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Chef knife topic got me thinking

LateToTheGameLateToTheGame Posts: 10
edited September 2012 in EggHead Forum
What are you using for a cutting board? Wood? Plastic? Is one better than the other or is it personal preference?
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Comments

  • wood will help you keep an edge longer

    "You are who you are when nobody is looking"

  • Wood end grain for general non-meat cutting. Edge grain boards and bamboo boards are pretty hard on knife edges also, so they are not my first choice. I use the plastic boards for meat and replace them once a year or when they start showing a lot of cuts. I know a lot of people don't have an issue with meat on their wood boards, but I'm not a fan. Good luck!
  • Epicurean bamboo from bed bath and beyond.
    Be careful, man! I've got a beverage here.
  • NecessaryIndulgNecessaryIndulg Posts: 1,078
    edited September 2012
    I use an end grain hard maple wood from Boos... and Norpro flexible cutting boards to lay on top of that for meat (or wet ingredients like chipotles in adobo sauce).  They are inexpensive and get replaced often. 

    I think a lot of it is personal preference, but you also want to choose something that isn't bad for your knives, like glass.
    I'm Kristi ~ Live in FL ~ BGE since 2003.
    I write about food & travel on Necessary Indulgences -
    You can find me on Facebook & Instagram, too! 
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,281
    As far as I can tell, end grain maple boards are best, but they tend to cost a lot. There's probably a reason for the cost. I had an inexpensive end grain board that buckled, cupped, and cracked after about a month.

    There are some very pretty boards made from walnut and cherry. For me, walnut as a carving wood is quite soft, and cherry not much harder. I think those would wear fairly rapidly, and need more maintainance.

    A lot of the harder (more expensive) knives are rather brittle. A lot of people say bamboo is too hard for them, but my bamboo board doesn't seem to affect my everyday knives much.  But, glass, ceramic and stone cutting surfaces are no good.

    I've got some plastic boards. They don't seem to harm the knives, but I don't like them too much. Food seems to slip on them some.

    I have a rubber-like board from a maker called Sani-Tuff. Got it from a restaurant supply store for not much more than common bamboo boards. Very durable, easy to clean, just soft enough that really keen blades slice the surface. The surface can be sanded down if needed. The only down side, so far, is that it is really heavy. My wife has trouble lifting it easily.


  • FockerFocker Posts: 1,572

    I've got both. 

    Plastic is nice for camping/eggfests.  Not bad on your knife edge.

    Bamboo is the new thang these days.  Very hard, and hard on your edge.  Use a big one for eggfests.

    As suggested, end grain is the best, but most expensive.  Knife edges stay sharp longer due to the vertical position of the wood fibers.  The knife slices inbetween them.

    Wood species that are popular include maple, walnut, and cherry.  A properly cared for end grain wood board will be passed on for generations in your family.  It is the focal point in the kitchen.

    My son will someday enjoy the Ozark West walnut "sacrificial altar" below.

    002.JPG
    2736 x 3648 - 2M
    "Our houses are protected by the Good Lord and a gun.
     And you might meet 'em both if you show up here not welcome son."--Josh Thompson

    Brandon
    Quad Cities


  • MikeGMikeG Posts: 174
    edited September 2012

    I use this one - it's a really good deal and free shipping: https://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/Maple-End-Grain-15-inch-Round-Chopping-Block/3303869/product.html?fp=f&CID=212978&token=212978-2129782012091113474173811363335384175745122628-1-4b2774

    Quality is as high as the Boos boards I've examined.

    It comes dry and thirsty so I highly recommend purchase of a tube of Boos Butter with Beeswax - amazon or Sur le table.  4 or 5 coats of the butter rubbed in on ALL surfaces makes a great board that beads water.   

