Last Updated on 31st August 2020
If you’re dealing with meat in the kitchen there’s a number of knives you will want within easy reach.
And while most cooks will have a chef’s knife as the go to tool, the grillmaster will want to have a butcher knife. However, with the wide range of knives available and many at different price points, what is the best butcher knife you can buy in 2020?
In true sharpen-up form we have done the research for you. In our top 5 table below, you can see our pick of the top rated butcher knives available today. For full reviews of each knife, just keep on reading.
Top 5 Best Butcher Knives – Comparison Table
|1. Victorinox Cutlery 12-Inch StraightButcher Knife
|2. Ontario Knife7111 Old HickoryButcher Knife10-Inch Blade
|3. Dexter-Russell(S112-10PCP)10″ Butcher Knife
|4. F. Dick Ergogrip10″ Butcher Knife
|5. Rada CutleryR109 Old FashionedButcher Knife
The Butcher’s Knife
Image Credit: Youtube.com/User: TigerChefTV
Generally speaking, the all purpose butcher knife is heavier than a chef’s knife and features a curved blade for slicing through thick cuts of meat.
Many of the best butcher’s knives available today resemble what is known as the scimitar knife. These are actually modelled on middle-eastern swords from centuries past.
These paired down versions of an ancient formidable battle weapon, utilise a distinctive blade shape. The end has more girth than the handle, making them an excellent tool for trimming meats, breaking down cuts, slicing and chopping.
Butcher Knife Blade Steel
When looking to buy a butcher knife you should make sure that the blade contains a high carbon-steel content. This will ensure that the tool is sharp enough for the job, and will be able to handle you hacking away at cartilage.
A forged butcher knife will also be stronger and heavier, two of the main variables you need in a good butcher’s tool. Stamped steel knives are often more affordable however the trade off is that they are not as durable.
Since dealing with meat very often means working in wet and slippery conditions (and in the professional / industrial arena wearing gloves too) the handle material and ergonomics is extremely important.
Textured handles with high nylon content are a good option, as they offer superior grip when the tool or work environment is wet.
A comfortable shaped handle is also important, and one large enough to offer sufficient leverage while also allowing for a variety of hand positions.
When working with hogs and spit roasts it is advisable to use a butcher knife that doesn’t have any ridges or any recessed areas. This is because such crevices might fill with fat and make the handle slick. They are also breeding grounds for harmful bacteria.
Butcher Knife Brands
An F Dick Butcher Bag as featured on Tiger Chef.
In the US market there are a handful of brands that have proven popular in both the home and professional kitchen. Victorinox, Dexter-Russell and F. Dick, have fantastic reputations when it comes to providing top quality butcher knives, and you will find tools from these companies in meat processing plants all over the world.
In some cases, the affiliation with a certain brand may have been passed down through generations. Within the US and Germany for instance, F. Dick is popular with many older established traditional butcher shops.
Victorinox butcher knives can be seen in many modern butchers and are also bought on mass for large industrial scale meat processing.
That’s what makes these brands so reliable. They have cut their teeth in gruelling conditions of work in meat factories and butchers making them formidable tools for both the professional and home meat-loving cook.
- Looking for a meat cleaver instead – head to our top 5 review review roundup here.
Top 5 Butcher Knives Reviews
Image Credit: Web Restaurant Store
The Victorinox 12 inch Butcher Knife gets our top pick because it means business. This is the kind of tool that is popular with professional butchers and those that work at meat processing plants.
The design and manufacturing (straight from Switzerland) is all about strength, sharpness and durability.
Let’s take a closer look.
First off, you have the high carbon stainless steel blade. Victorinox are undisputed masters in the world of cutlery and certainly know what it takes to build a tool of quality.
The blade on their butcher knife has been conical ground through length and depth for a wider break point. The manufacturing process also involves ice tempering the steel. This helps provides maximum sharpness and superior edge retention; (two vital components of a top rated butcher knife).
