Portion scoops—essentially ice-cream dippers made in specific sizes—are popular in the hospitality industry for their ability to easily portion large quantities of foods such as cookie dough, tuna salad, or mashed potatoes. In the test kitchen, we find them very useful for neatly and evenly measuring batter-based baked goods like our Drop Biscuits. A portion scoop enables us to get pieces that are the same size, so they’ll all bake evenly. This produces professional results.
But when you choose a portion scoop, you need the right size. Scoop numbers stamped on the handle or spring-loaded trigger correspond to the number of level scoops it takes to equal 1 quart (32 fluid ounces; a fluid ounce is a unit of volume equal to 2 tablespoons). The #16 scoop we use for our Best Drop Biscuits, for example, equals 2 fluid ounces; the #8 scoop equals 4 fluid ounces. Handle colors often correspond to the numbers as well, but they vary from brand to brand. The test kitchen's preferred scoop is the Fantes #16 Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop ($11.99), an industrial-type model that's easy to squeeze with either hand.
The nonslip grip and narrow, straight blade let testers remove the smallest bones with precision and complete comfort. Perfectly balanced with enough flexibility to maneuver around tight joints. The low price was a bonus.
Hefty in weight, this knife was a solid performer when removing poultry bones, and the handle was easy to grip, even when covered in chicken fat. Piercing silver skin was a challenge since the tip wasn’t sharp enough and the long narrow blade produced slightly jagged cuts.
|Recommended with Reservations|
The sharp tip performed well when removing silver skin, but it was too flexible when maneuvering around poultry joints, leaving testers feeling a lack of control. The heavy handle was slightly unbalanced and became slippery once covered in poultry fat.
Designed to replicate a samurai blade, this expensive knife was a disappointment. It struggled to pierce the silver skin, although long cuts were smooth and even. Minimal flexibility and extreme curve got in the way when maneuvering around joints. The smooth handle was hard to grip and slippery.
The large, cumbersome handle reminded testers of an outdoors knife for fishing and hunting. The blade was too wide to maneuver around joints and it struggled to pierce silver skin. Unlike other knives, this boning knife could only slice in one direction, making intricate cuts around joints difficult.
The blade was so flexible it led to erratic cuttings; testers said the knife was hard to control. The blade was not sturdy enough to maneuver around joints and the lightweight handle felt flimsy and unbalanced.
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