cuisinart knife that’s pictured and overall it’s a powerful and fairly useful tool in the kitchen. However, the blade is simply not far enough offset from the handle and this makes cutting things completely through on a flat surface (like a cutting board) a near impossibility. Also, unless your planning on carving hundreds of birds at a time or have an outlet hanging over your dining room table, go cordless.

  15. Teacher says:

    I own a gymnastics school and the only thing we use one of these for is cutting foam blocks for the in ground pits. When I was a kid, my parents got one. My dad used it once, put it away and never used it again. So I vote NOT for food, but HOT for cutting foam.

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