The Best Butcher Knives- Read This Before Buying
Have you ever found yourself taking too much time chopping up meat? Are you still using that old or tiny knife your father-in-law gave you? Well, my dear friend, you might just be using the wrong knife for the job.
A butcher knife is what you might be lacking all this while. Specifically crafted for cutting meat, butcher knives have evolved into a huge variety, all with the same purpose- cutting meat. With such a complex market of fake and legit knives, it’s hard to siphon out the right knife. Worry no more, today I bring you a review of the best butcher knives in the market.
What are Butcher Knives?
- From time immemorial, huntsmen have been carrying knives with them, which served as both weapons and tools to skin game and cut through meats. Here is where the butcher knife finds its origin.
- Nowadays, butcher knives have come to find their place in meat processing industries and finally to your home kitchen. On the looks, butcher knives have a wide, curvy blade. On the feels, it is quite thick. These two characteristics, weight, and curvature, are what defines the butcher knife. A bulkier knife usually translates to a more efficient cut.
- Butcher knives are used for purposes of sectioning, cutting and stripping meat. They also work well in cutting fruits (pineapples, melons, etc.) and vegetables (onions, carrots, etc.).
Butcher Knives Against Other Knives
Many people will use the chef’s knife and a butcher knife interchangeably. Well, this is wrong as each has a particular purpose. A chef’s knife will often have a broad blade, but will not be as bulky as a butcher knife. It can be used mainly for chopping, slicing, and mincing.
A cleaver is another type of knife that’s also thick and quite hefty. However, this one will typically have an angular, rectangular shaped blade. This kind of knife is used mainly for hacking purposes. It will slice through bones, with a swinging action as that of an ax.
A boning knife is a has a thin and pointed blade. The blade, which is usually about 12 cm long, might either be flexible or stiff. The typical application of this knife is to help separate meat and connective tissue from the bones.
A carving knife is that type with a thin blade and a tip that’s pointed. This one will be used to slice meats into small cuts.
As you can see, these knives vary slightly or significantly from the butcher knife. What you should pick out is that each is fit for a different use based on the features defined.
How To Choose A Good Butcher Knife
When hunting for a butcher knife, you should consider the following factors:
Stamped or Forged
- Blades of knives are either forged or stamped. Forged knives will often be heftier and thicker than their stamped counterparts. As a result, they have a higher price point in comparison to stamped knives.
- Forged knives will bear a bolster found between the heel and the handle of the knife. This bolster is only found on forged knives and is designed to maintain the blade’s balance and keep the user from sliding their fingers on the edge.
This video elaborates the difference between forged and stamped knives.
Knife handles are auxiliary options which are still important in helping you find the right butcher knife. You can opt for either sturdy plastic, wood or stainless steel. Butcher knives with traditional wooden handles are popular for their comfort and looks but are not as firm as the other types. Wood is also generally discouraged by health professionals because they can trap harmful bacteria.
Stainless steel handles, on the other hand, are firm and steady. They also get clean with minimal washing. Mind you, once wet; they will not offer a good grip.
Finally, handles made of plastic are common because they maintain a good grip, don’t attract bacteria, are lightweight and very comfortable. Their only downside is that upon exposure to high temperatures, they might break or get damaged.
High Carbon Stainless Steels – VG-10, 440C, and 420 HC
Knives made from 440C and 420C steels are typically rust-proof and stain-proof. German steel, and consequently knives, are the primary candidates derived from these steels.
The VG-10 steel makes slightly more superior knives. Blades manufactured from this steel will have increased edge retention, are sharp, durable and stain-proof. Many high-end restaurants and chefs will often purchase VG-10 knives.
Things To Watch For In The Perfect Butcher Knife
A few pointers that will tell you if you have the perfect butcher knife are:
Above all comfort comes first. The butcher knife’s handle must fit snug in your hand. Your grip must not be loose and slippery. Make sure the blade is well balanced to improve the ease of cutting. To ensure you have the right balance, look and have a feel of the bolster.
2. Hard and Versatile
A thick blade is a typical feature of a good butcher knife. However, some will have a little flexibility, and that is still okay. Make sure your knife’s blade has a slight flexibility so that it doesn’t break easily. It’s also a useful feature for helping you chop meat from the bone.
3. Resistance To Slip And Rust
The handle of the knife should not be that your fingers can slide towards the blade. Plastics like Proflex and Fibrox make handles that are slip-resistant. For highly rust-resistant and corrosion- resistant blades, look for ones made from carbon steel.
4. Good Edge Retention
The quality of a butcher knife is directly translated in its edge retention capacity. Edge retention defines the length of time the blade remains sharp, even after several rounds of usage. Blade made from carbon steel have excellent edge retention, often coupled with resistance to wear and a degree of flexibility.
A Few Things To Note When Using Butcher Knives
1. Not For Breaking Bones
Whenever possible, use your butcher knife to cut meat from bones. Don’t use it to break through bones as it may damage the blade itself. For those large bones, use a cleaver.
2. No Abrasives, Please
Once done with the knife, clean it in soapy water. Don’t use abrasives on the blade as they may leave marks and eventually stains. Make sure you remove water from the knife using a piece of cloth that’s soft and place it on the knife rack.
3. Take Care With Oiling
I do not recommend that you use mineral oil as it contains salts which might cause staining. Vegetable oil, on the other hand, might make your knife a little smelly. The best alternative is camellia oil. Gently wipe the blade using a piece of cloth that’s soft before storing it for later use.
Top 5 Rankings Of Our Favorite Butcher Knives
Here’s our selection of the top 5 most preferred butcher knives.
