Are you tired of cheap, plastic cutting boards that shift around your counter when you try to cut a large piece of meat? If so, then you should consider purchasing butcher blocks to help take your meat preparation to the next level.
High-quality butcher blocks are made from solid wood and are typically at least two inches thick. In comparison, plastic cutting boards are often less than one inch thick, which is sufficient for dicing fruits, vegetables, and other softer foods.
The extra thickness of a high-quality butcher’s block will make chopping, cutting, or tenderizing your meats much easier. There are literally thousands of options available depending on the wood type, thickness, pattern, and other attributes.
Fortunately, we have put together a detailed buying guide with seven of the best options available today and a FAQ section to answer some common questions.
Why Do You Need a Butcher Block?
Solid wood butcher blocks offer numerous advantages over plastic cutting boards. First and foremost, they are heavier and thicker than most traditional plastic options. This extra weight means that the block will not shift around while you are cutting your meat.
Furthermore, thicker butcher boards are less likely to crack over time if you properly care for them. This extra density also means that you can use even heavy-duty choppers and knives without fear of damaging the block or your knives.
What Type of Wood Makes the Best Cutting Board or Butcher Block?
As you may have guessed from our list, numerous wood species are suitable for use as carving blocks or cutting boards. In general, you want to use hardwoods rather than softer wood options for increased durability.
However, you also want to use hardwoods that are safe for food. Certain trees, such as red maple, oak, and others that do not produce edible components, can be poisonous and contaminate food. Please see below for a list of the best woods for butcher blocks.
Bamboo is actually flowering grasses rather than trees. These plants grow quickly and are highly sustainable. As a result, carving blocks made from this material are not only strong but also eco-friendly.
However, bamboo’s hardness can pose challenges for precision carving knives or other finer blades. You may want to use your bamboo block mostly for chopping with meat cleavers or other larger blades.
Cherry wood is an elegant choice for a cutting board. This wood’s warm brown and red hues will add a hint of timeless class to your kitchen. However, its higher price and increased maintenance may make it less desirable for everyday use.
With cherry wood blocks, you will definitely need to spend more time oiling and sealing them after each use compared to some other woods.
Sugar maple, also known as hard maple, is one of the most frequently used woods in kitchen cabinets and tables. As such a butcher block crafted from this material would coordinate very well with many kitchens.
Maple is particularly hard and is able to resist mold, bacteria, and other food-borne pathogens. As noted above, red maple is poisonous and should not be used for butcher blocks or other cutting boards.
Acacia trees were originally found only in Australia. However, you can now find these trees and bushes in Africa, Asia, and North and South America.
While this wood is not as popular for carving blocks, the spread of this wood species across the world means that its cost may be lower than other options.
Its durability also means that acacia wood can be used for a wide variety of cutting board applications.
Many people like walnut wood not only for their kitchens but also for other furniture in their homes. This wood’s darker shades make it an excellent choice for a butcher block.
Walnut is less likely to show stains from BBQ sauce or meat juices. However, it is a softer wood than maple or some of the other options on the list. As a result, it may not withstand as much use as some other woods.
This wood species, which comes primarily from Africa, is world-renowned for its durability and resistance to moisture. For these reasons, teak is a very popular wood for furniture or other items that will be kept outdoors.
Those same attributes that make teak attractive for outdoor use also can be an asset in the kitchen. Butcher blocks made from Teak are extremely hearty and able to withstand water and juices better than many other options.
However, teak wood is rarer than maple or cherry. In fact, African teak trees are now considered at risk of extinction due to overharvesting.
Beechwood is another viable alternative to use when constructing a carving block. This wood is not too hard, but also not overly soft. It has similar properties to maple but generally is less expensive.
Butcher Cutting Board FAQ
Are Wood Butcher Blocks Safe?Yes! In fact, wooden butcher blocks and cutting boards typically resist E.coli, salmonella, listeria, and other microbes better than their plastic counterparts.
Can You Leverage a Butcher Block as a Cutting Board?Yes, butcher blocks are not reserved just for chopping large chunks of meat into smaller portions. The fact that these blocks are constructed from actual wood means that you can typically also perform precision cuts on them without damaging your knives.
