Whether you are a professional chef, amateur cook, butcher, homesteader, or hunter… a boning knife is an indispensable part of your knife collection.
For example, hunters of medium to large animals need to process the meat at the kill site, which helps stop the decomposition, and enables you to get the meat back to your home, shelter, or vehicle, which can sometimes take multiple trips.
In cases like these a boning knife is essential to get good clean cuts quickly, and to limit waste.
As the name suggests the boning knife is designed for you to remove the bones from the meat, they have a pointed tips, very sharp narrow blades, and ergonomically designed handles.
The whole concept of a boning knife is precision, you want to be able to remove the bone with as little wastage as possible. So that you are left with as much fat and meat as you can get.
There are lots of options out there for you to buy, which all look similar but claim different unique selling points.
However, for the most part you just need to consider what animals you will be butchering most often and what boning knife would suit that.
These knives have stiffer blades that are best for working with larger bones on larger animals. For example, if you are a homesteader and you have bought a whole cow to butcher and store for food over the winter.
These are smaller and lighter and are best for working with smaller animals and fish.
It makes sense that if you are working with animals such as chickens that you will need to be more precise and have greater flexibility than if you were processing a deer.
You should consider the following areas when deciding on which boning knife to buy:
Straight blades are probably better for larger animals, and curved blades are probably better for poultry and fish.
However, that is a guide, and your preferences may be different. If you are experienced in processing meat then you will know what you like, if you are a beginner then follow the guides given by the manufacturer.
A good handle should feel comfortable in your hands and allow you to use the blade precisely for the best cuts. The handles will be made from many things like wood, plastic, and even bone.
I like to try and find a balance of something that is cool looking but is still well designed and easy to use. Part tang blades will require the handle material to be stronger, than if you bought a full tang knife.
I prefer full tang.
Full tang means the blade goes all the way through whatever handle is used, and I think they are more durable than partial tang handles.
If you keep the same boning knife for a very long time, then at some point you are going to have to sharpen it.
So, bare that in mind. Black finished or coated blades may look cool or could stay sharper for longer, but they will not be designed for home sharpening. I prefer just a normal traditional blade that I can sharpen myself if need be.
Most boning knives are some version of stainless steel. Depending on how and where you are generally using the knife can impact your buying choices.
For example, cold steel is more durable when processing a lot of large animals at home, but carbon steel is lighter and more flexible so it may be better for you if you were are away on a multiday Turkey hunt.
Getting the size right will make your cuts more precise as the boning knife will be more suited to the animal you are butchering.
On smaller animals you are probably looking for a blade of under 6 inches, for a larger animal a blade towards 9 inches maybe best.
Theses are all boning knives that I have owned or currently own and are the ones I would recommend or buy again myself.
The knife was $90 when I bought it, which some people might think is a bit steep, but I live buy the saying buy cheap, buy twice.
This is a premium knife made from premium materials, and it could be the only boning knife you ever have to buy. If that is the case, then it is an absolute bargain.
Firstly, the knife looks damn cool in my opinion, but it also has substance as well as style.
This is my allrounder boning knife and is the boning knife I take with me on hunts when I am not sure what I will encounter.
The 6-inch blade is delicate enough to handle all processing of smaller animals, but it is durable enough to handle larger animals when I am away hunting.
The blade is made from High Carbon American BD1N-VX stainless steel, and it has never let me down in the field.
I have also processed my kills in a whole range of extreme weather conditions, and the handle has always felt safe and comfortable no matter what mother nature threw at it.
This knifes versatility is a huge bonus for hunters but it can be a tremendous boning knife for most people and most occasions.
Dalstrong are an excellent knife maker, which produce an excellent range of knives, and are a brand you can trust in my opinion.
It isn’t exactly pretty, but if you have a fairly tight budget and you want something that has a lot of bang for its buck then this is an excellent choice. It is a medium sized 6”, which is a blade length I like as it gives you versatility.
