(*) Last updated by James Pro on Mar 21th, 2018.
Hi, I’m James. I am an avid hunter and pro butcher. I have all kinds of kitchen knives, but for my kind of job, I like the boning knife best.
Butchering or cutting up meat is made so easy when I have a good quality, sharp knife as a tool.
Why Do You Need The Best Boning Knife For Game Meat?
Unlike when you buy meat in a supermarket or from your friendly butcher, meat from a hunt is unclean and not processed.
It means I do the dirty job of cleaning, removing skin and bones when we come home with game meat from elk or deer. The task can take a long time and can be tiring. You don’t want to slave a whole day cleaning the game meat you brought home?
Exactly why I use a boning knife to work in small spaces like the inside of an animal. You need a top boning knife because it can:
- Access hard-to-reach insides of animals like behind the ribs.
- Put less strain on your arms when you work, because it will glide smoothly during the cutting.
- Finish the job in less amount of time.
- Maximize the meat that you get from the animal.
- Protect you from getting hurt while working on meat.
As knives are the extension of my butchering skills, I made it my business to know about them. My favorite brands are Dalstrong, Mercer Culinary and Victorinox. These three vary is prices, and each has its own strong points.
The 3 best-rated boning knives for the money
What Are We Looking For In A Top Boning Knife?
Here are the top 5 aspects that you need to consider when choosing a boning knife:
- Flexibility. Meats are thicker and tougher to cut, and you have to use a stiff knife. Otherwise, a flexible knife would not be able to withstand the tension, and will break. A flexible knife is more suited for poultry or fish because of their soft flesh. A stiff knife will tear through the soft meat.
- Size. The smaller the blade, the more flexible it is.
- Handle. You put all the force on the handle and your choice of material is a personal choice. It can be wood or hard plastic. It should be firm to grip and will not slide off, which can be dangerous.
- Blade material matters because of the weight and of course, its sharpness. It can be made of cold steel, tempered steel or high carbon.
- Blade design can be curved or straight.
What Is The Best Boning Knife For Deer, Elk, Hog, And Poultry In 2018?
When I was younger, I went with my brother-in-law on a hunting trip. We got ourselves a couple of deer and a chicken. I did not own knives then and used whatever was brought along. It took me 3 hours to work on one elk, a lot of sweating, and I had blisters on my hands after just one deer.
After that experience, I did my research on finding the best kind of knife to use for butchering – a boning knife. And the best brands of boning knife – Dalstrong, Mercer Culinary and Victorinox.
I have researched on other brands like Ledge ON, SWITYF and many more. But to make the best decision on what to buy, I used these criteria:
- Blade material and design.
- Grip or handle design.
- Durability of the knife.
- Weight and size.
- Safety of user.
- Over-all design and aesthetics.
We highly recommend top 3 BEST QUALITY boning knives for 2018:
3 Best Boning Knives Reviews – All You Need To Know
The 3 Best-Rated Boning Knives Comparison Chart
|DALSTRONG Boning Knife|
|Mercer Culinary Boning Knife|
|Victorinox Cutlery Boning Knife|
1. DALSTRONG Gladiator Boning Knife (Best for Pros)
Dalstrong is a family-owned company that has been manufacturing knives for decades. It has different series, which include Gladiator, Phantom and Shogun. Each series has its own cutting-edge qualities.
For the Gladiator series, its outstanding feature is its blade that is made of carbon German steel.
- It is a flexible blade, 6 inches long.
- Carbon steel, the main component of Dalstrong stains and rusts easily.
- It is precise and ultra-sharp, and stays that way for a long time, but is easy to sharpen when needed.
- It is of good height making it easy to handle with clearance for the knuckle.
- Handle is made from imported black pakkawood for a sleek look.
- It has triple rivets on the handle for a comfortable and firm grip that allows easy maneuvering.
Over-all Aesthetics and Usability:
- It is sleek and modern-looking.
- Full-tang, which means its blade is one solid piece of carbon steel.
- The finish is laminated and polished both for beauty and for sanitation.
- Easily slides and cuts with little or minimum resistance.
- Comes with own sheath to protect both the knife and the people around it.
- It is of a comfortable weight of 1.2 pounds which does not cause strain on user.
Best reasons to get the Dalstrong:
- Beautiful and sleek design.
