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What Is a Butcher Knife

What Is a Butcher Knife? (Explained For Beginners)

People use a butcher knife for home, commercial and outdoor purposes. Because it has a very strong blade, which is great for breaking bones or cutting large pieces of meat.

Though you will find different types of butcher knives, but it will depend on you what type of knife you actually need for your items.

However, in this article, I will explain what is a butcher knife, how to use them, and how you should care for them for the last longer performance.

What Is a Butcher Knife?

A butcher knife is a type of knife used in food preparation, typically for cutting or slicing meat. It is typically a large knife with a sharp, straight edge that is used for slicing and chopping meats.

The blade of a butcher knife is typically longer and wider than a chef’s knife, which is used for more precise tasks like dicing vegetables.

Butcher knives are often used in commercial kitchens and are a versatile tool for any cook who regularly works with meat.

What Does a Butcher Knife Look Like?

A butcher’s knife is big and has a curved blade. The blade is long enough to allow for smooth slices. The purpose of the curve is to enable it to get under the skin and around the bones when slaughtering.

The blades are extremely sharp, thick, and made of quality stainless steel metal. The long and curved blade is designed for butchering and dissecting a big chunk of meat.

Other designs of the butcher’s knife have Granton edges for easy slicing through meat without pulling apart or shredding the product.

Why Is There a Hole in a Butcher Knife?

The hole in a butcher knife is very significant. The following is an enumeration of the purposes of the hole;

  • The hole on the heavy-duty blade makes clipping through and between the bones simple.
  • The butcher knife hole assists the user to hold the upper section of the knife using their fingers.
  • The hole aids in the easy pulling of the blade freely as you hold up your grip on the handle.
  • It prevents the general vacuum from setting up between the object and maintains the blade free from the clippings.
  • It increases the speed of the clipping process.
  • The hole maintains the balance of the weight of the blades together with the weight of the handle.
  • Extracts from cuts into some hard materials like raw potatoes and pumpkin shells

How to Use a Butcher Knife?

What is a butcher knife used for
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When using the butcher’s knife, consider holding the knife with both of your hands. Curl the finger under to protect the fingertips

Non-Knife Hand

  • The thumb and the little finger should be behind the other fingers
  • Rest the side of the blade against the middle knuckles to prevent the knife from coming down to your fingers. This also helps to measure the size of the cuts
  • Make cuts downward with a rocking motion from the tip to the end of the blade.

Knife Hand

  • Assess how the thumb and the first finger grip the blade beyond the handle. This assists in making the knife an expansion of your arm to give you better control and cutting precision
  • Hold the handle on one hand and the other hand to rest on top of the blade. This is especially when cutting small branches of herbs or garlic.
  • Keep the tip of the blade in contact with the chopping board. Rock the blade up and down until the food is cut to the desired size
  • Cut the vegetables and fruits into two before slicing to prevent slipping on the chopping board. This will prevent cutting yourself since they are anchored firmly on the chopping board.

How to Sharpen a Butcher Knife?

When sharpening your butcher knife, the following procedure should be used;

  • Place your butcher knife on a stable surface with the knife’s tip extending to the edge of the surface.
  • Grip the knife onto the sharpener lightly
  • Place your sharpener at a 90-degree angle
  • Use downward pressure lightly drawing the sharpener along the blade up and past the knife’s point.
  • Repeat the downward pressure severally until you achieve your desired sharpness.

What’s the Difference Between a Butcher’s Knife and a Meat Cleaver?

A lump of meat cleaver is a tool for chopping meat. It has a heavy and broad blade. Some of the differences between a meat cleaver and a butcher knife are;

  • Butcher’s knife blade is long and curved while the cleavers have a wide and long blade.
  • The butcher’s knife is used for slaughtering and dressing animals while the cleavers are used for crushing garlic, chopping vegetables, and slicing meat.
  • The butcher’s knife is greatly used in the abattoir merchandise while the cleavers are used in restaurants


Butcher knives are really a very essential tool for our everyday life. Because you can use it in several ways.

But before using it you have to know what is a butcher knife and how to use it. In this comprehensive guide, I have explained everything about a butcher knife.

I hope now you know everything about a butcher knife and you can use it for your kitchen purposes. Because a regular chef knife and a butcher knife have a lot of differences. And some differences make it very popular and durable to use from home to outdoors.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can you describe what a butcher knife is?

A butcher knife is often characterized as a sturdy, hardworking tool in the culinary world. Generally, its length varies from 6 to 8 inches and it features a broad, rigid blade. Interestingly, the blade isn’t entirely straight – it curves subtly towards the tip. This design not only imparts a unique shape to the knife, but also enhances its functionality. Over the years, working as a professional chef, I have observed the versatility of this knife and how it adeptly undertakes heavy-duty cutting tasks.

What is the main purpose of a butcher’s knife?

You might wonder, with a multitude of knives available, why specifically use a butcher’s knife? Well, the name gives a lot away! Primarily, a butcher’s knife is used to sectionalize big chunks of meat into smaller, retail-size parts. If you happen to be dealing with the butchering or dressing of animal carcasses, this is the ideal knife. I remember from my early days as a chef, working with full-bodied poultry, a butcher’s knife was my go-to tool. Its specific design and sharp edge made the task simpler and highly effective.

What basic knives does a butcher usually rely on?

The fascinating culinary world introduces you to myriad knife types, but for butchers, two knives hold utmost importance – a boning knife and a chef’s knife. The boning knife, true to its name, assists in removing bones from meat while the chef’s knife is a multitasker that slices, dices, and portions meat. My personal experience in butcheries and kitchens has made me realize that these basic knives make all meat preparation tasks efficient and hassle-free. As a professional tip, investing in these two knives is a great starting point for aspiring butchers or chefs.

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