A knife is a cook’s best friend. Whether you’re a professional chef or just a mom who loves to cook for her kids, using the right knife is one of the best investments that you need to have in your kitchen. But with tons of knives to choose from, how are you sure you’re getting the right kind of knife for your needs? Should you opt to buy the best butcher knives or go for the best chef’s knives? Let’s figure it out.
Basic Facts about Butcher Knives
What’s the difference between a butcher’s knife and a chef’s knife?
As the name suggests, the butcher knife serves the main purpose of slicing up meat and bones, and other hard stuff you may need to chop. It’s built to be more durable due to its heavy-duty use. A chef’s knife, on the other hand, is our everyday knife. It’s a multipurpose knife that we practically use to cut or slice everything with.
Do we need a butcher’s knife for home cooking?
Yes, every home needs a butcher’s knife. It would be difficult to cut and slice hard, frozen meat (even if it’s in smaller pieces) with a typical chef’s knife. A butcher’s knife is meant to help you with heavy-duty slicing and help you keep your chef’s knife in good condition for regular use. Without it, you’re going to end up replacing your chef’s knife more often that you ought to.
What to look for in a good Butcher’s Knife
Choosing a good butcher’s knife is pretty tricky with so many brands to pick from out there. Here are the main 3 things you should look for when you’re out shopping for a great butcher’s knife.
- Blade Strength and Durability
You need a knife that is strong enough to handle heavy slicing and cutting but would only require you to exert as little force as possible. The strength of the blade is mainly because of the material. If you’re looking for a knife that will last you a long time, choose one made with high carbon steel content. It helps you hack your way through tough meat, cartilage, and other tough ingredients.
- Edge Retention
There are different types of edge grinds, namely: scandi, hollow ground, convex, compound, full flat, and chisel. Edge retention refers to how well the blade can retain its integrity. Ordinary blades out there would easily get dull and would frequently need sharpening. Good edge retention means that it doesn’t easily bend or get dull even after heavy usage and will last you a good couple of years.
- Handle Grip Quality
You do not want to mess up when cutting through hard meat for safety reasons. Handle grip is incredibly important in picking out a good knife. You want to have a knife that doesn’t slip off in wet and slippery situations. Oftentimes, when we deal with meat, we are set under these conditions making it harder for us to cut and slice. A good butcher knife should have a handle that feels comfortable to avoid accidents and injuries.
Forged Blade or Stamped Blade: What’s the Difference?
A forged blade is made out of single steel heated and hammered to what it is now. A stamped knife blade is stamped out of a large steel sheet. Think of it as pressing down on a cookie cutter on the dough. You stamp out the shape that you like from a single sheet of steel.
Forged blades are made to be thicker, larger, heavier and more durable since they undergo a ton of beating to shape it up into a knife. A stamped blade is thinner, smaller, lighter and more flexible since it’s a cut out from a steel sheet.
However, forged blades are more expensive since they are handcrafted while stamped knives have a larger breaking point and can thus break when overused.
Different Types of a Butcher Knife
When looking for a butcher knife, we may be surprised to find out that there are different types of butcher knives out there. Butcher Knives are classified according to usage, here are the different types of a butcher knife.
Breaking Knife. This is a valuable knife for all butchers because it is what they use to break down a carcass. Compared to other butcher knives, it has a longer and more flexible blade giving you a smooth, clean cut.
Cimeter Knife. This larger wider knife is mainly used to trim fat and make portions out of a larger cut of meat. It’s also often used in the kitchen because it prevents the meat from breaking or getting torn when it is being cut.
Skinning Knife. A small knife used to separate the skin off the meat.
Cleaver. We all know the friendly cleaver. It is that wide thin blade that is often used for precision cutting. Its thickness can hold up against thick and heavy meat, cartilage, and bone.
Traditional Butcher Knife. The typical butcher knife is easy to spot. It’s the knife with a wide blade and a curved tip. It becomes an all-around home butcher knife that is used to prepare meat, break a bone, cut through cartilage, and produce precision cuts.
The Best Butcher Knives for Your Kitchen
Now that we have presented the basic information needed so you can be familiar with a butcher knife, we compiled a list of the top 5 butcher knives available in the market that would suit your daily needs.
Victorinox Cutlery 8-Inch Granton Edge Butcher Knife
With centuries of knife forging history, Victorinox has been wielding its supreme knife quality to this date.
A Victorinox Cutlery Granton Edge Butcher knife is stamped from cold-rolled steel. It is one of the best precision butcher knives because of its unbeatable cutting technology.
The blade goes all the way through the heel to the handle making it very easy to sharpen. The widened tip enables a smooth cut because of its weight, especially when used on hard, frozen foods. The larger size is perfect for slicing through huge or tough meat. It is perfect in creating precision slices.