- Blade made of carbon steel which is sharp and remains sharp over usage.
- Full tang blade makes it durable.
- Flexible blade makes it easy to maneuver through tight or small spaces like between ribs.
- Carbon steel stains and rusts easily compared to stainless steel, which is the more usual material of knives.
- It is relatively heavy compared to the other knife brands in this review.
The DALSTRONG Boning Knife is the best value knife for butchers and big game or pro hunters. The knife is durable and can withstand wear and tear. It is a heavy-duty knife for final butchering tasks on deer, hog.
The blade is extremely sharp and can make easy work of game meat. You won’t have to strain yourself physically when working on big animals.
Although the knife’s carbon steel blade tends to rust and stain, cleaning it after use and storing it properly will lengthen the life of your blade. Plus, if needed, carbon steel is easy to sharpen.
Its sleek look may seem out of place in the wild, but having this knife handy totally cuts down the work time and effort when cleaning game meat.
The Dalstrong Gladiator is a PREMIUM boning knife. It’s Best For Pro Butchers and Chefs.
2. Mercer Culinary Genesis Boning Knife (Best for Cooks)
Mercer has been making knives for three decades, and provides knives to numerous cooking academies.
What I like best about Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Inch Forged Flexible Boning Knife is that it’s a beautiful blend of different cultures; it is sleek like a Japanese knife, but is of American design, and made from German carbon steel.
- Blade is flexible, made from German carbon steel, which is durable, precise and sharp.
- It is firm, and does not easily warp over time.
- Tends to easily stain and rust because of the carbon steel.
- Handle is ergonomic, making it light and easy to hold and maneuver.
- The handle is made from Santoprene, which is rubber-like, and gives you a safe, firm grip even when hands are wet.
- This material is also durable and will not break down despite contact with oils and varied temperatures.
Over-all Aesthetics and Usability:
- Full-tang for durability and top performance.
- Knife is forged, which refers to the process of manufacturing. With this method used, the steel is stronger, with blades less flexible but durable.
- Because of the forging process, there is a bolster – the metal mound between the handle and the blade. This is a safety feature that gives your fingers a safe place to rest on when using the knife.
- Another function of the bolster is to provide good balance to the knife.
- Mercer knife is very light, weighing only 7 oz., which gives more control to the user.
Best reasons to get the Mercer:
- Very durable and user-friendly with its ergonomic design and rubberized handle that will not slide off wet hands.
- Easy to maintain because the level of its flexibility makes it easy to sharpen. If too flexible, a knife may warp, but with Mercer, it is of the right level of flexibility to allow good maneuvering, but can also cut through tough meats.
- Carbon steel lacks chromium which is the ingredient in stainless steel which makes it rust-free and corrosion-resistant.
- You should have a safety sheath because it is so sharp.
The Mercer Culinary Genesis Boning Knife is a great tool for game meat, but can also work well with poultry and fish because it is light and flexible enough to be used on meat that needs gentle touch, like fish.
For me, too, I like the firmness of its grip. The handle is made from material that makes it safe and convenient to use the knife even with wet hands. And when we are working, most likely we have wet hands.
With Mercer, there is no fear of dropping the sharp blade unto your toes. It is also easy to clean and maintain.
I highly recommend the knife for people that have moderate strength and small hands like my wife Abigail. Because it is light and its handle is short.
The Mercer Culinary is the best carbon steel boning knife for home cooks. It’s also best for small games like chickens, ducks. GREAT KNIFE!
Victorinox is a Swiss company famous for its Swiss army knives. Since the 1800’s, the company supplied knives to the Swiss army, thus the name of their famous handy multi-purpose knife that we like to carry around especially when camping.
The company is much known for its durable and quality knives whether its size is for the pocket or for the kitchen.
- It’s 6 inches in length, semi-flexible and straight.
- Straight knife means the blade is perfectly tapered, and the edges are without serrations, making clean cuts without tearing or shredding.
- Material is high-carbon stainless steel, that is very sharp.
- Ice-tempered so its sharpness is sustained for longer period.
- Its handle is made from Black Fibrox, which is textured and will provide strong grip.
- The handle is designed to give balance and comfort to the user to prevent tiring.
- It is durable and can withstand exposure to kitchen oil and varied temperatures.
