In the world of cutlery, each knife has a specific purpose, and each one is slightly different than the next. When it comes to cutting meat properly, there’s a set of criteria to consider in order to choose your best kitchen knives, including size, weight, and material. The best knife for cutting meat is sturdy and well-made, sharp enough to glide through meat easily, easy to handle, and properly balanced. Read on for some of the top options for meat knives in several categories.
- BEST OVERALL: Victorinox Fibrox Pro Slicing Knife with Granton Blade
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Professional 10 inch Carving Knife
- BEST PROFESSIONAL: Victorinox Swiss Army Fibrox Pro Straight Butcher Knife
- BEST CARVING: Mercer Culinary Genesis Carving Knife
- BEST JAPANESE: Shun Sora 8-Inch Japanese Chef’s Knife
- BEST LIGHTWEIGHT: Premium Forged High-Carbon Steel Scalloped Edge Knife
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Knife for Cutting Meat
When shopping for the best knife for cutting meat, it’s important to consider certain criteria. The knife’s weight, for example, should suit your preferences as a cook. Some prefer a heavier knife while others look for a lightweight option, and the size/length of a knife should be comfortable for the user to work with.
The blade should be designed to feel well-balanced and secure when the knife is held in the hands, and the handle should be easy to grip and not slippery. While all knives require occasional sharpening, high-quality options will maintain their sharpness for longer.
A knife for cutting meat should weigh enough for the user to feel comfortable. Some prefer the knife to be heavier so that gravity assists with cutting, making the knife glide through the meat. Others like a more lightweight option, as lighter knives are easier to maneuver and direct through each piece of meat, whatever the size.
To clarify a bit more, while two knives may weigh the same, they may feel different in the hand to different users. Using a knife that feels comfortable to you will give you the best results.
The best size knife for you will depend on the size of your hand, the tasks you will use the knife for, and your personal preference. Whatever the size of the blade, the knife should be comfortable for the user to maneuver as needed, with consideration given to the tasks to be completed.
A smaller paring knife of about 6 inches is ideal for working with small foods, such as peeling an apple or slicing a clove of garlic. An 8-inch knife is more versatile for household cooking and prepping tasks, while a 10-inch or longer blade can be useful for larger items like pumpkins or watermelons.
Different types of knife blades are designed to cut through different types of foods. The basics of these include:
- Plain edge blades: Most knives in any kitchen are likely to have plain edge blades. These are designed to be straightforward, cutting a clean slice through either hard or soft foods without fraying them as they cut.
- Serrated edge blades: Serrated blades have edges similar to a saw. They are jagged and can vary in the size of the teeth along the edge of the blade. These types of blades are useful for cutting thick or hard foods, such as loaves of bread with tough crusts or certain thick-skinned fruits and vegetables.
- Hollow edge blades: Hollow edge knives have indentations just above the edge of the blade. The indentations are designed to create micro air bubbles that enable a cleaner cut, preventing the food being cut from sticking to the blade. This is useful when you want thin slices of meat.
- Granton blades: Granton is a well-known knife company in Sheffield, England, but it can also refer to a type of blade edge. These blades have rows of scallops on both sides, which create mini air pockets between the food being cut and the blade. This air allows the food to release from the blade easily, keeping it from ripping and tearing, which is useful in cutting meats, fish, cheese, and other such foods.
Knife handles can be made from wood, plastic, stainless steel, or other materials. There are pros and cons to each of them, which should be considered when purchasing your knives.
- Wood handles: While wooden handles are generally considered the most attractive-looking knife handles, they are also harder to care for. For example, they require hand-washing, as they’re not water-resistant, as well as occasional mineral oil treatments.
- Plastic handles: Although plastic handles are more easily cared for than wood handles, they can also be prone to splitting or becoming brittle due to ultraviolet damage over a lengthy period of time. Plastics can also become slippery in your hand during use, which can be dangerous when cutting meats or other foods.
- Stainless steel handles: Stainless steel handles are considered the most sanitary as well as the most durable knife handles, but they can get slippery when wet during use. Sometimes, for this reason, you’ll find additional indentations or ridges along the handles to create additional grip. Also, stainless steel knives from blade to handle can be exceptionally heavy, which some knife-makers have remedied by crafting hollow handles.
Our Top Picks
With these factors in mind, take a look at this list of top-quality knives in various categories and see which would work for your meat-cutting needs.
