How to choose the right knife for an intended purpose

How to choose the right knife for an intended purpose

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A knife is one of the main butcher requisites and kitchen staples, which performs various tasks such as cutting, chopping, dicing, slicing, mincing, peeling, carving, boning and more. 

Although knives can multitask, no single knife has the capability to perform all of these tasks with the necessary precision. That’s why there are different types of knives; each designed for one specific purpose. It’s important to identify your intended purpose before you pick a knife. To arrive at the right decision, you need to understand the anatomy of a knife and how all parts of a knife play a role in how it’s used. So, in the article below, we’ll discuss the anatomy of a knife, and how to hold a knife the right way for the job you intend to do. 

We’ll also discuss how to choose a knife suitable for your needs.

A knife’s anatomy

As previously mentioned, there are different types of butcher knives you’ll find in a professional kitchen; a butcher knife, a boning knife, a steak knife and flaying knife. 

Most common knives in non-commercial kitchens are bread knives, utility knives and chef knives for cutting, slicing, dicing and chopping. Each knife is generally made out of these following main parts; the handle, blade, spine, edge, heel and tip. And each part of the knife has a purpose, specially designed to help you achieve the desired result.

  • The handle – this is the part that allows you to hold the knife, and use it to perform any of its intended tasks. It’s typically made from plastic, rubber or wood materials. A quality handle shouldn’t force you to grip hard onto it, nor should it be slippery. It’s meant to give you an easy grip and freedom to move as you use it.
  • The blade – this part is designed to cut, chop, slice or carve. It’s the determining factor of what the purpose of the knife is. Some knives have straight back blades, and some have drop-point blades which curve out toward the point.
  • The spine – this is the top or back of the blade; it’s thick and unsharpened to help you grip with stability when you use the knife.
  • The edge – this part is close to the tip and is the sharpened part of your knife which you use for cutting, dicing or slicing, etc. The efficiency of this part depends on how you use the knife and how sharp it is.
  • The heel – this part is closest to the handle, and it’s designed to give you a tight grip when you’re chopping or cutting through tough food such as meat, nuts or pineapples, etc.
  • The tip – this is a sharper part of the knife used for precision when cutting or slicing tomatoes, onions and other food that require fine cuts.

How to choose a knife

The answer to this question depends on what you intend to use the knife for. 

Are you looking for a knife to cut, chop and slice vegetables? Or are you simply looking for a knife that can cut through a steak? A boning knife, for instance, is your best choice when you’re looking to remove meat from bones; whether it’s poultry, red meat or fish. On the other hand, a butcher knife is rather used to cut through the toughest surfaces of the meat. 

Ask yourself what do you need the knife for and use that as your guide on choosing a knife or buy a collection of knives to use as and when required.

Final thoughts

There are several models of knives available. How you choose the best chef knife or butcher knife or any type of knife depends on your needs. That starts with understanding the anatomy of a knife and what role each part plays. The alternative solution is to buy a butcher knife set, which has different types of knives that serve different purposes. Keep in mind the importance of keeping knives sharp to carry out your task without needing to use up your strength. Visit Freddy Hirsch’s online store to get your stock of knives and a sharpener.