Why Do Meat Cleavers Have a Hole?

By Ryan Leavitt •  Updated: 02/18/19 •  2 min read

The main reason meat cleavers have a hole on the top of the blade is for storage. Since these knives are large and bulky, they won’t fit in most knife drawers or blocks. To make it easier to store, manufacturers drill a hole on the top that chefs and butchers can use to hang the knife after use.

Meat cleavers can seem intimidating to first-time users, but they are some of the most useful tools in the kitchen.

Aside from being able to slice, cut, pound, and even mince meat, you can use a cleaver for heavier vegetables that chef knives can’t handle.

These are just some of the reasons it would be beneficial to get a cleaver for your own kitchen.

(See more: my favorite list of the best cleavers for the money)

But one question that most people have when using a cleaver for the first time is: “Why do meat cleavers have a hole?”.

The main answer to this is for easier storage and easy access, but it can also be used to cut through frozen meat and tough ingredients easily.

Chefs occasionally grab the upper part of the knife where the hole is, making it much easier to pull the knife through frozen meat or bone.

Why use a cleaver?

While most people do not do their own butchering, a meat cleaver is a very good investment for a number of reasons.

For instance, apart from being economical, they can help you with your grocery budget. As you’ve realized, poultry and meat that’s cut and dressed by the butcher tend to be a bit expensive than the uncut sections.

With a good cleaver, you can cut down your poultry, separate the ribs, crack the bones and chop through the bones.

You can also use the spine and the flat of the blade to flatten chicken thighs and tenderize the cutlets. Although this can be cumbersome, some people will even use the cleaver to mince fresh meat. More so, you don’t even have to possess special skills to use a cleaver.

You can easily swing them like a hatchet or hammer and produce the force needed. Even if you are a vegetarian you can still benefit from this unique tool. You can use it to quickly cut hard squash, large melons, and even chop whole coconuts.

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.