Top 5 Best Knives for Cutting Raw Meat (2021 Review)

I’ve talked about a lot of specialty knives, and even the best knife sets for culinary students. I realized there was something missing though, I haven’t really talked about the best knives for cutting raw meat yet!

That’s a big deal because cutting raw meat can be one of the most dangerous parts of cooking.

After all, raw meat is slippery and often difficult to work with. It can be easy to lose control and have an accident.

Using the right knife for cutting raw meat not only makes the process easier, it makes it safer too! A good knife for raw meat will give you more control, preventing accidents. Avoiding accidental cuts while working with raw meat is especially important because of the harmful bacteria that often contaminates raw meats.

I’ve put together this guide with an eye to safety in most standard home kitchens. The knives I’ve chosen are all relatively versatile, though I’ve picked them for their effectiveness when it comes to cutting raw meat of all kinds.

In this Guide you’ll learn….

  • Which kinds of knives work best for raw meat
  • Why you need a high-quality knife for raw meat
  • And Much More!
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ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Professional S 2-Piece Chef's Set
  • Two knives included
  • Versatile Design
  • Easy to Use
  • Two knives included
  • Versatile Design
  • Easy to Use
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Wusthof Classic 10" Cook's Knife
  • Professional Style Chef's Knife
  • Larger more versatile design
  • High-Quality Stainless Steel
  • Professional Style Chef's Knife
  • Larger more versatile design
  • High-Quality Stainless Steel
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ZWILLING J.A. Henckels ZWILLING Pro 5.5" Ultimate Prep Knife
  • Incredibly Versatile Design
  • Ergonomic Handle
  • Easy to Use
  • Incredibly Versatile Design
  • Ergonomic Handle
  • Easy to Use
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Dexter-Russell Traditional (08240) Blade, Rosewood Handle, Made 9" Stainless Steel Heavy Duty Cleaver
  • Comfortable handle
  • Easy to Store
  • Great for cutting bones
  • Comfortable handle
  • Easy to Store
  • Great for cutting bones
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WÜSTHOF Classic 7 Inch Fillet Knife
  • Durable Steel
  • Flexible blade design
  • Best for working with raw fish
  • Durable Steel
  • Flexible blade design
  • Best for working with raw fish
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My Overall Top Pick: ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Professional S 2-Piece Chef’s Set

For my top pick I went with the only knife set in this list.

Why a knife set you ask?

There’s a simple reason. No one knife is going to be suitable for all cuts of meat and all kinds of cutting.

Having a good knife set, like this chef knife and pairing knife duo, makes it easier to cut a wider variety of raw meats.

Zwilling also makes this set more valuable by using ergonomic handles and high-quality stainless steel.

Both elements make these knives easier to use.

Overall, this set uses high quality materials and gives you the knives you need to cut the widest variety of raw meat. That’s what easily make this set my top pick of the best knives for cutting raw meat.

Top 5 Best Knives for Cutting Raw Meat

  1. ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Professional S 2-Piece Chef’s Set
  2. Wusthof Classic 10″ Cook’s Knife
  3. ZWILLING J.A. Henckels ZWILLING Pro 5.5″ Ultimate Prep Knife
  4. Dexter-Russell Traditional (08240) Blade, Rosewood Handle, Made 9″ Stainless Steel Heavy Duty Cleaver
  5. WÜSTHOF Classic 7 Inch Fillet Knife

What are the Advantages of High-Quality Knives for Cutting Raw Meat

There are a lot of advantages of high-quality knives for cutting raw meat. The biggest advantage though, is definitely safety.

High quality knives hold a better edge for longer. Sharp is safe when it comes to kitchen knives so it’s important to consider how sharp your knife can get and how often you’ll have to sharpen it.

Read More: >> How to Use a Chef’s Choice Knife Sharpener

High quality knives use better metal and are designed to hold an edge for longer. That means less time spent sharpening your knives and more time you can spend cooking.

It’s also important to think about how long your knives will last, and what designs are most comfortable in your hand. High-quality knives are designed to last for years, which makes them significantly more affordable since you won’t have to pay frequent replacement costs.

High-quality knives are also much more likely to have an ergonomic handle than cheaper knives. Ergonomic handles are important for comfort while you’re using the knife, but they’re also important for maintaining control of the knife.

Having control is especially important for tasks like trimming chicken thighs, deboning meat, or stuffing chicken breasts and other meats.

How to Pick the Best Knives for Raw Meat

There are a few things you should consider when you’re choosing the best knife for cutting raw meat. It’s not just about getting high quality stainless steel blades or a good handle.

Knife Shape

One of the most important considerations is the shape of your knife. A tipped knife, like a chef’s knife, is a great option for slicing, cubing, and stuffing meats, but it can be a liability for deboning or cutting through bones.