    I keep plastic boards for meat but you've got to watch the hardness on them.    I took a look at these recently and they were hard enough to roll a knife edge:

    http://www.costco.com/Artisan-Metal-Works-3-piece-Full-Size-Cutting-Board-Set.product.11600118.html?catalogId=10701&keyword=cutting+board&langId=-1&storeId=10301

     But they're green colored - so they've got to be good for the environment - right?   Sheesh.

  • 70chevelle70chevelle Posts: 278
    edited September 2012

    The cost of end grain cutting boards is due to being labor intensive to make in comparison to an edge grain board.  End grain you are gluing up many small pieces, where you can make an edge grain with 3-4 long pieces of wood.  End grain boards hold up very well since the blade actually rides between the fibers or grain, and unless you are doing a lot of chopping with a cleaver, they should rarely wear out.  Here's a pic of cherry board I made in my shop.  Mineral oil after a good cleaning or if your board looks dry is all you need to keep it fresh and protected. 

  • Traditionally (in the good old days), butchers used butcher blocks made from end grain maple. A busy butcher probably cut more meat in a month than most of us do in a lifetime. What was good for them, is good for me.
  • This thread has my hamster wheel turning. It may be time to upgrade my cutting board.

    Addition to my previous post: like kristi, I have a stack of thin flexible cutting boards. I use them for veggies. They are great because when the ware out, I just throw them away. I buy them at BB&B for a few bucks per 5 pack.
    Be careful, man! I've got a beverage here.
  • LitLit Posts: 2,935
    I have 2 edge grain Boos blocks like the ones you see on all the cooking shows. They weren't too pricey and work well. I got some board conditioner that is mineral oil mixed with Bees wax I believe and it works amazing at keeping the boards looking good and also waterproofing them so I can use them for meat also.
  • A little off topic, but related:

    I read somewhere (I think on this forum) that running SS kitchen knives through the dishwasher can dull the edge?   What is the rationale for that?  I don't put them in the dishwasher because the handles can get messed up, but I had never heard that it would dull the edge.


  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 16,121
    i think it would have something to do with the blade rattling against the racks, pans, forks etc,  same problem having knifes rattling around in a drawer
  • Back on topic:  My wife get's grossed out when I cut meat or poultry on a wooden board.  Worried about the germs and bacteria that get into the wood.  Anybody else have an issue with that?

  • i think it would have something to do with the blade rattling against the racks, pans, forks etc,  same problem having knifes rattling around in a drawer
    That makes sense.  I guess I was thinking more on the line of the heat of the dishwasher somehow dulling the edge, or the dishwasher soap having something to do with it.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 16,121
    ive read that contaminants on a wet plastic board grows the bugs over a longer time periodr because they need some moisture where on the wooden board the moisture gets absorbed and dries faster not letting the bugs grow as long. i like the wood boards, my cutting table is 4 inch end grain maple, lots of work space at 48 inches wide
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,281
    tgkleman said:

    i think it would have something to do with the blade rattling against the racks, pans, forks etc,  same problem having knifes rattling around in a drawer
    That makes sense.  I guess I was thinking more on the line of the heat of the dishwasher somehow dulling the edge, or the dishwasher soap having something to do with it.
    Rattling around is certainly a problem, but I wonder about corrosion along the edge. I don't have a dish washer, but I do have a bunch of glass ware from my parents. They ran thru a dishwasher for years, and almost all of it is clouded, as if the surface was etched. Some even have what appears to be flow marks.

    Nevertheless, no good knife SS or carbon should get anything but hand washing.
  • LitLit Posts: 2,935

    I don't think you are supposed to use unprotected wood if you are going to cut meat on it. Also people should know that there's alot more care required for the more expensive wood boards. I use this product below and it repels water and seals the board (put it on every couple weeks depending on use). It also has mineral oil in it to keep the wood from cracking. http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/natural-beeswax-mineral-oil-wood-preserver-tin/?pkey=e%7Cmineral%2Boil%7C2%7Cbest%7C0%7C1%7C24%7C%7C2&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_-NoMerchRules-_-

  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 16,121

    gdenby said:
    tgkleman said:

    i think it would have something to do with the blade rattling against the racks, pans, forks etc,  same problem having knifes rattling around in a drawer
    That makes sense.  I guess I was thinking more on the line of the heat of the dishwasher somehow dulling the edge, or the dishwasher soap having something to do with it.
    Rattling around is certainly a problem, but I wonder about corrosion along the edge. I don't have a dish washer, but I do have a bunch of glass ware from my parents. They ran thru a dishwasher for years, and almost all of it is clouded, as if the surface was etched. Some even have what appears to be flow marks.

