BEST BONING KNIFE IN 2021
- Quantum 1 Series 6" Boning Knife
- Shogun Series 8" Boning Knife
- Crusader Series 6.5" Boning Knife - NSF Certified
- Gladiator Series 3.75" Poultry Boning Knife
- Shadow Black Series 6" Curved Boning Knife - NSF Certified
- Phantom Series 6" Straight-Edged Boning Knife
- Gladiator Series 8" Boning Knife
While an indispensable part of any butcher’s arsenal, the boning knife is generally a bit of a mystery to amateur home chefs since most knife sets tend to leave them out. And while it is true that you might not need it as much as say, a kitchen knife, a butcher knife, or a bread knife, in the end, owning a boning knife will end up saving you a lot of money, allowing you to buy whole chickens or sides of meat that you can butcher yourself at home.
Even though you could technically use a chef’s knife or a paring knife for boning meat, performing the task with the right tools will allow you to break down the entire thing in just a matter of minutes, saving you some precious time as well. Also, a good boning knife and its sharp edge is great for fish filleting and trimming and can even be used on fruit.
On top of that, we’d also like to point out the obvious here - meats get a lot of their flavor from the fat, bone, and blood around the muscle, so it’s really important to look for the best boning knife so you don’t miss out on the tastiest bits!
But which boning knife should you choose? Should I get a flexible boning knife? And what’s the difference between a boning knife and a fillet knife? Worry not, my young padawans, we’re here to help you pick the best boning knife for all your meat boning necessities.
Your quest for the best boning knife beings here. Let’s get to it!
- What is the best boning knife?
- What is a boning knife?
- What is the difference between a boning knife and a fillet knife?
- Which knife is best for separating the bone from the meat?
- Should a boning knife be flexible?
- What knives do Michelin chefs use?
1. What is the best boning knife?
1. Quantum 1 Series 6" Boning Knife ($89.99)
When it comes to boning poultry, meat, or even fish, The Quantum 1 Series 6" Boning Knife goes the distance. With its high carbon American BD1N-VX stainless steel blade painstakingly hardened to achieve 63+ Rockwell Hardness and its military grade G10 & Carbon Fibre Hybrid ergonomic handle, this boning knife will cut through bone, meat, and skin with scalpel-like precision. It’s also a beautiful addition to your knife block.
- Razor-sharp carbon steel blade.
- “Nova Prime” blade pattern reduces drag and increases efficiency.
- Tall blade gives you better knuckle clearance for food prepping.
- Compared to other 6” boning knives on this list, the price point might be a little high.
2. Shogun Series 8" Boning Knife ($109.99)
The Shogun Series 8” Flexible Boning knife is a must-have for anyone who takes their butchering seriously. Hand sharpened using the traditional 3- step Honbazuke method, its 8” AUS-10V Japanese super steel core blade will effortlessly separate the meat from the bone by performing long, single slices, considerably reducing hand and wrist fatigue. Whether you’re an amateur butcher or a seasoned pro, this flexible boning knife will be one of your best allies in the kitchen.
- Incredible edge retention.
- Flexible blade allows for more control over the butchering process.
- Tapered bolster provides a better grip.
- The price point might be a little high for some home cooks.
Constructed with a single piece of razor-sharp steel, the Crusader Series 6.5" Boning Knife is both a fantastic piece of engineering and a minimalist work of art. Featuring a ThyssenKrupp German stainless steel blade that seamlessly transitions in a high-chromium stainless steel ergonomic handle, its striking design will surely be a topic of conversation for anyone lucky enough to witness your meat butchering skills.
- ThyssenKrupp German steel at 58+ Rockwell.
- Excellent edge retention.
- Ergonomic handle makes it easy to maneuver.
- Some chefs will prefer a boning knife with a traditional wooden handle.
4. Gladiator Series 3.75" Poultry Boning Knife ($39.99)
And if we’re getting into the minutiae of boning, we can’t leave outside the Gladiator Series Poultry Boning Knife. At 3.75", its German ThyssenKrupp stainless steel blade is ideal for working with smaller poultry and beef cuts, giving you access to the tightest corners with practically no effort. Cut smoothly through ribs, joints, and breastbones, making sure no meat is left behind.