Aside from making portions out of larger meat cuts, you can also use this to break down a carcass. The tip of the knife creates a good balance, perfect for multiple cutting purposes ranging from heavy meat chopping to simple slicing and dicing. This extremely well-balanced knife makes the knife very easy to handle.
The grantons on the blade allows you to make thin slices of meat without the meat sticking on the blade, which in turn makes a good sushi knife. The air pockets allow you to have a clean slice thus preserving the quality of your meat.
One reason why this is a multi-purpose butcher knife is the fact that it is very easy to use. It has an ergonomic handle that gives you a smooth and strong grip. You can easily wrap your fingers around the grip and not worry about it slipping off even when the environment is moist or your hands are wet and slippery.
In any given situation, it has a strong and bold hand support; making it an extremely practical knife. It is perfect for any purpose you may have in mind. It doesn’t have a weighty handle or a heavy tip which makes it hard on the wrist. It also comes with a finger guard that protects your fingers from slipping and getting cut by the blade.
When it comes to cleaning this knife, you can simply slip it in the dishwasher. Though it is preferred to hand-wash the knife, it can withstand even a heavy beating from your dishwasher.
So, if you’re looking for a professional butcher knife that you can also use at home, this has got to be it. What’s great about this is that it offers superb slicing versatility. It’s great for professional use, home use, and even outdoor use. On the downside though, no matter how versatile it may be, it is not portable due to its size. Still, it’s a great tool to have around in outdoor barbecues and hunting sprees because it offers a wide range of use.
Dexter-Russell S112-10PCP Butcher Knife
Though Dexter-Russell comes with various sizes for its butcher knife selection, we prefer the use of its 10-inch blade. It is magnificent when cutting up larger pieces of meat and also great for that backyard barbecue. We’re pretty sure that when you purchase this item, it’s going to be your go-to BBQ knife.
It is pretty well-known that Dexter-Russell sends you a well-sharpened knife right off the box, so be careful when you take it out. It is made from high-grade stainless steel so you are guaranteed minimum maintenance. You are also less likely to face the possibility of screwing up your slices with this awesome butcher knife.
This makes a wonderful butcher knife for the home kitchen. It is extremely lightweight. This makes it super comfortable to use so you don’t have to worry about your wrist feeling numb and painful after long hours of cutting and prepping meat for a barbecue or hacking through the frozen chicken meat. What this knife offers is the quality for professional cooking and a superb knife for the home kitchen.
What we do love about this is its durability. It has good edge retention, making sure that even after cutting through a carcass, it can still hold its blade with very little signs of usage afterward. And even after a long period of use, it doesn’t take much to bring back its original sharpened glory.
The handle is made of high-grade GripTex plastic. It is beautifully designed to accommodate various hand sizes as well as giving a tight non-slip grip. So, no matter how much your palms sweat or how slippery the situation will be, you won’t have to fret about accidentally slicing your hand or mishandling the knife. The handle also has a finger-guard as an added protection.
We’re sure you’re going to love the Dexter-Russell 10-inch stainless steel blade because it doesn’t come with the heavy maintenance that other knives require. From the moment you buy it to the next couple of years that you’re going to use it, it retains its blade integrity from the tip to the heel.
Since it is made to accommodate both professional and practical use, the knife is pretty well-balanced. It is easy on the grip and offers a great feel on your fingers and palm. Aside from the superb grip and it’s durability, you’ll love that this is corrosion-proof. Since it is made of stainless steel, it won’t easily rust or corrode.
Rada Cutlery Old Fashioned Butcher Knife
What you’ll love about the Rada Cutlery Old Fashioned Butcher Knife is its ergonomic handle which is extremely comfortable to grip and hold. Though this knife it lightweight, it offers a seriously tough cutting and chopping capability.
You’ll be glad to know that the blade of this knife is made of surgical grade steel along with a silver-brushed aluminum handle. Surgical steel grade blades are made to last an eternity–well, not that long but you get the idea.
This traditional butcher knife really means business. It does a spectacular job at jabbing, slicing, and breaking humongous cuts of meat into eatable proportions. Another thing that makes this a great knife is the fact that it is perfect for any type of kitchen. It is light and extremely versatile for multiple uses. From light slicing and dicing to heavy duty hacking on cartilage and bone, it does the job pretty well. So whether you are using it to slice some veggies or cutting through a tough game, you have an incredibly versatile knife in your hands.
Though it is meant as a butcher knife, it can only slice through smaller meat portions due to its size. It can easily handle tough meat but it has chopping limitations to massive blocks of meat. On top of that, it is also great for heavy duty slicing as well. The blade is rather thin but you can debone and trim the fat off from different cuts of meat. The tip is an added bonus since it is crafted to be a skinning tip.
