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What Are the Best Cutting Board Materials?

What Are the Best Cutting Board Materials?

All too often, cutting boards go unappreciated in home and professional kitchens. We understand that they might not seem as glamorous as knives, but they’re still crucial.

What Are the Best Cutting Board Materials?

You have a few different options when it comes to cutting board materials. Here are some of the most popular.

Wood

Wood has long been considered among the best materials to use when it comes to making a cutting board. You might think that a more rigid and solid material would work best, but this actually is not the case. Instead, a slightly softer surface actually has a few different benefits as opposed to its more stiff counterparts.

If the material of the cutting surface is too hard, then it can do some damage to your kitchen knives each time they connect. This might not seem like a big deal at first, especially when you have a new, sharp knife. As time goes on, though, knife edges inevitably become duller. 

Using the wrong kind of cutting board material will speed up this process significantly.

Dull knives are the enemy of slicing, dicing, and mincing. To maximize the amount of time in between when you have to use honing steel to bring your knife back to its former glory, you are better off using certain wood cutting boards.

There is some debate over the best types of wood to use when making wooden cutting boards, but a few have risen to the top. Wood boards made of materials like maple, teak, and beechwood are simply superior kitchen tools. 

That is why the HexClad Hybrid Cutting Board is made out of high-quality beechwood so that it’s both versatile and long-lasting.

Our cutting board is reversible. One side has indented hexagons that effortlessly grip meat, providing a non-slip surface to carve meats like chicken, turkey, beef, and more. It also has juice grooves, so cleaning the countertop is that much easier. The other side is smooth, so you can chop veggies and more with ease. All of this combined makes ours one of the top picks for the best wood cutting boards among home cooks and chefs alike.

Bamboo

We may have just finished talking about wood cutting boards, but bamboo cutting boards deserve a section all their own. 

The reason for that is, contrary to popular belief, bamboo isn’t wood at all. Rather, it is a sustainable and renewable form of grass. Since bamboo has the ability to grow very tall very quickly, it is an ideal material to make all sorts of items — without much of an environmental impact.

Unfortunately, bamboo cutting boards do have some drawbacks. The material itself is very hard, which can quickly dull blades. What was once a proud, sharp chef’s knife could become a weak tool in front of your very eyes.

You have another choice to consider when it comes to bamboo and wooden chopping boards. You can opt for either an end grain cutting board or an edge grain wood cutting board. Both of these techniques are common in bamboo and all sorts of wooden chopping boards and butcher blocks. 

The primary difference between these two production methods is what direction the wood is facing. End grain boards are incredibly resilient and durable, so you won’t have to get another cutting board for a long time. However, that can lead to your knife becoming dull. 

Edge grain boards are not as high-density in their wood fibers, so they are easier on knives. However, the surface of the board might show signs of wear and tear.

Which variety of cutting board you prefer is up to you, but know that both can have a striking appearance that looks right at home during food preparation or as the base of a charcuterie board. 

Plastic

Next up on our list, we have plastic cutting boards. Plastic boards tend to be cheap and easy to come by, but that isn’t the biggest advantage they offer. Unlike wooden cutting boards, plastic ones are dishwasher safe. This can be a relief when it comes time to sanitize the board.

If you are going to go with a plastic cutting board, a high-density polyethylene one is your best bet. However, there are some serious disadvantages to plastic cutting boards that need to be addressed. Although they can go in the dishwasher, that might become your only option for proper cleaning as time goes on. 

As you use a plastic cutting board, a sharp knife will inevitably start to make dents and imperfections on the surface. These ridges harbor bacteria, can make for uneven cutting, and make it almost impossible to effectively hand wash. You might have to replace your plastic cutting boards often because you really do get what you pay for.

Rubber

You might not think of rubber as a good cutting board material, but it has many benefits. Since rubber is nonporous, you don’t have to worry about moisture or bacteria seeping into the board. Knives won’t accrue more than standard wear and tear because rubber is relatively soft and adept at shock absorption.

Rubber is not dishwasher safe, though, so it must be cleaned thoroughly by hand using soap and hot water. If you use a rubber cutting board to chop raw meat, clean it like normal, then employ a mixture of one tablespoon of bleach in one gallon of water.

Glass

Last but certainly not least, we’d like to discuss glass cutting boards. Like plastic, glass can go in the dishwasher. It is prone to dulling knives over time since it is such a tough material. Glass can also get quite slippery, so you have to be extra careful when cutting ingredients.

What Is the Most Common Cutting Board Material?

Due to how cheap it is, the most common cutting board material is likely plastic. Keep in mind that just because something is the most common definitely doesn’t mean it’s the best at a certain job. Plastic cutting boards are made with the intention of being thrown out shortly thereafter. Over time, you will end up spending significantly more money on these kitchen tools since you’ll have to keep buying them.

What Should You Consider When Choosing a Cutting Board?

When you’re choosing a cutting board, you have to think about what is most important to you in the kitchen. 

Are you looking for a long-lasting board that won’t damage your knife? Is it reallyimportant to you that a cutting board is dishwasher-safe, or are you okay with hand washing it? What do you plan on chopping on this cutting board? We believe that wood cutting boards provide the best bang for your buck, and they also look striking while they’re at it.

Are Wood Cutting Boards Safe for Cutting Meat?

While wood cutting boards are great at what they do, it’s natural to still have a few questions about their upkeep. 

You absolutely can use a wood cutting board to cut meat, but some people prefer not to. Wooden boards should be treated with mineral oil every week or so to protect against bacteria, which is especially crucial if you’re dealing with raw meat.

If you do use your treated wood cutting board for meat, you should wash it with soap and water, and then use the bleach and water mixture we discussed for rubber boards. Afterward, rinse it off and dry it completely.

What Is the Best Type of Cutting Board for Meat?

Although it might not always be the highest quality, plastic is a good material to use for cutting meat. It’s non-porous, so liquid won’t get inside the fibers. Some plastic cutting boards can also go in the dishwasher when all is said and done, giving you even greater peace of mind that it’s fully sanitized. 

The Bottom Line

We recommend thinking about all this and more when it comes time to buy your cutting board. Using the right tools in the kitchen can make or break a meal, so it’s worth doing your research.

Sources:

Bamboo Properties and Suitability as a Replacement for Wood | Research Gate

Cutting Boards | Food Safety and Inspection Service

How To Clean Cutting Boards Used for Meat | HowStuffWorks

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