What is the Best Knife for Cutting Meat?

The quick answer? A sharp one, with a strong, ergonomically designed handle, and a blade that can make a cut of meat sing (figuratively, of course). But there's a lot more to take into consideration when picking the best knife for cutting meat. Let's talk about it.

1. Why You Need The Right Kind Of Knife

A photo of the Butcher & Breaking Knife 8" Shogun Series ELITE | Dalstrong with six big cuts of meatButcher & Breaking Knife 8" Shogun Series ELITE Dalstrong

Gather 'round the cauldron – or, well, the gas grills, if that's more your style. Whether you're a professional chef, a home cook who tackles a succulent prime rib every so often, or even a weekend warrior who just fires up the grill for some smoked meats, cutting meat is a big part of who we are and what we do. 

Of all the sounds you can come across in a busy kitchen, the most satisfying one is the smooth slide of a sharp knife through a piece of meat. You see, the knife you use for cutting meat is a decision that you shouldn't take lightly. The right knife can be the difference between a steak that looks like it got into a fight with a lawnmower and a cut so clean it belongs in an art gallery next to the Mona Lisa. 

The type of knife you use matters

Remember, not all knives are created equal, especially when it comes to cutting meat. Just like you wouldn’t use a meat thermometer to test the warmth of your socks, you shouldn’t grab any old kitchen knife to slice and dice that delicious cut of meat you spent your hard-earned money on.

So, buckle up. Whether it's chefs knives or boning knives, German steel or high-carbon stainless steel, carving or slicing, we're going on a journey to find you the best knife for cutting meat. Because, let's be honest, life's too short for dull blades and poorly cut meat. Let's cut right to it. (Okay, promise we'll take it easy on the "cutting" and "slicing" puns)

2. Why Slicing Meat Right Matters

bull nose butcher knife slicing into raw meatBull Nose Butcher Knife 10" | Delta Wolf Series

So you’ve got your meat knife in one hand and a glorious cut of meat in the other. Time to play butcher, right? Not so fast! Let's talk about the subtle art of slicing meat, which is often as important as the actual cooking. Yes, you heard me right; slicing can make or break your meaty masterpiece. Let's cut to the chase.  (... Sorry)

Before cooking

Ah, the preliminary slice – a magical moment when you can truly show off your pro slicing knife skills. Whether you're dealing with steak, chicken, or even smoked meats, cutting raw meat correctly can improve texture and flavor distribution. Want to marinate that cut of meat? Slicing thin scores into the meat can help those flavors penetrate deep into the fibers. Similarly, if you’re working with uneven cuts, a few strategic slices can even out the cooking time.

But hold on, don't grab that butcher's knife just yet. Different types of meat needs different types of knives for cutting. For instance, slicing a bone-in pork chop is not the same as slicing a tender chicken breast. A cleaver knife may be great for hacking through bone, but for delicate cuts, you'd be better off with a narrow blade.

After cooking

After your meat has been cooked to perfection (thanks to that instant-read meat thermometer, of course), it’s showtime for your slicing knife. When it comes to steak, thin slices are the name of the game. Thinly slicing your steak makes it easier to chew and can also make the flavors more vibrant with every bite. Ever tried to gnaw through a thick piece of poorly-sliced steak? Trust me, your jaw will thank you for the thin slices.

The rules for slicing change depending on the types of meat you've cooked. You wouldn't slice a cooked chicken breast the same way you'd slice a prime rib, right? That's because the fibers and grain of the meat differ, requiring specific blade types and cutting techniques.

A photo of a hand slicing through meat using the Bull Nose Butcher Knife 8" Shogun Series ELITE | DalstrongBull Nose Butcher Knife 8" Shogun Series ELITE Dalstrong

Unique meat considerations

Not all meats are created equal. If you’re slicing up some delicate fish, you might want a super sharp, thin-bladed knife like a Japanese knife to achieve those perfect, thin slices. But if you're dealing with something robust like a roast, you might opt for a carving knife with serrated edges to get through that crispy crust without tearing the meat underneath.

And remember, the direction in which you slice is crucial. Always slice against the grain to break up the meat fibers, making your cut tender and easier to chew. Whether you're using carving knives, steak knives, or that fancy Japanese knife you got as a wedding gift, knowing the right way to slice can elevate your cooking from good to finger-licking fantastic.

