Table of Contents
- How to pick a boning knife to suit your culinary needs
- What is a boning knife?
- What is a boning knife used for?
- How to use a boning knife: A step-by-step guide to debone beef
- A step-by-step guide to debone a chicken
- A step-by-step guide to debone a fish
- How to pick the right boning knife?
- Top Best Curved Boning Knife 2020
- #1 Best Curved Boning Knife: Victorinox’s Swiss 6 inch
- #2 Best 9-Inch Narrow Boning Knife: Wusthof Grand Prix II 9 Inch
- #3 Best 5.5-Inch Flexible Narrow Boning Knife: Zwilling J.A. Henckels’ 5.5-Inch
- #4 Best Value Narrow Fillet Knife: Dexter Russell Cutlery’s 5-Inch
- #5 Best Wide Boning Knife for Boning a Chicken: Shun TDM0729 4-1/2-Inch
- #6 Best Value Wide Boning Knife: Dalstrong’s Phantom Series 5-Inch
- #7 Best Stiff Boning Knife: Victorinox’s Fibrox Pro Chef 8-Inch
- #8 Best Value Semi-Flexible Boning Knife: Mercer’s Genesis Forged 6-inch
- #9 Best Stainless Steel boning Knife: Zelite Infinity’s 6-inch
- #10 Best professional Quality Boning Knife Sharpener: Chef’sChoice’s 15 Trizor XV
- #11 Best Value Knife Sharpener: SunrisePro’s Universal Blade Type Sharpener
How to pick a boning knife to suit your culinary needs
For many people, one of the best things in life is sitting around the dinner table with good friends and family and tucking into a hearty meal. Interestingly, how we prepare meat and even veg can have a massive impact on flavor, texture, and enjoyment. However, it is amazing how often people overlook investment in a good quality knife that can help them get the most out of their ingredients.
Indeed, most people probably think a boning knife is something that should be left in professional hands, but it doesn’t take long to pick up the skill and you can both add extra flavor to your cooking and save you money by investing in a good boning knife. In this post, we look at what a boning knife is and how to use it, how to debone meat, poultry, and fish, and give you the low down of some of the best boning knives for a range of purposes and prices.
What is a boning knife?
Whilst a butcher or professional chef will know exactly what a boning knife is good for and it will likely be their most trusted piece of kit in the kitchen, many home cooks will have never used one of these knives. Well, the key difference with a boning knife to a more standard knife is that it comes with a narrow edge as well as a super sharp point to pierce the meat with. The slightly curved and narrow edge helps to ensure a much cleaner cut along the bone can be made.
As you are able to easily make a cleaner cut, you are able to make the most of meat bought on the bone which tends to be far cheaper. You also ensure you get every last tasty morsel as the fat and sinew closest to the bone tends to be some of the tastiest parts of the meat. You can get boning knives with flexible blades which are good for boning and skinning fish as well as cutting super thin slices of your meat. Conversely, stiff but narrow blades are better for those looking to actually cut through and around the bone or to get through a particularly tough bit of cartilage.
What is a boning knife used for?
Despite the name, boning knives have more than a single purpose – albeit that they are best used specifically for the purpose of deboning meat, poultry, and fish. Because normal kitchen knives have a much thicker edge they are not suitable for deboning meat as they cannot flex around the different shapes they come up against. Other than making it easier and quicker to de-bone meat they are also great for de-skinning fish, making precision slices in meat, fish, veg or even fruit, and ensuring there is as little waste as possible in everything you cook with.
Here, we will outline the different types of boning knife and what each specific type is good for.
#1 The narrow boning knife
Narrow boning knives work great on a tough to tackle rack of ribs or large lamb or pork chops. If you plan to cut right through bone, this is the type of boning knife that you should be looking for.