It is a very workmanlike boning knife that comes with a lifetime warranty, which makes it even better value for money and shows that the manufacturer has faith in the product.
I also like how the knife doesn’t have a bolster which means the full blade can be used to make cutting easier for you.
This knife has quite a severer curve, which enables experienced users to get really close and precise cuts, but there can be a steeper learning curve for beginners. So, bear that in mind.
If you do choose this knife then you are buying a VG-MAX steel which is Damascus-clad, what does this mean?
It means you are getting a very sharp blade that is unlikely to require any sharpening unless you put it through extremely heavy usage. If the Japanese aesthetic floats your boat, then this could be the knife for you.
This is a little longer than I prefer but I have had some excellent results with it. Due to the excellent designed handle and a blade made from Japanese Super Steel Core, you get a knife that is long but also flexible.
Normally you have to choose between a long stiff blade or a short flexible blade, this boning knife tries to give you both and it succeeds.
If you are experienced and know how to preform long smooth cuts, then this knife would be an excellent choice for you.
This is such a beautiful knife, so beautiful I don’t really care how it performs. The handle is very elegant and comfortable, and the blade is so unique looking that it is almost sexual ha-ha.
This is not a knife beauty pageant though, and knives must perform and this one does.
It has tremendous balance and a perfectly placed finger guard; it has a VG-10 steel blade and layers of damascus steel ensuring you will have a sharp blade that stays sharp.
If you want a boning knife that is practical but is also a talking point, then this knife is probably the one for you.
A boring name which is hardly a marketer’s dream, but it makes the list as a jack of all trades that comes in at a reasonable price. It is a great knife for a beginner, as it is light, flexible, and easy to master.
It is a knife to get if you aren’t sure you are going to use it regularly and think you will just be an occasional user. If you start using it regularly you may notice the blade dulls quicker that you would want, and you will want to upgrade.
With its white handle and light reflective blade, it is good for someone who is obsessed with iPhones and that aesthetic.
A knife that is probably more suited for advanced users, the handle is a little basic and fatigue can set in if you are spending a long-time processing.
However, if you want a knife that will respond effortlessly to your movement so that you can breeze through your butchering, then this knife is one of the best. The knife is razor sharp and maintains that edge without regular sharpening.
Whilst the handle is a little minimalist to hold, it does hold an excellent feature, it is filled with sand which allows the knife to maintain its balance no matter what you are doing with it.
Mercer knives are used in many culinary schools and you will find a lot of professional chefs carry on using them throughout their career. This tells you that Mercer knives are high quality knives that have great useability.
The Germans are known for their efficiency and this is just a knife that does everything it is meant to do, and does it very well, the only reason it doesn’t rank higher is that it doesn’t really excite me much.
However, I have no complaints about the craftmanship, and the results the knife brings to your deboning.
Call me superficial but I like a cool sounding name, I am much more likely to buy a Crusader knife than a 1234-xyz blah blah knife. I also like a taking point with things I own and like to be different.
So, buying this knife was a no brainer, it looks gorgeous. It is one solid piece of steel, where the very sharp blade effortlessly morphs into a futuristic looking handle.
It is not a boning knife I would take on a hunt in the winter, but it is one I get out if I want to impress my friends at a BBQ.
This is a great little option if you do a lot of deboning in the wild or at your bushcraft shelter. It is small and lightweight, which makes it perfect for lots of different wild animals.
It is also a knife that can be sharpened easily around the fire with a Whetstone. I have used this knife in pouring rain and blizzards, and it never felt unsafe not even once.
The best boning knife for you will depend on the types of animal you are deboning. If you do most of your boning in your home, then you might be best having a range of boning knives to suit a range of animals.
If you are a homesteader that only raises chickens, then you are only going to need a small flexible boning knife.
If you are a hunter that only hunts Elk than you are going to need a larger and stiffer boning knife. The boning knife should make your life easier not harder.