How Thick Should a Butcher Block Be?Unlike most plastic cutting boards, which are less than one inch thick, high-quality butcher blocks should be at least 1.5 inches thick. Some options are over two inches thick. This additional density is critical for increased stability and sturdiness while you are cutting even large slabs of thick meats. The board's additional weight will keep it from moving on your countertop while you are preparing your meal. Thicker boards also are more resilient and better able to resist cracking over multiple uses. One of the most common complaints about a traditional plastic cutting board or a cheaper, thin wood board is that the surface cracks after less than a year.
How Do I Maintain My Butcher Block and Protect its Surfaces?It is highly recommended that you oil your board consistently. This step is particularly important when the board is new to season it and seal the wood's pores. You can use any mineral-based cooking oil for this purpose. You should limit the butcher block's exposure to water as much as possible. If you need to wash the board, then you should hand wash and dry all surfaces. Never put your butcher block in the dishwasher!
Best Butcher Blocks:
1. Best Bamboo Wood Block: La Mongoose XL Wood Butcher BlockView at Amazon
The top pick for the best meat cutting block is the La Mongoose reversible bamboo wood option. This block has an extra-large cutting surface of 17 inches by 13 inches. It also is 2 inches thick, which helps improve its durability and stability.
This block’s large size also gives you the opportunity to use it in multiple ways. For example, you can also use this sleek meat-cutting block as a platter or tray to serve your guests after you have cut the meat.
This bamboo meat-cutting woodblock is also very easy to clean. You should only have to wipe the surfaces down with soap and water after each use. There is no need to soak the board in water or to try and put it in the dishwasher. In fact, either of these cleaning methods will damage your board.
Customers rate this woodblock as very sturdy, highly durable, and easy to clean. Many happy owners point to the meat cutting block’s craftsmanship as a major advantage compared to other options on the market.
Many purchasers also like the carved handles on the side of the block, which make it easy to carry. The combination of portability and sleek, good looks make this board an excellent choice for serving meat at weddings, birthday parties, or other major events.
- Large 17 x 13-inch cutting surface that will easily handle most cutting and chopping situations.
- Bamboo construction is not only durable but also environmentally friendly. Bamboo is considered a sustainable source that reproduces faster than many wood trees.
- Drip lip to help keep meat juice or other liquids from getting on your countertop while you are cutting.
- This board’s large surface for the price provides an excellent value.
- Solid design and two-inch thickness result in a safer meat-chopping experience. Your board will no longer move around while you are trying to carve those prime cuts.
- Bamboo is a hard material that generally absorbs less moisture than maple, cherry, or other hardwood options.
- While bamboo’s hardness adds to its durability, it can potentially damage knives.
- Bamboo blocks are better suited for chopping rather than finely slicing meats.
2. Best Cherry Wood Block: John Boos Cherry Wood Edge Grain Reversible Cutting BoardView at Amazon
Cherry wood carving blocks are a classic choice amongst many chefs and home cooks. The warm brown or red coloring of these boards would add a hint of elegance to any traditional kitchen.
This cherry wood reversible cutting block from John Boos is hand-crafted in the USA from only the finest American Cherry Wood.
Craftsmen from John Boos have been making these boards with well-established techniques since the late 1880s.
Although John Boos manufactures some of the more expensive cutting boards on the market, these beauties are time-tested and well worth the price. At 1.5 inches thick, these cutting boards are less prone to cracking than other options.
Overall, customers really like the look of these expensive cutting boards. Its good looks combined with solid construction make them a popular choice for even professional cooks.
However, customers also comment about the significant amount of maintenance that these butcher blocks require. You must oil or treat the board frequently. Most people recommend that you scrape the surfaces to remove food particles and then apply oil or specialized cream after every use.
- John Boos craftsmen used long-side edges of the cherry wood to create a distinctive pattern on the block’s surface.
- Fully-reversible design means that both sides of the board are completely flat. You can easily cut on either side to help increase the carving block’s useful life.
- John Boos proudly includes a one-year warranty to cover any potential manufacturing quality concerns.