#2 The flexible boning knife
Flexible boning knives are used in a manner similar to fillet knives in that they can be used to cut off fat and sinew of pieces of meat or remove the skin on fish. They make it easy to be much more precise in your incisions and to intricately carve your meat away from the bone with little to no waste even as a novice boning knife user.
#3 The stiff boning knife
If you plan to cut large hunks of tougher meats like beef and pork then you will likely want a boning knife that is on the stiffer end of the spectrum. Stiffer boning knives are also good for cutting through bone as they don’t bend when you need to use force when boning your meat.
#4 The wide boning knife
Wide boning knives are particularly good for poultry which is less tough to cut through than pork or beef and has softer and more flexible bones and cartilage.
#5 The curved boning knife
Curved boning knives are a good choice for beginners and people with a lower budget as they give you a better angle to work with when deboning chicken and fish. They are usually not suitable for tougher meats or if you plan to cut through tough bone and cartilage.
How to use a boning knife: A step-by-step guide to debone beef
Just by virtue of having bought a boning knife does not mean you will instantly know how to use one. Here, we give you some useful tips on how to get the best results with a boning knife when tackling a tough cut of beef or lamb.
Make sure your boning knife is as razor sharp as it was when you first bought it.
Pick a decent sized chopping board that leaves enough space either side of the meat you plan to remove the bone from. Make sure the meat is placed in the middle of the chopping board.
Use the hand you are not using to cut with to keep the beef or lamb firmly in position. Effectively the non-cutting hand should work as a clamp to stabilize the meat in position at all times as you approach the boning process!
Make sure you keep the non-cutting hand well out of the way of where you are making your cuts. Remember, the knife is razor sharp and can cut through bone! Use this hand to locate the bone and where to make your first incision.
Place the tip of the knife at an angle to the bone and make a small initial cut all the way along the bone, pushing against the bone to avoid waste and to get as clean a cut as possible.
Continue making small incisions along the length of the bone to reveal more bone as the meat pulls away with the aid of gravity.
Remove the bone but don’t throw it away, you can use this to enrich your sauce or gravy and to make a delicious stock. You should also tidy up your cut of beef or lamb by removing any sinew or fat and the boning knife works great for this task too.
A step-by-step guide to debone a chicken
Just as the saying goes, ‘there is more than one way to skin a cat’ there is also more than one way to bone a chicken. However, no matter how you approach deboning a chicken it is essentially going to be a process of breaking down the different parts of the bird one by one. This will leave you with lots of different cuts to work with and is much more cost effective than buying chicken fillets or deboned thighs in the store. The carcass can also be easily turned into a delicious tasting stock.
Again, ensure your knife is razor sharp and place the chicken on a big enough chopping board with plenty of space either side.
Make sure there are no gizzards or organs squirreled away in the chicken’s cavity.
Place the chicken breast side up and approach the chicken one bone and area at a time. It’s a good idea to remove the wings first. The joint can be easily located by touch and a sharp boning knife will slice through it easily next to the body cavity.
With the wings removed you can then target the legs. Pull the leg away from body cavity a slice through the skin once it has been pulled taught to reveal the joint. You can then pull the leg back until you hear a popping sound as the joint pops out. Clean up the cut with the boning knife and separate the leg from the thigh. If you want to cook these off the bone then you can approach the bone removal in the same manner as you would beef or lamb at this stage with the leg and thigh.
Now move on to most people’s favorite part of the chicken – the breast! This is also one of the easier parts to remove as the breast bone provides an easy to follow route to make a clean cut. Cut through the rib cage with a sliding cut and the breast will come away nicely.
Save the carcass and any bones you have removed and you can make a tasty sauce or stock.
A step-by-step guide to debone a fish
Better known as filleting, deboning a fish can be challenging due to the fact that its flesh is so delicate. For this reason you are either going to want to get a speciality filleting knife or a boning knife that is both flexible and curved if you want to buy a knife that can debone meat, poultry, and fish.
Make sure your fish has been scaled and gutted and that your knife remains at the peak of its sharpness.
