Montana Knife Company customers, you’ve been asking for a chef's knife, and we heard you.
To make it happen, we asked renowned knife maker Mareko Maumasi — with his extensive knowledge as a bladesmith and experience in the restaurant industry — to join MKC and design our first line of culinary knives.
Today, I’m proud to introduce the first in our new line of culinary knives — the Bighorn Chef’s Knife.
Why We Designed the Bighorn Chef's Knife
When we launched MKC, we started with the Blackfoot blade because we wanted a great foundational knife that could do it all. And we had the same thought with our culinary knives. The foundation of any great kitchen is a great chef’s knife, so we wanted a large, versatile chef’s knife that could do it all.
And that’s exactly what Mareko designed for us. The Bighorn is an 8-inch chef’s knife that can cut through a Thanksgiving turkey or a Christmas ham and handle daily tasks like coring an apple or cutting up cherry tomatoes. If you only have one knife in your kitchen, this is a knife that will get the job done.
Making a Difference With Purposeful Design
To create a top-tier chef’s knife, we wanted to go above and beyond the standard to address common problems people run into with chef’s knives. Mareko designed every square inch of the Bighorn with purpose and precision — and with the goal of making kitchen tasks a joy, not a chore.
For example, commercially manufactured culinary knives tend to have basic, blocky handles and sharp corners with lots of hotspots. If you have more than a few vegetables to chop, they hurt your hand and make cooking a burden.
It was important to us that our chef’s knife have an incredibly comfortable, ergonomic handle – because the relationship you have with this tool is through the handle. If you’re not comfortable using the handle, you’re not going to enjoy working with the tool.
Another problem chef’s knives often run into is too little space for your fingers between the handle and the cutting board. But Mareko designed the Bighorn’s cutting edge profile so that when it rests flat on a cutting surface, it gives the handle a nice upsweep to provide much more knuckle clearance than you typically see. The blade even has an extra quarter inch of width over the typical chef’s knife, adding to that clearance for your hand.
That extra width is significant for another purpose as well. Anytime you sharpen a knife, you remove material from the blade. So, the more material on the blade to start with, the longer the life of the blade.
Most chef’s knives come in at around two inches, but the Bighorn’s extra quarter inch extends its life in terms of sharpening. That results in a knife that will provide years of service to you, and that you can hand down to your children.
Another key design element that makes this knife unique is the unusual way the heel angles back down toward your fingers. This purposeful design takes what usually counts as wasted space on a blade and puts it took work as a guard for your fingers.
The nook created by the angle keeps your fingers from sliding forward on the heel of the knife when you’re locked in and working hard. It also adds that little bit of extra usable cutting edge to the bottom of the blade, and even makes the knife feel shorter than it is.
A Chef’s Knife Built for Hunters
As a hunting knife company, we want owners to use our knives out in the field. We also want owners to be able to take their chef’s knife with them — maybe not everywhere in the field, but to camp or wherever they’ll be cooking what they bring in.
To that end, every Bighorn Chef’s Knife comes equipped with its own sheath with a slip that goes over the tip of the blade and snaps on tight.
A lot of hunters and guides out there like to entertain at their base camps at night. Let’s say you’ve had a successful hunt and want to put together a nice meal. Maybe you have some backstraps to cook up, and maybe even some vegetables you packed in. This knife gives provides all the capability of a legitimate, full-fledged chef’s knife for your hunting camp.
The other great thing about the sheath is that it protects the blade if you decide to store it in a drawer. Knife edges can sustain a lot of damage from getting banged around against other tools in drawers, and little fingers can sustain damage from reaching into drawers containing a sharp, bare blade. This simple sheath protects both the blade and your skin.
The Bighorn Chef’s Knife is a high-performance tool worth taking care of for years and even generations to come. So we’re very excited about this knife. It was designed for comfort and purposeful function, and its bold lines and angles look pretty fantastic, too.