Boning Knife vs Fillet Knife: What Every Cook Must Know
Some debates are never easy to let go of in any industry. In the cooking industry as well, one of the longest-running contests is between a boning knife and a fillet knife. Many of us, including cooks, do not know the difference between a boning knife and a fillet knife. We do know they are used to cut meat but are unable to tell when and how they are used. This lack of knowledge about boning and fillet knives is troubling because it is just like a football coach with world-class players in his team but he barely knows when and how to use them. For a cook to be able to pierce meat or fish with precision and ease in the boning or filleting process, he or she must know the difference, when and how to use a boning or a fillet knife. In this article, we are going to compare these two knives and uncover what makes them unique as well as their similarities and differences.
The Similarities – What They Have In Common
A boning knife as the name suggest is mainly used to separate or remove the bones from tougher meat such as pork or beef while a fillet knife is primarily used to separate or remove the skin and bones from softer meat and fish. There are quite a few similarities between a boning knife and a fillet knife. Both boning and fillet knives have a thinner design in relation to other types of knives on the market. Also, both boning and fillet knives can be made using high – carbon steel or stainless steel. A knife made with stainless steel does not rust easily, does not discolour easily and does not stain the knife or food. Additionally, both knives can be used in a similar way. Some boning knives can be used for filleting and vice versa. There are even some all – purpose boning and fillet knives available on the market.
The Differences Between a Boning Knife And A Fillet Knife
Now let’s go ahead and examine the key differences between both types of knives. These are primarily in the following areas: purpose, design, blade length, materials used in manufacturing them and resistance to force.
- Purpose / Usage
When using boning knives, many people have sustained various injuries because the knife blade bent during the deboning process and caused injuries to their fingers or hands. These injuries are sometimes caused by a lack of knowledge on the different types of boning knives to use, especially on tough or thick meat. When looking for the best boning knife, be aware that its comes in two main forms: stiff or flexible boning knives. The stiff boning knives are manufactured for cutting a sturdy chunk of meat. A stiff boning knife will not bend when cutting thick or sturdy meat, while a flexible boning knife on a tough hunk of meat will bend easily during the deboning process and might cause injury.
When it comes to a fillet knife, many people have the perception that any ordinary knife can be used to remove or separate the bones from fish. However, a normal kitchen knife is simply not as effective. The most effective way is to use a fillet knife as it will remove the bones from fish with ease and precision. Unlike boning knives that come in two different forms, fillet knives are made in a standard flexible form. A fish has flexible skin, and as such, a flexible fillet knife on thinner soft and supple skin will enable the cook to remove the bones with much less effort.
Most people are of the view that the more beautiful the design or style of a knife is, the sharper or better it is. As such, buyers often go for the most stylish of designs when shopping for a knife. However, this is not always true. Both boning and fillet knives are comparatively thinner in size as compared to other knives on the market. But, boning knives are thicker when compared to fillet knives. Furthermore, boning knives have straight curves and a very sharp tip. The sharp tip of a boning knife makes it very effective in cutting meat. In fact, the design of a boning knife looks very much just like any ordinary knife you will find in the kitchen. A fillet knife on the other hand does not have a simple curve. Fillet knives have an upward curve and a more curvy tip. The design characteristics of both knives makes them fit for purpose and allows greater efficiency, time savings and easier handling.
- Length of the blade
Does the length of a knife blade matter? Does it make cutting easier? Depending on what and how you are cutting, the length of a knife blade sometimes matters. Most knife blades are manufactured in a variety of length for different purposes. The blade of boning knives are generally made in 5 to 6 inches length although you can find boning knives that have 9 inches blade length. Comparatively, fillet knives are widely made in different lengths ranging from between 4 inches to 9 inches of blade length. Fillet knives with shorter length are mostly used to pierce smaller fish. For larger fish, it is advisable to use fillet knives with longer blade length. Fillet knives with a 6- or 7-inch blade length is mostly used to cut medium size fish.
- Resistance to force
As boning knives are generally used on tough meat, they are much more resiliant than fillet knives. Even when great pressure is exerted, you can rely on its strength and be confident that it will not easily bend and break.
Boning Knife Vs Fillet Knife – So Who Wins?
To summarize, both boning knives and fillet knives are comparatively thinner in size than most other types of knives on the market. Their size gives them a great edge and advantage in making complex, sophisticated and very complicated cuts. A cook who works with tough meat in his everyday routine in the kitchen cannot do without a boning knife. Similarly, a cook who works on softer meat or fish cannot do without a fillet knife. These days, most professional cooks use tough and tender meat or fish in their cooking, therefore it is imperative that they equip their kitchens with both types of knives. Thankfully, this priviledge no longer belongs only to the pros as both types of knives are widely accessible and affordable to all. Keen amateur chefs can learn and practice using these knives and overtime may become on par with the professionals.
As to who won, well we have a tie. It is nearly impossible to pick one knife as winner over the other because they both have their uses, strengths and deficiencies when it comes to cutting meat or fish. Just like any good football coach will love to have players with different abilities and skills in his team, I believe a good cook should also have a boning knife and a fillet knife to give them more options and adaptability when cooking.
- Easy Techniques for Using a Boning Knife – Do It Yourself