cutting board for chicken (and other meat)
hey everyone, which type of cutting boards do you all rec for chicken and meat, our current plastic one is pretty worn, and I'm planning on getting a nice large wooden one for veggies but was thinking i would get an additional plastic one for meats. must it be plastic? can i use an epicurian one? thanks!
I use a gorgeous, hand-made hickory butcher block for everything but raw poultry. For that, I use an epicurean board that can go in the dishwasher. I think everyone else who has posted to this thread is basically right on target with what they're getting at in terms of optimum possible treatment of knives and so on but for me the ease of working on the epicurean board and then moving it right to the sink followed by the dishwasher is worth whatever very minor dulling might happen with my knife. For the most part, the knife only really touches the poultry anyway while I remove the bones and may touch the board only if I'm actually chopping the poultry meat afterward.
I also don't want to stop and clean my huge butcher block after I prep the poultry but before I move on to other prep tasks.
Wood, wood, wood...
Watch enough food TV and you'll here over and over again about the risk of cross contamination, typically it's recommended that we keep a plastic cutting board just for cutting meat. The reasoning, if we keep meat and produce apart it reduces the risk of illness from food born pathogens.
Having a board that is used for nothing but raw animal protein is not enough without proper sanitation.
I don't like the look or feel of high density plastic boards, they are hell on your knives and have yet to see a plastic butcher block.
Whether you prefer plastic or wood cutting boards, they still need to be sanitized after each use, a plastic cutting board can be sanitized in the dishwasher, if it will fit.
Wooden cutting boards and plastic's which are to big for the dishwasher must be cleaned by hand.
Rinse the board under hot running water, use a dough scrapper or putty knife to remove any meat or other detritus thats stuck to the board.
Wash it with mild detergent and hot water, rinse it again then dry it with a clean towel.
Now spray the board with undiluted, distilled vinegar and let it dry.
5% acetic acid (household vinegar), has been shown to kill these bacteria that are commonly the cause food poisoning.
I have a number of cutting boards, my favorite of all is a 20 year old 18” x 24” Monarch Meat Block. You can learn about them at mapleblock.com
Campylobacter jejuni; raw or under cooked meat, poultry and shellfish.
Escherichia coli 0157:H7; raw or rare ground beef, uncooked fruits and vegetables.
Salmonella; raw or undercooked eggs, poultry, meat, and seafood.
A few thoughts...
Whenever possible, cut fruit and vegetables that are to be served raw before anything else, followed by those that will be cooked and animal products last.
Don't forget to wash the knives used for cutting meat before using them to cut anything else.
If you have the time and means, grind beef, pork, etc... yourself. Commercial grinders are often the cause of bacterial contamination in ground meat.
Staphylococcus infections are transmitted from people-to-food through improper handling. These bug live in your nose, in pimples, on your skin and in infected cuts, Wash Your Hands!
Sprouts; E. coli and salmonella can get into seeds through cracks in the shell before the sprouts are grown. Washing can not get rid of pathogenic E. coli or Salmonella. Even cooking sprouts is not a solution to potential bacterial contamination.
Wood will always be superior as a cutting surface. It is easy to clean, just not in the dishwasher, it is easier on the edges, is relatively easy to resurface if needed and attractive to look at. I have customers who use two, one for meats and one for vegetables; who clean and sanitize their wood boards with a religious fervor and those who don't; who use a combination of boards from wood to plastic to rubber. Wood will not stain like plastic, isn't as hard on the edges as plastic, bamboo or harder surfaces like granite. The antibacterial property of wood (maple) has been discussed by various Universities with various results. Take your pick.
In short, wood will always be superior and relitavely easy to maintain and with a decent amount of care, should last for a lifetime.
It does not have to be plastic but it's not a bad idea either. There is research that says a wood board is better for not harboring bacteria, (after all what is a butcher's block made out of?!) but as long as you have a habit of tossing it in the dishwasher, you will be fine with plastic.