Any good quality kitchen knife, but especially a butcher knife, should be comfortable to use. It should fit your hand well, feel sturdy, and provide a secure amount of space between the cutting surface and the area in which you place your hand on the handle. A butcher knife should be heavier than other kitchen knives and should have good balance. Generally, the blade should be between six and eight inches long (about 15 to 20 centimeters).
For the home cook, there are many options available that offer good quality without a high price tag. Those who use knives professionally may prefer to choose a set that includes a butcher knife, rather than buying individual pieces. Whether you choose a butcher knife by itself or a set that includes one, there are some things you should keep in mind.
Should you choose a stamped steel or forged steel blade when you purchase a butcher knife? The choice is important, so it helps to understand each process before making a decision. Stamped steel blades are much like they sound. They are stamped or cut from a sheet of steel. Forged steel blades are made from steel that is heated to a high temperature and then formed into the shape of the blade. The latter type is heavier and generally assumed to be sturdier.
Both stamped and forged blades are usually made from high carbon stainless steel. This type of metal is is meant to prevent staining. It also helps prevent rust, as well as many other types of corrosion, which are excellent qualities in a butcher knife.
The handle of a butcher knife will also help you determine the level of quality. The handle may be made from one of many materials, such as wood or polymer and other synthetics. Rosewood is a popular choice, but wooden handled knives should not be placed in a dishwasher or left soaking in water, as the handle may warp.
Also, examine the tang. This is the piece of steel that connects the blade and the handle. In a good butcher knife, the tang will not just be a short stub, but will run the entire length of the handle.