If you’re serious about cooking, it’s likely that you already have a good knife or two in your kitchen. While you can accomplish quite a lot with a sharp chef’s knife, adding a butcher block to your prep space can make your cooking routine even more fun and efficient. Take a look at the key factors to consider when choosing your quality cutting board.
What’s in the Wood?
Your cutting board is going to be subjected to some hard use, from withstanding sharp knife work to a cleansing wash after each session. That means that any butcher block built to last will be made from a hearty hardwood like walnut or maple. If you want to make sure your tools come from sustainable sources, some makers fashion their cutting boards from bamboo and acacia. As you’re handling raw ingredients, sanitation is a chief priority, so the small pores of hardwood options will make it harder for bacteria to stowaway in your butcher block.
Consider the Grain
Something as minute as the board’s wood grain can have a notable impact on the overall quality of your butcher block. The standard-issue wooden cutting boards are often edge grain, the typical long planks of wood you can find in most home kitchens. While these are generally fine for casual use, cooks who prize their knives should consider the advantages of end grain boards. The surface of this style is made of the ends of wood fibers, providing the knife with a slightly softer landing through each cut. Not only do edge grain boards keep your knife from dulling so quickly, the also hide knife marks surprisingly well.
Plan for Your Space
Butcher blocks come in all shapes and sizes, but your kitchen countertops are valuable real estate, so consider how much space your butcher block could take up. The thickness you should choose is determined by what you want to use the block for. If you intend to carve up heartier meats, look for a thicker board, as the weight will make it more stable on your countertop.
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