No bones about it: It's the blade bomb.
A good boning knife can save you money at the supermarket because bone-in meat is typically cheaper than boned meat. The knife’s thin, narrow, razor-like blade (which should be flexible but not too flexible) is ideal for getting in between joints and carving around larger bones. We often use a boning knife to prepare expensive cuts; it’s perfect for removing silverskin from a beef tenderloin or frenching a rack of lamb. It also helps you protect your investment by slicing close to the bone and trimming away only what you don’t want with little or no waste. We tested six flexible boning knives, and one had the clear edge. Meet our winner and your new favorite tool, on sale now.
Zwilling Pro 5.5" Flexible Boning Knife
Winner - Recommended
Reviewed in September 2018
Our new favorite won us over with its ultrasharp, moderately flexible blade, which made every task seem nearly effortless. It kept its edge throughout testing, even after deboning an additional 10 chicken breasts. Its slightly shorter length proved especially advantageous with finer jobs, giving us more control as we deboned chicken breasts. And although we wish the plastic handle were made of a grippier material, its slim profile makes it easy to grasp in different ways.
Blade Length: 5.5" Blade Edge Angle: 15° Average Blade Thickness: .84 mm Handle Circumference: 2.75"
MODEL NUMBER: #38404-143
How we tested flexible boning knives
• Sliced through paper at the start and end of testing to evaluate sharpness
• Removed bones from 2 chicken breasts
• Trimmed silverskin and fat from beef tenderloin
• Removed bone from cooked pork shoulder roast
• Had cooks with different dominant hands and hand sizes remove bones from chicken breasts and french racks of lamb
Battle of the Blades
SLIM AND SHARP
The first and most important characteristic: sharpness. Because the blade of a boning knife is comparatively light, thin, and narrow, it doesn’t have enough heft to force food apart the way a chef’s knife does. Instead, it relies almost entirely on the sharpness of its edge—particularly at the tip—to slice or make incisions. We liked very thin blades (even a difference of 0.1 millimeter can make a blade feel less sharp). We also liked blades that maintained their sharpness over time; some started off sharp but felt duller over the course of testing.
JUST ENOUGH BEND
Flexibility is critical. Unlike a chef’s knife or paring knife, a flexible boning knife has a certain degree of give so that it can bend and maneuver its way around bones, cartilage, and joints. Although all the knives in our lineup were marketed as “flexible,” the level of flexibility varied from model to model. We preferred blades that had a moderate level of flexibility, allowing for nimble but precise cuts with little or no wasted meat.
GETTING A GRIP
We liked handles that were made of textured, rubbery materials; slicker handles made it harder to maintain our grip when dealing with wet or greasy meat. Unlike a chef’s knife, a boning knife is often held with your pointer finger on the spine for added control when directing the blade. In this context, a slightly thinner handle can be an advantage, allowing users to switch their grip more readily.