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Bring Power to Meal Prep with a Meat Cleaver

Any home with a carnivore needs a meat cleaver. These classic butcher's knives are built for power and efficiency when it comes to cutting through any piece of meat, particularly large, marbled slabs. The fact that you can use them for veggies, spices and more is just a bonus. Expect to use this knife on a regular basis, if not daily. This hatchet-style knife belongs with all your favorites blades.

What Is A Meat Cleaver?

A meat cleaver is a large hatchet knife with a rectangular blade. The medium-length blade usually has a hole in the upper corner at the far end of the knife and a handle of approximately equal length.

  • The blade on the cleaver arches away from the top line of the knife. This is so you can chop through bone or rock the knife back and forth through the muscle.
  • Handles can be either arched, tapered or straight. Pick a slight curve for an easy palm grip. Go with a molded style to ease the weight of a larger cleaver or select a bolster at the butt of the handle to help you balance your knife's larger blade.
  • Look for riveting or a handle made of solid construction in order to guarantee the strength and longevity of your choice. This knife gets a lot of force put into it, so you want a strong one.

How Do You Use Your Butcher Cleaver?

In order to use your butcher cleaver, prepare your cut of meat and select a cutting board. Many people put a slightly damp towel under their board to ensure it doesn't slip while in use.

  • You can use your cleaver to hack into a large cut of meat. This is an easy downward cut anyone can do.
  • Some people put their non-chopping hand behind their back to keep it out of harm's way when delivering a powerful blow with the knife.
  • Let the weight of the cleaver do the work. You need to put some force into it, but not so much that you overdo it.
  • Try using your cleaver similar to how you'd use a chef's knife when splitting a bird or other carcass.

Using Your Butcher Cleaver for Pounding

You can use your cleaver similar to how you use choppers.

  • Push the flat edge of the blade downward and an at angle for mashing aromatics, like garlic and ginger.
  • Employ the handle as a pestle for grading spices.
  • Take advantage of the blunt back edge of the knife for tenderizing.
  • Use your blade to transfer ingredients from  your cutting board to the pan.

With so many uses, you'll be glad you discovered the high-quality range of cleavers at Williams Sonoma.

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