A delicate pairing knife can be perfect for trimming fat off a cut of meat, but you’ll want something bigger like a butcher’s knife or a cleaver for cutting through bone.

Read More: >> The Best Knives for Cutting Bone

A chef’s knife is probably the most flexible knife shape for most people. It’s good for chicken, pork, beef, and pretty much everything else. Its large size is also surprisingly versatile, working for both large and small jobs.

Consider what kinds of meat you eat most often. If you mostly eat fish, a fillet knife might be more useful than a chef’s knife. If you buy large sections of meat or enjoy hunting, you might be better served with a butcher’s knife that’s designed for heavy meat processing.

Not sure which knife shape is best for your needs? Take a look at my Complete Guide to Kitchen Knives. I cover all the most common knife shapes and what they’re used for.

Blade Materials

One of the most common problems with cheap knives is that they use low-quality metal that doesn’t last very long and can’t hold an edge.

It’s important to look for reliable knife brands that are known for using high quality metal. It’s hard to tell at first glance whether you’ve got a good knife, which is why I recommend looking at user reviews and professional recommendations (like mine) to figure out which options are the best.

I also recommend looking at stainless steel knives over high-carbon steel knives. That’s because stainless steel needs less maintenance and will likely last longer in your kitchen. There are a few advantages to high-carbon steel, but not enough to make up for the drawbacks.

Some knives are both high-carbon and stainless steel. That’s okay. Stainless is the important descriptor. High-carbon stainless steel is still stainless steel, it’s just been forged slightly differently to increase the strength of the steel.

Handle Materials

For the best knives for cutting raw meat, you really should only choose one of two handle materials — wood or a poly-blend plastic. Plastic handles are a little more common because they are more durable and can be designed to maintain their grip when wet.

Wood handles, on the other hand, can be more attractive and look better. Wood is also naturally anti-microbial, which means that wooden knife handles are just as sanitary as plastic ones. In some cases, wood may even be more sanitary than plastic.

However, wooden handles do tend to wear out faster, especially if you put your knife in the dishwasher. Washing in the dishwasher isn’t good for the blade of your knife either, so I don’t recommend it, but it’s especially bad for knives with wooden handles.

Size:

For cutting most raw meat, size is important. Look for versatile knives in the 6-12″ range. This is the ideal range for being able to process large cuts of meat without tearing or damaging the meat while still being small enough to work with small pieces of meat like chicken thighs.

Knives that are a lot larger than 12″ are difficult to use and generally aren’t any good for detail work. Knives that are too much smaller than 6″ are also limited to very small pieces of meat.

Real quick, before we get into the best knives for cutting raw meat, I want to show you why I chose chefs knives for a lot of this list. This video (which is also a great demo for how to break down a whole chicken) really shows how versatile and effective a chef’s knife can be.

My Reviews of the Best Knives For Cutting Raw Meat

1. ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Professional S 2-Piece Chef’s Set

This knife duo gives you two of the three biggest workhorses of a modern kitchen, a pairing knife and a chef’s knife.

Both of these knives have comfortable ergonomic handles in a durable poly-plastic. The handle also conceals a full tang which makes the knife more durable and provides better control over the blade while you’re working.

The 8-inch chef’s knife is the perfect length for most at-home cooks. It’s long enough to be incredibly versatile, but a little shorter than professional 10-inch knives which can be more difficult to use.

The smaller pairing knife is just as sharp as the chef’s knife and works well in tight spaces. It’s good for anything the chef’s knife is too big to handle.

I really love this combination because it’s a good knife set for just about any family home. These two knives can do about 95% of all meat prep work, and the other 5% is likely done at the grocery store or butcher where you buy your meat.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ 2 knives included
+ Versatile design
+ Ergonomic handles
+ Full tang design
+ Stainless steel blades
– Pairing knife is a little shorter than I’d prefer

2. Wusthof Classic 10″ Cook’s Knife

Wusthof knives are known for their high-quality design and incredible steel. This larger chef’s knife is no different.

The handle is also slightly more curved than some options, which makes it more comfortable.

This is my high-end pick in part because of the longer blade on this knife. It’s a good option for skilled cooks and people who’ve worked in professional kitchens before. I wouldn’t recommend this longer knife to people who are still learning to cook though.

That’s because 10-inch knives can be particularly effective but they are a little more difficult to use than a regular chef’s knife.

The forged steel used for these knives is also incredibly durable. It holds a good edge and resists wear and tear. Tiny micro-serrations on the blade also improve it’s cutting power immensely.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ High quality forged steel
+ Longer more versatile design
+ Ergonomic handle
+ Full tang
+ Very sharp edge
– May be difficult for beginners to use

3. ZWILLING J.A. Henckels ZWILLING Pro 5.5″ Ultimate Prep Knife

This utility knife is a great option for people who want a powerful and effective knife, but who are on a tight budget.

