Slicing Through Bone With Chef's Knives Is Always A Mistake

It probably happens by reflex: You're busy chopping your cut of meat using the all-purpose chef's knife, and when you get to the bony part, the most natural thing to do is continue slicing right through. But before you do that, consider the well-being of your blade. Even though chef's knives are sharp and relatively sturdy, they aren't designed to cut hard things like bones — this will damage the cutting edge and blunt the blade faster than you can imagine.

It makes sense to take extra care of this versatile kitchen blade. At typically 6 to 10 inches long, it's the one you'll find yourself reaching for almost every time you need to chop ingredients. In fact, over 40% of home cooks rank it as the most useful cutter, according to an exclusive survey by Tasting Table. Even celebrity chef Alton Brown affirms that if you were to have just one knife in your kitchen, a chef's knife should be it. So, instead of ruining your best blade by using it to cut bones, grab the proper tool for the job: a meat cleaver.

Use a cleaver for bones and fix your dull chef's knife this way

Whenever you spot bones in your meat that you'll likely want to cut through, the right thing to do is drop the chef's knife and reach for the mighty meat cleaver. Even for those who don't own one in their kitchen, the cleaver is well known and easily identifiable thanks to its remarkable size and the signature hole usually found in one corner of the blade. The cleaver can perform several tasks in the kitchen, but top on the list is breaking down difficult-to-cut ingredients, including tough pieces of meat or bones. This way you can spare your chef's knife from damage.

In a case where you already accidentally dulled your chef's knife, don't fret because this mistake is reversible. Using a honing rod, you can realign the steel on your knife's blade and restore its sharpness. But if the damage was too much — such that your chef's knife has become extremely blunt — that calls for sharpening using either a whetstone or an electric knife sharpener, or paying for sharpening services and letting the pros handle it.