Make your first cut by following the furrow of a gill until you feel contact with bone and slice the head right off to revel the backbone.
Use your non-cutting hand on top of the fish and make an incision across the top of the backbone.
Gradually edge your knife into this incision and with a gliding motion rather than a sawing motion extend this incision all the way along the backbone. This should be done at a horizontal angle and come out through the tail. By pushing down with your free hand the knife will stay closer to the backbone where you want to make your cut to retain as much of the fish flesh as possible.
Repeat the process on the reverse side.
Use tweezers to remove any remaining pin bones and you’re good to go!
How to pick the right boning knife?
With so many shapes and sizes to choose from and endless brands to choose from it can be difficult to pick the write knife for your needs. In this section, we will take you through a range of the best boning knives for different purposes and that are suitable for every budget demand.
Top Best Curved Boning Knife 2020
#1 Best Curved Boning Knife: Victorinox’s Swiss 6 inch
For those who want a knife suitable for boning meat, poultry, and fish, then this semi-stiff and curved boning knife is the most versatile option that will best suit your needs. This high-grade knife will also wow you with its sharpness and if you have never used a sharp knife you won’t believe the difference it makes to your ability to prepare the perfect meat dishes. The fact that these guys have been making knives since the late 1800s shows just how good their knives are and have always been.
Other things that make this a good boning knife are that: it is quite a small knife making it easier to handle, less likely to see you slip and cut yourself, and good for novices as well as professionals; it is suitable for even delicate foods like fish or making thin slices for a meat carpaccio; its curved edge makes it easy to find the right angle to make cleaner cuts, and; it is a great price. The downside of this knife is that it is only 6-inches so may not be the ideal choice for people boning large joints.
#Curved_Knife #Curved_Boning_Knife #Boning_Knife #Semi_Stiff_Blade #Sharp_Knives
#2 Best 9-Inch Narrow Boning Knife: Wusthof Grand Prix II 9 Inch
Popular with professionals, this long and narrow bladed boning knife requires a bit of skill to use safely but it is worth learning the skill thanks to the impressive work this boning knife can do on a rack of ribs, a tough bit of beef or a large lamb shank. The carbon stainless steel blade means this knife stays sharper longer requiring less regular sharpening than many other boning knives. So if you love meat and want a professional quality boning knife, this is what you need.
Other things to like about this knife are that: it is suitable for the toughest cuts of meat and large enough to deal with huge hunks of meat too; it is strong enough to cut through bone; it is so sharp that it makes it easy to make thin cuts precisely, and; it comes with a free bolster guard that makes it easy to transport without ripping up whatever it comes up against. The downside of this knife is that it is super pricey and takes a bit of getting used to so be careful with those fingers on your non-cutting hand.
#9_Inch_Kniffe #Boning_Knives #Deboning_Knife #Narrow_Boning_Knife #Carbon_Stainless_Steel
#3 Best 5.5-Inch Flexible Narrow Boning Knife: Zwilling J.A. Henckels’ 5.5-Inch
If you are looking for a professional grade boning knife that is a bit easier to handle than the 9-inch number, then this piece of kit will be right up your street. Made with classic German precision, this knife is something that will last you for life thanks to being a single piece of specially crafter carbon stainless steel. Although not the largest this knife is so sharp it does well on even tougher pieces of large meat making super precise cuts along the bone a breeze.
Other pros about this knife are that: it has an ergonomically designed handle that ensures good grip and control; it has a blade that has been ice-hardened and forged with a laser reducing the need for manual sharpening and increasing its durability, and; it doesn’t take long to get used to handling even for novices although you should still be careful with fingers! The downside of this knife is that it is again at the top end of the spectrum in terms of budget.
