Why Does a Meat Cleaver Have a Hole in It? (7 Best Reasons)

Many say that every kitchen is not complete without a kitchen knife. The knife is one of many essential things you need to have as it’s practical and versatile. When it comes to cutting hard things, you won’t be using a knife; you need a cleaver.

Why Does a Meat Cleaver Have a Hole in It? (7 Best Reasons)

You can find variants of cleavers to cut meat and bones with different layers and thicknesses. However, have you noticed something unique about these cleavers? Near the tip of the cleaver, there’s a hole. It could be one or more holes. Why does a meat cleaver have a hole?

What is the hole in a cleaver for? Or Is it a defective cleaver? Or is there something unique about it? See the answer below!

Why Does a Meat Cleaver Have a Hole?

When finding the hole, you don’t have to worry about a single thing. It’s pretty normal for these cleavers to have a hole in them. Why? There are plenty of reasons, including:

To Reduce Weight

The first main reason why the smithy includes this hole is to reduce the weight. As a small part of the blade is removed, some portion of the weight will be gone as well. You know, they don’t simply put these holes randomly.

The holes will be made strategically to reduce friction against the material. When the blade is in contact with the food, the reduced friction will make the cutting much smoother and let you cut through the meat and bones effortlessly. In short, this can effectively enhance the blade’s sharpness and efficiency.

The reduced friction also provides better control, which can be really useful for most users. So when dealing with large meats, you don’t need to pour out extra energy to cut them.

Improve Grip

Another reason why is the hole there is because it can be a place to put your thumb in order to have better control when chopping meat with hard bones. Although it’s not something usual, some people have used this method, and it’s proven to be effective.

Prevent Sticking

Believe it or not, the existence of the hole may help prevent the meat from sticking to the cleaver’s blade. As you may know, meats can be sticky due to their fats. There are certain meats that may have excessive fats, like pork belly, lamb shoulder, or ribeye steak.

Although fats are generally slimy and slippery, they can become sticky as well, which could make them hard to cut. As a solution to this problem, the hole was added. These holes may prevent the materials from sticking to the blade. That way, you’ll end up with more consistent cuts and cleaner blades.

Allow Hanging

Another simple, but very useful purpose of this hole is for hanging. As the chef finishes his cutting task, the next he’ll do is to put the cleaver somewhere safe. In a kitchen, you can’t just simply put the cleaver anywhere as it can be dangerous to somebody.

So, the safest way to store sharp things, like these cleavers, is to hang them. There’s even a product called knife hanger, which functions exactly as it is marketed.

Although some cleavers do have some hold in the handle, the others will only have these holes for hanging. So in case someone wants to put them, they can handle the cleaver by using the holes instead.

Improve Air Flow

Airflow actually plays a huge part in cutting. The hole here functions to let the airflow remove any sliced meat from the blade. The better airflow will prevent the suction effect that appears when the blade is slicing through the food.

This effect is the reason why the food can stick to the cleaver blade sometimes. So in order to enhance the air flow, while also preventing the food from sticking, the holes were presented.

Design Purpose

The addition of the hole could make the cleaver look more intimidating, and cool at the same time. There are so many types of cleavers in the world based on their characters, usability, and their designs.

These holes are actually a unique part of a cleaver that you can’t easily find on any type of cleaver. They may represent a cultural tradition that’s aesthetic and unique, which is beyond valuable. So, these holes may also provide a unique aspect of uniqueness that can make a cleaver different from the others.

Stopping Food from Sliding

As you chop fatty meat, you’ll realize how hard it is to keep the meat in places as they’re sliding around. Without holes, it could be tricky and stressful just to cut the food. So that’s why the hole is there.

When you chop something, the hole may prevent the thin layers from slipping down the blade. That way, you can always make consistent cuts without worrying that the meat will slip somewhere.

Are Holes Equally Common in Asian and Western-styled Cleavers?

Actually, holes are common in Asian cleavers. Many would call it a dimple. The more dimples you have in a cleaver, the more aesthetic, and lighter it will be. The Chinese cleavers (commonly known as Cai Dao) usually have these holes for specific purposes, including to reduce weight and enhance the aesthetic. The holes in Chinese cleavers are usually made with oval shape, which is located near the blade’s base.

As for Japan, they also have their own Japanese cleavers, or Usuba and Nakiri. These cleavers are designed with precision in mind. They can cut through things easily as the blade is very thin and sharp. Cutting vegetables, or fish meat can be done much easier with these cleavers.

The Japanese cleavers also have holes in them, despite the blade’s characteristics. These holes serve the purpose of making the blade more agile, preventing the meat from being sticky, and controlling the temperature.

When you compare them with Chinese cleavers, the holes in Japanese cleavers are smaller. The reason is that the cleavers are purposely designed to have more agility, which could serve better in cutting fish meat, one of the Japanese specialties.

The holes, however, are not that common in Western-style cleavers. In fact, the holed Western cleavers are a rarity. Most American cleavers are designed as flat blades. The reason is that these cleavers are usually made with the purpose of dealing with heavy-duty cutting, including cutting hard bones. The exclusion of the hole will make the cleavers more solid and have increased strength.

What Is the Best Way to Clean Food Debris Out of The Hole?

After using the cleaver for quite some time, you may realize that the holes may also be covered with the food you just cut. Is there a good way to clean it? Of course, there are, follow the steps below:

  • Rinse under tap water to flush out debris – It’s probably the simplest way to deal with the debris. All you need to do here is to flush the holes with flowing water from your tap. Let it completely clean the debris, and wipe the blade clean afterward.
  • Use a chopstick – As bigger debris could be harder to clean, just simply use a chapstick to clean the food bits. Just do a gentle in-and-out movement until you no longer see the left bits. In order to smoothen the process, you can also add some soap to the chopstick.
  • Soak in soapy water – Another method you can do here is simply put the cleaver in soapy water. Generally, it’s safe to clean a knife or cleaver this way. However, do remember to pull the cleaver out once the debris is cleaned.
  • Scrub with a bottle brush – You can also use a bottle brush to clean the hole. The way to do it is basically the same as you clean your bottles.
  • Blow it out – Last but not least, you can simply blow the debris out from the hole. If you still notice some debris left out, use a tissue to wipe them clean.

Final Words

So, What is the hole in a cleaver for? or why does a cleaver have a hole? The Answer is, the hole you find on the cleavers isn’t merely a decoration. The holes serve other unique purposes, including preventing any food bits from sticking, improving grip when dealing with heavy-duty cutting, and making the airflow better. If you do wish to get a better cleaver, we highly recommend using Asian cleavers, especially Chinese, as they have better strength and control.

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