- The lengthy and sturdy 12-inch blade
- Unique manufacturing process that makes it superior – conical ground steel using ice tempered steel
- One of a kind Fibrox handle technology that’s great for balance, comfort, and grip
- Sturdy overall feel
- Trusted Swiss quality
- The price point is not for everyone
- Some users found the knife’s size a little uncomfortable
- Sturdy overall feel
- This knife is cut out for the job. The material of construction is very durable carbon steel
- The blade has been made intentionally conical ground throughout its length and depth. The result of this design is a wider break point. The steel blade has also been taken through the rigorous ice-tempering process to enhance its maximum sharpness as well as improve edge retention.
- Victorinox chose to get its blade from the stamping of cold-rolled steel. Their bolsterless design is made to make the entire length of the blade accessible to the butcher.The well-textured Fibrox handle proves to be slip-resistant and will hold well even in meat processing areas.
- Being a known manufacturer, and a world-class trusted company, all their butcher knives come with a lifetime warranty against any manufacturer. Therefore, once you buy this knife, you will be pleased by the security it comes with.
- Pleasant craftsmanship, of both blade and handle that speaks quality
- High-performance carbon steel used for its blade, with excellent edge retention
- Feels very well balanced in the hand
- Ideal for meats as well as outdoor applications like chopping branches
- Made in the USA
- If poorly maintained it would quickly start rusting
- The overall length of 15 inches might be unpractical for some
- The factory edge might be subpar, so be prepared to profile it yourself
- This particular product has been famed as an ideal grilling companion. The simple design consideration behind this knife is what gives it its edge. The detail in the craftsmanship can only be admired once you hold one up close.
- Popular with many families, the 7111 Old Hickory boasts a sound build quality as well as a reasonable price point. The blade is of carbon steel and with the full tang joined to the wooden handle. Beware of the knife’s tendency to become rusty if not well maintained.
- The wooden handle is quite minimalist, but classy nonetheless. It has a firm grip and is very comfortable. Check out this video for a review of this knife.
- Users liked its sharpness straight out of the box
- Retains its edge for a long time
- Has a pleasant weight and balance
- The handle never disappoints with an excellent grip
- Might be brittle, so don’t drop it as it might just break
- For lengthy usage times, your hands might get sore
- The 10-inch blade might not be great working on the grill. You could opt for their 8-inch alternative
- This butcher knife has a straight edge and a pointy tip. A unique selling point is that it is hand sharpened on the production line. Pretty unique, don’t you think? You will be happy to find its edge very sharp.
- Unlike the 7111 Old Hickory, this knife sports a blade made of stainless steel, meaning you won’t have to sweat over observing high maintenance. Weighing in at 0.58 lbs, it is quite sturdy in hand with a good balance.
- Dexter Russel has a patented Grip-flex handle made of slip resistant plastic. What you get as the user is a tamed knife that still delivers.
- Stainless steel blade with good edge retention
- Sharpening is easy
- Well-balanced and will keep up with rigorous daily use
- Very friendly price point, hence high return on investment
- Can work well even at low angles like when skinning a deer
- The grip might be a little uncomfortable for those with smaller hands
- Talk of butcher knives and other tools and F. Dick is the first thing to pop into mind. This reputable German manufacturer has been one of the most renowned brands in the cutlery industry since 1778.
- Their knives have been a staple in many of the world renowned culinary schools. The Ergogrip is just but another flag bearer of this matured German craftsmanship. Firstly, the devil is in the details, and here we must say they have put an incredible level of focus on the detail.
- As the name of this knife goes, the ergonomics are something that came central in the design process. The sturdy plastic handle feels very comfortable while holding. The thickness is just right.
- With a high-quality steel build, many butchers have been able to push the knife without ever worrying too much about maintenance. Edge retention is top notch, and the maximum sharpness is also one of the best in the market today. Overall, this knife will remind you of that friend who’s very sweet but delivers on the job.
- Has an attractive price point
- Hand sharpened in the factory, hence very sharp straight out of the box
- Good grip on either the resin or brushed aluminum handle
- Lifetime guarantee against manufacturer defects
- Made in the USA
- The handle is shorter than other butcher knives, making it uncomfortable for people with larger hands
- The thin and short 7.75-inch blade will not perform well in meat processing industries
- Only hand wash and dry to avoid corrosion and losing edge
- The knives highlighted above serve both industrial and domestic settings. However, for a knife more geared towards your home kitchen, you might want to take a look at the R109 Old Fashioned Butcher Knife. For those with a tradition to buy unprocessed meat and cut it themselves, this is the knife for you.
- This knife will help you split anything from chicken breast to stripping fajita meat all the way to slicing up fruits. For a demonstration, check this video on cutting pineapple using the R109.
- Looking at its nifty features, it has a stainless-steel handle layered with a resin for improved grip. Other versions will have a permanent cast of brushed aluminum on the handle. You should take caution with this last model as it isn’t dishwasher friendly.
- The blade is made from high-carbon stainless steel (T420) which promises ruggedness and exceptional edge retention. The blade is thinner than most butcher knives, but it still holds up very well with denser meats.
My favorite one from this review has to be the F.Dick Ergogrip. Aside from the price point, this knife delivers with its maintained edge plus maximum sharpness. The way F.Dick have managed to put the balance on the knife is what increases its value. You will be comfortable cutting through different meats and fruits without a hassle.
Overall, the knives reviewed are the ones my friends and I have used. We chose these simply because they will handle meats to the required level. They are also from reputable companies you can trust.
What has been your experience with any of these knives? Are there other knives you’ve come across that offer better value? Let us know in the comments section below. If you’d like to purchase any of them, just click the product name, and you’ll go to their respective Amazon page. Happy shopping!