So, the next time you're about to slice through that succulent piece of meat, think twice. Consider the before and after, the type of meat, and the best knife for the job. Because when you slice it right, every bite becomes a culinary event to savor.

Read about the best way to store meat for long-term freshness, here.

3. What Types of Knives Are Best For Cutting Meat?

A photo of a man holding Chef's Knife 8" Shadow Black Series | NSF Certified | Dalstrong and a aged meat on the other hand.Chef's Knife 8" Shadow Black Series Dalstrong

Alright, knife enthusiasts and meat lovers, let's get into the nitty-gritty. When you're standing in front of a glorious piece of meat, the knife you hold in your hand isn't just a tool – it's an extension of your body.

We're about to delve into a meaty discussion about the types of knives that will make you the Michelangelo of meat-cutting. So buckle up and sharpen those blades. From the versatile chef's knives to precision-driven Japanese knives, we're dissecting the pros and cons to make your meat adventures nothing short of epic.

Butcher knives:

If you think of knives as a royal family, the butcher knife is the Duke of Raw Meatshire. This knife is designed specifically for tackling raw meats with its broad, heavy blade. Often constructed from high-carbon stainless steel, butcher knives have a curved blade that allows for a rocking motion – ideal for cutting through thicker pieces of meat or even cutting through bone. 

It's basically the Batman of knives for cutting, only instead of fighting crime, it battles the sinews and bones. It's a must-have for home chefs and professional butchers alike. If you're handling large cuts or need to break down an entire animal, look no further than this knife. Check out options like the ones listed below for some heavy-duty meat cutting.

Chef’s knives:

Ah, the chef's knife, or as some like to call it, chefs knifes (no, that's not a typo; it's just another way people refer to them). It's the jack-of-all-trades in your kitchen knife arsenal. Made from materials like German steel or carbon stainless steel, these knives are ergonomically designed for balanced weight and a good grip. 

They can handle raw meats, but they're versatile enough to chop vegetables, mince herbs, and even slice cheese. Their blade length usually ranges between 6 to 12 inches, providing sufficient surface area for larger cuts. A chef's knife is your Swiss Army knife in a world of specialized blades.

Japanese knife:

Precision, thy name is a Japanese knife. Typically made from ultra-high-quality steel, these knives are super sharp and usually have a narrower blade, offering better precision than your average knife. Ideal for creating thin slices of sashimi or filleting a fish, they're also excellent for cutting thin slices of meat, especially for dishes that require delicacy and finesse. These knives are a prized possession among home cooks and professional chefs for its razor-sharp edge and excellent weight distribution.

Carving knives:

Picture this: It’s Thanksgiving, and you’re staring down a delicious, succulent turkey. Or better yet, you've just cooked up a nice brisket for your entire family. What knife are you reaching for? That's right: the carving knife. Usually longer and thinner than your average kitchen knife, carving knives are designed for making long, straight cuts. They're perfect for slicing up prime rib, turkey, or even large fruits like melons. Consider a 10-inch carving knife with a granton edge; the dimples in the blade create air pockets that make it easier to slice without the meat sticking to the knife.

A photo of the 4-Piece Steak Knife Set Frost Fire Series | NSF Certified | Dalstrong with slices of steaks on top of a wooden board.4-Piece Steak Knife Set Frost Fire Series NSF Certified Dalstrong

Steak knives:

Steak knives are outliers here because they're not really used for cooking. But they're awesome for having people over and showing off your culinary sophistication. Their serrated edges and sharp blades make them ideal for tackling cooked pieces of meat right on your plate. Though not suitable for any meat cutting adventures before cooking, they’re your go-to for those post-cookout steak bites.

Boning knife:

Think of a boning knife as a surgeon in the ER, designed to make precise incisions. With a thin, sharp, and often flexible blade, this knife is designed to get in close to the bone and separate meat from it with minimal waste. It's the knife used to cut raw meat away from ribs, thighs, or even fish. Professional chefs often use boning knives for tasks like deboning a chicken or filleting fish.