- High-quality construction and craftsmanship can last for years if properly maintained.
- Solid enough for chopping large pieces of meat but also gentle enough on your knives to allow for precision cutting directly on the carving block.
- Beautiful grain and a warm brown stain will liven up any kitchen.
- Much more expensive than other comparable chopping blocks on the market. This cutting board generally costs three to four times more than other hardwood butcher blocks.
- Frequent maintenance is required. It is highly recommended that you treat this block with cooking-grade mineral oil after each use and seal it with specialized creams or waxes to protect its finish.
3. Best Acacia Wood Cutting Board: Home Hero Large Wood Cutting Board With HandleView at Amazon
Acacia wood is a more recent addition to the established lineup of wood cutting boards and butcher blocks.
This wood species has a unique grain that can be stained with both light and dark tones to create a truly unique piece for your kitchen. Better yet, acacia wood is also very sturdy and able to withstand frequent use.
Home Hero’s version is reversible with a flat block on one side for cutting and a grooved serving tray on the other side. The flat side is an excellent BBQ chopping block while the serving side is ideal for displaying cheeses.
Many customers have remarked about this board’s overall size and value. The cheese knife, cleaning brush, and knife sharpener are strong selling points. This butcher block makes a great gift for the serious cook in your life.
- Home Hero’s acacia wood board comes with a cheese knife and a two-stage sharpening tool so that you have everything you need to prepare a gourmet selection of cheeses.
- The set also includes a cleaning brush that you can use to keep your board in tip-top condition. This carving block is particularly easy to clean when compared to the more exotic cherry woodblock discussed above.
- The serving platter side could also be used to present a charcuterie board or a selection of other meats during your next wine tasting or another party with friends. The block also includes handles on the sides, which will make it easy to serve your guests.
- An excellent gift set that includes not only the butcher block but also a cheese knife, a two-stage sharpener, and a cleaning brush.
- Reversible with a side dedicated to charcuterie or cheese platters.
- A few customers noted that the board had chips or imperfections from the manufacturer.
4. Best Maple Cutting Board: John Boos RO2 Maple Wood Reversible Cutting BoardView at Amazon
Another great butcher block cutting board for you to consider is the John Boos Maple Wood Reversible Cutting Board. This gorgeous maple block cutting board is made from wood that is sustainably obtained. Craftsmen hand-select each board to ensure a quality product.
If you regularly apply the Boos Oil and Cream, then it will add a protective barrier to the board, giving it antimicrobial properties. John Boos stands by the quality of its product and offers a one-year guarantee to protect you against any product defects.
Many individuals who purchased this board shared how pleased they were with both the quality and appearance of the board. They love how the beautiful maple wood transforms the overall look of their kitchen.
Some customers shared that they did not like the amount of maintenance that this board requires. It will need to be oiled regularly to maintain its appearance and performance. If the board is not oiled, it will likely get warped or become cracked.
- This is a reversible option that will provide you with two flat surfaces for cutting. You also have the ability to use the different sides of meat and non-meat foods.
- There are integrated handles to help you easily move or carry the board.
- The cherry wood used to make this board is sustainably sourced and selected by hand.
- Maple wood will not dull knives as quickly as glass or plastic cutting boards.
- The board is reversible.
- Your purchase is protected with a one-year guarantee.
- You will need to purchase the John Boos Oil and Cream separately if you want to give the board an antimicrobial barrier.
- The board must be hand-washed and dried.
5. Best Walnut Cutting Board: John Boos Blended Walnut Counter Top Cutting BoardView at Amazon
If you’re planning on using your cutting board on a very regular basis, you may want to consider the John Boos Blended Walnut Counter Top Cutting Board. This heavy-duty butcher block comes in a variety of sizes to fit different countertop areas.
This product is made from edge-grain walnut wood that will stand out in your kitchen. It features random finger-jointed interior rails and full-length exterior rails to provide attractive variations in color.
To allow the surface to be used for cutting, the board has been finished with penetrating oil. The oil is the same one that is used on all of John Boos’s well-trusted cutting boards. It is recommended that you use the John Boos Mystery Oil to re-oil the surface on a regular basis to maintain the countertop.
