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Meat cutting saw for home use

sandiasingh Dec 21, 2011 03:24 PM

Can anyone suggest what type of electric knife or saw I should get to use in the kitchen for meat cutting? I have three 10 lb pork shoulders to trim down and grind up for sausage and am purchasing part of a pig. Don't need anything too fancy, just a good electric tool to do the hardest part and I can do the rest by hand.


  1. todao Dec 21, 2011 06:31 PM

    Assuming you're cutting meat only and not bone, this one might interest you:


    3 Replies
    1. re: todao
      sandiasingh Dec 22, 2011 05:05 AM

      I do need one that will cut through bone as well. A local butcher told me he uses a hacksaw, but I don't have the strength for that. I assume the electric knives aren't strong enough to cut thru bone, but I haven't used one in years. Should I get a saws-all type knife and just use it for the kitchen?

      1. re: sandiasingh
        MGZ Dec 22, 2011 05:21 AM

        I have used a sawzall to cut the hocks off of hams. It's not the best for the job, but it will work. Investing in a wellsaw, instead, is probably the right way to go if you intend to be using it with any regularity over time. E.g, http://www.midwesternresearch.com/404...

        1. re: sandiasingh
          JoanN Dec 22, 2011 07:55 AM

          If you don't have the strength for a hacksaw, I suspect you won't have the strength for a sawzall, either. I've used an Allway Handy Saw, not dissimilar to a sawzall, to cut ribs into bite-sized pieces and it was a tedious process.

          The wellsaw MGZ references looks great, but you'd have to be doing an awful lot of butchering for that to pay off.

      2. SanityRemoved Dec 22, 2011 08:03 AM

        If strength is an issue then I would definitely look into a small manual hand saw. The ability and weight differences between an electric knife and an electric saw are quite dramatic. Electric saws are not light and may be more tiring than a manual saw.

        Another option is to pay the butcher to do the difficult parts.

        1. sandiasingh Dec 22, 2011 02:21 PM

          It seems like starting with a handsaw would be a good idea. I'm not a wuss but am not a WWF contestant either. The saws-all and Wellsaw may be overkill and the point about the weight of the saw itself is well taken.

          I will report back with my progress after the holidays.

          Thank you.

          1. kaleokahu Dec 22, 2011 03:42 PM

            Hi, sandiasingh:

            If you have room in your kitchen to butcher a hog, I have the saw for you--a 440V three-phase splitting saw. It weighs about 250 pounds so you'll need a ceiling mounted counterweight and pulley. I'll make you a great deal on it.


            1 Reply
            1. re: kaleokahu
              sandiasingh Dec 22, 2011 04:57 PM

              Kaleokahu, I think that's a little more than I had in mind, but surely someone out there can use it. A lot of home butchering going on these days with people wanting to source their own meat. I'd have my own pigs but we live in cougar and bear country so have to find a pig farmer who can give us the end product in smaller pieces.

              I'd certainly put it on eBay or work thru your local farmers market to find a buyer.

              Thanks for the offer.

            2. m
              mexivilla Dec 23, 2011 05:32 AM

              True story-when I first moved to Puerto Vallarta it was hard to find good meat in the grocery stores. Then found a restaurant supply outlet Commercial Americana. Without thinking bought from price list veal, Colorado lamb and ribeye. Turned out all of these were on the bone. Tried to cut with hacksaw but found that the blade fouled to quickly. Back in Toronto went to Home Depot looking for a reciprocating saw. But generally speaking they were too big and expensive. Then I saw a smaller inexpesive Black and Decker model PHS550G. I asked the area expert what he thought of and he said "Waste of money the only thing it's good for is cutting meat". I'm sure he didn't believe me when I said that's exactly what I wanted it for.
              End of story it worked but was very dangerous because of difficulty holding meat in place. Also difficult to get even slices. Butchers of course use a bandsaw. Fortunately Costco opened and great ribeyes were available.

              9 Replies
              1. re: mexivilla
                sandiasingh Dec 23, 2011 06:49 AM

                Yep, now I'm scared. The meat can get very slippery! I want to do it myself because I get a better price on the meat, which is expensive, organic Colorado pork. The price we pay!

                I think our pueblo friend uses a reciprocating saw when they slaughter for feast days, but he's an experienced carpenter. Maybe I'll ask for his help.

