One of the trickiest tasks in the kitchen is working with bone-in meat. You need a solid, sturdy blade to be able to cut meat, but you also need something flexible that will allow you to easily work around bone, skin, cartilage, and the parts you don’t want to eat. Trying to do these tasks with a basic kitchen knife can be frustrating and time consuming, which is where the boning knife comes in.
When you buy a good boning knife, it can last you for years. It’s always a good idea to make sure you know what you want before deciding on the best boning knife for you. This article goes over various factors to look for in a boning knife. Then, this article reviews a number of different boning knives, their pros and cons, and has recommendations for what may work best for you.
Table of Contents
- What to Look For in a Boning Knife
- Boning Knife Reviews
- Final Thoughts
What to Look For in a Boning Knife
Boning knives can be used in a variety of ways and in many different situations. The best boning knife for one person may not be the best for someone else. When looking for a boning knife, there are a number of things to keep in mind, including blade flexibility, what context you’re using the knife in, and what the knife is made out of.
One of the defining characteristics of a classic boning knife is that while the blades are made from strong steel, they’re still flexible. This allows for these blades to easily cut around bone, skin, and cartilage. However, some boning knives are stiffer than others. I prefer a good amount of flexibility in my boning knives, but not so much that it’s hard to get a good cut. However, others may prefer a stiffer blade.
This list contains some options that are more flexible, and some that are stiffer. Think about what kind of meat you’re working with when making your decision, as well as what you prefer personally.
Blade Use Context
There are a number of different scenarios where you may use a boning knife. For example, you might:
- Use a boning knife when preparing raw meat in a butcher’s shop;
- Separating flesh from the bone on cooked meat;
- When out on a fishing trip, or while out in nature harvesting game meat. Although in these situations a Fillet Knife might work better.
There are different pros and cons to using different types of boning knives in different scenarios. For example:
- If you are in a kitchen and easily have a sharpener on hand, you might have an easy time sharpening up a knife when it gets dull. In contrast, if you’re out in the middle of the forest, a knife that has a steel that will stay sharp for longer may be more valuable.
- If you’re out in nature, such as on a fishing trip, a knife that can stand up to being damp may be more beneficial. For example, a knife with a synthetic handle that is non-slip when wet may be much more important than in a kitchen context.
Think about what scenarios you intend to be working in and what will be best for that purpose.
Knife Maintenance and Materials
Different types of boning knives have different characteristics that impact how that blade will act over time. A few things to consider:
- Some steels are more prone to corrosion than others; some steels need to be sharpened more often than others.
- Some knives can be machine washed, whereas others require hand washing.
- Some knives are sharpened on both sides, but others are sharpened only on a single side.
Make sure that you understand what the maintenance will be like for your knife. Generally it’s best to stick to hand washing high end knives and sharpening regularly.
Boning Knife Reviews
This section contains reviews of a number of different boning knives. Some are higher end, some are great values, and some are somewhere in between. Whether you’re looking for a knife for home use, a professional kitchen, or for hunting and fishing, there are great boning knives out there for you.
ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Professional
I purchased this knife to test it out, and you get what you pay for with this product. Out of the box, this knife was extremely sharp. If you take good care of the knife, maybe give it a sharpening now and then, this knife will last you for a long time. The knife is flexible, as described, and this makes this knife very useful for boning. Trying to get meat off of a bone can be a tricky, detailed task, but a blade like this with a little flexibility makes quick work of turkey leg, roast chicken, spit roasted rabbit, and other bone-in meats.
Additionally, this is a great tool for other purposes in the kitchen as well. It can be used to easily cut meats and vegetables as well. This knife can do many of the tasks that would typically be done with a chef’s knife, which means that in addition to being used for boning, this knife is also fairly versatile.
All-in-all, this is my favorite boning knife. It’s very well made; extremely sharp; and the flexibility of the blade is great for boning, while still feeling like a strong, solid blade that won’t snap during use. I’d recommend this product 100% to anyone looking for a great boning knife that will last for decades.
Shun Cutlery Classic Boning and Fillet Knife
This knife was an interesting experience to hold. The blade and handle feel a little different from other boning and filleting knives that I’ve used in the past. But, after using this knife for a bit I found myself enjoying the feel of this blade.
Out of the box, this knife was extremely sharp. It’s able to cleanly slice meat without needing to resort to a sawing motion. I used this knife to bone ribeye steak and it was able to easily and quickly get all of the beat off of the bone.
Overall, this knife is terrific and comes at a great price point. If I had to guess the price of this knife, I would have thought that it’d go for a fair bit more than it’s listing price. At the rate listed, this is a steal.
Victorinox - Curved Boning Knife
Out of the box, this knife is sharp. I often expect that I’ll end up sharpening knives when I get them, if they’re at this price point, but this one was pretty sharp when I received it. I gave it a sharpening anyway, although you don’t necessarily have to do so right away. It’s easy to sharpen down the line if you later on decide to sharpen it up.. I butchered and processed a number of rabbits with this knife, and it was a beast. The knife was flexible, but never felt like it was going to snap or break, even after a few hours of use. The handle is comfortable, and this is a nice length as well.
All-in-all, this is an amazing knife for the price. I like the Zwilling and the Shun a little more in terms of pure quality, but for the price, this is an unbeatable product.
Wusthof Classic 6” Curved Boning Knife
This knife is sharp and I was able to use it for boning, but I found it to be a little stiff for my taste. One thing that I noticed about this blade is that it is semi-stiff. If you like a sturdier blade, this can be a good option. However, you do lose some flexibility. One of the main benefits to boning knives is that they can easily cut around bones and skin. For that reason, I lean more toward some of the other knives on this list. But, if you do prefer a stiffer boning knife, this fits the bill.
For a knife at this price point, I lean more toward the Shun. But, this is a solid competitor to the Shun which you may lean toward if you prefer the style and features of this blade.
DALSTRONG - Boning & Fillet Knife
This knife has a great presentation. It looks sleek, and the performance is up to par. This knife is pretty sharp out of the box, and had no problem separating turkey from the bone. One warning is that when you’re boning meat with this knife, make sure to wash the knife shortly after you’re finished. Otherwise, it may start to get corroded due to moisture.
In terms of style, this knife is similar to the Shun. It’s a little lower on the price spectrum. In my assessment, the extra cost for the Shun is worth it. If you want something similar to the Shun at a lower price point, this is a solid option.
What a joy it is to live in a world with so many fine boning knives. Most people wish that they could own all of these boning knives, but you might want to narrow it down to one product. If I were to narrow this list down, I’d be looking at one of the three following knives:
- In terms of the best boning knife in terms of pure quality, the ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Professional is great.
- In terms of the best bang for your buck, the Shun Cutlery Classic Boning and Fillet Knife is my top choice.
- In terms of a good, simple boning knife at an excellent price, the Victorinox – Curved Boning Knife is the go-to choice.
What do you look for in a boning knife? Do you have any questions or comments about buying any of these boning knives, or others? Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. You are also welcome to leave your own comments and reviews of any of these knives in the comments section below; let’s get a great comments section going so that we can all figure out everything there is to know about purchasing the best boning knives.