Top 7 Best Butcher Knife Sets: Which One Would You Choose?

By Ryan Leavitt •  Updated: 02/25/21 •  14 min read

Did you know?

Heavy cleavers and long butcher knives are often seen in wet markets and meat processing factories.

But now, some home cooks prefer to skin, bone, and filet their meat, poultry, and fish because they can get the specific cuts that they need, and so much more too, for their recipes.

If you’re thinking of doing the same, don’t ever use your Chef’s knives or santokus.

They aren’t that versatile and you’ll probably damage those blades.

Have a better look at the products mentioned below – some of the best butcher knife sets ever made – and see which works for you.

Best Butcher Knife Sets – Quick Comparison

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01/18/2022 04:16 pm GMT

* A Serious Contender *

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What to Look for When Buying?

Be Sure About Your Needs

Do you often hunt and dress your own game?

Are you planning to open your butcher shop?

Or do you just want to have the right knives for cutting up big pieces of meat at home?

Be sure about what you need so you don’t waste money with overly specialized tools that you’ll be using very rarely or, worse, just once.

Know the Type of Steel

The steel used for making these blades should have the right mix of metal alloys so these can function properly.

Cleavers, for instance, must withstand repeated blows through bones and should be made from heavy and durable steel.

Skinning and filleting knives are used to navigate around the joints, bones, and skins so these should be hard but flexible.

Check the Blade’s Overall Form

The shape and length of the butcher knife must be inspected too.

Boning knives must be long (at least six inches), have extremely thin spines and curved edges, and can be bent.

Skinning knives ought to have short, wide blades and shouldn’t have a spring to them.

Cleavers must be broad, heavy, and thick at the spine so they can easily tear through bones.

Check the Handle

While natural materials like wood age well and look great in posh kitchens, these are not advisable for butcher knives.

The handles of these kitchen workhorses shouldn’t just be hard-wearing and comfortable.

These should also be germ-proof as you’re working with meat.

Go for those full-tanged, triple-riveted knife handles too since you don’t want the blade to accidentally come off while you’re chopping.

See That It Includes the Essential Butcher Knives

There is an on-going debate as to what knife is considered a must-have in butcher sets since it depends wholly on the user’s specific needs.

However, most people will agree that these tools are indispensable: a heavy cleaver, a sharp and flexible scimitar (a slim, long knife that is curved towards the tip), a boning blade, and a honing rod.

Product Reviews

Dexter Russell 3-Piece Butcher Combo (Best Overall)

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01/18/2022 04:16 pm GMT

Knives included: 6” Curved Boning, 6” Wide Trimmer, and 10” Steak Knife

Dexter Russell, a popular American brand, has been getting recognition all over the world for their proprietary DexSteel.

This special blend combines the best traits of carbon and stainless steel to come up with hard, sharp, and flexible blades.

The edges are hollowed out, giving that concave bevel.

This makes the blade extremely sharp.

Most of their modern blades – even the butcher knives – are stamped to make them somewhat lighter and easier to use than their competitors.

Because these are stamped, it doesn’t have full tangs or bolsters.

However, the ergonomic design of the Sani-Safe handles fills in that deficiency quite well.

To ensure comfort grip and safety, the white Sani-Safe handles have a curved belly and a protective finger guard.

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Ontario Knife Co. 5-Piece Set (2nd Best)

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01/18/2022 05:27 pm GMT

Knives included: 7” Butcher’s, 6” Boning, 8” Slicer, and 3.25 and 4” Paring Knives

These knives are made from 1095, a type of high carbon steel traditionally used for old pocket knives.

It was improved through heat treating and tempering to make it harder and more durable.

The blade is given the course texture which transitions to a smooth bevel, while the handles are made from a light-colored hardwood compression-riveted to the full tang of the larger, longer knives.

Unfortunately, the smaller ones for parings only have partial tangs.

The edge is not given that razor-sharp factory finish – users are given the chance to whet and strop it as they see fit.

