Why Is There a Hole in a Meat Cleaver?

The hole in the top right corner of a meat cleaver is used to hang the cleaver on a hook or rack. This minor feature provides a convenient way to store the butcher knife safely. When you use the cleaver’s hole to hang it on a hook attached to the wall, it makes the cleaver easily accessible. Usually, the meat cleaver shall be at chest or shoulder height to grab it easily once you need it again.

Hanging the meat cleaver on a hook is safer and protects the blade. This butcher knife has a big and heavy rectangular blade. Leaving the cleaver on the countertop may pose risks of dropping it to the floor and damaging the blade or the floor. It would also consume plenty of space that you need on the counter.

Additionally, this feature solves the problem of storing this large meat knife in a drawer. Storing the meat cleaver in a drawer would damage the blade and other knives inside the drawer. Constant clashing between steel knives will also dull a sharp blade or leave scratches on the knife.

You won’t have to face these problems when you simply hang the cleaver by the hole on its blade.

Other Purposes for the Meat Cleaver Blade Hole

Online research provides some interesting takes on how to use the hole of the meat cleaver while butchering meat. Keep in mind that these are not tips. However, it is still interesting how chefs and home cooks worldwide have their own uses for this tiny feature.

To Make Uniform and Precise Cuts

Place the cleaver over the food, and use your other hand to hold the blade by the hole. Bring the blade down to make quick and precise cuts. I did not find this technique convenient because meat cleavers don’t have a razor sharp edge for slicing. Most meat cleavers have slightly dull blades to resist forceful chopping motions while cutting tough meat, cartilage, and bones until hitting the cutting board.

To Remove the Blade When it Gets Stuck in Bones

Using your fingers to get a firm hold of the blade through the hole and unstuck it from thick bones is plausible. However, doing this is not necessary. If the blade gets stuck, you usually squeeze it out by moving the handle. Plus, it’s unlikely that the blade gets stuck unless you attempt to cut frozen meat.

Does Every Meat Cleaver Have a Hole Cut into the Corner of the Blade?

Not every meat cleaver has a hole cut into the corner of the blade. This characteristic is usually exclusive to Western meat cleavers. For instance, Asian butcher knives like the Chinese Gudao don’t have holes in the blade.

Myths about the Hole in the Meat Cleaver Blade

The ambiguity of the hole in the meat cleaver blade led many people to create their knife theories. Some of these theories are false, like the following.

The Hole of the Meat Cleaver Reduces the Weight of the Knife

The purpose of the meat cleaver is to use its weight to cut through meat and bones in precise blows. A hole in the blade to reduce the weight of the cleaver would diminish its effectiveness. Plus, these holes are usually small and would not affect the weight of the blade.

The Hole of the Meat Cleaver Keeps Food from Sticking to the Blade

Some believe that the hole of the cleaver serves the same purpose as the hollow grounds of chef’s knives. This claim is wrong. The indentations in blades like the Shun 8” Chef’s Knife are near the cutting edge. This feature helps release food after slicing it. On the other hand, the meat cleaver hole is close to the spine. It doesn’t play any role in the performance of the butcher knife.

Pros and Cons of Having a Hole in the Blade

Overall, these are the advantages and disadvantages of having a hole in the blade of a meat cleaver.


  • It allows you to hang the meat cleaver at an accessible location.
  • You can use remove the butcher knife blade if it gets stuck in thick meat.
  • The hole in the blade keeps the cleaver on a wall mount and away from damage.


  • Having a hole in the blade of a cleaver is unnecessary. You can use other tools to store the cleaver safely.
  • Usually, the Western meat cleaver is the only knife with this feature. Other butcher knives to chop meat and bones like the Chinese Gudao don’t have it.

Is the Meat Cleaver Hole Necessary?

The hole in the blade of a meat cleaver is not necessary. You can use a magnetic strip or knife block to hold the butcher knife blades safely.

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About Tom Hammaker

Tom Hammaker is a freelance copywriter with a specialty in advertorial blog posts. He’s worked with small local business owners and taken on larger projects with clients like Proctor and Gamble. He wrote his first direct marketing piece when he was a jobless teenager back in high school. It was a flyer for a landscaping business he was trying to start. The result? The mailing absolutely BOMBED! When he is not working, he's either out on the water fishing or playing golf. You can find him here on LinkedIn or his personal website

1 thought on “Why Is There a Hole in a Meat Cleaver?”

  1. Dear Tom
    I recently saw a video that used to hole in the knife quite differently. It was used on a stand with a pin through the hole. It resembled a small guillotine. Except it was hinged.


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