Over-all Aesthetics and Usability:
- It is the lightest knife among the choices, weighing a mere 3.2 oz.
- Stamped for durability and precision.
- Top value purchase because it is affordable yet of good quality.
- Because of its size, it works great in taking off skin, being able to work with connective tissues between muscles.
- It can work on big game meat, like deer, but can also be used to carve a turkey or cut ham.
Best reasons to get Victorinox:
- Great product at reasonable price.
- A century of good reputation for the company.
- Lightweight so it’s easy to maneuver around.
- While it can be used on big game meat, I noticed many users prefer using it on turkey and chicken instead.
Victorinox Cutlery Semi-Flexible Straight Boning Knife is durable and the workmanship is superb. The blade is sharp, and the handle is user-friendly and keeps the user safe.
This knife is recommended for anyone, whether a professional in the kitchen or a homemaker. It is best used for small game like chicken or duck. The Top Boning Knife For Your Budget!
Comparison Of The 3 Best Knives For Deboning
Here is a comparison to make it easier to choose the brand of knife you want.
Top 5 aspects to be considered include:
- Easy to handle
- Easy to maintain
Performance – Which one is the best?
When I clean meat, I want a knife I can effectively use.A good knife will not tire me out; will not strain my arms because its sharp blade will make the task almost effortless.
- Dalstrong has the quality flexible blade and craftsmanship to make deboning game meat an easy task. Its ergonomic design provides easy maneuvering. Cleaning meat of huge animals like deer or elk is made easy because of the sharpness of the blade just gliding through effortlessly.
- Mercer is also a flexible blade of good quality, and its easy-grip handles make it safe and also causes less strain on the user. It can also be used on big game, but can also handle smaller animals.
- Victorinox is more appropriate for smaller game like fowl, although the knife is also made of good quality, and is even known for being durable. However, because it is lightweight, it is in a way limited to smaller game.
>> OUR PICK for PERFORMANCE is DALSTRONG Boning Knife. Because I am a pro hunter, and I likes big games like deer then I’d like a knife that is heavy-duty and durable to withstand working with tough meat.
The Dalstrong knife is full-tang and sleek in design. The over-all look is modern, but I have proven that it can very well survive in the wild. This is a flawless knife.
Easy to handle – Which one is the best?
- I need a knife that gives good grip and wont slip out of my hands and heaven forbid, fall on my toes. It has to be of the right size and weight that I can easily maneuver it when working on tough meat.
- Dalstrong has imported black pakkawood handle, while Mercer’s is made from Santoprenem a rubber-like material. Victorinox is made from Fibrox, which is textured to provide firm grip.
- As to the weight, the lightest is Victorinox. Lightest, though, while a good trait, can be a disadvantage because it limits usability. Heaviest among the choice is the Dalstrong. However, heavy does not necessarily mean difficult, because the proper weight will give good balance to the knife.
>> BEST for EASY TO HANDLE is DALSTRONG Boning Knife. The design and the weight of the knife give good balance to it.
When a knife is too light, it can be flimsy. If it is too heavy, it can be strenuous to use. Dalstrong is of the correct weight of 1.2oz, and even my petite sister is able to comfortably use it.
Easy to maintain – Which one is the best?
You want a knife that will require extensive effort to maintain and clean?
I do believe to keep any knife durable; you have to clean right after using. After working on a big deer, I don’t want to spend the next hour cleaning the knife. Maintenance also includes ease in keeping the blade sharp.
- All the brands have carbon steel, and this is makes sharp blades. However, should there be need to sharpen, it is also easy to sharpen.
- One of the disadvantages of carbon steel is that it easily stains or discolors. Compared to stainless steel, carbon steel rusts and stains. In such case, blades have to be cleaned after use and stored correctly.
- Dalstrong’s handle is laminated, which is not only sleek, but also pro-sanitation. There is limited chance of bacteria staying on it because of the lamination. Mercer is forged and flexible, the blades easy to sharpen and maintain.
>> OUR PICK for EASY TO MAINTAIN is Mercer Culinary Genesis Boning Knife. Made from German carbon steel, the blade is very sharp and precise. Should there be need to sharpen, it is easily done.
Its handle is made from Santropene, which is durable even when exposed to various chemicals or heat.
