When you’re cutting and preparing meat or even removing bones using the best boning knife is going to make the job a lot easier. Sure, you can remove bones from meat using a regular kitchen knife. However, using the wrong knife for the job will leave you with a lot of waste meat still stuck to the bones, you can potentially damage your knife, plus, using the wrong knife can actually be dangerous.
To put it bluntly (no pun intended) You need the right tool for the job. A regular knife will most probably be thicker, not manufactured for the job in hand and will not provide the same level of flexibility as many of the best boning knives will offer. The biggest benefit of using a boning knife is that you’ll save yourself an immense amount of time, you’ll have less waste, and your cuts of meat will look perfect.
When using a boning knife on a piece of meat, you’ll notice some immediate benefits very quickly when compared to other kitchen knives, for example:
However, if you’re a home cook and you feel like you have some good knife skills you could get away with using a fish fillet knife if you don’t own a boning knife. This is not the ideal replacement, but if you ever find yourself without a proper boning knife to do the job, using a skilled pair of hands, you can use the flexible fillet knife in much the same way as a boning knife.
What to Look For in a Boning Knife
Picking out and choosing any kitchen knife can be a very tedious process. To be honest, it takes a lot more work than just picking the best-rated chef knife or one that simply looks the best. If you take the time to do a bit of research on any knife, knowing exactly what specifications and features to consider will allow you to find the best knife that’s priced well below the competition; I have found in many cases the knife can also outperform the competition as well.
So if this is the first time you’re shopping for a new boning knife take some time to read the below; at the end of the day, an informed buyer is the best buyer!
Boning Knife Types
Just like a fillet knife a boning knife ideally needs to have a bit of flex to the blade. You will find both stiff and flexible boning knives in the marketplace.
If you tend to work with poultry or even fish the more flexible your boning knife is, the easier your food preparation will be.
Not all boning knives are the same, for example, some blades are straight, and some are slightly curved. Each blade type serves a slightly different purpose in the kitchen, and the differences can quite literally mean spending 15 minutes or spending 2 minutes removing bone.
Utilizing a slightly curved boning knife, you’ll find that removing the bones is possible with just one pass of the knife. On the other hand using a straight blade boning knife will allow you to get into tight crevices and in-between bones. For the novice home cook, you shouldn’t worry too much about the type of blade as both types will adequately de-bone meat.
Does Size Matter?
Boning knives vary in size, anywhere from 5 to 6.5 inches in length with each size having their pros and cons. Smaller blades are the best option for when you’re removing bone from delicate cuts of meat and tend to have a bit more flexibility.
If you are trying to fillet a fish and don’t own a fillet knife, you can use a larger boning knife. To be honest, there’s very little difference in the two knives. If you’re a professional butcher picking up a boning knife that’s up to 9 inches in length is not unheard of and its the best size boning knife for extremely large cuts of meat.
Unless you’re on a very tight budget and want a cheap fillet knife made out of stamped stainless steel, try and always purchase a forged boning knife. All boning knives are going to be made out of some type of stainless steel (unless they are ceramic knives) with tempered, high carbon, 4116 and Cold steel being some of the favorite steels with manufactures. There’s no right answer here, all of these blade materials are an excellent choice.
Boning Knife Handle
Like any kitchen knife, you will find a wide selection of options when it comes to the handle. Wooden handles, hard plastic, and synthetic materials such as Polypropylene being some of the more popular options. What you ultimately decide to choose depends on your personal preference.
The tang of the blade is also a significant feature to take into consideration For me, this is what makes the best boning knife, the type of tang. Try and buy a boning knife with a full tang; a full tang basically means that the blade runs all the way through the handle (1 piece of metal). This provides a far more durable knife coupled with much more control. A partial tang knife (which are often cheaper)typically snap where the handle meets the blade.
Best Boning Knife to Buy (Top Picks 2023)
I have de-boned a lot of carcasses over the years and have lost count of the many different knives for cutting meat I have used. For this best boning knife review I have put a handful of kitchen knives through their paces and have handpicked a selection of some of the best boning knives that came out on top in my meat trimming tests. There’s even a Japanese boning knife added to the list; let’s take a closer look.
