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Expert Shopper Kitchen

Best butcher knife


Some kitchen tools can tackle a wide variety of culinary tasks. Others, like a butcher knife, only do one thing extremely well. The butcher knife is one of the most recognizable knives in the kitchen, typically featuring a long, curved blade that's sharp enough to slice through meat effortlessly.

If you want a professional-grade butcher knife, look no further than the F. Dick Ergogrip Cimeter. It's impressively sharp and perfect for slicing up your steak or trimming the fat from large cuts of meat.

What to know before you buy a butcher knife

When to use a butcher knife

Most traditional chef's knives can't break down large cuts of meat, as they aren't sturdy enough. But the swooping, curved edge of a classic butcher knife is designed to cut through meat with ease. You'll find a butcher knife in the kitchen of every high-end restaurant and behind the meat counter at any butcher shop.

As the name implies, butcher knives are great for butchering meats, and you should primarily use them for that. Make sure you have a good chef's knife in your kitchen for chopping other ingredients, like produce and herbs. Even though the butcher knife is a specialized blade, it's worth having it in your kitchen arsenal.

Butchering meat takes practice

Like most cooking tasks, butchering meat takes practice. Breaking down primal cuts or slicing an expensive steak can be challenging. And cutting them effectively without wasting time or meat requires experience. 

Perfecting the slicing motion required with a butcher knife also takes practice. If you are a beginner cook without relevant experience, you should use a butcher knife with extreme caution, as these tools are quite sharp. To learn how to use a knife safely, watch online tutorials to see exactly how chefs use butcher knives in everyday cooking. 

What to look for in a quality butcher knife

Cimeters vs. traditional butcher knives

Traditional butcher knives have a wide, flared tip that helps strip skin and other connective tissue from meat and bones. A cimeter (or scimitar) is another type of butcher's knife that has a more narrow, pointed tip. Cimeters offer a little more agility when prepping more intricate cuts, like baby back ribs and racks of lamb. While the traditional butcher's knife is the more popular, there are very few differences between the two. 

Carbon steel vs. stainless steel 

Versatile kitchen knives are often available in different alloys with varying hardness, edge retention and chip resistance. Butcher's knives come almost exclusively in medium-hardness alloys, most of which are stain-resistant.

There are also some carbon steel butcher knives, which work pretty well. And if you have a bit of experience sharpening knives, you can make your carbon steel butcher knife razor-sharp in no time.

Blade length

Butcher knives range in length from roughly 6-12 inches. Pick a size based on what you plan on using it for. If you're going to slice your own steaks from a whole cut, opt for a longer knife between 10-12 inches in length. If you prep a lot of tough cuts like brisket or ribs, a smaller butcher knife will give you the precision and agility needed to remove stubborn connective tissue.

How much you can expect to spend on a butcher knife

A quality butcher knife often costs between $20-$70. You can find some more expensive butcher knives, but if you're new to cooking, a basic butcher knife will do the trick.

Butcher knife FAQ

How do I sharpen a butcher knife?

A. As with nearly all kitchen knives, the best way to sharpen a butcher knife is with a whetstone. It takes some practice to get good at sharpening your own knives by hand, but in the end, it's more convenient and less expensive than hiring someone else to do it.

Do I need to hone my butcher knife?

A. Yes. Knives made with malleable materials tend to slightly curl at the edge before they degrade, a process known as "going out of true." Cutting raw meat can cause your blade to go out of true pretty quickly. Use a smooth honing rod to keep the knife true and sharp for longer periods.

What's the best butcher knife to buy?

Top butcher knife

F. Dick ErgoGrip Cimeter

What you need to know: You can find this high-quality steel butcher knife in most high-end butcher shops.

What you'll love: Professionals who demand peak performance are quick to recommend F. Dick blades for commercial use, and for a good reason. This knife has a slightly more functional tip than other butcher knives, and the 10-inch length makes it perfect for premium cuts. There's also a 12-inch model for those who work with large cuts of meat.

What you should consider: Because of its size, it's not ideal for trimming fat or connective tissue.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top butcher knife for the money

Ontario Knife Co. Old Hickory

What you need to know: It may look old-fashioned, but this remarkably affordable butcher's blade offers premium performance.

What you'll love: The Old Hickory butcher knife feels solid in your hand, and while it may not look like much, it's crafted from good-quality carbon steel. This butcher knife has a surprisingly sharp edge, and it holds true for a reasonably long time. The 7-inch version works well for trimming and preparing most cuts, although some cooks prefer the 10-inch option for slicing steaks.

What you should consider: Since it's traditional carbon steel, it requires more attention to keep it clean. Make sure you feel confident in your sharpening skills so you can get the most out of this knife.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Victorinox Fibrox Pro

What you need to know: Simple, effective and moderately priced, the Fibrox Pro line is especially popular among professionals.

What you'll love: This is one of the best classic butcher knives on the market. It comes in three sizes, some of which have Granton-style indentations. If you take good care of it, it's sure to last for years to come.

What you should consider: It's a minor nitpick, but the plastic isn't incredibly comfortable.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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