All The Ways You Can Use Your Cleaver

The cleaver is an excellent example of a kitchen knife that seems to have one function, but actually has several. While most people know this humble, yet powerful hatchet as a tool for cutting into large chunks of meat, it's also great for veggies, spices, aromatics and more. While it may not replace your other knives, many people find that once they pull their cleaver out, they use it to prep the rest of the meal and not just the meat.

Shopping for A Great Cleaver

Discover the features of great cleavers when you shop Williams Sonoma's impressive range of top-notch brand names, high-quality blade styles and reliable grips for every style of home chef.

  • If you already have a knife set you love, look for the same name in a butcher's hatchet. That way, the grip and balance are already familiar if not exact, since cleavers are weighted differently than other knives to allow heavy chopping power.
  • Many have a hole in the upper corner of the blade. This is so you can hang yours on a hook like in a butcher shop.
  • Decide how dramatic of an arch you want in the blade. If you like to give your cuts a good chop and roll motion, then a deeper arch is for you.

Butcher Uses for Your Cleavers

Cleavers are primarily a tool for butchers. Using yours to prepare a variety of meat is simple and effective, especially when you know a few tips for getting the most out of your knife.

  • The most popular use is for chopping cuts of meat that have already been removed from the bone. This is often how people get their meat from their butcher or grocer.
  • If you usually rely on boning knives, you'll be happy to know cleavers can debone when you use the blade at an angle, hooking the flesh with the corner of the blade.
  • Move beyond hatchet cuts when you split open birds or other animals. You're still chopping but with a bit more finesse, so that afterwards, you can use the knife to shear the meat away from the bones.

Working with Spices and Aromatics

Once you've invested in a beautiful cleaver, you can use it for more than just meat.

  • Some of the tasks you handle with paring knives can actually be done with cleavers, like releasing the aromas of garlic or ginger.
  • Use the flat edge of the blade to crush these ingredients. Their oils impart fragrance while you maintain an interesting texture in your dishes.
  • Treat the handle of the knife as a pestle. Crush whole spices on a cutting board and then use the knife blade to scoop them up and put them in your pot or pan.

Bring new functionality and ease to your cooking with this classic, versatile knife.

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