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The Art of Deboning: Mastering Cuts with the Right Boning Knife

July 9, 2024

The Boning Knife: A Stalwart of the Industry

Deboned meats are specially prepared with incredible care, precision, skill, and the proper equipment. 

Among the most important pieces of equipment for deboning meat is the boning knife. This singularly handcrafted tool was developed to enable chefs and other meat personnel to effectively remove meats from bones more easily and precisely.

Join us as we dive into boning knives, how to use a knife sharpener and the specialist butchery equipment you’ll need to master the craft of deboning.

The Essential Boning Knife

A bone knife should have a narrow, sharp-tipped blade that slides into the side of meat and through bone cleanly, minimising waste, yet still be flexible so that it doesn’t snap. The blade is generally more flexible for working with poultry and fish more stiffer for beef and pork.

The handle on a boning knife is worth considering, too. It should be made of a comfortable material, and the weight should be balanced. It should feel nice in your hand, and you should be able to hold on to it securely even when it’s wet because it’s wet. So, you want the tool to be safe and precise.

Keeping Your Blade Sharp

Your sharp boning knife makes it safer because it takes less pressure to do the job. Every meat processing setup should have a knife sharpener or a knife sharpening kit (a knife sharpener and a tool sharpener in one). 

You can use a manual sharpener or an electric one for your knives – just make sure it’s appropriate for the boning knife’s angle and edge.

Butchery Equipment: The Support Cast

The showpiece is the boning knife, but supporting roles might include a strong cutting board, bone saws to cut through the thick bones, and a filleting table. The combined ensemble helps craft a workflow, making the deboning process less of a drag and more pleasurable. 

The Importance of Boning Knives Throughout the Meat Processing Chain

Pivotal at every phase of producing processed meat, boning knives are essential tools for the meat industry.

Firstly, boning knives are used to dismantle animal organs such as heads, hooves, and intestines. A lamb, for instance, will have all of these parts removed along with its fat before being processed. 

Likewise, the outer membranes of a pig will be carefully sliced off before the carcasses are revealed. Boning knives, for use away from home, have specialised features that are properly fitted for the assigned meat-cutting tasks.

Furthermore, these knives are counterparts to cleavers, strictly dedicated to meat cutting. Their differentiation from various other knife types is evident in their handles and blades. 

Their shafts are ergonomically designed by experienced craftsmen to fit neatly in the butcher or worker’s palm, while their blades are designed and marked for integral parts of processing meat.

Precision and Efficiency

Boning knives have thin, delicate blades, which help to slice efforts to stay tight to the bone, reducing waste and harvesting the best yield, which is a huge part of making meat processing operations profitable. 


Boning knives, in particular, come in different types, sizes and shapes, so they are adapted to the different types of meat and cuts of meat that the butcher might have to work on, whether it be chicken cutting in domestically raised poultry or beef in prime cuts.


For anyone who is in the industry or even just spends a lot of time in the kitchen, you will know that a sharp, properly used knife requires much less pressure than a blunt one, reducing the chances of a slip and subsequent blood spillage, potential injuries, or a terrible cut to be put on the plate.


Boning knives are maintained by regular sharpening. Knife sharpeners and sharpening kits are very important tools to keep the knives in good shape and to maintain the efficiency and safety standards of the work with meat processing.

Enhanced Skill

Good boning knife skills are a point of pride among butchers. The ability to clean bone meat requires special skill and demonstrates mastery. Premium boning knives make the job effortless, and if you have the skills, they should leave almost no meat on the bone.

The boning knife is both — a tool and a part of the art and science of meat processing. It’s a necessary cog in the processing wheel. This aspect impacts everything from quality to worker safety. A boning knife that’s sharp, cared for and well-kept is, in its own right, a testament to the craft. 


Once you’ve mastered deboning, the flavourful, refined cut options are limitless. Add a boning knife, keep it sharp with a helpful attachment, get the right equipment for butchery, and you’re on the path of deboning with the best of them. As the saying goes, you’re only as sharp as your blade and as blunt as your butcher, so pick your equipment wisely and maintain it well!