The butcher knife is one of the most overlooked knives in one’s kitchen – not necessarily because people use other knives instead, but because they fail to realize how important it is for a series of applications. At the end of the day, most people see it this way – you are not a butcher, so why would you need a butcher knife?
The truth is many operations in the kitchen will become significantly more comfortable with a butcher knife. Not only will they make your life easier, but they are also likely to ensure a better looking final result – imagine your dishes when you host a dinner for your family. Other than that, having the right knife is also a matter of personal safety.
But before disclosing the best butcher knife on the market, what should you know about this specific “breed”?
2020’s 3 Best Butcher Knives Reviewed
Dalstrong Extra-Long Bull Nose Butcher’s Knife
Dalstrong has become one of the most respected knife manufacturers on the market, and it is easy to tell why. Its best butcher knife comes with a long 14-inch blade. It is a powerhouse in the kitchen. It features a bulbous design that provides clean cuts and impressive durability. The weighted nose adds to its balance and control.
The edge is razor sharp out of the box – careful when you take it out. You can use this knife to portion, section, and break meat with no problems at all. Meat is less likely to stick to the blade due to the divots. No matter how long or large your piece is, you will cut through within seconds.
The RHC hardness level is 56. The blade is made of carbon steel, while the handle featured a laminated pakka wood design. There is a full tang design for strength and three rivets for stability. Moreover, the package comes with a sheath for storage.
- Nonslip handle
- Nonstick blade
- Comes with a sheath
- Could have been a bit heavier for more rigidity
Ontario Knife 7111 Old Hickory Butcher Knife
Old Hickory’s best butcher knife may look a bit misleading at first. It looks like a classic unit that your grandmother could use. However, do not let yourself fooled by its innocent look – it is an aggressive tool that will cut through anything you throw at it – razor sharp out of the box too.
Whether you are a professional or you have just started building your knife collection, this is a must-have. It can skin, chop, dice, and mince like no other. The blade measures 10 inches. It has an interesting design that will create airbags to prevent the meat from sticking to it. It is made of carbon steel, so it requires a bit of care, but it will not let you down.
The wooden handle is classic and basic – no fancy materials. It will not slip or cause any discomfort. It feels good as you hold it. Again, this is not an attractive knife, and your guests are less likely to ask you where you have it from. But at the end of the day, its efficiency is flawless.
- Can maintain its sharpness
- Suitable for more operations
- No fancy bells and whistles
- Prevents foods from sticking to the blade
- Not too attractive
Hoffritz Commercial 5190085
Hoffritz Commercial has gained a good reputation with its quality knives. This unit has a proper NSF certification, so it will most likely take a good beating without showing any signs of weakness. It is designed to cut through roasts, poultry, and meat with no issues at all.
The blade measures 10 inches, so you can easily go through large pieces of meat. It is semi-polished and made of German steel. It has been tempered to ensure it can maintain its sharpness for ages. You will be surprised by how sharp it is – be careful as you take it out. The pointy tip will also help with certain cuts.
The handle has no fancy materials that only add to the price. It is based on a mix of silicone and nylon. It will last forever, and it does not require any special maintenance. It is comfortable, ergonomic, and does not slip out of your hand. Although the knife can be washed in a dishwasher, it pays off doing it manually.
- Durable design
- Can cut through large pieces
- Maintains its sharpness
- Nonslip handle
- Not the most beautiful knife in the world
Types of butcher knives
Referring to a knife as a butcher knife is too general. These units can be classified based on their purpose, so you can also find them with different names.
The boning knife is most commonly recommended for smooth cutting – mostly to take the meat off the bone. Some of them are flexible or curved, while others are stiff and straight. A bit of flexibility is highly recommended, though.
The skinning knife has a self-explanatory name. You will typically find these knives with a slightly curved blade – excellent for more motion. The blade is wider than in other butcher knives.
Classic butcher knife
The classic has a curved tip and a wide blade. It is the type of knife you can use for anything – slicing, trimming, and so on. You might as well use it to skin animals.
The three knives listed above are the examples
The cimeter knife is also quite versatile and will work on breaking down cuts, slicing, or trimming. Compared to other butcher knives, this one has a heavier and wider blade.
The breaking knife is more common in commercial environments, but this is not a general rule. It will help you break down a carcass like no other knife. It has a long blade (usually curved too) and can go through carcasses with no issues at all. The cut is clean and neat.