Victorinox have also opted to stamp the blade from cold-rolled steel, while creating a bolsterless edge so that the entire blade can be used, (this design also makes sharpening easier when the time comes).
What about the handle?
As we have already covered in the short buyer’s guide above, the handle on a butcher knife is very important.
If you’re working in the shop or plant, the conditions will inevitable be wet and slippery. Even working on small joints of meat in the home kitchen will often mean greasy hands. You need a handle that has excellent grip, especially when dealing with a blade this long.
True to form, Victorinox have risen the bar here too. The 12 inch butcher knife features a patented Fibrox handle that is extensively textured with slip-resistant results.
Comfort is also a big factor here. The ergonomically designed shape has been designed to promote balance as well as ease of use, (again an important factor when dealing with a knife of this size).
Victorinox Seal Of Quality (& Lifetime Warranty)
Victorinox need no introduction when it comes to brand quality and reputation. Designed and built in Switzerland, the attention to detail the company gives to all of its product lines is one of the reasons they are world class cutlery manufacturers.
The same deal applies here. The confidence they have in their own output means the 12 inch butcher knife comes complete with a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects.
Image Credit: Web Restaurant Store
Pros of the Victorinox Cutlery 12-Inch Straight Butcher Knife, Black Fibrox Handle
- The 12 inch dimensions provides extra blade length and heft
- Superior manufacturing processes – conical ground using ice tempered steel
- Patented Fibrox handle for excellent balance, comfort and grip
- Very strong, sharp and durable – exactly what you need in a quality butcher knife
- Some users may find the 12 inch size unwieldy.
- More expensive than other butcher knives available.
This is a professional level butcher knife that can work in both the home and butcher shop / meat plant. Because of this you’re getting a top quality manufacturing in one robust knife. In our opinion the Victorinox 12 inch is the best butcher knife available on the market today.
2. Ontario Knife 7111 Old Hickory Butcher Knife, 10-Inch Blade
Anyone familiar with the BBQ Pit Boys (and their incredibly popular Youtube channel) will be well aware of their endorsement of Ontario Knives and the Old Hickory product range. The guys have used the 7111 10 inch blade in a number of their videos, and when it comes to dealing with meat for the grill, this really is an excellent option.
What you have with the Old Hickory 7111 is a knife with a simple design ethos built with quality materials and craftsmanship. Most importantly of all, it is also affordable and very effective.
An honest build quality is the name of the game here, and the no-frills approach is one of the reasons the brand has proven so popular with The BBQ Pit Boys.
Let’s take a closer look.
Ontario Knife have opted for a 10-inch carbon steel blade (with full tang) attached to a rather pleasing hickory handle.
Because the blade material is not stainless, this knife will rust quickly if not maintained the correct way.
And while some users online have complained about this, if you buy the tool knowing that you should never leave it wet (and should apply a little oil after use) you will have an excellent butcher knife that will last you a very long time.
High-carbon steel can be re-sharpened over and over and boy can you get a super sharp edge from it. That’s precisely why Ontario Knife made the choice in the first place.
What about the handle?
A large design team obviously didn’t take months looking into the ergonomics of the handle.
However, this knife isn’t about that. The simple approach still provides you with a knife that has adequate grip and a nice level of balance.
It may not be as comfortable to use as some of the other top rated butcher knives, but you’ll probably enjoy holding it more, just for the aesthetic pleasure that it brings.
Pros of the Ontario Knife 7111 Old Hickory Butcher Knife, 10-Inch Blade
- Quality craftsmanship and materials for a no-nonsense knife that works
- High-carbon steel handle for an ultra sharp edge and longevity
- Aesthetically pleasing handle
- Very strong with a good blade length
- Made in the USA
- Some users may struggle maintaining the knife to prevent it from rusting
- The 15 inch overall length may be too much for some
From slicing ribs to splitting logs this knife has the length, the sharpness and the heft but in a more organic way to the likes of the Victorinox. For those that appreciate such an ethos, the Old Hickory 10 inch is clearly the way to go.
