August 26, 2017

Best Butcher Knife: Arm Yourself with The Sharpest Steel

Best-Butcher-Knife

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For all of us kitchen samurais, there is no favorite katana other than the butcher’s knife. While we don’t actually wield a real sword--that would be cumbersome in the when slicing meat--the good old butcher knife is a must have and without it, you are almost useless.

The butcher knife looks like a scimitar and it’s designed to hack on thick meat because it’s heavy and wouldn’t require a lot of strength for it to penetrate. The curved end of the blade allows you to cut with slicing motion allowing for more precise meat sculpture.

Good quality butcher knife is made of carbon steel because it holds the edge better than stainless. But stainless also have the advantage of being clean and easy to sharpen. It doesn’t discolor the meat or any ingredient you’re cutting.

Those who are looking for quality blades would opt for forged steel rather than stamped because it tends to be stronger and sturdier, giving you the confidence that it won’t break when cutting through bones and cartilage.

What to Look For in a Butcher Knife?​

Before you take one to the counter, make sure you inspect it properly. With so many brands claiming to be of good quality, it’s easy to pick the wrong one and regret the decision later. Here are some things to look at.

Material

Handle

Blade

Edge Retention

Rust Resistance

Slip Resistance

Comfort

Hardness vs flexibility

Last update on 2017-09-21 PST - Details

​My Top 7 Butchers Knife

With all these features in mind, let’s take a look at the best butcher knives in the market today. My choices came after hours and hours of using these knives in my own kitchen and I believe these are really quality knives.​

Dalstrong Boning Knife: The Shogun Series

Via Amazon.com

When it comes to cutting power, the Dalstrong Boning Knife is on top of my list. It sports a handle that is made from ultra-premium G-10 military grade materials and its immune to moisture, heat and cold. The blade itself is made from VG-10 forged carbon steel which holds the edge like Valyrian sword. It boasts a 62+ hardness based on the Rockwell standard and 66 layers of carbon steel repeatedly folded for exceptional hardness and durability.

The knife has a bolster that provides perfect balance and a tapered blade perfect for de-boning, skinning, filleting, trimming and cutting your meats close to the bones.

The thing that made me so confident about this knife is that the manufacturer gives it 100% money back guarantee and a lifetime warranty against defect.


Pros

  • Made of carbon steel
  • Rated 62+ hardness based on Rockwell standard
  • VG-10 steel which holds the edge really well
  • G-10 handle is really sturdy

Cons

  • Six inches is a bit short for really huge preparations
  • The one I got needs a little refinement at the tip

Victorinox 10-Inch Curved Breaking Knife

Via Amazon.com

The name Victorinox is almost synonymous with stainless steel and its reputation is really beyond question. From the original makers of the Swiss Army Knife, the Victorinox 10-Inch Curved Breaking Knife is the best choice for most butchering work. From the name itself, this breaking knife is used to break down large chunks of meat into smaller cuts and pieces.

The blade is made from ice tempered high-carbon stainless steel which guarantees edge retention and rust resistance. This knife is made by stamping on cold-rolled steel and it doesn’t have a bolster typical of stamped knives. And like all other Victorinox made knives, this comes with lifetime warranty against manufacturer’s defect.


Pros

  • Made from carbon steel ensuring hardness and edge retention
  • Made with Victorinox quality
  • Long enough for most cutting needs
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • The blade tends to be too hard
  • Too light for a balanced blade but typical for stamped knives

Mad Cow Cutlery JERO TR 6" Stiff Curved Boning Knife

Via Amazon.com

If you want to get a lot done with minimal effort, the Mad Cow Cutlery JERO TR 6" Stiff Curved Boning Knife is what you’re looking for. Guaranteed to hold the edge, its made from high-carbon German stainless steel, popular among German knife manufacturers. This knife is designed to give you the most enjoyable butchering experience.

The handle is made from solid polymer and a thick rubberized layer for better grip. You can expect this stay in your hands even when it’s wet or greasy.

This knife is hand sharpened to ensure are really sharp edge and laser tested to ensure its sharp out of the box.​


Pros

  • Made from strong German carbon steel
  • Hand sharpened and laser tested
  • Reliable grip

Cons

  • Needs a little refinement at the point
  • Requires constant sharpening

Sani-Safe S112-6-PCP 6" White Butcher Knife

Via Amazon.com

The Sani-Safe S112-6-PCP 6" White Butcher Knife is designed to be safe and sanitary and can stand high and low temperature. It is razor sharp out of the box and rigid enough to slice through chickens and other meat but this is not designed to be used for huge food preparation.

It has a non-slip handle and a protective bolster making this the safest of all the knives reviewed here. It is also inexpensive and I believe it is more suited as a beginner’s knife.

