A good knife for cutting meat has to be sharp but also withstand the abuse of cutting raw or hot meat. In this article, I share seven options, including various types of meat-cutting knives.
To find the best among the many options, I selected and evaluated 15 knives to determine which were the best for chopping, slicing, carving, and trimming. We tested at how well each knife cuts meat, what it was made of, how well it was made, how comfortable it was to use, and how much it cost.
I also reached out to my local butcher in Winter Garden, Florida, for his opinion on these picks and to compare his testing notes with ours.
We will discuss in this article:
- What should you consider.
- The various types of metals used in the construction process.
- How do these metals compare in terms of their qualities.
- Our top choice.
Best knives for cutting meat Reviews
1. WÜSTHOF Chef’s Knife – Best Overall
The WÜSTHOF brand has stayed true to its roots by manufacturing their knives in-house. I am a longtime customer of WÜSTHOF and I have been using their products for years.
Aside from manufacturing an excellent product, here are the reasons I chose WÜSTHOF and their chef’s knife as our top pick.
WÜSTHOF has been producing knives in Solingen, Germany, for over 200 years. Although much has changed, the company continues to manufacture their products at their hometown factory, whereas other large and well-known manufacturers have succumbed to the pressures of the modern economy and outsourced all manufacturing.
Their products are top-notch and made out of high-quality, high-carbon stainless steel.
- Blade Material: High-Carbon Stainless Steel
- Length: Six Inches
- Weight: 0.4 pound
- Type: Chef’s Knife
- Warranty: Manufacturer defects are covered by a limited lifetime warranty.
What we like
- These blades are of exceptional quality and construction.
- The blades are forged, therefore strong.
- A hand guard that is wide and thick.
- A comfortable handle
- easy to keep sharp.
What we don’t like:
- A little on the pricey side, but they are of high quality.
2. DEXTER RUSSEL – Best Boning Knife
The Dexter Russel is our pick for a boning knife. There are many things we like about the Dexter, including the fact that it is made in the United States and has an extremely comfortable handle. The handle provides a secure grip and boosts confidence when slicing, trimming meat and fat from bones, as well as making small and difficult cuts.
The handle is made of materials that help reduce bacteria. The curved blade has a sharp point that is ideal for making precise cuts around bone.
This company also has an amazing background and history, having been in business for over 200 years, manufacturing products in Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA.
- Blade Material: Stamped Carbon Steel
- Length: 6 in.
- Weight: 0.3 lbs.
- Type: Boning
- Warranty: Limited Lifetime
What we like:
- Made in the USA
- A 200-year-old company with extensive manufacturing experience.
- comfortable handle.
- The round point makes it easy to trim ribs.
What we don’t like:
- Although the curved point is useful for trimming, it can be difficult to clean. Must exercise caution.
3. DALSTRONG – Best Slicing Carving Knife
After hours of hard work and cooking, the last thing you want to do when carving a turkey, brisket, or pork shoulder is shred the meat and ruin the food with awful cuts. This is why I always like to have a good slicing and carving knife when I’m smoking briskets.
Carving knives are not used as frequently in meat preparation as chef’s knives are, but they are equally important because slicing the meat into a beautiful piece is part of the presentation, and it also affects how well the meat is received.
Dalstrong is a Canadian company that opened manufacturing facilities in the United States and Europe, and whose products are undeniably well-made and durable. It is made out of Damascus Japanese steel with 62 layers of Japanese steel.
It has has a very strong and comfortable handle. I like that it has a full tang with multiple rivets securing the handle.
- Blade Material: Japanese Damascus Steel
- Length: 12 inches
- Weight: 10 ounces
- Type: Carving
- Warranty: Lifetime
What we like:
- Very sharp, beautiful looking.
- comfortable handle.
What we don’t like:
- is a foot long, so we will need proper space for storage,
4. VICTORINOX SWISS ARMY – Best Butcher Knife
Everyone is familiar with the Swiss army knife, and we all know they are high-quality knives. We chose their butcher knife as the best butcher option because it embodies many of the quality traits that this company is known for. Victorinox has been manufacturing knives for centuries, since the late 1800s. What I like the most about it is its handle. It instills confidence when making large, powerful swings, and the knife’s end tip carries enough weight to aid in the chopping of large meat cuts.
- Blade Material: High Carbon Stainless Steel
- Length: 10 inches.
- Weight: 8 ounces
- Type: Butcher
- Warranty: Lifetime
What we like:
- A well-balanced
- Easy to chop large cuts of meat.
What we don’t like:
- Is a large “chopping” tool, so it is not very useful for other tasks.
5. Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Inch – Budget Chef’s Knife
In the kitchen, a chef’s knife is quite useful. You can chop, cut, slice, trim, and prepare almost any dish. Because not everyone needs a cutting-edge laser-cut German steel blade, we’d like to include the Mercer Culinary Genesis.
