You might have walked into a fancy restaurant and felt out of place. Maybe you looked at all that cutlery and felt overwhelmed – you had no idea which one to use for which part of the meal! Knife shopping can be equally puzzling. They all do the same thing, but there are thousands!
Knife experts say you only need three knives: an 8-inch chef knife, a bread knife, and a paring knife. Those three blades will cover all your kitchen needs. But when you want something specific, you need extra guidance. So let’s explore the best knife for cutting meat.
Do you wash your knives? If you toss them in the dishwasher, they may grind against the rest of your dishes, which dulls the edge. They may also leave cut marks in your softer kitchenware since everything bumps together. It’s partially why some home cooks avoid washing their knives. But the knives get all sorts of stains when food sticks to the blade surface.
Mercer has a Grantoc blade, so its hollow divots make it tougher for food to stick. It also keeps your slices clean and seamless so your food looks better and you use less energy. The knife has a rounded tip and its extended length enhances its functionality. You could cut open baguettes, fillet fresh fish, or trim long beef shanks. The blade is Japanese steel so it holds its edge well.
The handle is a mix of polypropylene and Santoprene so it’s comfortable, durable, and dishwasher safe, though we advise washing the knife by hand to extend its lifespan. Mercer offers a limited lifetime warranty for this knife. The knife is stamped from a single piece of high carbon steel. Its handle has tiny textured studs to improve your grip. The finger grip prevents slipping as well.
Mercer is a pretty piece of kitchenware with a long lifespan. However, the handle and blade can both get discolored or damaged in a dishwasher. Be careful not to cut yourself while washing.
Granton blades are an interesting phenomenon. They add texture to your knife blade, offering aesthetic benefits. The scallops also provide a non-stick surface, meaning your fingers are less likely to slip. The Victorinox 47645 has those tell-tale finger grooves. They serve a practical purpose because they trap air as you press the knife into your meat or veggies.
These pockets of air cut down on friction, pun intended. This enables the Victorinox to make a smoother cut and thinner slices without tearing the fibers of your meat. The 47645 is a carving knife, so it’s effective on both raw and cooked meat. It’s usually paired with a carving fork, some skewers, or a pair of tongs to hold the meat in place while you work.
The knife has Fibrox handle that’s ergonomically shaped. It won’t slip even while it’s wet, and the nub rests naturally in the crook of your thumb. The blade is stainless steel with a high carbon ratio for added strength. The carbon also helps your knife hold its edge after sharpening. The blade is 12 inches long and its handle adds another 5.4 inches to its overall length.
This Victorinox knife is beautifully balanced and pretty too. Its Granton scallops prevent your meat from sticking to the knife, and while it’s dishwasher-safe, hand-washing is recommended.
This curvy scimitar will bring out your inner pirate. Its curvy blade provides extra leverage for thick bony cuts. The curve also improves your grip as you trim off the fat from ribs and greasy meat portions. This 10-inch blade comes with a sheath to protect its sharpness and preserve its edge, so be careful not to lose that protective cover. The knife has Granton divots on its blade.
This specific knife is a breaking knife. So in addition to giving you super slim slices, it’s good for tearing your meat off the bone, slicing through cartilage, cracking small bones, and skinning wild game. You can use it to skin poultry if you slaughter it at home. The pointy tip and curvy back make it easy to pierce. The handle is ambidextrous, so you can use it left or right-handed.
The Dalstrong Breaker is part of the Gladiator Series, and its handle is made of imported Spanish pakkawood. Blades are hand-polished to get that glossy satin shine and every knife comes with a 100% money-back guarantee. Its hardness is 56+ on the Rockwell scale, and the blade has three rivets to hold it in place. This knife is as flexible as it is pretty, and effective too.
Left-handed chefs and home cooks will love the ambidextrous ergonomic grip on this knife. But the protective sheath is easy to lose, so order a few extra pieces if you can.
Wooden knife handles are typical. But they can be annoying because they need extra care. Otherwise, they get moldy and slick, introducing musty smells and potentially harmful germs to your kitchen. Pakkawood is popular though because it’s beautiful and kitchen-friendly. This Tuo carving knife has a pakkawood handle with a rounded ergonomic front.
This curvy handle fits perfectly into your palm as you cut. Meanwhile the German steel blade has Granton hollows for lower frictions and finer cuts. The edge of the knife is polished by hand and sharpened to 15° to 18° on either side. The carving knife is part of the 8-knife Fiery Phoenix Series that includes a 5-inch utility knife, a 7-inch Santoku, and several other pieces.
You can buy the carving knife on its own though. It’s versatile enough to push past meat, so you can use it for fruit and other food too. Since this is both a slicing and carving knife, it can fillet, debone, make butterfly slices, skin your meat, trim off fat, and much more. It’s a high-carbon knife so its blade is sturdy and long-lasting. Its luxury packaging makes it an ideal gift.
This multi-purpose life has a full money-back guarantee and a lifetime warranty. It’s a forged, heat-treated knife with a keen edge, but it doesn’t come with a sheath. Order one separately.