3. Dexter-Russell (S112-10PCP) – 10″ Butcher Knife
The Dexter-Russell (S112-10PCP) 10″ Butcher Knife very nearly took our number 1 spot best butcher knife this year, and was only marginally pipped at the post by the Victorinox.
Let’s take a look at what it has to offer.
The straight edge 10 inch blade features a pointy tip and is actually hand sharpened on the production line. Needless to say the tool is extremely sharp straight out of the box.
For anyone put off by the Old Hickory carbon-steel blade, (and the careful maintenance that comes with it), the Dexter-Russell is safely in the stainless-steel arena, meaning after use care is kept to a minimum.
The weight and resulting heft is very good on the S112-10PCP (it weighs in at .58 lbs.), however it still maintains a nice balance.
The Grip-Tex handle is designed to allow for slip-free usage and this is something the knife does very well.
Pros of the Dexter-Russell (S112-10PCP) – 10″ Butcher Knife
- Hand-sharpened for excellent results straight from the factory
- Good weight and heft, exactly what you need from a superior butcher knife
- Nice balance with a non-grip handle that actually works
- Quality edge retention for increased longevity
- This is another butcher knife that is not out of place in the shop or plant. The fact it has a large 10 inch blade may mean it is slightly too large for working on the home grill (there is an 8 inch option however).
The Dexter-Russell 10 inch butcher knife is a very well made tool that will live up to the standards of any professional butcher. Strong, sharp with a build quality to last, anyone that takes meat preparation seriously will love this knife. Highly recommended.
4. F. Dick Ergogrip 10″ Butcher Knife
Among professionals Friedrich Dick of Germany needs no introduction. The company has been manufacturing highest quality knives and tools for butchers since the year 1778.
And until relatively recently their products were only available to those same professionals. As such, their cutlery is used in a large proportion of culinary schools worldwide.
The reputation also means you will still see F.Dick knives as the cutlery of choice for German butchers and professional chefs: old habits die-hard as the saying goes.
What all of this means of course is that F Dick know what they are doing when it comes to providing tools for butchers. They have had almost two and half centuries to hone their skill to create the best butcher knives on the market.
Does the Ergogrip live up to that lofty heritage however?
We are pleased to say that it does, (hence this particular knife making our top 5 list).
The German attention to detail is more than evident in the construction of the F Dick butcher knife.
Professionals can use this as a daily blade and still expect it to keep on slicing with minimum sharpening maintenance (the steel is that good).
Edge retention really is top quality here as the knife has been designed to be a workhorse.
In fact some user have commented that even when the blade does eventually wear down, it comes right back again with a few strokes using a diamond steel.
It is a comfortable tool to use too. The ergonomics are a priority here and with the knife intended for extended daily use, how it feels in the hand has really been thought about. You will enjoy holding this knife and getting to work.
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Pros of the F. Dick Ergogrip 10″ Butcher Knife
- Sturdy and superior German build quality
- Stainless steel blade with excellent edge retention
- Easy to sharpen
- Well balanced and comfortable for extended professional, daily use
- None really, the user reviews say it all, the F. Dick Butcher knife has proven very popular with customers.
A superior butcher knife from a company that has been in the culinary game for centuries. If it’s good enough for the pros it will certainly be good enough for home use. Another top rated butcher knife you can buy in 2018.
5. Rada Cutlery R109 Old Fashioned Butcher Knife with Aluminum Handle
So far in our top 5 best butcher knife review roundup we have selected knives adequate for both professional and home use, because these are quite simply the highest quality tools available.
However, there are also butcher knife options geared more towards home use only, (and have the price tag to match).
If budget is a concern and you do not need the build quality inherent with the more professional level knives, the Rada Cutlery R109 Old Fashioned Butcher Knife with aluminum handle could well be the tool for you.
Let’s take a closer look.
Straight from the factory, the 420 HC stainless steel blade is satisfyingly sharp. It also holds an edge very well and can be sharpened easily when the time comes.
And while the blade is thinner than many professional butcher knives, the fact this knife is designed more for home use means it will stand up to consumer meat preparing needs.
