Boning knives have to be strong, durable, and incredibly sharp to do their job in the kitchen. These wicked blades are made to separate meat from bones for cooking and occasionally get burrs along their edge from working on such a hard part of your meat, so you should always look at the edge before you begin cutting. Typically these five to eight-inch blades are straight with a slight curve at the tip, giving you a winner end. Known for their thin blades, boning knives need to be sharpened at a specific angle to get the most out of them. Without a good sharpening, you’ll just be hacking up your meal. I’ll walk you through the process so your blade can separate all the meat.
How do you sharpen a boning knife? You sharpen a boning knife with a whetstone. By sliding the full length of the blade along this textured surface, you can remove burrs and bring your knife edge to perfect sharpness. Each pass removes an imperceptible amount of metal from the edge.
How To Sharpen a Boning Knife
Sharpening your boning knife is simple. I’ll walk you through the steps and materials, plus offer up some bonus tips to help keep your knives sharp for longer. To sharpen your boning knife, you will need the following materials.
First, a honing rod will help you remove any burrs created as you cut through the meat. Secondly, I suggest using a high-quality whetstone set with at least two to four different grits from around four-hundred to over four thousand. Finally, you need water.
Using a rougher grit with a smaller number at first, you can make the basic shape you want. After that, use progressively smaller grits with larger numbers to give your blade a mirror finish and an incredibly wicked edge. Though it takes a little practice, you can master this skill easily. Moreover, learning to sharpen your blades at home will help you save time and money while still getting the best cuts of meat.
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Steps For Sharpening Your Boning Knife
- Use a sharpening steel to hone the edge and remove burrs. You have likely seen professional chefs use these long rods. By sliding the edge of your knife down and across the steel, it gives a rough shape while getting rid of any damage along your blade.
- Choose your stone. Always select a high-quality whetstone. You won’t need to level them as often, and the grit tends to be more even than cheap knockoffs.
- Level your whetstone if necessary. Over time whetstones do get damaged by sharpening, and using a whetstone level will keep your tools in better shape, thus giving your knives a nicer edge.
- Dampen the whetstone with water (or oil). This is crucial since a dry whetstone sharpens more slowly and less accurately. The water, or oil in some cases, works as a lubricant and helps you slide your blade evenly and smoothly along the surface.
- Place your blade at an eight to twenty-two-degree angle depending on how sharp you want the edge.
- With a firm downward pressure on the blade, you’re going to slide just the edge along the sharpening stone. As you move the blade sideways to sharpen along the length, you will also be dragging it back toward your body with the sharp end facing away from you.
Pro-Tip: Choose a wooden or bamboo cutting board. Not only are these renewable resources, but they are also softer. A marble, glass, or ceramic cutting board is more solid, and sometimes they are quite beautiful. Sadly, with that more solid surface, you also damage your knives more quickly. Every time your blade hits a hard surface, you lose the edge. The harder the surface, the more it dulls your blade.
Not only are wooden boards the choice of chefs to protect the edges of knives, but they also kill more bacteria. Though it may seem counterintuitive, a study conducted at the University of Wisconsin found that wooden cutting boards killed ninety-nine percent of bacteria placed on them within three minutes.
Why You Need a Whetstone
You can buy all sorts of automated sharpeners for your boning knives. However, using a whetstone is smarter. Instead of a single, pre-set edge on all your knives, learning this basic and incredibly useful skill helps put you in control. Different knives need their edges sharpened at a steeper or shallower angle based on their function.
By taking the time to perfect your knife sharpening skill, you can do more than maintain your boning knives. Every blade in your kitchen, and even scissors all need attention. When you practice at keeping them all sharp, you also guarantee you’ll be able to get the top quality cuts every time.
Especially now, when parts of the economy are closed down, finding someone to sharpen your knives for you can be difficult. Plus, it’s a waste of time and money once you have the ability to do it yourself. Having a whetstone in your kitchen is easier, and you’ll never be without the knives you need to cook while they’re ‘out at the shop.’
Learning a new skill will give you a sense of accomplishment, and over time, that whetstone will pay for itself in savings from not needing a pro to handle your knife edges. Best of all, you can offer to sharpen blades for your friends and family. It can even make a lucrative side business if you pursue it.
Why You Need to Sharpen Your Boning Knife
While there are plenty of ways to sharpen a good boning knife, I always recommend a whetstone. However, the most important thing is that you take time to sharpen your knife regardless of the method. A sharp knife makes clean cuts through the food, leaving it mostly undamaged and in smaller pieces.
Meanwhile, a dull blade isn’t cutting anything. Instead of a clean slice, dull knives are pulverizing the flesh or other food and pressuring through it. This leads to a lot of mess.
Moreover, dull blades waste more food and tend to damage as they crush. Think of a dull blade as the slowest and most exhausting way to put something in a blender. You’ll get mashed food eventually, but there are better ways. Additionally, dull knives cause excess fatigue in your hands and arms, which can be painful and annoying.
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How Often to Sharpen Your Boning Knife
You should sharpen your boning knife based on how you use it. Although there’s no set schedule for sharpening your knives properly, each knife retains its edge for a certain period of time-based on the materials and handling. If it feels like you’re having a harder time cutting through something, your blade has most likely begun to dull.
Sharpen your knives after every few uses. Especially boning knives and cleavers, which tend to take the wear and tear more rapidly due to their functions, need sharpening as often as daily if you use them all the time. Alternately, never sharpen an already sharp knife since the process will wear down the blade more quickly.
Choosing a high-quality TUO Boning Knife from Amazon can help cut down on the need to sharpen. These flexible blades come expertly sharpened to an 8-12 degree angle per side, giving you a superb cutting surface. The German HC stainless steel is corrosion and rust-resistant, plus it prevents discoloration over time. See the reviews by clicking here.
Like all kitchen tools, your boning knife needs practical maintenance. Fortunately, that only means washing, drying, and sharpening the bladed end. A good boning knife can last decades if you treat it right, and with a little practice plus a sharp edge, it will keep removing those bones without leaving large chunks of meat attached.
If you have never sharpened a knife before, I recommend getting a practice blade before trying it on your good kitchen knives. Go to your local thrift store or dollar store, and pick up a similar model to what you already have. By doing this, you can avoid damage to your high-quality kitchen utensils while you’re learning.
Take the time to practice proper knife care and sharpening so your tools will always be in peak condition. A sharp boning knife can save you a lot of hand fatigue and wasted food.