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MSY BIGSUNNY 4-Piece Collection (Best for Home Chefs)

Knives included: 7” Chopper, 7” Santoku, 5” Utility, and Kitchen Shears

This is possibly the simplest butcher collection on the list, and this is best suited for home cooks who want to give basic meat processing a try.

MSY BIGSUNNY used the famous German X50CrMov15 (HRC 56-58) for their three knives while the pair of scissors is made from 4CR13 stainless steel.

Fully forged, the blades feature a full tang and thick partial bolsters.

These are hand polished to a razor-sharp 16° per side and then given a satin finish.

The convex handle is made from Pakkawood handle for ambidextrous hold and to ensure a comfortable grip.

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Outdoor Edge 12-Piece Game Processor (Best for Multipurpose)

Knives included: Butcher (Scimitar-like), Boning or Filleting, Skinner (with gut-hook), Caper, Carving Fork, Rib Cage Spreader, Wood/Bone Saw, Tungsten Carbide Sharpener, Full-sized Cutting Board, and Cleaning Gloves

A favorite among serious huntsmen and outdoor aficionados, this set has all the tools needed for game processing.

The company uses 420J2 stainless steel, a high-chromium blend that is quite inexpensive.

To ensure high quality, they have improved the blades by heat treating it, tapering the ground as thin as possible, and then hand sharpening the edges.

The knives are given thin but full bolsters and full tangs which are secured within TPR handles.

The thermoplastic rubber ensures a comfortable and safe grip – a must-have feature when the knife gets wet.

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Mossy Oak 8-Piece Dressing Kit (Budget Choice)

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01/18/2022 02:36 pm GMT

Knives included: 10” Boning Knife, 9.5” Skinner (with gut hook), 7.5” Caper, Steel Stick or Brisket Spreader, 8.75” Wood/Bone Saw, Tungsten Carbide V-Sharpener, Red Game Cleaning Gloves, and a Tool Case

The company manufactures these blades using 3CR13, another cheap stainless steel that features decent elements like hardness, sharpness, and flexibility.

This is reasonably priced, many US cutlery companies also use it for making their knives.

Although they used budget steel, Mossy Oak endeavored to come up with an exceptional design.

All their blades have full tangs and thin bolsters while the camouflage handles are properly screwed into it.

It is also apparent that this set is made by outdoorsmen for serious hunters.

For example, the narrow, serrated saw is given a hooked tip to avoid breaking innards while dressing.

This was also given a T-handle for a secure grip that won’t be too tiring.

The caper is perfect for small games like ducks or rabbits.

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Jero 4-Piece Butcher Set (Best for Precision)

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01/18/2022 12:17 am GMT

Knives included: 10” Scimitar, 8” Breaking Knife, 6” Curved Boning, and a Honing Rod

This Portugal-based company is getting more and more recognized in the cutlery industry.

Their knives are slightly unremarkable in terms of design but you can see their attention to detail in every blade that they create.

This particular set, for example, makes use of German steel which is high in carbon but incredibly lightweight.

The blades may be stamped but they have added long partial tangs, tightly secured inside injection-molded handles.

It doesn’t have a bolster so the handle is given a protective finger guard instead.

The Jero set may look plain but because these function well and last long, many professional butchers go for this instead of its ‘prettier’ competitors.

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HM Custom Made 6-Piece Professional Utility Roll Kit (Best for Professionals)

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01/18/2022 02:07 pm GMT

Knives included: 6” Cleaver, 9” Brisket, 8” Chef’s, 7” Fileting, 4” Paring, 13” Honing Rod and a Leather Roll

The blades in this set are made of German steel with HRC 55 to 58, although no specifics have been provided regarding its composition.

It does have a beautiful Damascus pattern, thanks to 176 layers of hand-forged steel.

The knives have thick bolsters which act as finger guards.

Unfortunately, this does not have a full tang.

But because it is riveted well to the natural Rosewood handle, not have to worry about the blade coming off.

The leather roll is a wonderful addition so that you can bring your nice anywhere you go.