#4 Best Value Narrow Fillet Knife: Dexter Russell Cutlery’s 5-Inch
If you fancy giving boning your own meat a go to save a bit of cash but don’t want to have to shell out 100 bucks upfront to make incremental savings years down the line, then you should check this great value product out. Whilst it won’t be suitable for cutting through bone, it does a great job making a clean cut around the bone even with tougher meats and at just 5-inches is very easy to learn how to use.
Other things that make this a good choice for people on a budget are that: the blade starts nice and sharp (although you will need to sharpen it regularly); it is made in the USA; it has a semi-flexible blade making it pretty versatile and suitable for meat, poultry, and fish, and; it is made from stainless steel. The downsides of this knife are that it can rust if coming into contact with salt water, it won’t last you for live (so could be a false economy), and it is quite small.
#Deboning_Knife #Boning_Knife #Debone #Stainless_Steel_Knife #Made_In_The_USA
#5 Best Wide Boning Knife for Boning a Chicken: Shun TDM0729 4-1/2-Inch
Not strictly speaking a boning knife, this knife is versatile enough for vegans and meat eaters alike. However, its best use is without a doubt on making the most out of a whole chicken using the deboning method outlined above. Super sharp out of the box, durable, and easy to use both as a deboning knife and a general purpose slicer, this knife from Japan can also cut the perfect sushi to bring a bit of style to your dinner table.
Other good things about this knife are that: it has been hand hammered into shape which improves strength, durability and sharpness over time; it is suitable for sharpening at home; it has a full 34 layers of stainless steel hammered into it (if you’ve not seen a video of this in action you should check it out!), and; it is comfortable to hold and use. The downside of this knife is again the hefty price tag but it will last you for life.
#Chicken_Knife #Carving_Knife #Knives #Honesuki_Knife #Boning_Knife
#6 Best Value Wide Boning Knife: Dalstrong’s Phantom Series 5-Inch
If you are willing to part with a reasonable amount of cash for the right knife, then this versatile boning knife could be the right choice for you. Designed for more than just boning meat, this wide knife is likely to be the sort of knife you use for everything in the kitchen once you have it in your drawer making it a great choice for people who don’t want to buy a specific knife for every need but instead would prefer one great knife that they can use for pretty much every need.
Other great things about this knife are that: it is made from a single piece of high-carbon stainless steel that has been ice hardened meaning it stays sharper for longer; it is super durable and is a knife for life; it has a super stylish design, and; it comes with both a lifetime warrantee and money back guarantee if you aren’t completely satisfied with it making it free to give a test run. The downside of this knife is that it isn’t specifically designed for deboning and is not exactly a budget price despite its value.
#Wide_Boning_Knives #Knife #Stylish_Knife #Value_Knife #Ice_Hardened_Knife
#7 Best Stiff Boning Knife: Victorinox’s Fibrox Pro Chef 8-Inch
If you are after a stiff boning knife that can tackle tough bones, then you should check out this unconventional boning knife from the wonderful Victorinox. Designed for versatility rather than boning specifically this knife is another one that makes it onto this list because of the fact it does more than just bone meat. Indeed, this knife is fit for any task you might throw at it and is great value too.
Other positives about this knife are that: it is made from stainless steel; it has been laser tested so you can be sure it is super sharp when it arrives at your door; it can cope with challenging bones; it is big, coming in at a whopping 8-inches, so can deal with big chunks of meat, and; it is designed by the Swiss who everyone knows know their way around knives! The downside of this knife is that it is not specifically designed to be a boning knife and it is large so takes some getting used to.
#Large_Knives #Big_Knives #Stiff_Knife #Stiff_Blade #Boning_Knife
#8 Best Value Semi-Flexible Boning Knife: Mercer’s Genesis Forged 6-inch
If you want a fully-fledged boning knife that has decent flexibility but enough strength to tackle tough meats and joints, then Mercer have a great knife made just for your needs. This knife is made with high carbon stainless steel and has been forged to precise standards that mean it will probably last a lifetime even though it slots in at the budget range in terms of pricing. So if you want a boning knife from a company that does the business, don’t scroll past this great bit of kkit.
