Hi guys I am looking for recommendations for a quality butcher set 4 to 6 knives. Prefer u.s. made but I'm looking for quality up to about $400. Looking for any recommendations thank you very much for all your help
Last weekend I brought a deer to the butcher, youth hunt. While there I looked at some butcher knives on display and for sale. There were Victorinox knives. I asked the butcher about them. He said they were his knife of choice, yes you can be suspect because he sold them too.
I bought one mid-size off him, looked at reviews when I got home. The reviews were generally favorable. There were better knives out there, but FOR THE $$$, they tested pretty well for the casual user. Just an idea to add to your list.
I was out Elk hunting two years ago with a quality knife, good steel. After hacking on two Elk, that blade of good steel needed a touch up. One needs to consider sharpening methods to go with whatever you pick.
I have a hard time buying anything but Victorinox for butcher use. They have incredible handles. Ergonomic and grippy, even when slimy or wet. They are also incredibly light, which I very much appreciate after a long day of cutting.
The blade geometry is spot on, the grinds are THIN. The steel is amazing also. Yes it's a relatively low alloy at a relatively low hardness. It's taken me years to fully appreciate the elegance here.
For example, last year I used a 6" boning knife ( 5.6603.15 ) to dress skin and butcher 2 large (~300lb) hogs. I proceeded to completely debone and cut up 3 deer before I deemed a sharpening necessary. Most of the edge still shaved at that point - only the first inch or so behind the tip showed blunting. It sounds like magic, but the trick was frequent steeling. The Victorinox Knives I have used respond to good old butchers steel like nothing else. Butchers all over the world swear by them.
To qualify the above, I have a pretty high standard for sharpness. In fact, I sharpen knives for others and have even made a few of my own. My compulsion has necessitated the purchase of some exotic 'super' steels, and I have experience using and sharpening blades between 55-65hrc.
If you are set on American craftsmanship, I can appreciate that. Check out the OKC aglite series. Good products, not really butcher specific though.
You could consider building your own kit. Items I consider necessary are:
-5 or 6" boning knife (sees 90% of the action - a semi-flexible fillet knife is basically the same thing)
-8-12" steaking knife (sabatier, or butcher pattern but even a chef knife is fine if it has enough belly - OKC chef is a great example)
-heavy cleaver (not a Chinese Cook's knife or Usuba. Thick and heavy for chopping)
-meat saw (could be a hack saw, or even a cross cut saw but try to find a meat saw with a float at the tip - your cutting board will thank you. Carpentry saws generally cut on the 'pull', meat saws on a 'push')
I use Victorinox for all my butchering and even caping except ears and lips. Don’t cost alot so if you do loose one it won’t break the bank. I buy the ones with yellow handles so they are easier to see when you put them down at night in long grass.
I mostly like Japanese blades rather than western blades for style and construction in the kitchen.
For kitchen level butchery, separating silver skin, steaking, deboning, etc... Shun, Hiromoto, Masamoto. Shun are probably best for most people.
For field level butchery where you're just separating meat from bone or splitting critters apart at the joints, Havalon Baracuta is surgical. Add a bone saw for the hard parts like sternums and ribs. For most everything else, a Havalon Piranta is unmatched. For skinning I like a tree, a golf ball, a rope and a pickup truck after a quick start-out with the Havalon Piranta.