From huge cuts of beef to delicate lamb joints and poultry, meat often requires careful preparation using specialist tools. So, every meat-lover should know their boning knife from their cleaver. Here, we'll discuss the different types of meat knives, including which types of knives are best for different dishes.
A carving knife is a long, slim knife, tapering to a sharp point. Sometimes called a slicing knife, a carving knife is one of the longest kitchen knives in the kitchen. Its narrow width means that it produces less drag as it cuts through food, allowing it to create cleaner, more uniform slices.
Uses of a carving knife
When it comes to serving meats like poultry, pork, lamb or beef, a carving knife is the best tool for the job, as it will produce thin, neat, evenly sized slices. It can also be used to tackle larger fruits and vegetables, such as melons or courgettes, which can be tough to slice through using smaller or broader knives.
The long, thin blades are also ideal for cutting cakes, as they're long enough to cut perfect slices in one smooth cutting motion.
Cleaver or butcher knife
Cleavers — also called butcher knives — have a flat, rectangular-shaped blade. They come in a variety of sizes, depending on their intended use. They’re one of the broadest, heaviest knives, and sometimes feature a hole near the spine of the blade so they can be hung up when not in use.
What is a cleaver used for?
A cleaver is used to chop up raw meat, either as part of the butchery process or to divide it into smaller portions before cooking. The large, heavy design means that it can even cut through bone, making it one of the best knives for raw meat prep.
Given its bulky size, this sort of knife is generally only used on raw meat, rather than cooked food. The broad, flat, heavy surface of cleavers can also come in handy for crushing garlic cloves or ginger against a chopping board.
A boning knife is a slim blade with a very sharp edge, usually tapering upwards to a fine pointed tip. It's fairly short (usually only around six inches) and is usually rigidly constructed, although more flexible blades are available for delicate meat.
What is a boning knife used for?
A boning knife is the best knife for cutting meat bones and trimming cartilage to create the perfect joint or cut before cooking. The pointed tip and slim blade make it a great choice for cutting around the bone without ruining the surrounding flesh.
The strong, rigid blade can also be used to cut through cartilage. When de-boning pork or beef, a slightly harder knife is best, while a more flexible blade will suit poultry. Boning knives are designed to be light and manoeuvrable, so you can count on them to be comfortable and easy to use.
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