Slicing knife:

If the boning knife is the surgeon, the slicing knife is the artist, painting thin slices of heaven onto your plate. Usually built with a long, thin blade, slicing knives are made for, you guessed it, slicing. Whether it's slicing through a succulent piece of prime rib or making paper-thin cuts of smoked salmon, this knife should be your go-to. Opt for one with a granton edge to make those slices even more precise.

Utility knife:

Finally, the utility knife—the cousin who’s good at fixing things but isn’t going to perform brain surgery. These knives are smaller than chef’s knives but larger than a paring knife, making them good for miscellaneous tasks. While they’re not specialized for meat, they can come in handy for cutting smaller pieces of cooked meat or tackling other tasks like slicing fruit or sandwich meats.

So, my fellow carnivores, understanding the different types of knives and their specific uses can elevate your meat-cutting game from amateur to virtuoso. And remember, every knife has its place; it’s up to you to wield it wisely.

4. What to Consider When Choosing The Best Knife For Cutting Meat

A photo of the Chef's Knife 8" Valhalla Series | Dalstrong and a steak.Chef's Knife 8" Valhalla Series Dalstrong

Choosing the best knife for cutting meat isn't like picking out socks – it's a serious commitment that involves more than just grabbing the first shiny object that catches your eye. Let's take a deep dive into the important factors to keep in mind when you're hunting for the Excalibur of meat knives.

Blade material

Your knife's blade material is basically its DNA. A good choice is high-carbon stainless steel or German steel, as these materials offer excellent durability and sharpness. Carbon steel blades are also an option; they're easier to sharpen and generally hold an edge better. However, they may rust if not properly cared for. Blade type matters folks, especially when you're working with raw meats, smoked meats, or cut of meats that require a fine touch.

Blade length

Would you use a moped to haul a trailer? Probably not. Similarly, you wouldn't use a short knife to carve a turkey. Depending on the pieces of meat you're working with, blade length can be crucial. A long blade like a 10-inch carving knife is great for big tasks like cutting prime rib, while something shorter and more maneuverable, like a boning knife, works better for detailed work.

Knife handle

Don't underestimate the importance of a good handle. Ergonomically designed handles are a must, especially when you have a lot of meat to cut. Trust me, the last thing you want during a BBQ is for your knife to slip out of your hand and create a scene that's better suited for a Tarantino film. Brands like Dalstrong, Victorinox Fibrox Pro and Mercer's Culinary often incorporate smart handle designs that provide both comfort and safety.

Boning knife on a wooden surface next to uncooked chicken and meat that are on parchment paper beside vegetablesShogun Series 8" Boning Knife


A dull knife is about as useful as a screen door on a submarine. Sharpness matters, especially when cutting through tough meat fibers. A sharp blade cuts better, it's as simple as that. And if you're going for those thin slices of smoked meats or even steak, invest in super sharp edges. Tools like honing rods and whetstones can help keep your blades in top condition.

Stamped or forged

There are two main ways knives are made: stamped and forged. Stamped knives are cut from a single sheet of metal and tend to be lighter and less expensive. Forged knives are made from a single piece of heated metal and are generally heavier and more robust. Professional chefs usually prefer a forged knife over a stamped knife for its durability and balance. They're the Rolls-Royces of the knife world, minus the chauffeur.


Last but not least, check out the warranty options. Brands like Dalstrong, Wüsthof Classic and Victorinox Swiss Army offer a lifetime warranty, which is a comforting safety net for your investment. You might not think you need it, but remember, even the Titanic was considered unsinkable.

Bonus: Cutting board

Okay, this might not necessarily count as a thing to consider when buying knives, but it should definitely be one of your priorities. People forget that cutting boards come into direct contact with kitchen knives all the time. They need to be sturdy, reliable, and not destructive to your blades. Look for chopping boards that are easy to clean and won't dull your knife’s blade edge. Hardwood boards or those made from sustainable materials are generally a good bet. Just think of it as the bed where your knives sleep; you wouldn't want it too hard or too soft.