But don’t let its beginner-friendliness fool you, this knife is designed to last and it will serve you well in the long haul.


Pros

  • Rigid blade made from carbon steel
  • Most sanitary blade reviewed
  • Beginner friendly

Cons

  • Too short for larger food preparation
  • Requires constant sharpening

Ontario Knife 7111 Old Hickory Butcher Knife

Via Amazon.com

The simplicity of the Ontario Knife 7111 Old Hickory Butcher Knife is just mind blowing. But don’t let the minimalist design get in the way for you to take it to the counter, this knife has a strong heritage of performance, value and affordability.

Sporting a 10-inch cutting edge, the Ontario Knife 7111 Old Hickory Butcher Knife is made of high-quality materials and can stand the toughest demand of any butcher.

The blade is made from 1095 carbon steel, tempered and made to hold the edge for a long time. This knife will not bog you down with constant sharpening.

The wooden hickory handle which is attached to the tang with two rivets gives it a classic look. Avoid wetting the handle as it will become a breeding ground for bacteria.​


Pros

  • Really sharp edge
  • Huge and sturdy blade for all you cutting needs
  • Useful even for making thin cuts
  • Highly affordable

Cons

  • Too long for some small cutting needs
  • Wooden handle can be a breeding ground for bacteria
  • Needs a little cleaning due to corrosion

Rada Cutlery R109 Old Fashioned Butcher Knife

Via Amazon.com

If you’re looking for an old fashioned butcher’s knife, the Rada Cutlery R109 Old Fashioned Butcher Knife is what you’re looking for. Made from T420 high carbon steel, the edge is hand-sharpened allowing for more precise sharpness. It is also hollow grounded which results in a concave shape at the edge, making it easy to maintain.

This knife tends to be lightweight which may not be good for cutting harder surfaces like bones. Made with aluminum handle and thin blade, this is more designed for people with smaller hands and smaller cutting needs. The handle has a satin finish and has a finger guard to protect your hand from accidental slipping.

If you are looking for a light, safe and good looking knife, this one is for you.​


Pros

  • Suitable for smaller cutting needs like dicing and splitting meat
  • Suitable also for cutting fruits and vegetables
  • Very sharp concave blade
  • Elegant and durable
  • Best value for its price

Cons

  • A little bit flimsy for huge preparations
  • Aluminum handle gets slippery when wet and greasy
  • Best only for light meat cutting

Dexter-Russell S112-10PCP 10" Butcher Knife

Via Amazon.com

For a clean cutting edge that can cut through meat without ragged edges, the Dexter-Russell S112-10PCP 10" Butcher Knife is the best choice. For cutting large meat into smaller and thinner pieces, this is the knife that you’d want to have.

With its 58-lbs weight, you don’t need to add extra strength just to cut through hard surfaces because gravity will do the trick for you.

With a plastic handle material, you can expect a clean and bacteria-free blade. It can be a bit slippery though, so you have to handle it with care. The handle is also a little too thick and if you have smaller hands, you can have a hard time controlling this blade.


Pros

  • Stainless steel and plastic handle makes for a very sanitary knife
  • Ideal for large meat preparations
  • Really sharp and holds the edge longer
  • Very strong knife

Cons

  • More expensive than knives of the same quality
  • The handle is slippery and a bit too large

Read MoreSabatier Knives Review: Get Peerless Level of Fine Edge

Final Thoughts

Even with the advent of electric knives, there is still room for the traditional butcher knife in our kitchens. These knives allow for the ragged cutting and hacking for large meat that other knives would shy away from. These have been proven and tested by butchers through the centuries and will not go away even with the advancement of technology.

For this review, my clear choice is the Dalstrong Boning Knife: The Shogun Series. The VG-10 forged steel is the deal breaker for me because it really holds the edge longer than any of the blades I’ve tested here. The bolster provides a good balance making the knife like an extension of my hands.

The handle is made from military grade materials ensuring that it won’t break or provide a breeding ground for bacteria. The fact that it’s rated at 62+ under Rockwell Standard gives me the confidence that I’m holding a strong and sturdy knife that will now shy away from bones.

​I wished the Victorinox 10-Inch Curved Breaking Knife was forged steel but it wasn’t. I love its quality and the attention to detail that this legendary manufacturer placed on their product is just awesome. If you don’t mind that it’s not forged steel, this is also a good choice.

Do you have other suggestions for a butcher knife? Have you tried using any of the knives I’ve reviewed? Why not share your thoughts in the comment section below?​

    Claire J. Ruiz

    I'm Claire, and my passion is cooking. I believe that food is what actually unites people and the dining table is where we set aside our differences. When we eat we become vulnerable because enjoying food requires a different level of trust and surrender to the person preparing your food. Sharing and enjoying food is one of the most intimate experiences in life.​

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