Food

The One Knife Needed To Butcher Meat Like A Pro

The One Knife Needed To Butcher Meat Like A Pro

Hi, I’m Greg Brockman here at Prospect Butcher Co. at Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. I’m here to talk to you about 6-inch boning knife, which is the perfect knife to add to your home collection if you’re at all interested in butchering.

Boning knife’s great to have. Firstly, it’s very versatile. It’s super cheap, is, like, another thing. You can get, you know, professional grade boning knife for 30 bucks, 25, 20 even On top of it, since it is quite a small knife, it’s only about 6 inches long, it’s not like a huge difference from knives that most home cooks already are using.

So the shape of it, as you can see, it’s like really thin. And it’s curved. And two things there is that if you’ve ever used a chef’s knife and you’re trying to cut a steak out of it, it presents a problem.

The food stick to the sides. When the blade’s so thin, you don’t have any of that drag. The other part of it, it’s also very thin to get into the joints and right along bones, which is also why it’s flexy.

When you use this knife, you can save a little bit of money at the butchers. We’ve got a whole chuck roll, which is a big piece of meat, and we’re going to pull out three, four, maybe even five, depending on how you want to look at it, different cuts.

I mean, you can get this at any decent butcher. I mean, you’d have to ask for specifically. I know you can get it at, like, Costco, I think. Any place that brings in meat. I’m sure your suburban supermarkets will have it, too.

You just got you know, you’ll have to ask for it. So I’m going to use the boning knife to separate this piece out into a few different cuts. So the first one is I’m going to take out the Vegas strip steak, it’s called sometimes.

It’s called a lot of things, but it’s a great little cut. Very similar to a flat iron, if you ever had it before. So you can see, again, it’s small, it’s like nimble, it’s sharp, and it’s able to cut through these sort of narrow thinner layers of meat without, I don’t know, nicking other parts of it or anything like that.

Also, when we’re cleaning it up, we’re doing something called denuding, which is taking off the silver skin, which is another place that the boning knife really shines. Slippery knife in, and we’re cutting away at that really tough membrane.

If you were to do this with the chef’s knife, what’s going to happen is it’s going to kind of pull at it and make it a lot messier and more annoying. It’s no different than, like, you know, peeling, like, a hard vegetable, really.

You’re just getting in there, and you’re just cutting away at the tough material here. Even if you do make a mess out of it, right, you’re the one eating it. It’s not like you’re selling it to somebody.

So it’s like, you know, it can be a little messy looking. So that is, you know, sometimes called bacon strips, sometimes called palomilla. Next, I’m going to pull off the chuck roll, or the chuck I roll rather, which is a great brazing cut.

It’s like the classic pot roast cut. It’s my favorite. It’s really, really, really nice. What I’m doing now is just, it’s called seaming. We’re pulling up the muscles and cutting through the natural seam, which, again, the boning knife, it’s just because it’s so small and nimble and thin, it makes quick work of it and makes everything easy without cutting into other stuff.

So now I’m going to pull out what’s called the Denver here. And this is a great steak. It’s a really special cut. Usually it’s like very well marbled. It’s nice and tender. It’s super versatile. When the blade’s so thin, you don’t have any of that drag.

It just glides right through. When you have more surface area, it gets grabby with the meat. And, you know, if you think if you’re chopping cucumbers with your chef’s knife, you know, if you don’t have the Granton edge, it’s going to just stick to it.

And the sharpness of the blade helps, but also, like, not having as much blade there to meet with friction stops it from, like, grabbing it. Makes the whole process a lot smoother and easier. If you’re, you know, looking to buy something in bulk and then you save a little bit of money, this cut right here is a beautiful steak and cut, as I mentioned before, That’s going to run in $20 a pound easy, whereas the whole piece here, you know, you’re looking at $11 to $12 a pound for.

Just the difference in like this amount of meat as a steak and cut has already paid for the knife. You know, like, if you drop 20 bucks on a boning knife. And you can freeze this stuff. So I’m just going to cut it in half, and then we can just do our steaks with it right now.

Yeah, a really nice marbled steak. For my money, that’s almost as good as a New York strip or a rib eye Like, it’s a phenomenal cut. And yeah, you’re going to pay half price. You know, we got all this left over and, like, this, you can quite easily just take your boning knife again.

You don’t have to worry about cleaning it up at all. Now we’re just going to just cut it into stew meat. With just that one boning knife, you know, I’m able to get one, two, three, four cuts. Plus again, I got all this here leftover.

We can grind it, we can make more stew meat out of it. This is right here, I mean, very easily, like, 20 meals for, like, a single person. All done just with a boning knife. So the next thing I’m going to show you is how to use the sort of namesake process of the boning knife, which is using it to remove bones.

This is a whole bone in leg of lamb. First thing I need to do is take out the hip bone, also called the H-bone. This is tricky. And most of the time, this is already out, even with a bone-in one. But if you’re slightly a more advanced kind of home cook, you’ve, I don’t know, filleted fish, Frenched racks, this is a cool thing to practice on.