5. Best Dalstrong Knives for Cutting Meat

1. BBQ Pitmaster & Meat Knife 8"

BBQ Pitmaster & Meat Knife 8" Forked Tip & Bottle Opener | Shogun Series ELITE | Dalstrong

This knife is a dream come true for barbecuers and meat enthusiasts. Handcrafted from high-carbon Japanese AUS-10V Super Steel, the 9" full-tang blade glides through any type of meat—from briskets and ribs to roasts, poultry, and fish. This versatile knife is not only perfect for slicing and butchering but also comes with a forked front end for flipping meat and a bottle opener on the spine. Its ergonomic, ambidextrous G10 Garolite handle is both heat and moisture resistant, offering exceptional grip and control.


  • Made from Japanese AUS-10V Super Steel, the knife promises excellent edge retention and sharpness, ensuring that your meat-cutting is both efficient and precise.
  • Designed for versatile use, it combines slicing, butchering, and even flipping meats with its unique forked front end, making it a multipurpose tool for any Pitmaster.
  • Comes with 13 shallow dimples on the blade to minimize food sticking and preserve juices, enhancing your meat-slicing experience.
  • Features an ergonomic, ambidextrous handle made of military-grade G10 Garolite, offering a non-slip grip that is impervious to heat and moisture.


  • Given its high-quality materials and multifunctionality, the knife falls on the pricier side of this list.
  • The multi-purpose design may not be for everyone as some may prefer specialized knives for different tasks.

2. Butcher's Breaking Cimiter Knife 10" Gladiator Series NSF Certified Dalstrong

Butcher's Breaking Cimiter Knife 10" Gladiator Series | NSF Certified | Dalstrong

For serious chefs and butchers, the Dalstrong Gladiator Series 10” professional breaking knife is a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen. Precision-forged from high-carbon German steel, the curved blade is designed to easily slice through meat, break through cartilage, and trim fat, making it ideal for everything from steaks and briskets to large game. The rock-hollow divots on the blade minimize friction and stuck-on food. It features an ergonomic, ambidextrous black G10 Garolite handle that's triple-riveted for additional durability. 


  • The blade is crafted from high-carbon German steel, hand-sharpened to between 14-16 degrees, offering excellent edge retention and stain resistance for precise cutting.
  • Specifically designed for nose-to-tail sectioning and portioning, it's the ideal tool for professional butchery, easily handling tasks like trimming briskets and breaking down large game.
  • Rock-hollow divots on the blade minimize food adhesion and friction, enabling smoother, more efficient cutting.
  • The ergonomic, ambidextrous black G10 Garolite handle is triple-riveted, providing robustness and a comfortable, non-slip grip that's impervious to heat and moisture.


  • The knife's 10-inch blade size may be intimidating or cumbersome for those who are not experienced in butchery or larger cutting tasks.
  • The specialized nature of the knife means it’s best suited for butchery tasks, which may not make it the most versatile option for those looking for a general-purpose kitchen knife.

3. Slicing & Carving Knife 12" Valhalla Series Dalstrong

Slicing & Carving Knife 12" Valhalla Series | Dalstrong

A knife designed for champions. Hailing from the Valhalla Series, this 12” slicing and carving powerhouse is hand sharpened to a devastating 8-12 degrees, ready to masterfully navigate meat and vegetables. With a blade reminiscent of heavenly forces, forged from 5-layer stainless steel and reaching a Rockwell hardness of over 60, every cut promises precision and might. The celestial resin handle, reinforced with stabilized wood and a gleaming stainless steel bolster, showcases both power and elegance. And, for the warrior chef on-the-move, a Valhalla-embossed leather sheath ensures the knife's protection in style.


  • A blade crafted from 5-layer stainless steel offers outstanding sharpness and durability, promising long-lasting, precise cuts.
  • Hand sharpened to an acute 8-12 degrees, the knife ensures a seamless slicing experience without the need for sawing.
  • The premium quality resin and stabilized wood handle is not only aesthetically pleasing but also offers high-tensile strength and superior scratch resistance.
  • Comes with a Valhalla-embossed leather sheath.


  • This knife is definitely on the flashier side when it comes to aesthetics. If you're the type of home cook who prefers classic and understated beauty, this might not be the knife for you. 
  • The unique mixing process with resin can lead to variations in handle color, meaning not every knife will have the exact same hue.