The handle is made from silver-brushed aluminum. It is rounded to perfection making it easy on all hand sizes. The knife looks stunning. With its brushed aluminum handle, you’ll find this knife an exquisite piece of decoration for your kitchen. But it’s not all design, it maintains great function. With a rounded handle, it works as a great ambidextrous knife. It means that if you’re completely left-handed and that using your right hand is useless, you’ll find this knife a great fit for your slicing needs.
Since the knife is made completely out of high grade stainless steel, it isn’t hard to clean it. It is preferred to wash it with soap and water and wiped with a cotton cloth. To maintain the sharpness of the blade, it’s best to keep it in a wooden holster for your knife.
The Rada Cutlery Butcher Knife is so far the best knife to use in the kitchen and meant for multiple uses. And on top of all those amazing features, you’re going to fall in love with the price. This is a pretty affordable knife but the quality is absolutely superb.
Global GF-27-7 inch, 16cm Heavyweight Butcher’s Knife
Who wouldn’t love a knife that looks phenomenal on your kitchen countertop? The Global Heavyweight Butcher Knife really does look amazing. With its good looks comes great use and function.
What’s unique about the Global Butcher’s knife is that it is made of CROMOVA stainless steel. This is high-grade carbon stainless steel that is made exclusively for Global knives. Cromova is a perfect mix of Carbon, Chrome, Molybdenum, and Vanadium. This mix creates a stunning blade that is easily sharpened and meant to go up against heavy duty usage. On top of that, the knife has superb rust and corrosion resistance.
The knife as a whole is a forged knife. The knife is crafted as one. From the tip to the blade and all the way to the handle, the entire knife is forged out of the same metal. This offers greater heavy-duty use without sacrificing any part of the knife. There are less to no breaking points on the knife – giving you the assurance of durability and strength. It also lessens the worry of the knife ever cutting through or breaking the handle after a long period of usage.
This is a wonderful knife made to perfection for both professional and home use. If you love making precise cuts of meat yourself, this is the perfect tool for the job. You can hack your way through the frozen meat and won’t feel the heavy burden or strain on your fingers of your wrist. You’re also going to love that this traditional butcher knife is a great tool for daily use even in slicing up veggies.
One particular use for this knife is that it can be used to slice fish for sushi. It has a phenomenal blade that helps retain the flavor and freshness of your food all the way to your plate.
Since the handle is handcrafted along with the blade, you won’t have to think about the spine of the knife from popping out of the bolster or the tang. In addition, with a beautifully curved handle, you can easily have a tight grip on the handle giving you great movement and control over the knife.
Though you can easily just toss it into the dishwasher, you can prevent the knife from ever getting dull by running it over the bottom of a ceramic cup or ceramic plate for a quick sharpen after heavy usage.
It does lean on the heavier side; but since it is pretty thin, the full metal knife offers an extra weight for better meat slicing. So even if you have a tough game on your counter or couple of veggies that need dicing, you are certain that you’re going to have a precise cute every single time. And for that reason, this makes a great knife for a serious home chef.
Ontario Knife 7111 Old Hickory Butcher Knife
The Ontario Knife’s long reliable history provides every home kitchen the best durable knives. Even if you use the knife and pound it to chop a massive chunk of meat in half, it withstands all that pressure and heavy usage and still retains its edge. The reliability of the Old Hickory Butcher Knife is undeniable making it one of the best choices.
This butcher knife is made of high carbon steel. And for that reason, it is highly durable and pretty strong for powerful cutting use. The blade is great when it comes to high-performance meat cutting and smooth daily kitchen chopping. For that reason, it is blessing tons of kitchens its reliability as a great home kitchen butcher knife.
This is true to the traditional butcher knife. Made in likelihood to follow the traditional manner of crafting a forged knife, the Ontario Knife Old Hickory Butcher Knife makes a wonderful butcher knife. The blade is very unique since it has beautifully crafted air pockets. The air pockets provide an amazing precise cut. The air pockets prevent the meat from sticking to the knife.
The knife offers supreme balance mainly because the handle is made of wood. And what’s great about wood is that it actually bends and warps to fit your hand pretty well. The wood also lessens the wetness, reduces moisture, and adds friction and grip. So, the grip quality of the knife is also superb. However, since it is made of wood, it is also prone to molds, so try keeping it dry when not in use. Better yet, put some oil in it after using it to keep the knife’s handle in mint condition.
Unlike most modern knives, the blade is quite prone to rust and corrosion. You need to properly handle this knife and always keep it dry and properly stored to prevent it from ever rusting. But when well taken cared for, this knife is definitely one instrument that you won’t live without in your kitchen.