The steak knife comes in three varieties, depending on the blade – hollow, straight or serrated. This knife is ideal to go through steak, but it works for pretty much any type of meat out there. It is one of the most popular knives in western kitchens.
While not necessarily a butcher knife, the cleaver knife can also go in this category. It is large, wide and heavy – ideal for chopping some bones too.
How to Choose the Best Butcher Knife
Before going into smaller details, make sure you know what type of butcher knife you want. It is no surprise that many manufacturers sell the traditional butcher knife when looking for something in this category – everything else is considered as part of different categories.
All in all, no matter what you need, there are a few certain considerations to think about when hunting for the best butcher knife.
The blade is what makes or breaks a knife. Practically, you are less likely to take advantage of a good knife if the blade is worthless. The material is what makes the difference in the long run.
A stamped blade is one of the most popular options out there. It is made of stainless steel, so it is normally durable and lightweight. It can also take rust, corrosion, and abrasion with no issues at all. This is the low profile option, meaning you can go for it if your budget is limited.
On the other hand, the forged blade carries similar characteristics. It is made of stainless steel too, but the manufacturing process is different. The unit is forged from steel, then shaped accordingly. This technique is more traditional. You will pay more, but you will also get more – greater durability and more efficiency.
The handle is seldom considered to be important. After all, the blade does most of the work in your kitchen, right? Well, it does play a role in the process because if it slips or feels uncomfortable, you will not feel like using the knife – not to mention potential accidents.
The point is – you need a handle that you can use for hours without feeling pain and discomfort around your wrist or inside the palm.
Materials are just as diversified. It seems the top-rated knives today come with solid wood. However, you can also find synthetic materials, such as a polymer or even rubber. Each choice has its benefits, but overall, wood seems to provide more quality and value for money.
The design will most commonly affect the blade structure. Some blades are straight, while others are curved. Surprisingly enough for a newbie, you will find both options in butcher knives. Choosing the best butcher knife becomes a matter of necessities then.
If you opt for a curved blade, it will provide some flexibility when cutting through meat. You can also get between the bones and deal with tendons. Curved blades are excellent at boning, but it will take a while to get used to them. Take it easy, as they are also dangerous and can cause accidents.
Straight blades represent the traditional option. It will work just like a curved blade, yet will not be too good at boning. Instead, it is more suitable for classic straight cuts.
The best butcher knife is not necessarily the biggest knife. Instead, it is the knife that provides most versatility because this is what you need it for. The blade is relatively thin and will allow you to slice and go between bones. How long should it be? Hard to tell. Size does matter, but bigger is not better. It is up to you to determine what blade length to go for, based on the recipes you normally prepare.
From many points of view, it is more important just to be flexible and get the knife everywhere effortlessly.
What is the most suitable knife for raw meat?
Raw meat is soft, so you might think any kind of knife can cut through it. However, this is only a misconception. While you can get the job done, the cut will be uneven and a bit rough. At the same time, it depends on what kind of meat you deal with.
If you have a small piece of meat on a bone, a boning knife makes a good option. The cimeter style will also work in boning meat. Cutting a large piece of meat? Got some small or medium bones? A heavy cleaver knife can do the trick.
How should I look after a butcher knife?
A butcher knife is not the average knife you buy from a supermarket, but a specialized tool. Therefore, it requires particular care and maintenance. While cheap knives can go in the dishwasher for easy maintenance, such a knife requires a different type of care.
Make sure you wash specialized knives manually. Most stainless steel knives should be washed manually. Use a regular dishwasher liquid and dry the knife before storing it. If you use it on acidic foods, it should be washed straight away.
How often do I need to sharpen my knife?
The best butcher knife will be razor sharp out of the box. You must pay attention when you unpack it. To sharpen it now and then, you can use a professional sharpening tool or a sharpening stone – you might as well take it to a professional.
How often do you have to do it? This answer varies widely from one user to another. How often do you use it? What kind of foods do you normally use it for? If you feel like it no longer cuts like in its first days, you probably need to sharpen it – you should be able to feel it.
In the end, deciding on the best butcher knife on the market is a matter of personal needs and preferences. You know better than anyone else what you need. There are more categories out there, and each of them features a plethora of products, so take your time to identify the best match.