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What's your favorite cutting/chopping board?

I have a love/hate relationship with my current 15 x 24 footed cutting board. I love that it has a groove as it collects the inevitable juices but I hate it for the same reason--I am always having to clean out the dang juices in groove. I love that it is footed as I don't have to worry about moisture on the underside of the board--but then again, I can only use the one side! I love that it is big, but find that I sometimes use a smaller one as smaller ones are easier to use when (for instance) transporting chopped onions to a sauté pan.

I am in the market for a new board and thought I'd check in with this Most Thoughtful Community to ask: what is your favorite cutting board and just why do you like it? Sizes and brand names would be appreciated!

deleomeyer, Seattle

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  1. I use a Catskill 17" by 35" by 1" thick with no feet. I am completely satisfied. It is large enough to fill the space I have for it (larger is better, I think), heavy enough to stay in place when I use it, yet not so large and heavy that would make it inconvenient to move out of the way. I set it on six cork coasters so it stays dry on the underside.

    Also it was inexpensive. I can't see thinking of a cutting board as if it were a piece of fine furniture. It's just a slab of laminated hardwood that I use to cut vegetables on. If the glue joints don't come apart, then it's a good one.

    1 Reply
    1. re: GH1618

      I see Catskill cutting boards all the time at TJ Maxx and Home Goods etc.... They look good, and it is good to read about your good experience.

    2. I have three cutting boards. One is a traditional round chopping block:
      http://www.chow.com/photos/532877

      The other board is a cheap wood board from Korean supermarket which has thus far held out for a couple of months.
      http://www.chow.com/photos/793064

      I also have a rubber cutting board from Sani Tuff.

      Of these three, I like the first two better. The rubber cutting board while is very nice in many aspects. It seems to dull my knives much quicker.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Chem,

        Where does one find such a traditional round cross-cut chopping block in the US? Is that cypress?

        Thanks,

        Jeremy

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Chem, love the round one. Looks to be just a tree stump or chunk of log.

          I have all wooden cutting boards of various sizes. My end grain maple from BoardSmith is my pride and joy. (16 x 22 x 2 inches thick) It does not have the feet, because I prefer to use both sides. I put cork coasters under it to lift it up high enough that I can get my fingers under it to move it or lift it.
          Though my end grain is so nice and cool, I find that I use my cheap face grain type the most. I think because they just don't require the care that my end grain does, and I don't stress out over them. LOL Also, I find that my end grain absorbs and holds odors. I don't like that, except when it smells of the lemons, oranges or limes that I slice. So for onions and garlic, I use my smaller face grain board. It never holds the smells.

          I did finally use my end grain for trimming and slicing meat. (both cooked and raw) I loved it for that.

          1. re: dixiegal

            "I find that my end grain absorbs and holds odors"

            That's a sign of a poor quality board and is not the norm for end grain Maple. That's usually from a maker using soft Maple and not Northern Hard Maple or using wood with other defects that can have softer spots.

        2. I have several boards of differing thicknesses and size, this way I can use the board that most closely fits the needs of a particular task. For example, if I'm just cutting an onion and that's it', then I'll use a small board that's about 3/4" thick and about 10x14 inches in size. For more serioius cutting I have a 1&3/4 inch board that's about 12x16 that's end grain hardwood and another board that slips into a slot just below the countertop, that's even larger, about 15x21 and is also end grain. None have feet, and except for the one that slides under the counter, they are stored on edge.

          I like end grain hardwood boards, they are attractive, sanitary, and easy on the knife edge. They also hold up better to the slicing because of the grain orientation, so they don't show the wear that face or even edge grain boards do.

          1. I have a self admitted problem with cutting boards.
            the last one I bought is 2 sided thick wood with a slot in the middle of it that holds 6 plastic color coded cutting sleeves:
            light brown-bread
            red-beef
            green-veg
            yellow-cheese
            blue-fish
            orange-chicken

            fun and very useful

            1. I have two. I don't know their exact measurements, but I'll guess.

              My first one is an old hardwood one that my parents got as a wedding present. It's probably 18x24, and at least 1.5" thick, maybe 2". Quite heavy.

              I got tired of moving that one around and felt uncomfortable using it for meats. (It also had no grooves, so I had serious juicy mess problems there.) I picked up a smaller one, maybe 10x14 or so. It's a cheap green MicroBan thing from Walmart with grooves on one side and flat on the other.

              Now the only time the wooden one comes out is if I get my BF to do veggie prep while I work on the meat or vice versa.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Kontxesi

                We eliminated of our old heavy chopping board, which over time became more of an art object in the kitchen than a pragmatic cooking tool. Too heavy.

                We saw and purchased two of these, and have been using two of these boards for a few years now. Light, non-slip feet, solid, and using the mats, the boards are as good as they day we bought them.The mats remain on the boards and are taken out, used, and later put away this way.

                The mats are flexible, do not dull knives, and easy to clean by hand or in a dishwasher. The black mat is included with each cutting board, and the 4 coloured mat set is optional.

