How to Properly Sharpen Your Meat-Cutting Knives

How to Properly Sharpen Your Meat-Cutting Knives

Are you tired of struggling to cut through your meats because your knives are dull? Properly sharpening your meat-cutting knives is essential for ensuring precision and efficiency in the kitchen. In this article, we will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to effectively sharpen your knives so that you can easily slice through even the toughest cuts of meat.

Choosing the Right Sharpening Tool

When it comes to sharpening your meat-cutting knives, using the right tool is essential to ensure a precise and effective sharpening process. Here are three common sharpening tools that you can choose from:


A whetstone, also known as a sharpening stone, is a traditional and versatile tool for sharpening knives. It consists of a flat stone with different grit levels on each side. To sharpen your meat-cutting knives with a whetstone, you need to wet the stone and then run the blade across it at a specific angle to remove any dullness and restore its sharpness.

Electric sharpener

An electric sharpener is a convenient and efficient tool for sharpening knives, including meat-cutting knives. It consists of rotating abrasive discs that help to sharpen the blade quickly and effectively. Electric sharpeners are easy to use and are suitable for those who want a hassle-free sharpening experience.

Honing rod

A honing rod, also known as a sharpening steel, is a long, rod-shaped tool that is used to straighten and realign the edge of the knife blade. While a honing rod does not sharpen the blade, it helps to maintain the knife’s sharpness and prolong its lifespan. To use a honing rod, simply run the blade along the rod at a specific angle to keep it in top condition.

Choosing the right sharpening tool for your meat-cutting knives will ensure that they stay sharp and ready for use whenever you need them. Whether you prefer a traditional whetstone, an electric sharpener, or a honing rod, regular sharpening will help to maintain the quality and performance of your knives.

Preparing the Knife for Sharpening

Before you begin sharpening your meat-cutting knife, it is important to properly prepare the knife to ensure the best results. This includes cleaning the knife, inspecting for any damage, and securely securing the knife in place.

Cleaning the knife

Start by cleaning the knife with warm soapy water to remove any debris or residue that may be on the blade. Make sure to dry the knife thoroughly before moving on to the next step.

Inspecting for damage

Carefully inspect the knife blade for any signs of damage such as chips, nicks, or bends. If you notice any damage, it is important to address it before sharpening the knife to prevent further issues.

Securing the knife

To ensure safety and precision while sharpening your meat-cutting knife, it is essential to securely fasten the knife in place. You can use a knife sharpening tool or a sharpening stone to hold the knife steady while you sharpen the blade. Make sure the knife is stable and not at risk of slipping or moving during the sharpening process.

Sharpening Techniques

Using the correct angle

When sharpening your meat-cutting knives, it is important to maintain the correct angle. Typically, a 20-degree angle is recommended for most knives. This angle ensures that you are effectively sharpening the blade without removing too much metal. To find the correct angle, you can use a sharpening guide or simply practice holding the knife at the proper angle until you feel comfortable.

Applying consistent pressure

Consistent pressure is key to ensuring that your knives are sharpened evenly. Applying too much pressure can cause uneven sharpening and potentially damage the blade. On the other hand, not applying enough pressure may result in a blade that is not sharp enough. Find a balance and maintain a steady hand as you sharpen your knives.

Number of passes

The number of passes needed to properly sharpen your knives will vary depending on the condition of the blade. A general rule of thumb is to make 5-10 passes on each side of the blade. However, if your knife is very dull, you may need to make more passes. It is important to pay attention to the sharpness of the blade as you sharpen it and adjust the number of passes accordingly.

Testing the Sharpness

When sharpening your meat-cutting knives, it’s important to ensure that they are sharp enough for safe and efficient use. Here are a few tests you can perform to check the sharpness of your knives:

Paper test

One common way to test the sharpness of a knife is to try cutting a piece of paper with it. A sharp knife should be able to slice through the paper with ease, leaving a clean edge. If the knife struggles to cut through the paper or leaves jagged edges, it may need to be sharpened further.

Tomato test

Another effective way to test the sharpness of a knife is to use a tomato. A sharp knife should be able to slice through a tomato with minimal effort, creating clean, smooth cuts. If the knife squishes or tears the tomato instead of cleanly slicing through it, it may need to be sharpened.

Hair test

For a more advanced test of sharpness, you can try the hair test. Hold a strand of hair taut and gently run the blade of the knife along it. A sharp knife should be able to cleanly cut through the hair without snagging or pulling. If the knife struggles to cut through the hair or catches on it, it may need to be sharpened more.

By performing these tests, you can ensure that your meat-cutting knives are properly sharpened and ready for use.


In conclusion, properly sharpening your meat-cutting knives is essential for maintaining their effectiveness and ensuring safe and efficient food preparation. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can keep your knives in top condition and prolong their lifespan. Remember to regularly hone and sharpen your knives, and always use caution when handling sharp objects. With a little time and effort, you can enjoy the benefits of sharp, well-maintained knives in your kitchen for years to come.

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