- The tall blade height gives you better knuckle clearance.
- Curved bolster provides maximum precision.
- Stain resistant
- Compared to other boning knives on this list, its blade is much shorter, thus making it hard to work with larger cuts. Some people prefer longer boning blades.
With its sleek, pitch-black satin finish blade and its fiber-resin military grade G10 handle, the Shadow Black Series 6" Curved Boning Knife just screams “finesse.” Whether you’re boning, trimming, or slicing meat, its relentless curved blade is sure to excel at pretty much any cut of meat you throw its way. This curved boning knife also looks nothing like other boning knives out there, automatically making it an instant standout in your kitchen.
- High carbon 7CR17MOV-X stainless steel blade sharpened to 16-18° per side for optimal performance.
- Forward-thinking design.
- Added chromium for resistance.
- More conservative chefs might find the all-black finish a little too edgy.
6. Phantom Series 6" Straight-Edged Boning Knife ($59.99)
Butchering can seem like a daunting task for the uninitiated. With all the bone, muscle, fat, and sinew involved, you need the proper tools to achieve optimal results without causing a culinary carnage. Enter the Phantom Series 6" Straight-Edged Boning Knife: a ruthless Japanese boning knife with a premium Japanese AUS-8 stainless steel straight blade that will allow you to bone, trim, skin, and fillet meat with a single, delicate motion, leaving no room for debris.
- Ice-tempered blade for superior edge retention.
- Gorgeous copper and brass mosaic on the handle.
- Might not appeal to chefs who prefer Western-style boning knives.
7. Gladiator Series 8" Boning Knife ($59.99)
We complete this list with this absolute all-terrain performer. The Gladiator Series 8" Boning Knife’s flexible design is perfect for finessing your way around small bones and cartilages, taking the complexity out of the meat butchering process. In addition, its luxury black G10 Garolite handle perfectly tucks into the palm of your hand, offering maximum maneuverability. You can’t go wrong with this Dalstrong knife.
- German ThyssenKrupp high carbon steel blade at 56+ Rockwell.
- Premium quality workmanship.
- Excellent price-quality relationship.
- The length of the blade might be a little large for people with smaller hands.
2. What is a boning knife?
An essential part of the kitchen knife family, the boning knife basically consists of a narrow blade with a razor sharp edge and a pointed tip. It is mainly used to remove the bones from meat, poultry, and fish. Depending on the manufacturer, the blade length can fall anywhere between 5 to 9 ½ inches.
If you’re familiar with the world of culinary tools then you're aware of various knife brands and you've probably heard a thing or two about the Wusthof Classic, Mercer Culinary, the Shun classic or even the Victorinox fibrox. And while those are all valid options, we pride ourselves in thinking outside the box. That’s why we came up with this resourceful guide of forward-thinking, power slicing products to help you pick the best boning knife for your collection. That's why you can't go wrong with a Dalstrong boning knife.
In contrast with other kitchen knives such as the chef’s knife or the butcher knife, the boning knife isn’t thick-bladed, allowing you to make deep, precise cuts around the bone around the meat without tearing the whole piece apart.
Pro tip: Learn how to clean a wooden cutting board properly.
That said, we now present you with couple of factors that will help you choose the best boning knife according to your needs:
When looking for the best boning knife, there are basically two types you should consider:
- A stiff boning knife features a heavier blade, which will make it easier for you to work with larger, tougher meats like beef or pork without much effort from your part. Some people even claim they last longer.
- As its name indicates, a flexible boning knife provides better control and flexibility. It’s generally smaller than a stiff boning knife and it’ll come in handy when slicing thinner meats with softer bones like poultry and fish.
In the world of boning knives and unlike some other kitchen knives, there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all, meaning you should own at least a couple different sizes in order to cover all your butchering needs. While a smaller blade (5 inches or less) will give you more control over smaller and more delicate cuts of meat, a larger boning knife (6 - 9 inches) is recommended when slicing extra-large pieces such as brisket or a whole chicken.
