How to Use a Boning Knife

Three Methods:Removing BonesRemoving Skin from MeatRemoving Skin from Fish

Boning knives are thin, sharp, flexible knives that are used to remove the bones and skin from meat and fish. The special curved blade of the knife allows you to work it around any joint or bone, cutting the meat away cleanly, while its flexibility gives you the leverage you need to make the thinnest cuts possible.

Method 1
Removing Bones

The main use of the boning knife is to remove bones from cuts of meat and fish. The same boning knife can be used on multiple types and cuts of meat.

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    Locate the bone in the cut of meat.
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    Make a slice through the meat down to the bone, exposing it if the bone is centered in the cut, or surrounded by meat.
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    Work the knife between the bone and the flesh and fat of the meat.
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    Hold the knife at a slight angle to the bone, so it slips under and around the bone.
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    Turn the knife slightly to keep it sliding beneath the bone; the curve of the blade should help it slide around large bones and joints.
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    Work the knife slightly from side to side in a sawing motion until you have freed the meat completely from the bone.

Method 2
Removing Skin from Meat

Boning knives are also used to remove skin from cuts like pork or lamb loin that have a tough covering of "silver skin" on their surface. Removing this skin before cooking the meat removes any toughness from the finished dish.

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    Place the cut of meat onto the cutting board with the skin on top.
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    Use the tip of the knife to make a small slit in the meat at the start of the skin. The slit should go toward and under the skin, lifting it slightly.
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    Grasp hold of the skin with the fingers of your non-dominant hand.
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    Pull the skin upwards as you slide the boning knife beneath the skin, against the meat.
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    Saw back and forth slightly with the knife, while tugging on the skin.
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    Move from front to back on the meat until all the skin has been removed.

Method 3
Removing Skin from Fish

A boning knife is also used to remove the skin from fillets of fish like salmon or trout. The flexibility of the boning knife helps remove the thin skin while retaining the bulk of the fish.

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    Lay the fish skin-side-down on the cutting board.
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    Hold the fish firmly to the cutting board with your non-dominant hand while you use the knife to gently tease apart some of the fish and skin at one end of the fish.
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    Lift up the end of the fish that is beginning to come away from the skin so you can hold the skin down firmly.
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    Work the knife from side to side as you press the tip of the blade down firmly against the cutting board. By using the flexibility of the knife as a lever, you can cut the skin from the fish extremely closely.
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    Keep moving the knife from side to side, pressing down on the tip as it makes its way from one end of the fish to the other, removing the skin.

Tips

  • Select a boning knife that is long enough to reach the bone, or slide completely beneath a cut of fish.
  • Boning knives come in many sizes, although 8 to 9 inches (20.3 to 22.9 cm) is the most common.

Warnings

  • Always cut away from your body. Boning knives are extremely sharp and may cause bodily injury if not used properly.

Things You'll Need

  • Boning knife
  • Cutting board

Article Info

Categories: Cooking Knives and Blades