                1. re: sandiasingh
                  fmed Dec 23, 2011 09:45 AM

                  Reciprocating saws are pretty dangerous tools. I used them extensively when I renovated my house and I cannot see how they can be used safely to cut meat. Don't do it. Instead, get a stainless steel meat cutting saw which you can buy at sporting goods stores that cater to hunters. Cutting through bone takes more time than strength.

                  1. re: fmed
                    sandiasingh Dec 23, 2011 10:35 AM

                    Aha, Fmed. Great idea. I will def look into that at the sporting goods store.


                    1. re: sandiasingh
                      chejfeff Dec 25, 2011 12:40 PM

                      I owned a meat plant and in addition to two band saws, we had a hand meat saw. It looked like a hacksaw, only twice the size. We used when the saws were already cleaned up for the day and somebody wanted to cut a few pork chops.

                      Strongly agree with posters who say do NOT buy a reciprocating saw to cut meat. First of all, how would you sanitize the blade and cutting path? Takes two hands to run the saw, what holds the meat in place?

                      Most pork and lamb can be fairly easily cut with a cleaver, (takes a little practice).

                      1. re: chejfeff
                        JoanN Dec 25, 2011 12:52 PM

                        Is this the kind of hand saw you're talking about?


                        Not sure where In my apartment kitchen I could store it, but at least it's affordable. Do you think it would work better than the Allway Handy Saw I referenced above for cutting spareribs? I simply can't imagine cutting spareribs into 1-1/2" in pieces with a cleaver. I'm sure I couldn't do it.

                        1. re: JoanN
                          chejfeff Dec 25, 2011 01:42 PM

                          Exactly. The allways saw is not food grade/stainless/designed to be sanitized. If it were me, I'd ask the butcher shop to cut spare ribs on a band saw, as it would be no particular fun with any saw. Also,this is a process infinitely safer to hire done. You may have to shop around to find a shop willing to cut stuff bought elsewhere. I wouldn't do it, particularly if there was no mark of inspection on the product.

                          1. re: chejfeff
                            JoanN Dec 25, 2011 03:25 PM

                            Excellent advice. Thank you. I often buy spareribs at Asian markets just because of the price. But from now on, when I want them cut, I'll pay Citarella prices to have it done for me.

                    2. re: fmed
                      ted Dec 26, 2011 12:18 PM

                      This thread has me intrigued. I've been wanting to make some ham hocks but haven't found a source through the normal places I look. At least one place has suggested cutting my own.

                      I think a reciprocating saw and a long demo blade is a pretty slick solution, especially if you already have one (which I do). That said, I'd imagine you'd have to clamp/strap down the meat you're cutting and use two hands on the saw. Otherwise, definitely not safe given the weight and forward balance of most saws.

                      Anyway, it's a guy solution that I wouldn't completely discard (maybe not so much for the OP).

                      1. re: ted
                        sandiasingh Dec 26, 2011 12:52 PM

                        I suspect my pueblo friends hang the carcass and have several people hold it while somebody does the sawing. I should see them this week or next and will ask for deets.

                2. BiscuitBoy Dec 27, 2011 06:17 AM

                  I keep a food dedicated blade for my hacksaw in my kitch drawer...also a food dedicated blade for my sawzall (recip saw). If you have common sense and basic knife skills for the kitchen, you'll not find a recip saw dangerous

                  1. m
                    mikie Dec 28, 2011 08:45 AM

                    If you have a place for it, a butcher's band saw would be ideal, something like the one in the link: http://www.amazon.com/Professional-Me... This is the kind of equipment people use the butcher their own deer for example. It may be more than you need but if a hack saw is more than you think you can handle, this is a relatively safe alternative. I use a recipricating saw "sawsall" for cutting a lot of things, but it's heavy and takes a lot of strength to control, besides, it's made for cutting something that is held in place by construction or a clamp, it's a two handed tool.

                    1. sandiasingh Feb 18, 2012 07:01 AM

                      As it turned out, the meat I got was in 10 lbs pieces and we were able to butcher it with regular large chefs knives. A little time consuming, but it is so worth it. We did buy a small keyhole saw from Lowes but found it was not needed, at least so far. We will keep experimenting with different cuts of meat. Thanks for the suggestions.

                      1. BIGGUNDOCTOR Feb 18, 2012 06:35 PM

                        My Mom had a hand saw frame, and Dad would make her blades from Band saw stock by cutting them to length, and punching holes in the ends. Wood type blades work well due to the deep gullet of the tooth lessening the chance of loading up with particles.

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