How do you stand out in a sea of similar products? Well, you could make a slight tweak to your dimensions. Carving knives tend to come in even numbers, but Mairico made theirs a memorable 11 inches. The knife doesn’t have a sheath, but it has a pretty box with a custom-fit felt bed to hold the knife in place. It protects the knife during shipping and preserves its edge.
The knife has Granton grooves on its stainless steel blade. The knife handle has three rivets for added reinforcement. The handle also has a metal finger guard to reduce kitchen accidents. It has a rounded blade tip and is well balanced for fatigue-free usage. Hold on to the box though, because that 11-inch blade (plus an additional 8-inch handle) probably won’t fit in your drawers.
The Mairico knife weighs 14.4 ounces. Its shape isn’t as flexible as curved butcher’s knives or slicing knives, but it can still produce bacon-thin slices of meat. And the divots keep the blade smooth and non-stick, even with the slimmest slice of food. It’s a China-made brand, but its good quality in a pretty pack, so it’s sure to grace your kitchen counter.
This knife holds its edge well and you can sharpen it with anything from electrical tools garage sale whetstones. But it only cuts fresh food. The blade might break is you try it on frozen meat.
So far, we’ve seen high-quality knives from Germany and Japan. Now let’s look at one from Spain. The steel blade is German-made so it’s well-engineered and stays sharp for extended periods. It’s a forged knife, and the molten metal manufacturing process makes it sturdy. The knife has a seamless shift between its blade and its handle. Three rivets hold the two together.
This knife is dishwasher safe. And because it has a shorter blade, it faces less risk of being banged around and dulled inside the machine. The knife is on the smaller side and is well-balanced so it’s comfortable to use. Its narrow blade and shrunken size make it suitable for deboning, skinning, coring, and fine cutting tasks that require wrist dexterity.
The knife is lightweight at 3.2 ounces. It measures 13 inches from point to tip and is under 4 inches at its widest point. It has a thermoplastic handle and is a flexible knife, so it’s recommended for meal prep and intricate cutting, slicing, and trimming. It’s not suitable for more broad-scope tasks like cutting up large chunks and heavy shanks.
While this knife is a little over 1 foot long, it’s considered a small life. It has a flexible blade, so don’t use it on thicker cuts or frozen meat – you’ll only ruin the knife.
We all agree an 8-inch chef’s knife is a kitchen essential. This Wusthof version looks exactly as a kitchen knife should. Some shoppers find this stereotypical design comforting. Others find it dull and cliché. But let’s review the quality of the knife. It’s an all-purpose piece, so it’ll do meat, but it can do anything and everything else except for chopping big bones.
The 8-inch blade sits on a 5-inch handle with three rivets. It’s ergonomic, complete with a metallic finger guard and a slightly hooked bottom to better support your palm. The handle is synthetic, so it won’t fade or change color when you clean it with bleach.
Though it looks cheap, it’s forged at 58° and is made from high carbon German steel. The precision forging process ensures your knife gets 20% sharper and holds its edge twice as long as earlier Wusthof versions. The knife weighs 8.5 ounces and carries the Trident logo, which means it was manufactured in one of three exclusive plants in Solingen, the ‘City of Blades’.
Wusthof knives look slick, but some experts fault the lip at the bottom of the blade. Still, this classically designed German piece adds class and elegance to any kitchen. And it cuts well too!
How about a little culinary ninjitsu? The word ‘Kessaku’ means ‘masterpiece’, and this knife is aptly named. This Japanese kitchen blade is part of the Samurai Series. The 12-inch blade has rounded divots etched into its surface. Carving knives are often paired with a fork or spike, but this Japanese knife as a reinforced spine that’s streamlined for precision carving.
The pakkawood handle is resistant to heat, cold, moisture, and manual damage. The handle is polished to a sheen, adding aesthetic pleasure to the knife’s many attributes. The Kessaku is a full tang knife, meaning the cutting edge runs down to the tip. It’s sharpened to 16° on both sides and the knife has a Rockwell hardness rating of 58. The knife has a lifetime warranty.
Storing your knife correctly will keep it sharper for longer. Your Kessaku comes in a premium box with a magnetic closing mechanism, cleaning cloth, sheath, and care tips, just like a true samurai sword. The carving knife is covered by a lifetime warranty plus centuries of Japanese tradition. Like many blades, it’s completely forged by hand to ensure uniqueness and quality.
Kessaku’s carving knife may not have the shimmering beauty of a katana, but it has the same history, tradition, and skillful forging, so it’s well worth the price tag.
We haven’t looked at any cleavers so far, but they could easily be the best knife for cutting meat. Their blades are generally shorter, their angles are harsher, and their handles are heavier. They’re also balanced differently, so they’re good for hacking at bones or frozen meat. The Zelite is made of ThyssenKrupp steel and is ideal for Asian recipes and Chinese cuisine.
