How to Use a Knife for Cutting Bone (3 Easy Methods)

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If you’re wondering how to use a knife for cutting bone, you’ve visited the right site!

In this TheGrillingDad.com guide, you will learn:

  • How to use a knife to cut bone
  • Tips for separating the meat from the bone
  • And much more!
a chef is using a knife to cut ribs

Using a Knife to Cut Bone

A lot of tasty pieces of meat to put in your smoker have one problem, they contain bone. This can put a lot of people off of buying nicer steaks because they aren’t sure how to go about cutting the bone. 

The good news is that you can use a knife to cut bone, as long as you have the right knife and know how to do it properly. 

Before you grab any old knife from the drawer and start hacking away at a nice cut of meat, read on to learn all about how to use a knife for cutting bone. 

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Supplies You Will Need to Cut Bone

As mentioned above, one of the main things you need to cut bone is a good, quality knife that is specially rated for cutting bone. Most knives off the shelf are not strong enough to cut the bone and may break in the process. 

We have recommended the best knives for cutting bone in another article of ours, but no matter what knife you decide on, just ensure it is listed as being strong enough for cutting bones before you purchase it. 

Then, you will also need a safe space for cutting your meat. Any knife that is strong enough to go through bone may also be strong enough to damage a particular cutting board, plate, or your kitchen counter, so ensure you have a safe place that is rated for use with sharp knives. 

After you have gathered your knife, cutting board, and the meat you plan to cut, let’s look at the methods to use for cutting bone with a knife. 

How to Use a Knife for Cutting Bone With the Pinch Method

The pinch method is best employed when you are cutting smaller bones. This method will not work when cutting larger bones. 

Step 1: Pinch the Heel

Pinch the back part of the blade, resting the heel of your hand on the handle of the knife. You should feel in control of the blade.

Step 2: Line Up the Blade

Line up the blade where you would like to cut through the bone, placing the knife directly on the bone.

Step 3: Press

Press down firmly on the knife, and the blade should go right through the bone.

Using the Batoning Method to Cut Through Bones

The batoning method for cutting bone is mainly for use with small and medium bones. It is known for the satisfying sound it makes as the knife goes through the bone. 

Step 1: Place the Knife on the Bone

Place the knife on the bone where you plan to cut. This method works best with a knife that has a thick spine. 

Step 2: Line Up the Mallet

Using either a mallet or your hand, line it up with the spine of the knife.

Step 3: Swing

Swing the mallet or your fisted hand and connect it with the top of the knife. This should send it right through the bone with a satisfying crunch sound. 

Using a Knife for Cutting Bone With the Hammer Swing

The hammer swing is the best way to chop through larger bones but should not be used on small bones because it isn’t very precise. Here’s how it works.

Step 1: Grip the Knife Firmly

Grip the knife firmly in your hand and bring it to chest height.

Step 2: Swing Downwards

Swing down swiftly towards the bone, letting gravity help you cut the bone.

Note: No need to grip so hard that your fingers start to go numb, just grip the knife tight enough that the knife won’t leave your hand during the swing or the cutting.

Tips for Deboning Meat

While it is highly likely that you will want to keep the meat on the bone for methods like smoking, other methods, like roasting, are better performed if the bones are removed prior to cooking. 

Additionally, when you don’t want to spend over an hour cooking a bone-in steak, removing the bone in advance may be the way to go. Here are some of our tips for when you need to debone your meat. 

Tip 1: Proper Knife Choice

Just as you shouldn’t use the wrong knife for cutting bone, there is also a wrong knife choice for deboning as well. If you are getting serious about your meats, then you will want to purchase a proper deboning knife to make the process easier on yourself.

Tip 2: Keep the Knife Sharp

Deboning knives can get dull fast, and you’ll want to ensure they are sharp before they use them. Using a dull knife can lead to injury if you are not careful. 

Tip 3: Don’t Rush

Removing the meat from the bones is an art form and dangerous if rushed. Take your time as you are cutting the meat away to avoid common injuries that can occur during this process. 

Tip 4: Cut Away From Your Body

Whether cutting meat or bones, it’s critical that you always perform the cutting motion in the direction away from your body, especially when using the very sharp knives.

Final Thoughts on Using a Knife to Cut Bone

Overall, there are several methods to use when cutting bone, and it’s important to choose the one that is right for the size of bone you are trying to chop. 

Beyond just cutting bone, you can also use knives to remove the meat from bones, but this will require a much different type of knife beyond your bone-cutting knife. 

No matter what form of artistry you are putting your meat through before you put it on the grill, remember to always use a knife safely, so you don’t end up having an emergency room visit instead of dinner!

Hope Davis

Hope Davis

Born in Denver, Colorado as the oldest of 5 children, I learned at a young age that the grill was one of the best ways to prepare food for a crowd. And during the winter storm months, when the snow was likely to knock out the power to our house, the propane grill was a lifesaver! You wouldn’t believe the number of things you can cook on a grill when necessary. With parents who couldn’t tell salt from pepper unless you told them, I spent my late teen years making my own seasoning mixes and marinades to dress the meat before barbecues. It wasn’t long before I developed a secret marinade that people still beg me to make for them today! When I was 21 years old I bought my first smoker. Picked up some cedar chips for making a cedar plank salmon...and well, the rest they say is history! I’ve been grilling and smoking all kinds of creations ever since and I’m always excited to share my passion with others through my favorite medium--writing!

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