4. Meat Cleaver 9" with Stand Obliterator Gladiator Series R NSF Certified Dalstrong

Meat Cleaver 9" with Stand Obliterator | Gladiator Series R | NSF Certified | Dalstrong

For those who mean serious business when they work with meat, look no further than the Gladiator Series R 'Obliterator' Meat Cleaver. This 9" leviathan is engineered with high-carbon 7cr17mov Steel and a menacing design to demolish any culinary challenge you throw its way. Weighing in at a hefty 2.9 pounds, its blade is an epitome of brutal efficiency and razor-sharp precision, making quick work of beef, poultry, and pork. The extra-thick G10 handle ensures a solid grip, promising unyielding control as you cleave your way through meat and more. 


  • Forged from premium high-carbon 7cr17mov Steel and heat treated to 60HRC, this knife is a fortress of durability specially designed for tough meats.
  • The 9" blade with its razor-sharp edge makes this cleaver highly versatile, not just for cleaving but also for finer slicing tasks.
  • The G10 handle is military-grade, ensuring life-long durability and offering a comfortable, yet firm grip ideal for extended butchery sessions.
  • Comes with a stylish handcrafted acacia wood stand and a PerfectFit sheath, providing both a grand display and practical storage solutions.


  • Given its hefty weight of 2.9lbs, prolonged usage could lead to user fatigue, especially for those not accustomed to heavier knives.
  • The aggressive and specialized nature of this cleaver might make it less suitable for more delicate tasks in the kitchen.

5. 4-Piece Serrated Steak Knife Set Gladiator Series NSF Certified Dalstrong

4-Piece Serrated Steak Knife Set Gladiator Series | NSF Certified | Dalstrong

When it comes to enjoying your perfectly cooked steak, having the right knife can elevate the experience from good to extraordinary. The Gladiator Series 4-Piece Serrated Steak Knife Set from Dalstrong is your missing link to fully enjoying your favorite cuts. Crafted from high-carbon German ThyssenKrupp steel, each 5" blade is a marvel of cutting prowess, boasting perfectly engineered geometric serrations that glide through your steak with clean, straight cuts. The luxury black G10 Garolite handle ensures a comfortable grip for maneuverability, rounding off a knife set that is not only functionally excellent but also visually stunning.


  • The blades are made from high-carbon German ThyssenKrupp steel, ensuring long-lasting sharpness and exceptional durability.
  • Geometric serrations at 16-18 degrees per side allow for efficient and effective cutting without tearing the meat, providing a better dining experience.
  • The luxury black G10 Garolite handle is triple-riveted and ergonomically designed for a natural and comfortable grip, making each cut a pleasure.
  • NSF Certified and meticulously crafted, these knives seamlessly blend high-quality materials and design, adding a touch of elegance to any dining setting.


  • While the serrated edges make for effortless cutting through meat, they can be challenging to sharpen at home when the time eventually comes.
  • The dark color of the G10 Garolite handle looks awesome but it may not suit all table settings or personal tastes.

6. Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best knife to cut meat with?

The best knife for cutting meat is often a specialized knife like a carving knife or butcher's knife, depending on the cut of meat and the task at hand.

What is the best steel for cutting meat?

High-carbon stainless steel and German steel are often considered the best materials for a knife blade that will be used for cutting meat.

What is the best knife to cut meat and chicken?

A versatile chef's knife is often the best choice for both meat and chicken, as it can handle a variation of tasks from slicing to dicing.

What types of knife are used in meat?

Types of knives commonly used in cutting meat include butcher knives, chef's knives, boning knives, and carving knives. Each has its own set of advantages depending on the cut of meat you're working with.

What about knife sets for cutting meat?

Knife sets often offer a range of blades, including carving knives, steak knives, and sometimes a paring knife. These sets can be a convenient all-in-one solution for a variety of meat-cutting needs.

Do I need separate knives for cutting raw and cooked meat?

Yes, using separate knives for cutting raw and cooked meat is essential to avoid cross-contamination. One knife should be designated for cutting raw meat, and a separate knife should be used for slicing cooked dishes.


Written by Jorge Farah
Born on the coast of Colombia and based in Buenos Aires, Jorge is a cooking enthusiast and kitchenware obsessive with a tremendous amount of opinions.

What is the Best Knife for Cutting Meat?

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