When preparing some chicken to cook on the grill, you may wonder if it’s safe to prepare the raw chicken on your butcher block cutting board. Is one type of butcher block better than another? In terms of food safety, you’ll find that there are many things to consider when choosing your butcher block, especially when handling raw chicken.
The best butcher block for chicken is nonporous, has drip grooves around the edges, and the thickness naturally prevents slipping. There are many different styles of butcher blocks and cutting boards to fit your needs, but the most important thing to remember is to have a dedicated block for chicken and other meats.
Ultimately your goal is to have the best-tasting chicken for your meal. A quality butcher block that prevents cross-contamination and personal injury is a must. Another important consideration is the difference between a butcher block and a cutting board. Let’s take a look at all of these factors, so you can get cooking.
Finding the Right Butcher Block or Cutting Board
With so many different and excellent options to choose from, making a decision can be overwhelming. When finding the right butcher block to cut chicken on there are many different surfaces that you and factors to take into account such as:
- Surface Material: The USDA recommends using a nonporous surface to cut your food on, especially meats. Most nonporous surfaces are easy to clean and maintain. This is important because the juices and bacteria can get stuck inside certain block materials and can cause food-borne illnesses.
- Block or Board: Butcher blocks are thicker and are created with the end grain, whereas cutting boards are thinner and are made with edge grains. End-grain blocks have exposed wood fibers that naturally maintain the longevity and antibacterial properties of your block.
- Cleaning and Maintenance: You need to find a block that is easy to clean and maintain. Most blocks require cleaning and sanitizing, as well as using a special finish, such as mineral oil, to help maintain the life of your block.
- Safety and Slippage: The thickness of your block or rubber grips will help prevent slipping and make you feel safer while cutting your chicken. A good block will also have a drip groove around the edges to hold any juices to prevent your block from slipping.
- Cost: Most boards and blocks can be affordable, but keep in mind, they need to be replaced regularly after wear and tear. You also should remember that you should have boards dedicated to what you are cutting, such as a board for fruits and vegetables and a separate board for meats.
- Appearance and Size: Different materials of boards and blocks can come in a variety of colors, while some can be a bit more restrictive when it comes to your color choice. Board size is also important to consider, especially if you’re cooking for more than four people.
Wooden Butcher Blocks and Boards
Wooden butcher blocks give off an amazing aesthetic to any kitchen. They have a lot of advantages:
- Versatile in size and color
- Available in different materials
- Can be installed as countertops in your kitchen
- Renewable and some types are very eco-friendly
- Have natural antibacterial properties, whereas plastic and glass boards don’t
Maple is the most popular type of wood used for butcher blocks and boards. This hardwood is known to be durable enough for all of your cutting needs, as well as stylish. And as long as you keep it out of the dishwasher, it will last a long time. Maple cutting boards are also known to be more affordable than other types of wood boards.
Second, only to maple walnut is one of the most frequently used woods in butcher blocks and cutting boards. While being more expensive and attractive than maple, the quality of this hardwood is similar to maple. One downside is that according to Hardwood Chef, some manufacturers source from endangered walnut trees.
Teak is durable and nonporous tropical hardwood, so you won’t have to worry about the juices sinking into it. According to The Dollar Business, teak is unsustainable due to the harsh environmental conditions deforestation causes and has even been banned from being farmed in some southeast Asian countries where it grows..
Cons of Wooden Cutting Surfaces
While there are many advantages to using butcher block or wooden cutting boards, nothing is perfect. Here are some other considerations:
- Require maintenance and care
- Cannot be washed in a dishwasher
- Can be more expensive
- Are not always environmentally sustainable
While the origin of some of the wood blocks can be unethical, maple butcher blocks have a great reputation for quality and ethical sourcing to meet anyone’s needs. Using a good block like the John Boos Block RA02-GRV with maple wood will definitely make a difference in the long-run. It is 2.5 inches thick and has a deep groove to catch juices.
Bamboo Butcher Blocks and Boards
Did you know that bamboo isn’t even a type of wood? It’s a grass! Bamboo butcher blocks and cutting boards offer many of the benefits of wooden, plastic, and glass boards and blocks, with the addition of being eco-friendly and sustainable.
For these reasons, using bamboo butcher block is a close second to maple butcher block, especially because the price is very low.
Cons of Bamboo Butcher Block:
- Can be harder on knives than wood
- Some boards require more maintenance and care than wood boards
Hardwood Butcher Block is the Best for Chicken
Overall, it may seem like the option for the best butcher block to use for chicken is up to you, but after thorough research and personal experience, the best butcher block to use for chicken is a wood butcher’s block, preferably a hardwood like maple.
It is the easiest to clean, has the best durability, is the most secure while cutting, and is the most sanitary option. Another bragging right maple blocks have is that it doesn’t damage your knives as much as other options do. It also is the most eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable wood to use.