The boning knife is one of those specialist knives whose function is hard to conduct using other types of knives. It may not seem a priority at first, but as your recipes become complex and you prep more raw meat dishes, you will find one indispensable.
In this guide, we help your search for the best boning knives by giving you some of the top choices in 2022. We also give you tips on differentiating them from the pretty similar fillet knives. You will also gain insight on what to look for when picking a boning knife suitable for you.
What is a Boning Knife Used For?
As its name suggests, a boning knife is the best tool for removing bones from meat cuts. While technically, any regular knife could do this, this option has several shortcomings. First, it is dangerous risking cutting yourself and damaging that knife. You also waste so much meat in the process, and it is also a painstaking process.
The boning knife comes with a custom design to suit its purpose. It has a thin and sharp blade with greater flexibility than the regular kitchen knife. Its main functions include;
- Separating meat from the bones
- Removing excess cartilage and fat
- Ridding the skin from the meat
- Cutting through ligaments
You can use the boning knife for other complementary functions like carving cake, removing an apple’s core, and removing fish bones. In all these functions, a boning knife offers the following advantages;
- Their thin blade makes removing of bones faster
- They are efficient wasting little meat during the cuts
- It is safer and easier to remove bones
What’s the Difference Between a Boning knife and a Fillet Knife?
A boning knife and a fillet knife are often confused because of their design, but they are really not the same. You also should not use the two interchangeably if you can get both. Here are the main differences;
The main difference between a boning knife and a fillet knife is their purpose. The fillet knife primarily removes skin from the meat, and its flexibility makes it excellent when working with fish and their small bones. A boning knife, on the other hand, is primarily to separate meat from bones, and it is designed to cut through sinews, muscle, fat, and connective tissue, giving you fine cuts from bone-in pieces.
While both knives nowadays can feature a curve, most boning knives have a straight edge to the sharp pointed tip. On the other hand, Fillet knives never have a straight edge but instead, have a prominent curve. The fillet knife’s design makes it excellent when working on fish but not very practical for deboning.
Blade Size and weight
They all have different ranges, often falling under 5 to 8 inches when it comes to length. However, fillet knives can get up to 9.5 inches with larger fish. Boning knives tend to be less long with five and 6-inch blades.
Another difference in the sizes is that fillet knives are thinner than boning knives, making them lighter and easier to control when working with delicate fish meat.
Another significant difference is their flexibility. While both are generally more flexible than general kitchen knives, fillet knives have more ‘give’ that is, they are more flexible than boning knives. It allows them to get precise cuts when dealing with delicate flesh. On the other hand, boning knives need to be more rigid to be able to cut through sinew and tougher pieces of meat compared to the soft flesh of a fish.
The Best Boning Knives in 2022
The Wusthof Classic Series Boning knife is a companion any professional chef will appreciate. Its extremely sharp blade has a pointed tip that adds to its maneuverability, and its sturdy workmanship means it will be a breeze cutting through ligaments.
It is excellent whether you are handling beef or poultry. It is also handy when removing fat and tendons, making it one of the best western boning knives in the market. Other top features include;
- It is easy to maintain its sharpness
- It uses a special alloy of stainless steel
- It has a seamless and hygienic fit of the handle
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- It is made in Solingen, Germany
Due Cigni is one of the best, biggest, and oldest cutlery brands in Europe. It is an Italian brand producing its knives in Maniago, also known as the City of Cutlery. The 1896 boning knife has all the hallmarks of Italian design, adding top aesthetic looks to reliable functioning.
At 15cm, it is one of the longest boning knives allowing it to handle all sizes of meats. It is also versatile whether handling poultry, fish, or meat. Other top features include;
- Classy, elegant design
- First choice stainless steel 4116 X50CrMoV15
- Walnut ergonomic handle with steel rivets
- Lightweight and extremely sharp
FELIX is another top and long-running German brand established in 1790. The outstanding feature of these knives is the Mediterranean touch, thanks to the use of Andalusian Olivewood for the handle.
It is made through drop-forging, adding to its strength and durability. The knife used the superior X50 CrMoV15 steel. It also has an extra sharp tip to add to its efficiency and features a double-crop. You get a 5-year manufacturer warranty.
This option is the best all-around boning knife set and the perfect choice for a chef or home cooking enthusiast handling plenty of meat types. The three knives in the set are; a 6-inch, wide blade boning knife, a 7-inch sticking knife, and a 5-inch curved blade boning knife.
All three come with extra-wide thumb rest, a non-slip and ergonomic handle with no abrasion, and safety through the effective finger guard. The polished blade is stable, laser-tested, and delivers precise cutting-edge technology.