Funny thing with a boning knife, it’s one of the only sort of professional cooking knives that is regularly held back handed. When you have heavier chef’s knife, kind of holding it back hand, you’re really not getting out of it what you need to get out of it.

It’s all about the heaviness of the blade kind of using as a downward motion, where with this, we’re not really cutting down necessarily. We’re kind of cutting all around bones and seams and different pieces of meat.

So you hold it however it makes the most sense to hold it at that moment. But with a boning knife, it’s so small that it can slip right in, and it’s cutting through the tendon that’s holding it all together.

There we are. That’s the H-bone out We can take out the lamb sirloin, create some nice little lamb steaks or is a little roast on its own. And, again, you just do that, cutting right through, and you clean this off the top.

Again, the boning knife makes that easy to trim the meat as well as cutting the bones out. And just super quickly, we got a nice little lamb sirloin roast. That’s great for two people right there. Like, you know, little pound roast.

Then moving on, I’m going to take out this piece here, which is a lamb top round. So all we’re going to do now is come at this this way and follow the seam. And what we’re doing is we’re going to find the femur here and just ride right along it.

The thinness of the knife makes this like pretty straightforward and easy. And then here we go. We got this beautiful little boneless lamb roast or just with the boning knife here. You don’t even need the steaking knife to cut a beautiful little steak.

And so then finally, I’m going to take the round bone out, what’s called the femur. And, you know, again, this really shines, so just dragging the knife right along the bone. Again, it’s thin enough that it’s going right in there.

Again, if you’re trying to do this with a chef’s knife, it’s a real pain in the neck. You need to be so much more conscious of the size of that blade just because it’s so thick to get it in to these sort of like smaller crevices.

But with, like, almost no effort, I’m just freeing this bone entirely. And so when you’re cutting out steaks, it just gives a little extra blade length along the curve, right? So just because it’s curved up, there’s more surface area on the blade instead of if it’s straight.

With these cuts here, you’ve more or less saved the same amount of money as it took to bye the knife. So using just my boning knife, I broke down an entire leg of lamb into three different cuts — lamb sirloin roast, like, lamb round steaks, or a lamb round roast if you don’t want to cut into steaks, and a boneless leg of lamb.

Plus a little dog bone. I’ve switched out knives, but it’s still a boning knife. It’s just best practices to have a different knife to do chicken than other stuff because it’s a chop. You don’t have to do that at home.

Just make sure you clean your knife using chicken. So anyways, I’m just going to show you just I’m presuming most people know how to break down a chicken. It’s very straightforward. You can probably do it with a chef knife.

Thing is with a boning knife, personally, I think it’s a little easier. So first thing is cutting through and getting the wing off, which is very straightforward, taking those off, again, a boning knife.

Sharp enough, thin enough it goes right through the joints no problem. Second step — taking off the legs, which is kind of like one of those places boning knife I think shines. Again, it’s so much lighter than a chef’s knife that you can really kind of, like, flick at that hip joint and get that meat off nicely.

I like to plant it and pull so I get the oyster with it. Same thing on this side. Again, I’m just using a backhand because I find it more comfortable on this side. I’m just getting it nice and close, not losing any meat to the hip.

And then finally, again, it’s a sharp blade and it’s strong enough that I can just cut right through the ribs that are holding the back to the breast area. There’s your chicken broke down. I find it’s a little easier not using something that’s quite so heavy as a chef’s knife because of it’s sort of, like, yeah, middle weight, the boning knife, it just makes a little bit more of the detail stuff easier.

And you have an edge guard on it, you can put it in a jar, you can put it in with any — however you’re storing any of your other knives. It’ll go in there. It’s not huge. It’s small, and yes, it’s sharp, but, like, you know, it’s not like it’s a specialized giant knife.

It’s easy enough you can keep it around and use it when you need to. Started with a whole chicken and a boning knife, and we ended up with boneless skin on breast, boneless skin on thigh, a whole leg and thigh, a couple of wings, and bones for stock, namely a back and keel.

Made quick work of it with a boning knife. You just quickly figure out, like, each tool has a job to do. And it’s really, really clear what that job is by just looking at the geometry of it and then expanding that out to stuff that you spend the most time doing is the detail work.

Just that fact alone, you just end up spending way more time with a boning knife because it’s good at a lot of different little things. You’re going to be using it a lot. And now that you’ve seen what a boning knife can do, you should totally go out and get one.

It’s cheap, it’s easy, it’s versatile. It’s not as scary as it looks. If you mess it up, it’s not a big deal. Like, you’re going to be eating it anyway. Straight upgrade to your your kit. It is the only knife you need to start butchering, yeah.

♪♪ Just make sure you clear your knife after using chicken Chickens are filthy. So you just want to make sure that you’re being as cleanly as possible with chicken. And yeah, this isn’t some fly by night operation here.

So, like, I’m going to use a different knife. A best practice is to have a different knife to do chicken than other stuff. Just make sure you clear your knife after using chicken. Chickens are filthy.

So you just want to make sure, yeah, that you’re being as cleanly as possible with chicken, and yeah, this isn’t some fly by night operation here. So, like, I’m going to use a different knife.

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