Customers who purchased this product have been very satisfied with their purchase. They share that they like the way the deep walnut color makes their kitchen look and how it goes well with other countertop and cabinet colors.
Customers have also shared that the board is very easy to install and that the sizing information is accurate.
Some customers have shared that they don’t like the amount of maintenance needed to keep the board looking nice. Others have expressed dismay at the board warping after some time.
- 15 sizes available to fit different countertops
- The full-length exterior rails and random finger-jointed interior rails allow for a surface that is attractive and unique.
- The cutting board is 1.5 inches thick.
- You can transform the look of your kitchen by adding a walnut wood countertop to your cabinets.
- John Boos uses only sustainable sources of American Black Walnut Wood in the manufacturing of their boards.
- Maintaining walnut cutting boards is easier than boards made from some other woods.
- The cutting board is not reversible like some of the other options.
- John Boos Mystery Oil is recommended for maintenance but is not included in your purchase.
6. Best Teak Wood Cutting Board: Sonder Los Angeles Large Teak Wood Cutting BoardView at Amazon
The Sonder Los Angeles Large Teak Wood Cutting Board features end grain construction to help make it more durable and help it last longer than other models on the market. Teak is a great material choice for a heavy-duty butcher block because it resists moisture, scarring, and staining.
There are also three built-in compartments along one side of the cutting block. These compartments are designed to provide you with a convenient space to slide the cut-up pieces of food you are preparing.
This cutting board is highly reviewed by users. They have shared that they like its durability and the way it looks in their kitchen. Many users also expressed how impressed they were with the customer service provided by the company.
A few customers were disappointed in the quality of the butcher block and shared that it cracked or warped shortly after they purchased it. But, based on other user reviews, these problems would likely have been promptly addressed by customer service.
- This board has deep juice wells to stop liquids from getting all over your countertops.
- There are three compartments built into the board to help with food prep.
- Available in two sizes: 17 inches by 13 inches by 1.5 inches and 18 inches by 14 inches by 1.25 inches.
- You can use the 3 built-in compartments to make the cutting board double as a charcuterie board when entertaining.
- The juice wells will catch juice and stop it from getting all over your countertop.
- Teak resists scarring, staining, and moisture.
- There are only two different size options.
7. Best Beech Cutting Board: Woodnic End Grain Cutting BoardView at Amazon
If you’re looking for a beech cutting board, you should consider the Woodnic End Grain Cutting Board. This high-end cutting board is made using quality beech wood from Chile with traditional carving techniques.
The chopping block is made using only non-toxic and all-natural materials and may even help your knives stay sharper for longer.
This option features an end-grain design which contributes to the board’s durability. The wood fibers on the board are oriented in such a way that will help keep contaminants out of your food.
People who have purchased this board love how easy maintenance and clean-up are. They are impressed with the chopping board’s high-quality appearance and have even used it as a tray for entertaining.
While most are overall pleased with this product, some have shared that they would have liked the option to purchase a larger butcher block in this wood and design.
- This cutting board has a12-inch by 13-inch by 1.5-inch cutting surface.
- It is made using sustainable beech wood.
- The end-grain design makes this quality a durable product.
- It has been treated using mineral oils and natural beeswax.
- The wood fibers’ orientation can help keep you and your family safe by keeping contaminants away from your foods.
- Your knives will stay sharper for longer with this board.
- This is a quality, hand-crafted product.
- There is only one size option available.
Making the Decision
After reading through the reviews and our wood butcher block buying guide, you should have a good idea of the right product that will match your needs.
We think all seven of the products on our list would make an excellent purchase, but the La Mongoose XL Bamboo Wood Butcher Block is the one that earned our top pick.
We like the versatility of this product. Beyond its durability, this butcher block’s reasonable price makes it an easy choice. Bamboo’s inherent properties mean that this butcher block will require less maintenance than some of the other options.
Place your order for the La Mongoose XL Bamboo Wood Butcher Block today. You will love this block’s versatility as you carve brisket, cut roast beef, and prepare cheese trays with ease!