This is a low-cost chef’s knife that is ideal for individuals who rarely prepare food but want a decent option but do not want to pay the high cost of a high-quality of the top blades on this list.
It is is crafted from high-carbon steel. The handle and tag are not as sturdy or of excellent quality as the WÜSTHOF.
- Blade Material: Forged High Carbon Stainless Steel
- Length: 6 inches.
- Weight: 7 ounces
- Warranty: Limited Lifetime
What we like:
- Great for daily use. It sharpens and hones well, and I’m not concerned about it getting abused with acid foods or too much water.
- Great value per dollar.
- Comfortable handle
What we don’t like
- It can oxide easier than other blades so dishwashing is not recommended.
What should You consider
It is important to consider a number of factors that can affect the knife’s capabilities and effectiveness.
A proverb that comes to mind is “jack of all trades, master of none.” Although some are so good and sharp that they can trim, cut, and slice, you need different types of knives for each of these tasks to be done perfectly.
There are slicing knives great for slicing meat and serving, and then there are meat cleavers, which have the weight and razor-sharp edge to chop through meat and bone. The point here is that there are different knives for different purposes.
Blade material / Metal
This is very important. Different metals and metal compositions are used in manufacturing, which impacts the durability and quality of the knife. Some metals are better than others at retaining sharp edges and are more susceptible to chipping and cracking. The majority of manufacturers adhere to and are certified by the NSF for materials and construction processes.
Other metals are resistant to corrosion and oxidation, which is important if you plan to wash your knives in the dishwasher. Have you ever put a cast-iron pan in the dishwasher? My wife has!
Later in this article, I will compare and contrast the various metals to help you select a material that best meets your needs. For the time being, keep in mind that cheap knives are likely to be crafted from lower-quality metals, whereas premium or high-end will be more expensive due to the quality of the metals they employ.
When talking about knives, hardness is often confused with toughness. A “hard” knife is not necessarily tough because using too hard of a metal can also make the blade brittle and more susceptible to cracking. This is where the metal composition comes into play, and a fine balance of steel and carbon makes the right edge.
The Size of the Blade
When determining the size of a knife, it is crucial to consider its intended use.
Although this may seem obvious, some individuals fail to recognize that some manufacturers specify the overall length, not just the length of the blade. You should be aware of the length and size of the blade itself, excluding the handle.
Here are some tips when considering blades:
Chef’s Knife: Look for a blade at least 8 inches long, which will work well for cutting meat, but also vegetables and just about anything.
Paring Knife: 3 to 4 inches long is good, and these are great for working with fruits, deveining shrimp, and even preparing fish.
Boning Knife: I like using these for trimming fat caps, ribs, and bones off meat. Look for a blade of about 6 inches so you have enough space between the cut of meat and your hands.
Carving knife: Carving knives are designed to cut and slice around bones, so I prefer a blade that is at least 10 inches long so I have adequate distance between my hands and the meat I’m preparing.
Weight and Balance
The weight and balance are important because you want something that is easy to handle. They don’t have to be heavy to be effective, unless we are talking about a chopping or carving.
I have included the weight of each in this article so you can get a good idea of the blade weight.
The knife’s handle is as important as the quality of the blade, and here’s why: you can have the best knife in the world, but if the handle is extremely uncomfortable or slippery, it would be useless for slicing meats or even softer foods like vegetables and cheese.
Knowing that I will be using it for long periods of time, I prioritize comfort when evaluating knives. After I find a handle that I like, I look at the blade material.
There are some really good quality knives that are made entirely from steel, and I like the look, but a steel handle can be slippery and uncomfortable when you’re slicing meat and seasoning, and your hands are full of oil. It can be hard to handle and control.
The quality of the handle also matters. A poorly constructed handle can separate from the tang, rendering it useless.
A handle consists of several parts, including the tang, the scales, and the rivets. Some designs may be a little different, but most handles have these three parts. These components need to be of good quality to ensure a good handle.
Types of handles
Some people like certain types of handles better than others, but here are some of the most common types to help you get to know them.
- Real carved wood
- Stainless Steel – metal
- Plastic composites like polymer handles
Blades Material: The type of metal used in manufacturing
Let’s talk about the blade’s material, which is one of the most important aspects of any blade, but particularly those used for cutting meat. The blade material will determine everything about the knife, including its durability, ability to maintain a sharp edge, and cutting efficiency.
Knives are crafted using a variety of metals and metal alloys. Some are crafted from high-carbon stainless steel, but all of your knives are crafted using different composites to make them stronger, more durable, and sharper.
Understanding the various metals used to make knives is important because it will help you understand which knives made with which metal is truly superior to others. If you do not understand the properties of the metal used in manufacturing, you may be unable to compare different brands and judge their claims of being the best.
So in this section of the article, we will describe the various metals used in knives and their characteristics so that you have the information and understand exactly what makes a knife better than another and which metal is better than another.
Let’s talk about the various metals used in the manufacturing process, how they compare, and which ones are better than others.
