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Anyone who uses the kitchen for more than microwaving pizza should invest in a good set of knives. As butcher Joe Maresca says, “No good knife is expensive; it should last a lifetime.” In their 50-odd years in the meat business, Joe and his brother, Emil, of S. Maresca & Sons butcher shop in Sergeantsville, New Jersey, have amassed a well-worn collection of blades; the types described below are the ones they turn to most often.

Hacksaw
Fitted with a machinist’s fine-tooth blade, it saws through items too hard for a cleaver (like thick bones). Look for it in hardware stores.

Cleaver
The sheer weight of the thick blade make this the perfect tool for chipping at and splitting through the bones of (for instance) chops and chickens.

Chef’s Knife
An all-purpose knife that is great for scoring, chopping, and mincing but is also sturdy enough to cut through the joints. You may gently pound the blade’s spine on tough cuts to tenderize the meat.

Slicing Knife
With its long, narrow blade and pointed top, this knife is best suited to cutting around bones, trimming off skin and excess fat, and slicing.

Boning Knife
Used to debone meat and to remove tendons, gristle, and silverskin.

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