The metal handle is textured and this helps provide a good grip even with wet hands. The handle is a bit on the short side however, (larger handed users may find this uncomfortable as a result).
Pros of the Rada Cutlery R109 Old Fashioned Butcher Knife with Aluminum Handle
- Very affordable
- Super sharp straight from the factory
- Good grip on the handle
- Made in the USA
- Lifetime guarantee
- The blade is thin and quite short at only 7 ¾ inches long
- Handle is also a little short (overall length of the knife is 12 1/8 inches
- Hand wash and dry only
The RADA butcher knife is an excellent choice if you do not want to spend large sums on your meat slicing tool.
Sharp with adequate edge retention the performance of the knife is good, however it is not in the same league as the other butcher knives in our top 5 list.
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Other Types of Butcher’s Knives
Image Credit: Knife-Depot.com
Although we have looked at the top 5 butcher knives above, the fact is the professional butcher will use a number of different style knives in the shop.
And while the butcher knife will take pride of place in any rack, there remains a whole series of knives that the professional meat hacker will call upon to the job the right way.
Here’s a brief run down of other types of butcher’s knives and where to buy them.
The Boning Knife
The boning knife has its place in any butchers shop and will make it into the majority of butcher knife sets.
The clue is obviously in the name. The knife is designed to bone out the product.
There are two main types of boning knife, the straight edge and the curved edge, (and within these types you can opt for either a flexible or stiff blade).
The design you go for is very much down to personal preference. However, curved semi-flexible boning knives do sell in greater numbers. (With the straight-stiff combination being the least popular with users, based on sales). Furthermore, the predominant blade size on the market today is 6 inches.
The curved boning knife is more popular because it is more versatile. On the production line of many modern meat plants you can observe the boning knife being used for a number of different tasks. These include:
- Slicing loins,
- Skinning sheep and goats,
- As a small breaking knife at leg joints,
- As a trim knife to remove hide or fecal material off carcasses,
- For fat trimming.
While at home you will not be required to carry out jobs such as these, the boning knife is still an integral part of any meat-cooking tool kit. (You can read our article on how to use a boning knife here).
The Breaking Knife
Another knife where the clue is in the name. The main role of the breaking knife is to break down carcasses. The leverage and full range of the long curved blade makes it easier to execute a nice clean cut.
There are shorter breaking knives available (starting at about 8 inches) which are very useful for home use and BBQs for trimming and slicing.
The blade is not as wide as the average butcher knife and at this smaller length they are also lighter and easier to manoeuvre, making them an ideal choice for the trimming and slicer of small mounds of meat.
Traditional Style Butcher knife
The traditional style butcher knife, (sometimes know as the English butcher knife) remains popular even though their wider spread use has diminished due to all the other style knives now available.
The traditional butcher knife has a wide blade with a slight curve at the tip. Home butchers should generally opt for a 7 or 8 inch knife, while tools of this type for the shop can be as much as 12 inches in length.
Just as the modern butcher knife is great for a number of meat cutting tasks, the traditional knife can slice, trim and can even be used to skin larger animals.
The Churrasco Knife
The Churrasco or Churrascaria knife has become very popular in recent years, mainly due to the spread of BBQ cooking and latin-style steak house cuisine, across North America.
The Churrasco knife is used where the meat is cut off the spicket. The knife is designed for this purpose and features a straight blade that is wide at the handle and grows thinner towards the tip.
Some designs of the Churrasco knife will have a slight rocker to the edge or will round off at the tip.
The Skinning Knife
Finally, the skinning knife is another tool you can expect to see in a good butcher knife set.
There are different styles of skinning knife for different types of animal. Beef skinning knives feature a curved blade that allows for a fuller and more fluid cutting motion. They have wide blades too, and total length will generally come in at 5 or 6 inches.
Lamb skinning knives or legging knives are designed to have minimum turn on the tip. With smaller animals it just isn’t necessary. In some instances you will find both styles of skinning knife in the butcher’s kit.
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