High Carbon Stainless Steel
When compared to carbon steel, high-carbon stainless steel has a better balance of carbon and stainless steel. This mix of metals has a good balance of sharpness, strength, and resistance to corrosion. It also keeps a sharp edge longer than most other types of metal blades. This material is often used by high-end brands like Wusthof and Victorinox.
The biggest advantage of high-carbon stainless steel is its ability to retain a sharp edge. It is easy to sharpen and is more resistant to oxidation. On top of that, high-carbon stainless steel knives are absolutely beautiful.
Many high-carbon stainless steel knives must be hand washed to protect the finish and handle, and they must be properly stored. High-carbon stainless steel is possibly the most popular material used in kitchens and offers a good balance of quality and durability.
Carbon steel is exactly what it sounds like: carbon, or a small percentage of carbon, is added to steel to increase its hardness and rigidity. Carbon steel is well-known for its ability to hold a sharp edge.
Carbon steel, on the other hand, can oxidize due to the carbon component and thus requires little maintenance to remain in good shape and oxidation free, without affecting the razor-like sharpness of a carbon steel edge.
Carbon steel needs to be oiled and can only be washed by hand so it doesn’t rust and give food a metallic taste.
Also, some carbon knives don’t work well for cutting frozen foods, bones, or shells.
Stainless steel is an alloy of iron with roughly 15% chromium or nickel and a small amount of carbon. This low amount of carbon is what allows it to be so durable and resistant to corrosion. The issue with stainless steel blades is that they do not hold a sharp edge as well as a good quality high-carbon steel blade. Some stainless steel knives can be sharpened repeatedly, but these blades require little care.
Ceramic is a very hard and lightweight material, and ceramic blades can hold a sharp edge longer than any other material on this list. However, you may ask why not every blade in the world is ceramic. Because ceramic is ceramic, it will break if dropped, crack or shatter.
Ceramic blades are popular because they do not react to chemicals, change colors, or impart metal flavor to food when they come into contact with them. Ceramic knives are ideal for those who want a lightweight and don’t mind putting in a little extra care to keep it from meeting the floor or dropped. The biggest downside to ceramic is that if the edge is damaged or needs sharpening, you will likely need to send it back to the manufacturer to get it re-sharpened.
Damascus steel is strong and durable, and it’s more of a process of forging and stamping than a material, but it is often referred to as Damascus steel. Damascus steel is not as strong and sharp or as high quality, as today’s modern high-carbon stainless steel. Few manufacturers still follow the same process of stamping and forging 60 plus layers of steel to make Damascus knives.
The Damascus steel you get today is not the same as the stamped or forged knives from ancient times when multiple layers of wootz steel were hammered together to build a knife.
Damascus steel retain the recognizable and signature wavy pattern that is distinct and unique to Damascus steel.
Knives well suited for cutting meat
There are different types of knives that are well-suited for cutting meat. Each has its own purpose in the kitchen and around your grill. Some are better for slicing, while others are good for trimming, and others are good for cutting meat and stripping meat off the bone.
There are different types, but this article focuses on knives for cutting meat. There are knives for everything from slicing bread to slicing vegetables.
The following are great for cutting meat:
A Serrated or Bread Knife – These have serrated edges which help catch on to things like bread but also work well for slicing certain meats.
BBQ Grill Academy Tips: How to keep your knives in good shape
Don’t simply toss your knives into a kitchen driver, where their edges will clash and cause damage, as well as damage other kitchen implements. Instead, use a storage block or a magnetic strip.
I prefer the magnetic strip because the point of the blade never hits anything.
Keep it sharp
Invest in a good, high-quality sharpener. Stainless steel edges require frequent sharpening.
Hand wash them
Many manufacturers and brands say that their knives can go in the dishwasher, but the detergent in dishwasher soap can damage some metals and even the handles. To keep your them in tip-top shape, hand wash them.
Use good cutting boards
When you cut on cheap or even glass cutting boards, the knife’s edge hits a very hard surface, dulling the edge. Glass boards, in particular, have very rough edges.
Instead, use a good quality wood cutting board or even marble cutting board.
Testing and Benchmarking
The the items in this article were subjected to the following testing procedures and standards:
We inspected the quality and build of each blade. We inspected both the metal and the workmanship for flaws.
We considered each blade’s material composition.
We cut the same piece of meat with each knife to determine the effectiveness of each blade.
Strength and durability
It pains me to admit this, but in true “Forge Under Fire” fashion, we did smash the knives against bone to see if the edges chipped and the knife’s hardness.
We considered the price to ensure that the product’s quality, materials, and aesthetics were commensurate with the cost.
When purchasing a meat knife, it is important to remember that there are different types of knives that are well-suited for cutting meat, and that the quality of the meat will affect how well the knife cuts.
During our research and testing, we found Wusthof to be the best option. Its sharpness, quality, and craftsmanship are superior to most knives in the market.