The most common use of meat cleavers is for cutting through thick chunks of meat and splitting up large pieces of soft bones as well as ribs and other dense bones. But is this really the only use of the large knife?
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A meat cleaver is nothing like the ordinary kitchen knife. It looks like a rectangular hatchet with a sharp and tough edge to cut through dense pieces of meat, bone, and cartilage.
Although it was solely designed to be used on meat, many people also use it to slice hard vegetables such as squash and butternut and several communities in Asia also use it to crack open coconuts.
The versatility and resilience of the meat cleaver have made it a very important tool in the kitchen as well as in business places such as butcheries and restaurants.
In well-equipped restaurants, professional chefs use the meat cleaver to dice and mince their meat and because of its large surface area, they also use it to scoop up such chopped items. The flat side of the cleaver is not to be rendered useless either.
It can be used to smash food items such as lemongrass and garlic and also to tenderize cutlets.
It is also important to note that meat cleavers do not use the same cutting technique as the ordinary kitchen knife. This large knife requires sheer momentum for it to cut efficiently.
The cutting technique to be used will depend on the type of food involved. Of course bones, ribs, and several hard vegetables may require hacking but soft foods like poultry do not necessarily require this technique.
When dealing with such foods, you just need to hold the cleaver tightly with one hand and apply some weight with the other hand on the flat side of the cleaver to cut through the meat. Dealing with thick pieces of relatively harder pieces of meat is the easiest task when using meat cleavers.
You just need to hold the meat steady and slice through just like when you are cutting an orange.