The best ways to sharpen your boning knife
- Avoid using your knife on metal or Formica or glass surfaces as it will quickly dull the blade.
- Best to use a wooden cutting board.
- To sharpen, you may use a stone or a steel.
- Use a sharpening stone that’s flat and of medium grit. I put a little water on mine before I work for easy gliding.
- Steel for sharpening is actually a honing steel and does not sharpen. However, it pushes the knife back to the center and straightens the edge. It will seem that the blade has been sharpened because its performance has improved when the blade has been put back to proper position.
Design – Which one is the best?
Although the life of a hunter or butcher is kind of messy and well, rough, it does not mean I want to bring along a crude knife similar to that of the olden times. I want a knife that does not only work well, but also looks good.
- Dalstrong is oh so sleek, very modern-looking and dramatic with its black handle. Although its blade is the same with the others at 6 inches, but it is full tang, the blade appears longer and sleeker.
- Mercer is a bit bulky with its bolster, or that bulge that connects knife and handle.
- Victorinox is lightweight so it looks a bit more flimsy than the others.
>> OUR PICK for DESIGN is DALSTRONG Boning Knife. It is a long-legged beauty that is very sleek, precise and very modern.
It is of the right weight that makes it durable enough, not flimsy, but not cause too much strain on the user.
The polish of the black handle is also attractive. The design is over-all ergonomic with the intention of making it user-friendly.
Cost – Which one is the best?
- I want a knife that will not kill me with the dollar signs. I don’t mind paying a bigger amount, but it should be to get top quality product. I fairly want what I pay for.
- Cost-wise, Dalstrong is most expensive. Mercer is mid-priced, and Victorinox is least expensive. But again, cost is also about value.
- For the more expensive brands, you know you are paying for top quality. That sounds fair. It is, however, a nicer surprise to be paying for top quality, but for a lesser price. That makes that brand a real winner for its true value to the purchaser.
>> BEST for COST is Victorinox Cutlery Boning Knife not only because it is the least expensive, but because it does not compromise quality even with the low price.
You still get the craftsmanship and top materials expected from a Victorinox brand. It is a amazing knife.
How to clean and store your boning knife properly?
Whatever brand of knife you choose, at whatever price, for it to last longer and perform its maximum, the knife has to be properly cared for and correctly stored. Here are a few tips:
- Clean right after use so the meat or dirt will not harden, thus making it more difficult to remove, and may have already bred bacteria.
- Best to hand wash, even when it claims to be dishwasher-friendly.
- Don’t soak in water for a long time.
- Don’t use bleach.
- When drying, use soft towel.
- Best to store in individual sheath inside drawer to prevent accidents.
- Other storage options:
- Magnetic wall rack that keeps it out in the open for easy reach, but is kind of scary.
- Knife block, although some say it dulls the blades faster when you slide it in and out of the block.
Whichever storage method you choose, just remember two things – safety of people in the house and preserving quality of the knife.
In addition, there is one very important thing that you need to know, is to preserve your meat for long term with the highest quality. To do that, I recommend using the best Foodsaver vacuum sealer for your kitchen or a dedicated foodsaver for your game.
You think you already have enough knives in your kitchen. One knife is as good as the other, right? Well, technically, no.
Each kind of knife is made for a specific purpose and specific item.
- To debone game animals means working with tough meat and huge bones you have to go around on.
- To fillet a fish, you have to be gentler and use small knife so as not to bruise or inadvertently cut through the flesh (read more my reviews on the best electric fillet knives).
If like to clean my own meat whether it is my brother-in-law’s prized catch, or a discounted meat from the butcher. When I buy un-cleaned meat, I save money, and when I do the cleaning, I am sure it is really clean. I can also cut up to pieces to my preference, and along the way, I think of my menu.
Through the boning knife reviews, I have given everything you need to know about the 3 best knives for deboning your game meat in the market.
You are wondering which knife is the winner?
Final comparison of the best boning knives
|Easy to handle|
|Easy to maintain|
In my experience, I have chosen the DALSTRONG Boning Knife to be the most suitable kitchen tool. It is also the best knife for deboning deer.
The outstanding knife is durable, performs great with its sharp and precise blade. The product screams of craftsmanship and choice of top-quality materials.