A boning knife is a type of knife that is specially designed for de-boning and filleting fish. It has a smaller, flexible blade that can easily cut through delicate flesh.
Boning knife for fish
A boning knife has a thin, flexible semi-sharp blade only about 6 inches long. The blade is often serrated to ensure easy cutting and avoid squishing the flesh when you cut it. It is also tapered to ensure the boning knife will fit in standard-sized fish fillet box.
A good boning knife has a blade length of about 12 inches, though some are much longer. The blade is flexible enough to bend in half when stuck in a fish, but stiff enough to hold its form and cut easily.
A common mistake made by beginners is to use too small of a boning knife. If the blade is too thin and flexible, it is hard to control. The resulting cuts will be sloppy, with flesh getting squished between the blade and the cutting board.
A blunt boning knife works best because a sharp blade will cut too deep into the flesh, making de-boning more difficult. A blunt edge also makes less likely to draw blood when you are working on harder-to-cut fish.
A good fish boning knife is also quite light, as a heavier one will make it harder to cut through the flesh and will tire you out faster.
Unlike a butcher knife, which has a long blade and a straight edge, the blade of a fish boning knife is curved slightly to fit inside the curved bodies of most fish.
The most common use for a boning knife is removing the bones from salmon, trout and other types of large-bodied fish. Many people also like to use a boning knife to cut steaks from large fish such as halibut, tuna and swordfish.
The purpose of the curved blade is to make cutting around the bones in the body of a fish easier. Because de-boning fish can be quite messy, it is often helpful to cut off the head or tail first. This ensures that there will be less mess on your cutting board or countertop.
If you are cutting fish into steaks, then the smaller knife will still be able to handle the meat of a larger fish. But the curved blade on a boning knife will allow you to cut more shallowly, so the whole steak comes out evenly with no large chunks of flesh sticking out.
As mentioned above, a good boning knife has a blade length around 12 inches, as this is enough to still have meaningful flexibility of the blade but with enough stiffness to keep it fixed in place and cut fairly deeply into flesh.
Do you need a boning knife for fish?
If you’re looking for a knife to perform fine cuts of butchery for bone in-pieces, you need a boning knife. It’s a tough job, but the boning knife is specifically designed to get it done. Meanwhile, a fillet knife is meant to be used to separate meat from bone and skin, especially for fish.
Are boning knives worth it?
Known for their thin, sharp, and sometimes flexible blades, boning knives are extremely proficient in helping you safely cut around bones and flesh. The flexibility offers a little forgiveness, but they’re still sturdy enough to go up against tough bones, joints, and ligaments.
What is the difference between a boning knife and a utility knife?
A utility knife can take the place of a boning knife. A boning knife is used for what you might imagine: deboning poultry, meat, and fish. Its long, thin blade makes it valuable for working around cuts of meat without damaging the meat itself. Its ultra-thin blade is made for separating fish from bone to make a fillet.
But you can use a utility knife to cut boneless meat, to separate the meat from bone for a fillet, and for hard-to-reach cuts of chicken, pork and roasts. And because it’s made to cut through bone with little damage, it’s great for knifemakers who want to get into making tools out of bone.
Boning knives are used by those who need to cut through tough joints and ligaments when separating flesh or removing bones from carcasses. These knives have a rather thin blade and flexible, very sharp edges. The curved edge of this knife forms a kind of sheath that helps you to reach the inside of the fish without breaking up its fragile bones.
Boning knives feature blades between 7″ and 12″ in length, cut from good quality stainless steel. Also known as fish filleting knives or fish deboning knives 1 , they are mainly used for removing the skin, flesh and bones from the sides and backs of fish and preparing them for cooking or freezing.