You have selected the perfect cut of meat from your local butcher. You know just the right blend of spices and exactly how long to marinate your gorgeous slab of meat before grilling, roasting, or slow cooking it to precisely the right temperature. You have the ingredients, the cookware, the grill, and the know-how.
Our question is this: do you have the right knives? Because that my chef friend can make all of the difference in the world when it comes to how you prepare and serve your meat.
Like most people, you probably have a variety of knives in your kitchen drawer, or maybe in a fancy knife block on the countertop. Do you even know what they are all used for, or if they are still sharp? Here’s a list of a few more questions to really get you pondering your knife situation:
- What are your knives made of? What about their weight and overall durability?
- Are your knives forged or stamped (don’t worry an explanation is coming…)?
- How about the handles on your knives? Do they slip right out of your hand or are they uncomfortable? That’s a safety hazard that you can easily avoid with a good knife.
- Do you have specific knives for specific jobs? The answer should be yes, but if not that is okay. We have you covered.
There are so many important, and oftentimes unanswered, questions when it comes to household knives. But don’t worry, we are here and have the experience (both good and bad) to answer all of your knife quandaries.
Whether you are serving chicken, beef, fish, venison, or pork, having the right knife is of utmost importance from prepping to serving. Even better, an excellent knife will make you look like a Chef de Cuisine. In other words, we mean experienced and awesome.
We are here to help you succeed at your culinary conquests. It is no easy task, but with the right tools and tricks, you will be well on your way.
Table of Contents
- What are the best knives for preparing and serving meat?
- I. The Cleaver
- II. The Boning Knife
- III. The Carving Knife
- IV. The Slicing Knife
- V. The Chef’s Knife
- Why invest in a great set of knives?
What are the best knives for preparing and serving meat?
First of all, let me remind you that all knives are not created equal. If you have ever used a dull or poorly built knife you know exactly what we are talking about. If you need reasons to invest in a good knife then guess what? We certainly have a few:
- The perfect knife will be your best friend every time you prepare or serve not just meat, but any dish (meat or no meat). It takes prepping and cooking to an entirely different level when you have a knife that will do all (ok most of) the hard work for you.
- Prepping is a big deal. It’s a huge part of the process. You trim some fat here, remove some meat from the bone there, and guess what? All of that takes a whole lot of time. Prepping with a well-built, sharp knife allows for precision and efficiency.
- Forged or stamped? These terms refer to how a knife is made. You most likely want a knife that’s forged from one single piece of steel. That doesn’t necessarily mean stamped knives aren’t up to par – you just have to know what you are buying. Reviews are a great asset when buying anything online (such as this one!).
- Durable, quality knives are for everyone, not just professional chefs working at some chic and sophisticated restaurant. And guess what? There’s an abundance of options available in every price range.
You can spend a fortune on a fancy cut of meat from your local butcher, but if you don’t prepare it correctly and in a timely, efficient manner you might as well throw away your money. You deserve the best, and we have compiled a list of great knives, broken down by the type of knife.
While we suggest having all of these knives on hand, you can slowly build your collection. It’s worth the investment in the long run.
I. The Cleaver
The meat cleaver’s sheer size is pretty incredible, but so is what it is capable of doing in the kitchen. Take for example a cook prepping an entire chicken or a whole duck. That is a whole lot of bone to cut through. Enter the meat cleaver, a massive knife that uses its own weight to break through all that bone with ease.
Sure, you will probably use it for cutting a variety of fruits and vegetables as well, but the cleaver is an excellent knife for preparing certain meat dishes. While it’s capable of cutting through pineapple or watermelon easily, the real joy is watching it hack away at large chunks of meat and bone.
Okay…maybe we are being a bit morbid, but if you have ever tried to saw through a chicken or pork bone with a knife that just doesn’t cut it (get it…we are on a roll here…) then you know exactly why having the right knife would bring aforementioned joy.
By the way, if you see a hole in your cleaver or butcher’s knife, don’t worry, there has not been a mistake. It is simply because these knives are so large that they typically won’t fit in a drawer, and need to be hung on a wall instead.
Check out our two favorite cleavers and why we love them:
1. DALSTRONG Cleaver Butcher Knife – Gladiator Series -“The Ravager”
What we love:
- Triple-riveted, laminated, water-resistant handle
- Razor-sharp high quality forged ThyssenKrupp German steel
- Perfectly balanced weight for optimal control
What a knife, right? Just by looking at this beast of a knife, your meat knows what’s coming. It’s named “The Ravager” after all – which basically means to bring havoc. Oh, and it is part of Dalstrong’s Gladiator family if that further piques your interest…
So, what are the perks? Well, to start with you have hand-polished edges that are 14 to 16 degrees per side. That means you have a superior, incredibly sharp blade.
The laminated black Pakkawood handle is durable and provides excellent grip, not to mention is stunning. Who doesn’t want a gorgeous knife that also works incredibly hard?
The greatness continues. This medium-heavy duty cleaver boasts a 9” blade that’s razor-sharp and ready to cut through the toughest chicken bone or even a slippery, wet fish head.