Victorinox Boning Knife
If you know anything about kitchen knives, then you most probably know that Victorinox makes some of the best affordable kitchen knives around (I’m a big fan of their cheap chef knives. In fact, they’re the name behind the iconic Swiss Army Knife. Even their knives may be cheaper; they don’t scrimp on the quality.
So when the time time to carry out my best boning knife review, it was a no-brainer that a Victorinox boning knife just had to make an appearance.
The Victorinox boning knife is a great knife for an avid home cook, a culinary student and all the way up to a professional line cook; this boning knife doesn’t disappoint. The 6-inch flexible blade is perfect for separating poultry, meat and even fish from the bone with surgeon-like precision and control.
The blade had been stamped from cold-rolled steel, and this kitchen knife manufacturing process helps to keep the cost down when compared to a forged knife. The Ice-tempered stainless steel stamped blade has been conical ground allowing for wider break point and provides maximum sharpness and edge retention.
The handle on this boning knife offers excellent grip (even with my wet bloodied hands), plus it has great balance for a cheap boning knife and was surprisingly comfortable. This is mainly due to the textured, slip-resistant Fibrox handles. Great boning knife for the budget minded.
Shun Boning Knife
If you’re looking for a Japanese boning knife, look no further than this Shun offering. First off, don’t let the price put you off, yes it might be hitting the top-end of a lot of budgets, but this knife will last a lifetime, think of it as a one-time investment. Actually, you’re “killing two birds with one stone” with this Japanese boning knife as it doubles up as a fish fillet knife as well.
Just like the others Japanese kitchen knives the Shun boning knife is precision hand forged in Seki City (capital of samurai sword manufacturing), Japan by renowned blade manufacturer KAI. When we talk about the best kitchen knives, Shun is always at the top of the list, and this Japanese boning knife doesn’t disappoint.
The 6-inch curved blade features 16 layers of high-carbon stainless steel on each side, producing a 33 layered Damascus rust proof knife. The slightly dimpled Damascus blade is not only aesthetically appealing but also helps to reduce drag and sticking when slicing through meat.
The blade is partnered with a lovely looking Pakkawood handle which comprises of a blend of resin and hardwood veneers. For a one-time investment, this knife will stand the test of time, you really can’t go wrong with the quality of this boning knife, but deep pockets are a must – it’s pricey!
Wusthof Boning Knife
If you’re looking for the best flexible boning knife, the Wusthof might just be the knife you seek. Flexible and spanning 6-inches in length, this knife is one of the best boning knives in the marketplace.
The Wusthof boning knife is a great boning knife for poultry due to its narrow, flexible blade. The blade has been forged from high-carbon stainless steel which has then been hand-honed for a superior razor-sharp edge.
The blade is resistant to stains and corrosion, and this Wusthof boning knife has lasted me years without ever losing its unique shine or dulling, of course, you have to regularly maintain and sharpen the knife to ensure it lasts.
This boning knife is a full-tang knife meaning the blade and the handle are one piece of metal which offers extra durability and balance. The handle has a great classic look with the three rivet design providing excellent grip. When pressing down on the handle, you’ll quickly notice the amount of control you have due to the slight curvature that allows for an overall better grip. In my opinion, this is the best boning knife for the money.
Global Boning Knife
If the Shun boning knife is a bit too pricey, here’s another Japanese boning knife that might just fit your budget. The Global boning knife is slightly longer than some of the others coming in at 6 ¼ inches in length. Not much difference you might say, but that extra ¼ of an inch makes all the difference on larger pieces of meat. The blade is “frighteningly” flexible, and it nearly doubles over! This size is perfect for getting into carcasses as well as running the blade along the bone; it makes the job super easy.
One of the best traits of ALL Global knives is that the blade is also the handle, the knife basically is just one piece of stainless steel. The design allows you to put as much force on the blade without worrying about it breaking where the handle and blade meet. It also allows for super easy cleaning as there are no crevices or gaps where food and bacteria and get stuck.
Even though the Global boning knife doesn’t have a handle per se, it still offers excellent grip. How? Well, thanks to the dimple design you’re able to get a firm grip and surprisingly even with wet hands I still felt like the knife held firm.
Speed Boning – This Guy is FAST!
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