For a chef, your sidekick is your chef’s knife, but for a grill pro, your sidekick becomes a butcher knife. Some might think they are the same knife, but they are actually different in size, weight, and shape.
Spoiler alert! My pick is the F. Dick Butcher Knife from Amazon.
A butcher knife weighs more and has a curved blade for going through big cuts of meat while staying balanced. This typical design resembles a “Scimitar Knife” (a Middle Eastern antique backsword or saber with a curved blade).
Go for high carbon
If you really want to enjoy cutting beef and maybe some cartilage without breaking a sweat, you should look for a knife that has a high-carbon-steel content. It will have a sharper edge that goes through meat more efficiently, making it perfect for trimming, breaking down cuts, slicing, and chopping.
Forged is better
Remember, you want the right knife for the right purpose. Butcher knives are better when forged than when stamped because forged knives are sturdier and heavier. The process of creating stamped knives is a lot easier and therefore they are less expensive.
However, there’s a wide range of options available at different price points and getting the right one for you might feel a bit complicated. That’s why I’m here, to show you some of the best butcher knives on the market.
You just need one knife. But a good one.
Keep in mind that there isn’t just one kind of butcher knife, but you don’t need the whole set. What you need is 1 awesome high-quality butcher knife and you’ll never have to think about the others.
It’s better to invest money in the best quality knife than to get a cheaper one. Having to replace your cheap knife often — either because it breaks or you just get tired of its uselessness will actually cost you MORE money in the long run.
Here are my choices that fit the criteria above:
Victorinox Cutlery 12-Inch Straight Butcher Knife
No surprise we’re talking about Switzerland’s Victorinox. Known for strength, sharpness, and durability, Victorinox knows knives.
The stamped blade is made of high carbon stainless steel which offers extreme sharpness and edge preservation. (I know I said forged is better, and it is. But for a high-quality brand like Victorinox, a forged blade is going to run you 2 to 3 times more than their stamped version. This is still a very good knife.)
You might also like my post about Santoku knives.
The Fibrox handle is slip-resistant and extensively textured while its design provides balance and comfort that makes it easy-to-use.
See the Victorinox for yourself at Amazon.
Go big with it
This is a knife that can handle big butchering jobs easily. It’s perfect for cutting whole roasts, a side of spare ribs or just a big chunk of meat. This blade won’t dull quickly and it’ll stand up to repeated use.
Sharpening it is easy due to its bolster-less edge so it can be done in seconds. The length might seem a bit long compared to other knives but once you get used to this you’ll never want to go back.
Dexter-Russell 10-inch Butcher Knife
Dexter-Russell is the biggest cutlery maker in the United States. It’s a large American brand that can equal German, Japanese and Swiss imports for quality.
This knife can slice paper right out of the box. It’s hand sharpened on the production line and has an aggressively pointed tip.
High-carbon, clean handle
The high carbon steel is stain free and the grip provides slip-free usage. Plus, this sani-safe model has a polypropylene handle that’s great for repelling bacteria, making it stay clean longer so you can concentrate on the job at hand instead of worrying about contamination.
Here’s the Dexter-Russell at Amazon.
This is in the middle for price, but still provides nice balance and good weight and heft. Quality edge retention provides durability. It’s everything you need from a superior butcher knife for a very good price.
Ontario Knife Old Hickory Butcher Knife
From professional butchers in slaughter houses to chefs in restaurants, to someone just like you making a BBQ, everybody uses this knife.
Price is right
It’s a simple design but made with the best materials and craftsmanship. Also important, it’s very affordable. It’s a great value for the price on our list today. This is a 10-inch carbon steel blade attached to a hickory handle.
A little love will go a long way
This knife is not stainless steel material, so it needs after-use care to prevent it from staying wet. Adding some oil to the blade every once in a while will help this knife last a lifetime.
Check out the Old Hickory at Amazon.
Because of the high-carbon steel blade, this model can be re-sharpened hundreds of times and always get a super sharp edge of it. The handle isn’t as ergonomic or bacteria resistant as the other knives described since this one is made out of wood, but it looks great. Just use a little common sense when you use it to keep it safe from cross-contamination.
F. Dick Ergogrip 10″ Butcher Knife
And here it is, my top choice. F. Dick is a German brand that has manufactured knives since 1778 and is known for its high quality and long-standing traditions. It’s used in 9 out of 10 culinary schools and is the official supplier of a number of German cooking teams. So just to be clear, these folks know what they are doing.
Not just for butchers
This is a knife used by the pros, and until recently it was only available to professional butchers. But now you can get one for yourself! Because if it’s good enough for them it has to be good enough for home use.
All About Balance
Just the name “Ergogrip” has to tell you something, ergonomics are really a priority here. It’s a very well-balanced and comfortable knife so you’ll never get tired of using it even if you have to work with it all day long.
The blade is almost magical. Made of high carbon stainless steel with awesome edge retention. The sharpness is incredible and it’ll take a lot of time before you consider re-sharpening it.
A good butcher knife can mean the difference between making your next grill session a pleasure or a chore. Get a quality blade and it will serve you well for years. I hope I’ve made it a little easier to find your new favorite knife. Enjoy!
Image credit via Flickr Creative Commons: The Meat Case and Matt