There are no wrong choices when it comes to blade design. I guess what I’m saying by this is that it all comes down to preference. Straight blades used to be the standard, and they’re still being used to this day, but we’re finding more and more people are starting to favor curved blades since they tend to be more versatile and better for removing the bones from fish or poultry in just one pass.
Learn more about where Dalstrong Knives are manufactured here!
The handle of a boning knife can come in many shapes and forms, from wood to hard plastic. Certain synthetic materials, like the Ergonomic wooden handles provide a comfortable grip but they’ll rot if not treated properly.
The tang of the blade is also key here. Full tang blades go all the way through the knife handle, offering more durability and a better grip. Try to stay away from partial tang blades, as they’ll usually break at the bolster, the junction between the blade and the handle.
The majority of boning knives out there are made of stainless steel, a very popular material due to its rust-resistant properties. Like its name indicates, stainless steel also helps prevent stains and discoloration. Whether it’s cold, tempered or high carbon steel, you can’t go wrong with a stainless steel blade. High carbon stainless steel knives are more lightweight and easier to handle. If you’re looking for durability, then cold steel is one of the choices you should consider.
Most boning knives require minimum maintenance to keep their cutting edge- their thin stainless steel blades often have excellent edge retention - but if your knife went dull after using it for a long time, you can check out our tutorial on how to maintain your knife’s razor sharp edge here. If you're interested in purchasing maintenance tools, you can check out the best knife sharpeners here.
3. What is the difference between a boning knife and a fillet knife?
In general, most people tend to confuse these two. And while there might be a certain degree of overlap, the common conception is that a boning knife is used to execute heavy duty stuff like removing bones from larger cuts of meat and the fillet knife is better for “finishing” the job, with its flexible blade making it easy to contour around the bone and skin.
The fillet knife possesses a thin blade and is usually recommended for working with smaller pieces such as poultry, game, or fowl. In addition, a good fillet knife will also come in handy when slicing skinning fish, thanks to its high flexibility.
Western-style knives tend to keep these two functions separate but there are also all-purpose knives that you can use for both activities.
Japanese knives are a whole different story - the Japanese have a varied collection of knives specifically for filleting fish, such as the deba or the yanagi, and then there’s the gokujo (literally, “all-in-one”), which can be used as either a boning or fillet knife.
4. Which knife is best for separating the bone from the meat?
Like we’ve mentioned before, there are no wrong choices when making a choice with this type of knife. Both a semi-stiff and curved blade (and maybe a little practice) will give you the desired results, but it will all depend on the protein you’re working with. If you’re a pitmaster who BBQs meat on the regular, you might wanna go for a larger, straight-edged stainless steel blade, which will make it easier for you to effortlessly slice through substantial beef cuts.
On the other hand, someone who doesn’t eat as much red meat might opt for a smaller knife with a flexible blade to be able to manipulate chicken and fish with laser-sharp precision. A fillet knife and its thin blade is a perfect example of this. There is such a thing as the boning fillet knife and they can be used for dual purposes.
5. Should a boning knife be flexible?
It might sound confusing, but the answer is yes and no. With its curved tip and flexible blade, a flexible boning knife can perform clean cuts around the bone, muscle, and connective tissue with the precision of a surgeon but it’s not the ideal choice when slicing thicker meats, which usually require a stiffer blade. Overall, it’s best to do the groundwork with a stiff or semi-stiff blade and then take care of the details with a flexible boning knife.
Some butchers will claim a flexible boning knife is the way to go but in our honest opinion, any cook that takes pride in their meat butchering abilities should have at least a couple of boning knives at hand in order to obtain superlative results.
6. What knives do Michelin chefs use?
The first female chef to ever receive three Michelin stars in the US, Dominique Crenn is an avid user of Dalstrong products. She chops, dices, and slices with the Dalstrong Crusader Series on the Dalstrong Teak Cutting Board, and keeps a sharp blade with the Dalstrong 10” Ceramic Honing Rod. Learn more about this world renowned chef and her partnership with Dalstrong here.
You can also check in with our Expert Knife Finder Quiz and get specific recommendations based on your needs.
Written by Pablo Perez
When he's not adding way too much butter to his recipes, Pablo likes to write about knives, music, food, cinema, and all of the other things that make life worth living.