This forged knife is beautifully crafted to meet every kitchen’s slicing standards. It offers a long term service in your hands. Since it does use the more traditional way of making knives, Ontario Knife is very affordable making it a perfect fit for any kitchen and serious home cooks.
Special Mention Butcher Knives
UltraSource Butcher Knife, 10″ Cimeter Blade
In addition to my traditional butcher knives, I have in this list a great cimeter butcher knife. The cimeter knife is made for great precision cutting. And with precision cutting, you get to enjoy trimming fat off the meat. If you love cooking with lean meat, then you can’t live without this Ultrasource Cimeter Blade.
The blade is made of seamless German blade. It is high-grade stainless steel that really makes that thin precise cutting perfect in every swipe. The blade is pretty thin making it easy for the blade to slit through even really tough game.
Aside from trimming fat off, this makes a great boning knife. The blade is thin and bendable making it very easy for you to remove the meat off the bone with just one smooth sweep. What’s more, it’s precision cutting is great for cutting up veggies into thin strips or cuts. What’s great about this is that it is made for both professional and practical home use. The supreme blade lets you cut through your meat and bone just as easily as a butcher would.
One of the things we love about this butcher knife is that it comes with an antimicrobial handle. The handle is infused with an antimicrobial liquid that prevents it from getting molds and infectious dirt and stains. This also makes it easy for you to clean the blade.
The knife has a textured handle that lets your hand hug perfectly into it. The curved handle provides a great comfortable grip that fits different hand sizes.
The knife promises to stay in your kitchen for at least three years. And despite a long and heavy usage, keeping it sharp and clean is a breeze. The blade is very easy to sharpen and keeping the knife clean is only equivalent to putting it in your dishwasher but after every wash, store it in a cool dry place. No matter how resistant it is to rust but if your blade is constantly exposed to moisture, it will end up with tons of rust.
If you’re looking for a knife that offers great control to make those precise cuts of meat, then this is what you’re looking for. It has great balance and great comfort making it an ideal knife in making professional cuts at the comforts of your own kitchen.
Mercer Culinary Millennia Curved Boning Knife
A boning knife is a type of butcher knife that helps your separate meat from the bone. This is great when you want to get an awesome clean cut from the bone and retain the shape of your meat. You want to retain the integrity of your delicious meat by cutting it precisely on point and only a boning knife can do that.
What makes the Mercer Culinary Boning Knife a great pick is simply because it is reliable and durable. Made with the trending Japanese steel, you get a boning knife that slides the meat off the bone clean through. That is one characteristic that is unique to Japanese steel. When you slice meat, the meat does not stick to the blade giving you a clean cut every single time.
We can’t help but mention this amazing boning knife. Any serious home cook or professional chef needs a boning knife to make the perfect fillet or simply to make an awesome bone soup or stock for cooking. And one of the most amazing features we need is a smoothly curved blade.
The blade is made of forged high-carbon steel giving it that durability and reliability. Since it is forged, it offers stronger and longer lifespan since it has lesser or no breaking points at all. That is one reason why we love forged butcher knives.
The knife’s handle also offers a superb ergonomic design. The handle is made of a combination of Santoprene and polypropylene to create a comfortable and durable grip. The textured handle lets you have a good hold of your knife. It also has a finger guard that will add an extra level of protection for your hand.
Maintenance has never been a problem with this knife. A quick bath in a dishwasher or a simple wash in a flowing spring water stream will easily do the trick. And since it is made out of that trademark Japanese steel, sharpening the knife is a breeze. You don’t have to take a lot of time to get back the sharpened tip back in shape after a long period of use.
For any boning function that is both affordable and durable, the Mercer Curved Boning Knife is one knife that you’re bound to fall in love with. Whether you’re an outdoor cook preparing meals while camping or a simple home chef, this is bound to be one knife that will serve you well.
Comparison of Butcher Knives
Type of Edge Grind
Granton Edge Blade
High-Grade Stainless Steel
Surgical Grade Stainless Steel
Traditional butcher knife design
CROMOVA Stainless Steel
Patented steel alloy for durability
High Carbon Steel
Affordable but high quality
Air pocketed blade
Ergonomic and textured handle
In a Gist…
With so many brands of knives to choose from, I came up with my top 5 picks for the best butcher knives for 2020. But my personal choice would be the Victorinox Cutlery Granton Edge Butcher Knife. It has everything we need from a butcher knife and the main fact that it is durable and highly resistant to corrosion and damage makes this an ultimate partner in the kitchen. The price is also within range making it a great pick for the best knife to cut meat with.
On the other hand, I know that when we get tight on a budget, we want to get a great butcher knife for the right price. My bang for the buck choice would be the American-made Ontario Knife Old Hickory Butcher Knife. It offers good quality that costs close to nothing.