What do professional chefs and serial killers have in common? An affinity for cleavers. Jokes aside, I’m here to give you a rundown of why a cleaver is one of the most versatile and important knives to have in your kitchen, even if it looks like a horror movie prop.
A heavy cleaver can be used for countless things but excels at breaking through tougher matter like tendons and bones. One of the best things you can do is learn how to properly de-bone a chicken (buying whole chickens is so much cheaper!) and having a cleaver can help. With one fell swoop, you can separate wings from legs and legs from thighs. If you’re like me and do not enjoy fondling raw chicken while trying to prepare it, a cleaver is your best friend. It gets the job done and done quickly. It’s also great to use for crushing garlic, one of life’s worst kitchen chores. The broad side is the perfect mashing template for garlic. Just bust the clove out of the skin, sprinkle a little salt on it to release moisture, and get to smushin’.
Outside of meat, the shape of a cleaver is also really good for chopping tougher or awkwardly-shaped veggies. There’s not a squash out there that a cleaver can’t cut through. I particularly like it to take down a head of lettuce; because of its large size, it’s easy to get the knife straight through the head in one shot. A smaller vegetable cleaver gives you full control over your dices and is also the perfect thing to scoop up your work. Dicing onions or carrots for soup is made easier by just using the side of the knife to scoop everything in. You can even get a cleaver that comes with its own self-sharpening sheath. All-in-all, the cleaver may get a bad rap for being the weapon of choice for movie villains (though not all cleavers will cut through hard bones, just FYI)—it’s a durable, versatile knife that should be in your collection. | Get it on Amazon >
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