If you took a look at the knife, we hope that you noticed that incredibly sharp, pointy tip. We sure did – it is an easy, effective way to pierce skin and maneuver throughout any cut of meat, even the toughest cuts.
2. Imarku Cleaver Knife
What we love:
- High quality German stainless steel
- Easy to maintain
This multifunctional German stainless steel knife is a rock star in the cleaver world. Not only does it excel at slicing, chopping, and dicing, its blade is made of high-quality stainless steel that won’t make you work hard while working or maintaining.
The handle is made of gorgeous, ergonomic Pakka wood, which of course allows for superior grip and comfort. A great handle makes all of the difference in the world for chefs moving quickly throughout the kitchen. No slipping means no accidents. That’s oh so important because no one wants to end up in the emergency room due to a faulty, poorly made knife.
After the meat cleaver has done its job, enter the ever so important boning knife.
II. The Boning Knife
The boning knife does exactly what it sounds like it is supposed to do – it removes meat from the bone. Sharp, thin, and pointy, the boning knife is an important part of any knife collection as it is what is going to get us started in the kitchen (after those crazy huge meat cleavers of course).
As you prepare your meat, you most likely need to remove skin or fat, which a boning knife handles like a pro. Or perhaps you are stuffing your chicken or pork with some delicious concoction.
With a boning knife’s thin and flexible, but extremely sharp blade, butterflying your meat has never been so easy and precise. Do you need to remove those pesky, tiny fish bones? These knives have you covered.
We’ve explained how a good boning knife should work. But what do you get for going out and purchasing one of these incredibly sharp beauties? A good boning knife is a great investment. What’s the ROI you ask? The return on your investment is not wasting one single morsel or tidbit of the meat. There will be none left on the bone, thanks to that sharp, curved blade on your boning knife.
There are absolutely no wasted pieces when using a great boning knife -which results in you making the most of your purchase and saving money in the long run. Which means you can buy more meat!
Pro Tip: Don’t forget you are not cutting bread – so no need to saw the meat. The boning knife is sharp and ready to slice through the meat in long strokes.
We’ve researched and tested some of the finest boning knives out there so you don’t have to. Check out these two winners:
1. Shun Classic Boning and Fillet Knife
What we love:
- High performance heat-treated VG-MAX steel
- Gorgeous ebony Pakkawood handle
- Lightweight and functional
Not only is the Shun Classic Boning and Fillet Knife a striking work of art, but it also performs effortlessly and efficiently. This is an absolute must-have in a busy kitchen, whether in a restaurant serving hungry patrons or at home whipping up dinner for ravenous children.
Back to the important stuff – let’s begin with the handle.
The handle is often overlooked but of great importance when it comes to excellent design. The ebony PakkaWood handle is stunning yet ultra-durable and comfortable. Slice confidently with a secure grip. So that those awaiting your masterpiece aren’t interrupted by a slip of the hand and a nasty cut requiring medical attention.
Shun’s exclusive VG-MAX steel increases edge retention and resists corrosion. In other words, this knife is a keeper because it requires little maintenance for a long time. A winner in our book!
A beautifully curved, razor-sharp blade allows for easy slicing, expertly removing skin and cutting meat away from bones precisely and efficiently.
Beauty meets function in this gorgeous, well-designed boning knife.
2. Victorinox – 47602 Swiss Army Cutlery Fibrox Pro Curved Boning Knife, Flexible Blade, 6-Inch
What we love:
- Ergonomic Fibrox Pro handle
- Quality Swiss craftsmanship
- Flexible, perfect for delicate meat
An ergonomic Fibrox Pro handle performs even when wet – meaning you don’t have to worry about a sharp knife slipping out of your hand. The grip works with any size hand, petite or large. So no matter who you are this knife will fit comfortably in your hand, a great feeling when using a sharp knife. And if we weren’t clear before, this means that your chances of ending up in an ambulance are much, much lower.
A 6” stainless steel, the curved blade provides the precision and flexibility to slice into the most delicate of meat. Expertly pierce the meat. Remove tiny bones with ease. Get every last bit of delicious meat off of the bone.
Well, that is it for the boning knives. While all knives are important, the boning knife holds great value when it comes to getting the most out of your kitchen utensil. Just by being able to easily get the meat off of the bone you are winning in so many different areas – you are saving money, getting every last bit of flavor from the bone, and doing it all with ease.
III. The Carving Knife
The carving knife has a long, thin blade with a pointed tip that is best for slicing bone-in meats. This knife carves (get it?) around the bone to cut the perfect slices of meat.
Typically the carving knife is used for cutting cooked meat, not raw meat. The carving knife is an exceptional kitchen tool, used every day or on the most special holidays.
A carving knife precisely shaves thin slices from that melt-in-your-mouth roast or perfectly baked ham. This knife is a sandwich’s best friend with its innate ability to carve the most delectable slices of meat. It also makes serving a crowd a breeze with its sharp edges and ability to perform quickly and efficiently.