                This beats cleaning the old cutting block with vinegar, lemon juice and salt, or other chemicals.

                 
                 
                 
                1. re: SWISSAIRE

                  Thanks for the pictures. Can you tell me the brand name of this cutting board system?

                  1. re: deleomeyer

                    delomeyer;

                    My pleasure.

                    The cutting board and mats are made by Rösle.

                2. my favorite cutting board is very large, maybe 3 feet wide or more, and wood. I have smaller wood ones for smaller/quicker meals. I also have several plastic ones. I use a plastic one for raw meat. I also use the plastic ones for shorter prep and clean up, since they go into the dishwasher. All of them are 2 sided. I had those thin placemat like ones, and hated them--moved too much. don't know the brands on any of them, but bought the large wood one at either City Kitchens, Sur La Table in the Market, or BB and B.

                  1. I am a fan of my thin flexible ones for veggies and other sorts of things that need to be transferred to a pot or pan when diced very small. It can be a bit of a hassle to try to get it in there just using a bench scraper to rake the veggies, like garlic and onion, when diced very fine.

                    Another nice point is they are easily throw away when they become too scored by a knife. $5 gets you about four of them and they last a surprisingly long time for what they are.

                    That said, my favorite is a hardwood one that my grandfather built me. It is about 2 inches thick and 12"x15" Not that great of a size I guess, but the emotional attachment is very high. I use it for fine cuts of meat as well as veggies since I feel that there is no danger if you handle a wood cutting board and your meats very carefully. And a wooden surface is much much faster. Steak tartare anyone?

                    1. I have several sizes of non-slip poly cutting boards that I use for everything, then throw in the dishwasher.
                      What I really want is a nice wood one with channels in it for drippy stuff like roasts or watermelon. I love the look of the thick ones, but I'm afraid they would skew my cutting posture by the surface being up too high, thus would not be as comfortable to use.

                      1. I have a large maple one, not end grain but still hail and hearty after about 20 years. It is about 12 x 20 X 1 1/2' ...pretty heavy but as one who accepts heavy (I like my big copper pans) I like it. It is not branded but came from WS, back when I liked them. I have a similar sized Epicurean and am not wild about it. It makes Nasty clacking noise with my knives, as does the very small bamboo I have. Count me a fan of maple and similar woods. bTW, Chem, your round one is a gem!

                        1. I've switched to bamboo cutting boards, and really like them. They are said to be more sanitary than traditional wood boards. I have no compelling evidence that this is true since I never had sanitation issues with my traditional wood cutting boards. What I do like is how kind they are (I have two) to my knives, and how little they show any knife marks. My current constant-use board is 20" x 20" and a tad less than an inch thick. It sits flat on my granite, doesn't slip around, and is a comfortable height for knife work. I have a very pricey "butcher block" cutting board in the cabinet that has a work surface 3 inches higher than the counter surface, and I find it a PITA for knife work because of it. The bamboo lives on the countertop, the butcher block lives in the cupboard. And now you know why!

                          1. For way too long, I used an inch-thick maple board that was only a foot square. Don't like to think of the amount of time wasted over the years clearing ingredients off the board to make room to cut. Then one day it split in two, and I picked up a bamboo board at the supermarket, intending it just as a fill-in until I could buy a 'real' one.

                            But I like it so much I've never felt the need to do so. This one's 12x18 inches, and about 2/3" thick. The extra room makes all the difference. It's light enough for easy handling when cleaning, easy to get truly clean, and quick-drying. I applied mineral oil once or twice early on, and it's stayed impervious.

                            My other favorite cutting board is also a supermarket item -- a little 8x10 acrylic board that's great for working on things that are a mess or might stain the bamboo board. I've have a bigger acrylic board for prepping meat for a long time, but the little one is a very nice addition.

                            Equally invaluable is that waffly-foam material (sometimes sold as shelf liner) that works like a charm to stabilize the boards on the counter. I don't remember what I did before it came along; the instructions in cookbooks to use a damp kitchen towel squicked me out.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ellabee

                              <But I like it so much I've never felt the need to do so.>

                              Great story. For cutting boards, size really matters.

                              <Equally invaluable is that waffly-foam material >

                              I use a dish dryer mat which works very well for me.

                              http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/produ...

                            2. This like the one I have had for 35 years. It holds a lot of juice on the well side. You can turn it over to have a flat surface.
                              http://www.williams-sonoma.com/m/prod...

                              1. My most used board is my 18" round x 3" thick John Boos black walnut board. It sits on my counter 24/7, right next to my range, so it gets an absolute tonne of use. That it doubles as something aesthetically pleasing in the kitchen itself is just a bonus. I like that if I'm organized, I can simply rotate the board around and keep each ingredient in its own little space instead of shoving them to various corners and then having a melting pot of various ingredients in the middle.

                                I'd say my favourite board is actually my John Boos Aztec board. I don't use it terribly often (usually for things like turkeys, prime ribs, legs of lamb, etc.) but it's absolutely awesome with those applications because A) it keeps the meat firmly in place and B) it's so effective at seeing to it no juices ever drip onto the counters or floor, and even collects them in the drip pan if I have other plans for those juices. I also really like that I can flip it over and have a traditional cutting board with a built-in trash bin.