Other big pluses that this particular boning knife has to offer are that: it comes with a limited lifetime warranty; it is tough enough to deal with beef and gentle enough to caress delicate fish into your desired shape; it has a special design handle that ensures grip and control, and; it comes out of the box super sharp and ready to go. The downside of this knife is that you will need to sharpen it regularly and you shouldn’t cut through bone with it.
#Tough_Knives #Value_Knife #Precision #Mercer_Knives #Kitchenware
#9 Best Stainless Steel boning Knife: Zelite Infinity’s 6-inch
If you want a versatile boning knife that is sold for a reasonable price and can be used for bog standard chopping as well as specialized boning, then you won’t need to look beyond this high carbon stainless steel knife. Made to professional Japanese Sushi Chef standards, this knife is built to last and to cut with precision every time, be that against the bone, against delicate fish flesh, or in order to create the most delicately sliced fish ceviche or a meat carpaccio.
Other things that make this knife stand out from the crowd are that: it is super-durable thanks to its 67-layers of hand hammered steel; it is strong enough to cut through cartilage and bone; it is ergonomically designed for maximum control, grip, and precision, and; it is unbelievably low in price considering the quality it brings to the table. The downside of this boning knife is that it does require a surprising amount of sharpening.
#Value_Boning_Knife #Sharp_Knife Japanese #Japanese_Knives #Precision_Cuts
#10 Best professional Quality Boning Knife Sharpener: Chef’sChoice’s 15 Trizor XV
If you have cash to burn and want to make sure all your kitchen knives remain at the sharpness and quality you bought them at, then you are going to want to look into this electric sharpener. Made in the USA, this product comes with some excellent instructions to help you feel confident that you are treating your expensive knives with the care, love, and affection that they deserve and need to be kept in tip-top condition.
Other reasons to go for this sharpener are that: it can actually improve basic household knives; it uses diamonds tom ensure precision sharpening and retention of quality and durability in your knives; it is electric so saves you from having to learn how to do it and removes the worry that you will do it wrong, and; it works quickly taking between 10 seconds to a minute to sharpen most knives. The downside of this product is the hefty price tag.
#Sharpener #Electric_Knife_Sharpener #Knives #Sharp_Knife #Precision
#11 Best Value Knife Sharpener: SunrisePro’s Universal Blade Type Sharpener
If you have invested in a good quality knife, then the last thing you want to do is ruin with a lack of knowledge about how to best sharpen it. Fortunately, this clever little device is suitable for any blade type and takes the skill and knowledge out of the task ensuring you can maintain a ferociously sharp blade with very little effort on your part. So if you are worried about how to sharpen your expensive piece of kit, check this machine out!
Other things that make this a good choice for a boning knife sharpener are that: it works in just 2- seconds (helping to increase the lifetime of your knife); it works on every type of knife, not just a boning knife; it securely sticks to your work surface to reduce risk of injury, and; it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, in fact it is pretty cheap for what it does. The downside of this kit is you that you won’t learn how to sharpen a knife and nothing can beat learning that skill in terms of outcome.
#Knife_Sharpener #Boning_Knife_Sharpener #Value_Sharpener #Knife_Sharpening #Sharp_Knives
So, there you have it, there is far more to kitchen boning knives than you might have thought at first glance and they have a lot more to offer to the home kitchen than many people give them credit for. Whether you fancy saving money by being able to buy cheaper cuts of meat and turn them into fancy cuts with your own chopping skills, or you want to improve how, what, and when you cook, a good kitchen boning knife could make all the difference to you culinary desires.
So if you want to get the most of meat, want to impress some friends, or want to become known for cooking the best sauces in town, a boning knife should definitely be at the top of your list of priorities and you’ll find the one you need somewhere on this list.
See more some knives you might be interested here.