Check out two of our favorite carving knives – sure to up your kitchen game.
1. J.A. Henckels ZWILLING Pro 2-pc Knife & Fork Carving Set
What we love:
- High carbon German stainless steel
- Angled, thicker top for maximum control and grip
- Well-built, quality steel carving set
J.A. Henckels Pro 2-Piece Carving Set is an outstanding choice for durability, comfort, and precision. With an angled, thicker top, feel free to rest your hand on top of the blade for maximum control. That means less time worrying about safety and more time carving that golden, delicious ham for the family.
This well-built knife and fork set is made from quality materials, designed with the user (and their meal presentation) in mind. Get ready to make a statement as you carve beautiful slices of ham or turkey for family and friends.
2. TUO Cutlery Slicing Carving Knife
What we love:
- High carbon German stainless steel
- Non-stick 12” long super sharp blade
- Beautifully designed to endure
Let’s discuss this beautiful handle. Again we have gorgeous Pakkawood that’s designed with comfort and safety in mind. Good design means safety while working in the kitchen. Safety means more time doing what you love.
The TUO is a highly rated, well-designed knife made from high carbon German stainless steel. We are talking resistant to corrosion and wear, meaning you get a knife that will is long-lasting.
Forget meat and other food sticking to this knife. Its 12” long, super-sharp blade is resistant to sticking, a problem that you don’t know is one until it happens to you. Trust us; you want a blade that is non-stick.
IV. The Slicing Knife
The slicing knife takes on a similar, but slightly different role than the carving knife. A slicing knife has a long blade, but the end is rounded rather than sharp. The slicing knife is perfect for cutting roasts or steaks – without bones (because that is what our friend the carving knife is for.) Like the carving knife, it’s typically used for cooked meat, not raw meat.
We have one, gorgeous beauty that you’ve got to check out:
1. Wusthof 14″ Brisket Slicer, Hollow Edge
What we love:
- Easy, efficient 14” blade
- Lightweight and durable
- Excellent everyday kitchen knife
The Wusthof slicer is made of durable steel, with an incredibly sharp blade for superior slicing. As the name states, it’s perfect for slicing brisket into thin, mouthwatering strips. If you have ever struggled to cut brisket or any tough meat you understand just how important a good slicing knife is.
And just for kicks, let’s say you don’t eat meat. This knife is perfect for slicing all kinds of bread, vegetables, and fruits. It’s really a great everyday tool for every kind of eater and every king of a chef.
V. The Chef’s Knife
The chef’s knife is the do-it-all, the go-getter of the group. It can do almost any job and depending on what chef’s knife you own, it can do it all really well. Cut, carve, slice, or dice – the chef’s knife is a jack of all trades.
Don’t forget that we mentioned forged vs. stamped knives. Forged means your knife came from one solid piece of steel, making it that much more durable. But there are perks to both, so don’t be afraid of stamped knives, especially if you have done your homework.
1. Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef knife
What we love:
- High performance razor sharp knife
- Swiss made beauty
- Lightweight and balanced
A razor-sharp dream that is built to cut, dice, mince, and chop. Designed for maximum cutting performance, this knife is durable yet contemporary. It will be a staple kitchen item for many years to come. We guarantee you will grab this knife for not just meat, but vegetables and fruit as well.
The ergonomic handle is lightweight, balanced, and slip-resistant for complete ease of use. Again, a great quality to ensure the safety of your chefs while you work away in the kitchen.
This knife is an absolute must-have for home chefs who crave a tool with a multitude of functions.
2. Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife
What we love:
- Basic knife, exceptional design
- Exclusive VG-MAX steel – durable and long-lasting
- Beautiful Pakkawood handle
This 8-inch blade is made from Shun’s exclusive VG-MAX steel and is an absolute must-have. If you are just starting in the kitchen, this is a great knife with a wide range of super functional abilities. Need a gift for your cousin’s wedding? How about your buddy’s bachelor party? This knife will be greatly appreciated in the long run.
From tough cuts to the finest selection of meat out there, the Shun Classic can tackle anything and everything with ease and grace.
Why invest in a great set of knives?
If you know, you know. There’s nothing worse than trying to prepare and cook meat with subpar tools. It not only affects your cooking but your appearance and overall morale. Oh, and it can affect the taste and general outcome of your meat dish in ways that make you want to hide and call for pizza before anyone notices.
What we are trying to say is please, please do not underestimate the power of a great knife. Not only will it make your job in the kitchen easier, but it will also make you look like you know what the heck you are doing. There’s no struggle or embarrassment with a fabulous knife set. It only empowers and motivates you to be the best chef and host you could possibly be.
A great set of knives allows you to cook more efficiently and with more grace, thus enhancing your results. Let’s just say that your friends and family will be impressed. And even if you meal doesn’t turn out perfectly, you’ll look good making it.
No chef, whether they are at home or in a five-star restaurant, should be without the tools to help them succeed. A great knife set is a great start to success. Our ultimate goal is to help you achieve culinary success.