This boning knife comes from Zwilling’s Pro S series, defined by high-quality and traditional design. It has a narrow blade and a sharp point, and it is designed for removing fish, poultry, and meat bones.
It features all the excellent properties you have come to expect from the Zwilling brand. These include; use of high carbon German stainless steel, one-piece precision forging, and the ice-hardening FRIODUR® process. The company hand sharpens and polishes the knife at 15° on each side.
This knife is another Wusthof product and features a simple but elegant design. The most distinguishing factor is the synthetic material used to make the handle shells giving them a luxurious ivory look. The knife is also forged from one piece of stainless steel, giving it the strength, you need to cut through any ligaments and tough meats.
The final buffing is done by hand, a testament to the scrutiny these knives get before hitting the market. You will love its double holster and excellent handling, making you debone faster and without tiring.
Japanese Boning Knives
Like most knives, boning knives come in two main traditions; western boning knives and Japanese boning knives. The main Japanese boning knives are, Honesuki, and their distinguishing design features are their thick spine, flatter, and angled tip. It also has a thick angular heel with enough knuckle clearance allowance.
With time some Japanese makers have adopted different styles away from this traditional design, with some even having curved blades or pointed tips like western knives. Some of the top Japanese boning knives include;
The Tojiro DP3 boning knife is what you expect from a traditional Japanese boning knife. It has a distinctive narrow blade and a sharp-angled point, and it is perfect for poultry, meat, and fish. The blade uses high carbon cobalt alloy core cutting-edge sandwiched between two layers of 13-chrome stainless steel.
The blade is hand polished, and its edge is razor sharp with 60° Rockwell hardness. The handle is ergonomic and well-balanced and uses durable ECO wood with forged bolsters. The knife also comes with a lifetime manufacturer warranty.
The Tojiro Pro Flash Boning Knife has an interesting take, on the whole, the maneuverability design. It goes for a narrow, curved blade with a very sharp tip. All the best features of the Tojiro brand are present, including the well-balanced handle, 60° Rockwell hardness. As part of the Pro Flash series, you get a folded and forged blade construction using 63 layers of Damascus steel.
These knives also feature the beautiful Micarta handles that use lines and synthetic resin embedded with stainless steel. It is one of the best Japanese boning knives and delivers top all-round performance.
The final Japanese boning knife is also a unique work of art as it is a reliable performer in the kitchen. The curved and pointed blade with an extra sharp edge makes it easy to glide close to the bone and cuts through fibrous tissue with no problem. Its narrow blade means you also do not face any drag while cutting meat.
The D-shaped handle also provides a secure grip and excellent control, which you need when cutting. The proprietary VG-MAX cutting core steel covered by 32 layers of Damascus Steel provides the necessary strength and durability.
What to Consider When Picking the Best Boning Knives
Fining the best boning knives takes conscious effort, considering you have so many options in the market. Certain options suit certain meats better. The main considerations are;
The ideal blade length falls within 5 to 8 inches. The longer blades are for a professional butcher or anyone handling extremely large meat cuts. Shorter blades offer more flexibility and are excellent for delicate cuts.
The blade design varies, including curves, straight, thin, broad, flexible, and stiff. The curved blade is best for making long clean cuts through flesh. It is also great for delicate jobs like filleting quail and maneuvering in tight spaces.
Straight blades work well with large meat chunks, especially beef, and large poultry. They are also what you need for fine slicing and sculpting. Flexible blades help you cut around tight corners and difficult shapes. You will, however, need stiff blades for thicker meats and to portion wide meats.
You want to consider the ergonomics, tang, and material when it comes to the handle. An ergonomic handle allows the knife to feel comfortable in your hand, and it should be non-slip. Full tang offers strength, balance, and durability. For material, pick handles that are easy to maintain, are clean and hygienic, and are durable even in contact with water.
The best boning knives are made from high-quality stainless steel. Varied alloys seek to guarantee a sharp edge, durability, and longer edge retention. Considering the tasks of the knife cutting through meats, you want one that is stain and corrosion-resistant. It should also have a strong edge that does not chip easily.
Boning knives are a must-have in the kitchen if you will be doing plenty of deboning or skinning. For the best results, it may require you have at least a pair to suit various meats and purposes. Like any other kitchen knife, the trick is finding the best boning knives in the right marketplace. You want to get variety, genuine products from top brands, sale offers, and more.
At House of Knives, we get you the best knives from all major western and Japanese brands. Shop for the best boning knife at our online store and enjoy a seamless shopping experience.
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