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Everything You Need to Cook Meat Right

What’s the best way to grill a skirt steak? Roast a rack of lamb? Butcher a chuck-eye roast?

Learn the answers to these questions and many more in our recently published edition, Cook it Right: Meat. Our test kitchen experts have been perfecting meat dishes for 25 years, and all of that experience is packed into these 95 pages. We’ve also learned a lot about the best tools for cooking meat. Our top-rated slicing and carving knife is sharp, long, and just flexible enough. And our favorite meat pounder makes it a snap to create uniform pork or chicken cutlets that cook evenly. From understanding primal cuts of meat to producing a flawless Beef Wellington, the tips and tools you need for successful cooking are at your fingertips.

This knife was “superadept”; its sharp, flexible blade nimbly hugged curves, so we could surgically remove peels or cores without plunging too deeply. It was the lightest knife we tested, with a slim handle that a few testers found insubstantial but most praised for its ability to disappear in your palm and become an extension of your hand: “There’s no disconnect between my brain and the blade.”  More on this test

Our new favorite won us over with its ultrasharp, moderately flexible blade, which made every task seem nearly effortless. It kept its edge throughout testing, even after deboning an additional 10 chicken breasts. Its slightly shorter length proved especially advantageous with finer jobs, giving us more control as we boned chicken breasts. And although we wish the plastic handle were made of a grippier material, its slim profile made it easy to grasp in different ways.  More on this test

This meat cleaver put grace and beauty into the most barbarous tasks. Its perfectly distributed weight and long, tall, gently curved, razor-sharp blade made for truly effortless chopping. And its long, straight pakkawood handle gave us plenty of grip options, although at times its smooth surface got a little slick. Yes, this cleaver is expensive—but you’ll never need another. Strong and durable, it breezed through testing with minimal wear.  More on this test

The scalloped, uncoated pincers on our longtime favorite tongs felt very precise. This model was also comfortable to use, not only because of the silicone-padded handle but also because the tension didn’t strain our hands or wrists. These tongs struggled a bit when transferring ramekins, as the uncoated pincers didn’t securely grip the ceramic, but this is a less common use, and the tongs excelled at every other task. This pair felt like a natural extension of our hands.  More on this test

Our longtime favorite skillet still beats the cheaper competition. We appreciate the broad cooking surface and low, flaring sides that encourage excellent browning and evaporation; a steel handle that stays cool on the stovetop and won’t rotate in your hand; an overall weight and balance that hits the sweet spot between sturdiness and maneuverable lightness; and durable construction that resists warping while withstanding thermal shock and outright abuse with nary a scratch or dent. Its three layers of bonded metal, with aluminum sandwiched by steel, make for deep, uniform browning  More on this test

Superior blades gave our former favorite the edge yet again. With a razor-sharp 25-degree angle, the shears’ cutter blade sliced through every kind of food with equal ease. Deep, angular serrations on the anvil blade helped secure slippery foods. The blades’ length (the longest in the lineup) ensured smooth, continuous cutting; their overall narrowness made them easy to maneuver; and a medium level of tension between them provided just enough shearing force without taxing our hands. They’re ambidextrous, comfortable to hold, and can be taken apart for cleaning. Note: The Kershaw Taskmaster Shears and Shun Multi-Purpose Shears are produced at the same factory and are identical products with different branding; prices vary.  More on this test

The convenience of gas plus the flavor of charcoal make this grill a worthwhile (albeit pricey) upgrade from the basic model. Built around our favorite 22.5-inch Weber kettle is a roomy, easy-to-roll cart (much sturdier than the kettle’s legs) with a pullout charcoal storage bin; a lid holder; and, most significant, a gas ignition system that lights coals with the push of a button—no chimney starter needed.  More on this test

This ball of 100 percent cotton twine tied and held foods without burning, fraying, splitting, or breaking. It made neat, even ties around braciole and whole chicken and stayed in place without slipping. Although any cotton twine might perform as well, this brand releases string from the center of the ball, letting us pay it out with no danger of it rolling off the counter.  More on this test