Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:11 pm
Ok, so I know this may kick off a discussion (and open a can of worms regarding which is better). I have several nice Boos boards, some end grain, some not. I am in no way paranoid of wood and to my knowledge have never had a sanitary-food issue with it.
That said, there are times--like when using chicken and certain other raw meats--that I will grab one of my polyproprolene boards. I have read stacks about how wood (end grain) is usually most gentle on blades, but where the debate falls off is the otherside of the equation which is, how much harder on blades are plastic composites such as polypro or polyeth over wood? I recently ended up buying a really large one inch polyethylene board, but find myself not using it b/c the voice in my head says, it will kill the edge you work so hard to maintain. So, the question is this: How much harder are the polys (the main ones) on knife edges compared to wood? Does the upside of wood and the fact that it is relatively easy on the blade outweigh the ease of sanitation of plastics (hey, I can dunk the latter in the sink and hit it with lots of water, soap and even bleach)? I ask this not for the restaurant world where people may be forced to use plastics, but more for those at home that can use whatever material they wish. Final question is this: I have noticed some of the yellow cutting boards for various restaurant applications. They are very expensive ($200 and up for a moderately sized board). What is this material and is this yellow material the magic medium that gives you both sanitation and preserves knife edges?
Thanks for any advice, and those who use one of the yellow boards, would welcome your advice and or experiences with them. Thanks!
Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:49 pm
Chester, I have all the boards you mentioned. White NSF Poly, Yellowish rubber and two proteak end grains (12" and 14"X20"). I have a knife set of maybe 30 high-endish knives. I never use the Poly with my good Japanese knives (Konosuke, Yusuke, Takeda). I never use the yellow board anymore but it is definitely the most forgiving of them all. But is shows cuts over time and is just ugly.
The proteak boards are fantastic. Give the 12" a try, use it maybe 5 to 1 compared with my 20". the 20" does have it place however. Don't be afraid of the hype about wood boards holding bacteria and the like. Its crap. Wash your boards well after use and occasionally oil them. One thing about wood boards is that they will hold the smell of onion and garlic for a few days. But don't let that stop you, also they are made sustainably. Hope that helps
Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:02 pm
This response is based on what I've observed over 20 years in the industry and also from what is taught by ServSafe. I do not however, have any evidence to really back up my claims.
The long and the short of it is, IMO, it depends on the quality of your wood board and what shape it is in. The plastic boards are harder on your blades than wood, but its really nothing a couple swipes on your honing rod can't fix. They are fairly rigid, but we're not talking so hard that you risk chipping your blade. There is some give. And personally, I have no qualms about using my knives on the plastic boards. From a sanitation standpoint, SerfSafe also highly recommends the plastic over the wood.
That said, if you have a high quality board that doesn't have a bunch of nicks, cuts, and scratches and you take the time to properly sanitize your board after use it is highly unlikely you will have any sanitation issues. I would only recommend this in home use, however. If we're talking a professional environment, you're pretty much required to use the plastic board.
Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:44 pm
The hard, NSF poly boards are MUCH harder on your edges than wood.
The Sani-tuff boards are pretty good, but they are harder to resurface and may bend(harder to care for).
I cut meat on my end-grain maple board. I clean it with mix of water and Dr. Bronner's soap, and if it still smells like meat, I coat it in salt overnight. My board smells like nothing but mineral oil--not garlic, not meat, just oil.
There was a test of how much biological growth happens on boards depending on their makeup and treatment--end grain wood tested best and the best thing you can do to sanitize your boards is clean them with vinegar and expose them to sunlight. Even brand new poly boards scrubbed with soap and bleached did not do as well.
Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:03 pm
In my experience Sani-Tuff boards that are 3/4" thick or thicker won't bend, even when stored on edge. I use one for all raw meats. They're easy on the knives, maybe even better than wood in that regard. Only downside is that they're heavy. That said, I much prefer my cherry Board Smith cutting board.
Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:21 pm
Honing my question a bit: One of the synthetic materials that I am intrigued about is the High-Soft (polyvinyl acetate) boards that are apparently used in many Japanese Sushi restaurants (I can't vouch that they are). At any rate, I have seen these for sale online and they say they are very good on Japanese blades and give you the upside of being able to wash them and even bleach them if needed. Again, I am not paranoid on wood, but I really do like being able to toss a board in the sink to really get it clean which you really can't do with a good wood board.
These "High-Soft (polyvinyl acetate)" boards, however, are really expensive. Has anybody used them and are they worth the hype?
Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:48 pm
Uhh...that looks like a Sani-tuff to me. Just kinda a rubbery thing.
My only beef with those is that they are expensive and will not last forever. A good wood board will, so I took the plunge, and it's already one of my favorite and most used things in the house.
Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:28 pm
+1 for the wood board but if you're looking for a board that goes in the dishwasher, sani-tuff is a good solution. But for the home a nice wood cutting board is my go to.
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