It’s a full tang knife with an ergonomic handle made from ABS plastic. The handle is curved to comfortably nestle into your palm without slipping, straining, or causing excess fatigue. The edges are sharpened 15° to 18° on both sides, and the knife comes packed in a premium white box filled with molded red felt. Retain this box, as it helps you maintain the German steel.
Zelite knives are known for retaining their sharp edge longer than average knives. This 7-inch high-carbon stainless steel blade has a 100% satisfaction guarantee or you get all your money back. The knife is 86mm at its widest point and measures 308mm from blade to handle tip. Zelite’s cleaver weighs 14.1 ounces so its lighter than it looks, and is sufficiently sturdy.
This knife looks good and feels great. But it’s not a high-traffic knife. Even the manufacturer recommends sharpening it after 6 to 8 hours of cutting and avoid cutting on stone surfaces.
The Rada knife is sharp and simple. It’s a low-end light-duty knife with pretty features. But it’s only intended for light tasks and soft meats like ham, slow roasts, and tender poultry. You can also use it to slice cake or soft fruits like melons. It’s not ideal for tougher cuts or raw meat. The Rada has a 9.5-inch blade with a hollow ground edge. The blade is made from high carbon steel.
The blade metal is the same quality as surgical scalpels and it’s a flexible blade, so avoid cutting into hard surfaces like concrete or stone chopping boards. The knife handle is metal too – black stainless steel fused with resin. This makes the handle dishwasher safe though the hand-sharpened blade could still get damaged in the machine. Wash it by hand if you can.
This American-made life has a hassle-free guarantee, but it’s not a sturdy knife. It works fine for fruit salads and deli meats, but it’s not suitable for your BBQ knifing needs.
Before you argue about rare or burnt meat, you need a good knife. Ideally, it should be versatile enough for poultry, wild game, beef, or sushi. Let’s discuss some knife-buying tips:
If you can only buy one knife, go for a chef’s knife. But when you’re looking for something more specific, consider the category. Boning knives and butcher’s knives are best for separating meat from the bone, whether you’re working with fish, beef, or poultry. Carving knives and slicers have good edges for cooked meat while scimitars are good for raw slicing, trimming, or cutting.
Some knives have a metal guard at the end of the blade. It’s intended to protect your fingers, but it reduces your cutting edge. Look for a knife with a blade that runs to the end. As for the handle, test it for firmness and grip. Many claim to be ergonomic but are uncomfortable to use. Others are pretty but they fall off after one wash. You can choose wood, metal, or plastic handles.
Many knives are made of stainless steel, but it depends on the type, gauge, and strength of the metal. The treatment of the metal matters too. Stainless steel knives are good at retaining their edge, so they stay sharper for longer. But carving knives have a more malleable edge, meaning they’re easier to sharpen. But they need sharpening more frequently since they easily get blunt.
A knife can be forged or stamped. Forged knives are made from molten metal which is then cast and banged into shape. They take longer to make because they have to be heated and cooled several times. Stamped knives are shaped from pre-shaped metal. They’re far more affordable, but don’t last as long, so weigh the price of a one-time purchase against repetitive orders.
Knives are classed according to their size, purpose, and blade quality. These three features are correlated. For example, boning knives are long and narrow to avoid wasting meat as you cut around slim bones. Bread knives are serrated to cut through crusty starch. Granton edges are good for thin slicing while straight edges are better for chopping and cutting.
For some users, the knife-maker is the most important factor. But if you buy a name-brand knife, you’ll spend much more on it. Japanese knives are known for their quality. It could be anecdotal, due to their association with ninjas and samurai katanas. But knife experts confirm that Japanese knives hold their edge for longer, so they need sharpening less often.
A knife can be anything from 4 inches to 14 inches, and the size you buy depends on your needs. Longer knives are more versatile since you can use them for large cuts and smaller tasks. For food prep tasks like peeling, slicing, or coring, shorter knives work best because you can work around corners and edges. Thin blades are ideal, because they make sharper, slimmer slices.
If you’re vegan, you probably don’t care about the best knife for cutting meat. But some fruits (like pineapple) and veggies are hardy. And you might still need a cleaver to crack those coconuts. If you live in a beach town, you probably have sushi and shellfish on regular rotation, so you should own sufficient fish knives. Cheese lovers need a good knife selection too.
Beyond the type of food you prefer, your most common cooking methods will play a role in the knives you select. If you like your meat lean, you need a trimming knife (or a butcher that will pre-trim your fat). For lovers of open roasts, a cleaver or butcher knife is essential for those T-bone steaks and heavy sawn-off cuts. For lovers of crabs and lobsters, oyster knives are a must.
Did you know washing your knife can dull its edge? It’s why many people avoid cleaning them even though, ironically, wetting the knife is a key part of the sharpening process too. So if you’re a germophobe, check that your knives are dishwasher safe. This also prevents accidental cuts as you wash the knives by hand. For wooden handles, expose the knife to minimal moisture.
Florence is a writer and editor located in Irvine. Her work has appeared in Business Insider, Buzzfeed, and Wikihow, among others. She enjoys Pets and Cooking and serves as a consulting editor for The Cannibal Beer & Butcher.