Wooden spoons are one of the most basic cooking tools—an enterprising caveman probably fashioned the first, snapping a twig from a nearby sapling to prod a hunk of meat over an open fire. Simple yet indispensable, wooden spoons stir, scrape and scoop. Since our previous favorite recently changed manufacturers, we set out to test the new version against four additional wooden spoons, each widely available.
The spoons ranged from $1.85 to $11.49, in bamboo, beech, or acacia wood, and all measured between 12 and 13¾ inches. We used them to make vegetable curry, toasting splices and stirring chunks of potatoes and cauliflower; we also left spoons simmering 10 minutes in the thick, pumpkin-hued sauce to see how well they resisted stains. To assess their dexterity and shape, we browned batches of beef cubes, then scraped the fond, assembled the beef stew, and stirred it in a deep Dutch oven.
A comfortable handle is essential; we preferred squared-off sides, which leave your hand less clenched than a traditional round handle, and give your thumb a place to rest securely on top for leverage. Height and width of the head was also important: Wide, squat designs were like stirring with a ping-pong paddle, with too much surface area to push through the soup and not enough handle to leverage against the weight.
Our winning brand excelled at every turn: Sturdy, with a well designed head that managed tasks both delicate and substantial, our winner beat out our old favorite, bumping it to second place; while they performed similarly, our winner had the most surface area in contact with the pan to scrape up fond efficiently, a smooth, comfortable finish, and the least amount of staining, looking almost new even after weeks of use.
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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