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Maintenance Tips

Hone Before Use (And After Cleaning It)

Honing is done to realign the edges of the blade so you won’t need re-sharpening so soon. This task is very important, most knife sets include a honing rod.

Find a Good Cutting Board

Go for a tough yet supple chopping board. That won’t damage the edges of your knife

Never Toss Your Knife in the Dishwasher

The heat could mar the blade and/or melt the handle, while the rattling will damage the sharp edge.

Wash Your Knives by Hand Right After Use

It’s very simple: just soap the knife with the regular dishwashing liquid and rinse with hot water.

Dry the Blade and the Handle ASAP

Never soak your blade in soapy water for a long time. After washing it, dry it with a cotton towel.

Store in a Dust-Free Drawer or Container

If your knife block or magnetic strip has no space for large cleavers and oddly shaped scimitars, sheathe the blades in the clean towel and place them inside a dry drawer.

FAQ’s

Can I put the knife in the dishwasher?

No. Some may say that they are knives are dishwasher-safe but it’s best to hand wash your blades.

Does the set come with a sheath, case, or container for storage?

Some of the sets listed above do come with a case or leather roll. Check the company’s website to see if they sell individual receptacles for their knives because rarely will these oddly shaped blades fit in slots of the usual wooden blocks.

Does the set come with a honing steel, a whetstone, or any sharpening tools?

Yes. Most do come with a honing rod or their kind of sharpener. If it doesn’t, the knives probably retain their edge well and do not need frequent resharpening.

It is a full tang consequential in a heavy-duty knife?

Definitely. A full tang does not just provide a good balance. This is also a safety feature because it prevents the blade from accidentally coming off the handle, especially for cleavers and large butcher’s knives.

Should the blades be oiled every after use?

This depends on the steel that was used. If the blade has a high carbon content, it should be oiled. Those with high chromium content can just be washed, dried, and stored.

Will my knife be replaced if it chips?

No. Most companies do not include this in their limited warranty. Take note that blades made of high carbon steel tend to chip especially when used incorrectly.

Will my knife get replaced if it rusts?

No. This is also not included in companies’ limited warranty. Also, some of them admit that high carbon steel rusts easily and should be maintained properly.

Where is the best place to get butcher knife sets?

This depends on what kind of set you need. If you hunt your own game, you can check out outdoor supply stores. But when you are doing meat processing at home, any cutlery store will offer a basic ensemble of butcher knives. My gosh five

Where is the knife made?

Some of the sets on the list are made in the US, the others are made in China, and one is from Portugal. But it shouldn’t matter where a cutlery company’s factory is located because what should carry weight is where the steel was made.

Does the cutlery company offer lifetime warranties and special services such as re-sharpening?

Yes. All the brands in this list have money-back guarantees and product warranties. A few of them offer repair services but do check their websites for specifics.

Summary

Some of the butcher knife sets on the list are for professional butchers or serious game hunters like Outer Edge’s pack of the field to freezer equipment and Mossy Oak’s box of knives.

If you’re not dealing with a whole animal but want to have the right tools, HM Trading’s ensemble is perfect.

And if you just want to try your hand at boning and fileting at home, the more modest sets of Jero and Dexter Russell will fit you best.

Dexter Russell is known for its cheap yet outstanding pieces favored by many kitchen professionals all over the world. Their 3-piece butchery combo consists of knives for slicing, boning, and trimming. And the whole set can be had for less than $50!

Ontario Knife Co.’s 5-piece hickory wood set looks like it came from the 1800s – simple, rustic, yet incredibly sharp and useful. This is another favorite of professional meat processors.

MSY BIGSUNNY is a newcomer that is still unknown in the industry. But those who have tried their 4-piece butcher’s set for home cooks say that this is a great collection.

At the end of the day, buying knives is all about knowing what you need.

Stick to that and you will never go wrong.

Ryan Leavitt

Hi my name is Ryan Leavitt a Marine Corps Veteran and currently an over the road trucker (Long Haul). I am no expert chef but am enjoying preparing my own meals on the road and testing all the different knives.

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