This knife has features that make cutting your meat easier, such as the air pockets in its Granton blade, which lessen friction while cutting. The Granton blade also ensures that food doesn’t stick to it, and the nonslip grip stays dry even when your hands get wet.
You can also feel comfortable using this knife for cutting other foods besides meat. With a sturdy, yet thin, and remarkably lightweight blade, you’ll be able to wash it either by hand or in the dishwasher. Make sure to sharpen this knife about every three months to keep it from getting dull.
Don’t be deceived by the bargain price on this gem. It’s high quality and cuts through meat like butter. It’s known as the jerky slicing knife among the jerky-making professionals who designed it.
The knife’s balanced design encourages simple, uniform cuts for each batch of jerky, which also makes for evenly cut slices of other types of meat. It has a comfort-fit handle and is composed of solid food-grade steel, which means it’s also great for cutting foods other than meat. Best of all, it’s dishwasher safe. Be sure to wash and dry it at once if hand-washing, as it may be prone to rust if left wet for too long.
Crafted in Switzerland, this knife takes the pressure off any butcher’s workload with its high carbon stainless steel and long-lasting sharpness. Cut even the largest pieces of meat with ease using this knife’s ergonomically correct handle and handy non-slip grip. Its built-in finger guard keeps your appendages safe while the 10-inch stainless steel blade meets National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) standards for public health protection.
Cleaning the butcher knife involves washing by hand with soapy water and drying immediately. While it’s dishwasher safe, it’s still better to wash by hand to protect from damaging high-pressure water. Sharpening is rarely needed with these knives, but to maintain optimal performance, honing with a honing steel after every couple of uses is recommended.
Another product of precision-forged German steel, this knife combines top-notch strength and durability. Let precise meat carving commence with this safely-gripped, Santoprene-handled, NSF-certified carving knife. Its long-lasting sharpness and quality design can help you up your carving game. The non-slip grip is comfy and ergonomic, keeping the handle safe even when it gets wet. What’s more? This knife will resist discoloration, corrosion, and stains over time, maintaining a great look for your kitchen collection.
This knife won’t break down with exposure to temperatures of either extreme. It is highly durable and has been tested and held to safety, performance, and quality standards by the NSF.
Japanese-style knives are said to be lighter and have thinner blades than other types of knives, which allows for greater maneuverability and the ability to finely slice foods. Handcrafted in Japan, the Shun Sora Chef’s Knife is handcrafted with a proprietary steel. Its handle is a traditional Japanese design while its blade is non-serrated and hand-sharpened. Shun knives are heat-treated, making their blades stronger and harder with greater durability.
To prevent extensive damage, this knife must be hand-washed. It cannot be placed in the dishwasher.
This premium forged blade is razor sharp, crafted of high carbon stainless steel, and comes with a comfy, slip-resistant handle that’s contoured to hold nicely in the hand. It’s super lightweight and easy to maneuver, a great choice for chopping everything from meat and fish to barbecue and vegetables.
For heavy-duty use, be sure to keep it sharpened properly. It should remain rust-free and stay sharp for a long time otherwise. You may need to buy an extra sheath or cover since one isn’t included. It’s also dishwasher safe for an added bonus.
FAQs About Your New Knife for Cutting Meat
If you’re new to shopping for knives for cutting meat, it’s natural to have questions. Take your time making your decision, and make sure you’re happy with your purchase once you receive it. Here are some frequently asked questions about the best knives for cutting meat.
Q. What knives do professional butchers use?
For their trade, professional butchers use a combination of knives constructed with high-quality materials. High carbon stainless steel is desirable for cutting meat, and a full tang (meaning the blade runs through the full length of the handle) helps the knife feel balanced as it cuts through meat.
A variety of knives such as cimeter knives, butcher knives, cleavers, boning knives, and breaking knives are popular, with each type having different qualities to help the butchers achieve their ideal cuts of meat.
Q. What kind of knife do you use to cut a beef tenderloin?
Either a very sharp filet knife or boning knife are the best choices for cutting beef tenderloin. A small paring knife can also work, but it may have difficulty cutting through all the way as the blades are quite short.
Q. How often do you need to sharpen a knife for cutting meat?
Most home cooks would say professionally sharpening your knives once every three to six months is sufficient.