    Nevertheless, no good knife SS or carbon should get anything but hand washing.
    the glasses could be getting rattled around and scratched as well, but i do remember seeing that using the detergent that goes in a dishwasher cleans pans in the sink better when soaking than does the joy sink soap so maybe there is something more. i dont have one of those things either, but some day at camp......
  • FockerFocker Posts: 1,572
    edited September 2012
    tgkleman said:
    Back on topic:  My wife get's grossed out when I cut meat or poultry on a wooden board.  Worried about the germs and bacteria that get into the wood.  Anybody else have an issue with that?

    In 1993, Food Research Institute at the U of Wisc did tests on 7 species of wood cutting boards and 4 types of plastic boards.  Contamination of E coli, listeria, and salmonella were also used.  They found that all of the wood surfaces the bacteria were killed within 3 min of touching the surface.  This didn't happen with the plastics. They recommended using only soap and water to clean.  The wood will take care of the remaining bacteria.

    If it makes your wife feel better, you could use a weak dilution of bleach in a dedicated spray bottle.

    As far as why this happens, fish nailed it.  Wood dries faster, killing off the bugs and not giving them an environment to flourish.  

    "Our houses are protected by the Good Lord and a gun.
     And you might meet 'em both if you show up here not welcome son."--Josh Thompson

    Brandon
    Quad Cities


  • Wood boards have been used forever for meats, it comes down to preference.  There's no issue if I throw away a cheapo plastic board if I feel it becomes questionable.  I'd rather not do that with a nice hardwood endgrain board that I have a decent investment of time and/or money.  I use basic mineral oil on my boards to keep them in good shape, which has worked out very well for years. 

    Lit - I don't believe that the cost of the board requires more care, any wood board will need the same type or amount of care and maintenance if you want it to 1)  last and 2) be safe to use.

    "Also people should know that there's alot more care required for the more expensive wood boards."

  • FockerFocker Posts: 1,572
    edited September 2012

    Save some cash, buy mineral oil from the CVS pharmacy.

    If you really want to, hit up a local beekeeper.  Received some this weekend from a friend.

    Occasionally I will take some wet and dry 320 grit with the mouse sander to even it out.  Put down the warm mineral oil and sand once.  Probably two to three times a year.  Barely removes wood, and restores it to new.  This is something I do, not at all required.

    "Our houses are protected by the Good Lord and a gun.
     And you might meet 'em both if you show up here not welcome son."--Josh Thompson

    Brandon
    Quad Cities


  • tgkleman said:

    A little off topic, but related:

    I read somewhere (I think on this forum) that running SS kitchen knives through the dishwasher can dull the edge?   What is the rationale for that?  I don't put them in the dishwasher because the handles can get messed up, but I had never heard that it would dull the edge.


    Most knives recieve a heat treatment to create a specific molecular structure conducive to creating a cutting edge. When you subject a blade to high heat in the dishwasher, you change that structure. Especialy on the thin cutting edge.
    Be careful, man! I've got a beverage here.
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,692

    A little off topic, but related:

    I read somewhere (I think on this forum) that running SS kitchen knives through the dishwasher can dull the edge?   What is the rationale for that?  I don't put them in the dishwasher because the handles can get messed up, but I had never heard that it would dull the edge.