The knife itself might be a little more expensive than my normal budget picks but it’s worth it. This knife is a good hybrid design that can take the place of several other knives in your kitchen. .

It’s a combination of a utility knife and a chef’s knife. A little shorter and narrower than a chef’s knife, and with a wider and more curved belly than a utility knife — it can cut almost anything.

Like the chef’s knives on my list, this design can handle large cuts of meat as well as smaller ones. It’s small and maneuverable enough for trimming and stuffing meat, and also large enough to trim roasts, prepare stew meat, and almost any other task.

It’s a little stiff for preparing fish, but you can work around that limitation with a little know-how.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Incredibly versatile
+ Can replace other knives
+ Ergonomic handle
+ Full tang
+ Long-lasting
– Slightly too stiff for fish

4. Dexter-Russell Traditional (08240) Blade, Rosewood Handle, Made 9″ Stainless Steel Heavy Duty Cleaver

Cleavers might not be the first knife you expect to see in a home kitchen, but I thought it was important to include at least one in this list.

That’s because cleavers are great for cutting through thicker slabs of meat, cutting bone, and splitting joints.

This large cleaver design is great for homes because, despite the larger blade, it’s still small enough to store easily. It even has a small hole for a hook in the corner of the blade to hang it so you don’t have to store your cleaver in a drawer.

Its thicker, more durable steel is a fantastic option for people who break down large bone-in sections of meat. It’s also a good tool if you like to make your own bone-broth.

The rosewood handle on this knife is also an attractive addition. Its unique design gives you a little extra grip. The handle is also a good option since it’s not quite as smooth as plastic, which helps your grip. This is useful for striking with your cleaver to chop through thick sections of meat.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Heavy-duty steel
+ Ergonomic handle
+Attractive rosewood handle
+ Full tang design
+ Easy storage
– Cleavers aren’t very versatile


5. WÜSTHOF Classic 7 Inch Fillet Knife

This last knife is a little different from the other options on my list. Fillet knives are specialized for cutting fish.

Even though they are flexible enough to have some other uses in the kitchen, this option is best for people who eat a lot of fish.

I wanted to include at least one fillet knife because other styles of knife aren’t very good for fish.

Since fish is a type of meat, and one of the more difficult kinds of raw meat to work with, I wanted to make sure the right kind of knife was on my list.

These narrow and more flexible blades are perfect for filleting fish (as their name implies) but they’re also a reasonable option for preparing sushi. At least, they’re a good option if you can’t get a yanagiba.

Read More: >> The Best Knives for Saltwater Fish

These knives can also work for detailed cutting like trimming fat off a roast or butterflying a chicken breast.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Flexible stainless steel
+ Very sharp design
+ Full tang
+ Curved tip for better precision
+ Ergonomic grip
– Fillet knives aren’t very versatile

My Top Pick: ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Professional S 2-Piece Chef’s Set

This 2-piece set is still my favorite of all of the knives on this list. Both of these knives are made from durable and high quality stainless steel. They come with relatively sharp blades that hold an edge well.

I also like that these two knives can handle a wide range of different tasks. If you can only have two knifes, these two are a good set to have.

Plus the ergonomic handles make it easier to control both of these knives while you’re working with raw meat. They’re a great deal, whether you’re buying your first knives or looking to upgrade an old set.

Final Thoughts On The Best Knives For Cutting Raw Meat

Working with raw meat is one of the most difficult parts of being a home cook. It’s also one of the most important parts if you aren’t vegetarian or vegan.

Preparing your own meats at home is a lot more affordable than buying pre-cut and pre-processed meat all the time. It’s worth investing in a good set of knives to make your food prep both easier and more affordable.

Plus, having a great knife for raw meat can make it a lot easier to prepare more technically difficult recipes!

Happy cooking!

Heather

Heather

My love for food brings me here. Over the last couple years, I've been building out my repertoire of the best kitchen gadgets and appliances to whip up my favorite meals. I'm on a mission to help you do the same, so you can bring out the spice of life in your kitchen and define your unique Kitchen Culture!

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Heather

Heather

My love for food brings me here. Over the last couple years, I've been building out my repertoire of the best kitchen gadgets and appliances to whip up my favorite meals. I'm on a mission to help you do the same, so you can bring out the spice of life in your kitchen and define your unique Kitchen Culture!

About My Kitchen Culture

Here at My Kitchen Culture, I review the best kitchen gadgets and appliances so that you can get everything you need to create your favorite foods in your kitchen. 

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