                                My only complaint about them is how much they cost, but I've found a place called Bargreen Ellingson that sells them brand new for a fraction of the cost, so I didn't pay anywhere near retail for them (I think the Aztec board retails for like $300, and the round board about $350 - I paid less than $100 each for them). They both take up a lot of real estate (the Aztec board, in particular, fits in no drawers and can't even be put sideways on the counter because it's still too tall to get under the cupboards above), so aren't appropriate for all kitchens, but I love em.

                                1. Crap, forgot picture type things in post above. Will just go with the stock ones rather than dig out my camera.

                                   
                                   
                                   
                                  1. We have a maple 25" x 18" board that sits on the counter at all times. We also have a few flexible mats, a couple white nylon cutting boards and an Epicurean board. Recently, we bought a rather expensive, new cutting board. See it in action here:

                                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGVTp7...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: John E.

                                      Oh. It is such a versatile cutting board.

                                    2. Just got a new 16" round end grain chopping block, from the local restaurant supply store. It was quite inexpensive $25 and about 1.5" thick as well. As for me I am trying out something new to seal it. Since this is my first one, I had done some research and most people agree with sealing it with USP Food Grade Mineral oil.

                                      Most places want to wipe on a thin layer of oil and then just wipe off excess, which is done daily for a week, and then some less intense oiling thereafter. I'm pretty lazy and I didn't need the board just yet, so i actually soaked the board in the oil. I put the board in a large plastic bag and then just dumped the whole small bottle of mineral oil in the bag and just tied it up. Just for fun I double bagged it. I figured that if the board was completely submerged in the oil it would take up all it could. So far it has been soaking for about 4 days.

                                      Just took it out and wiped off the excess oil and the board has a different sound when tapping on it. it sounds a bit more solid and it feels a bit heavier than it did before the soaking. Washed off the remaining oil and then used it. I just love the sound of the dull thudding noise when chopping, and the heaviness of the board itself. It doesn't move around even with heavy cutting with my chinese cleaver. I feel totally authentic with a chunk of log to do my chopping on. Also love the deep rich brown color to it. And just for fun I also threw in some of my wooden handled knives in the bag as well.

                                      Well just wanted to put my $.02 on the subject.

                                      1. I have a 2 1/2" thick end grain beech chopping board from Germany. It's a ripper and has served me for 15 years and is still going strong.

                                        Here's my take on maintenance. I oil it once in a blue moon, I cut vegies and protein on it and wipe it down between swapping between the two. I spray it with a mixture of vinegar and water. There are no splits or warpings in the board and all is going well for another 15 years (knock on wood!)

                                        My style of cooking is such that everything I chop on it ends up in the pot or the pan, so greeblies will be killed during cooking. On the rare occasions when I would serve straight from the board to the plate, then yes, I would be more attentive to the hygeine (see I can't even spell it) issues everyone seems to go on about.

                                        I'm not going to diss science facts but I'm here and very much in sound health and my very casual regime has not harmed me or anyone else or the board yet. You can be non-paranoid and still survive.

                                        I search the Asian supermarkets in the hope that one day in a dark corner I will find the grail board, which is a round chinese chopping block, like the one Chemicalkinetics and my parents have.

                                        I love wooden chopping boards and won't touch anything else.

                                        1. I am not going to recommend a particular board, I am going to suggest that you avoid bamboo boards. The "wood" is so dense and hard that it is very hard on your knife edges. Look for something like Epicurean-a composite, or maple. Some of the "plastic" boards are good too. Keeping an edge is tough enough and using bamboo on a good knife is criminal....it is almost as bad as using a knife on a glass countersaver mistaking it for a cutting board.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Candy

                                            :: Keeping an edge is tough enough and using bamboo on a good knife is criminal....it is almost as bad as using a knife on a glass countersaver mistaking it for a cutting board. ::

                                            With all due respect, I think that's putting it too strongly. _Way_ too strongly. It's nowhere near as bad as using a knife on glass.

                                            It also probably makes a difference whether the cook is using a curved Euro knife and mostly a rocking motion, or a straight Asian knife with more chopping.

                                            1. re: ellabee

                                              It's all about hardness. Mohs is the best scale for the variety of materials. A knife is about 5.5 and glass is also about 5.5, while a porcelain plate is about 7. Wood is typically measured on a different scale, called the Janka scale. Bamboo is about in the middle of that scale, but is much harder than cherry, walnut, or maple, however, there are many woods that are much harder. I think the knock on bamboo is as much about grain as it is hardness.

                                            1. I also really love my meat carving board. I special ordered this from Boardsmith at a very reasonable price. It's an end-grain maple 12 by 18, with a raised lip around the edge. Before I had this board, carving a rare roast always had juices overflowing the groove. Not anymore. Gotta clean those corners carefully after carving meat, but absolutely worth it.