    Most knives recieve a heat treatment to create a specific molecular structure conducive to creating a cutting edge. When you subject a blade to high heat in the dishwasher, you change that structure. Especialy on the thin cutting edge.
    Also, they pit and rust, plus they can get knocked around causing nicks.

    http://zknives.com/knives/kitchen/misc/articles/stainlessindishwasher.shtml
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • LitLit Posts: 2,935

    Wood boards have been used forever for meats, it comes down to preference.  There's no issue if I throw away a cheapo plastic board if I feel it becomes questionable.  I'd rather not do that with a nice hardwood endgrain board that I have a decent investment of time and/or money.  I use basic mineral oil on my boards to keep them in good shape, which has worked out very well for years. 

    Lit - I don't believe that the cost of the board requires more care, any wood board will need the same type or amount of care and maintenance if you want it to 1)  last and 2) be safe to use.

    "Also people should know that there's alot more care required for the more expensive wood boards."

    You are correct all wood boards need to be maintained. I was more thinking about people upgrading from plastic boards. As far as mineral oil I used it for awhile but th eproduct I linked to is much better in my opinion.
  • Focker said:
    tgkleman said:
    Back on topic:  My wife get's grossed out when I cut meat or poultry on a wooden board.  Worried about the germs and bacteria that get into the wood.  Anybody else have an issue with that?

    In 1993, Food Research Institute at the U of Wisc did tests on 7 species of wood cutting boards and 4 types of plastic boards.  Contamination of E coli, listeria, and salmonella were also used.  They found that all of the wood surfaces the bacteria were killed within 3 min of touching the surface.  This didn't happen with the plastics. They recommended using only soap and water to clean.  The wood will take care of the remaining bacteria.

    If it makes your wife feel better, you could use a weak dilution of bleach in a dedicated spray bottle.

    As far as why this happens, fish nailed it.  Wood dries faster, killing off the bugs and not giving them an environment to flourish.  

    From my wife's point of view, the plastic cutting boards can be put through the dishwasher, while the wood boards cannot (or should not).  To her, dishwasher = sanitized.  Handwashed = may or may not be sanitized.  Thank you for the info,  I now have some ammunition to use when I pull out the wooden boards.
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,692
    I use mostly wood boards for cutting meat and I'm happy to report I'm still alive. :)
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • FockerFocker Posts: 1,572
    edited September 2012
    Lit said:
    You are correct all wood boards need to be maintained. I was more thinking about people upgrading from plastic boards. As far as mineral oil I used it for awhile but th eproduct I linked to is much better in my opinion.


    That little 7 ounce $13 can plus shipping is only mineral oil and beeswax, nothing fancy.  You can get food grade mineral oil at the Wally World pharmacy.  A beekeeper would give you beeswax for almost nothing.  A cup of mineral oil, couple ounces of beeswax, heated up, and there ya go.  Same goes for the "butcher block cleaners/conditioners" out there.  All they consist of is mineral oil with a different package and higher pricetag.    

    Beeswax and mineral oil serve different purposes.  One is not better than the other.  Mineral oil would be the most critical of the two.

    The mineral oil absorbs and restores.  I was surprised at the amount of mineral oil a dry board will absorb. 

    The beeswax is a wax-type layer which does not absorb, but repels liquids from absorbing into the wood surface.

    I start with healthy layer of warm mineral oil, let soak for a couple of hours, wipe off remaining oil, apply thin layer of beeswax mixture, let sit for a couple of hours, and then wipe off.

     

    "Our houses are protected by the Good Lord and a gun.
     And you might meet 'em both if you show up here not welcome son."--Josh Thompson

    Brandon
    Quad Cities


  • henapplehenapple Posts: 12,141
    I have a beautiful maple/cherry that my wife freaks out about using so I moved it to "my" kitchen....guess I'll start using it. Thanks.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,692
    The abstract in this study is interesting. It'll make you feel better about using wood cutting surfaces.

    http://www.treenshop.com/Treenshop/ArticlesPages/SafetyOfCuttingBoards_Article/CliverArticle.pdf
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

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