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Meat serving board

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What are your thoughts on a timber serving board for slicing and serving cooked meat on? Long grain or end grain? Typically I use a plastic one so I can put it in the dishwasher and make sure it’s cleaned well. 

I’d like to make one for my wife’s 30th BBQ to serve and slice brisket on. I’m thinking it would have some sort of resin inlay in the shape of a cow. 

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I am a retired meat cutter and no matter what you may rear on TV and elsewhere, end grain cutting surfaces are the most sanitary.  When government agencies made the meat processing industry switch to the UHMW surfaces that is when we started having problems controlling bacteria.  My second choice would be edge grain, still better then UHMW in my opinion.

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I don't know about a resin inlay in a cutting board.  You could do a v-inlay with a contrasting wood.

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I made one end grain cutting board that is used exclusively for cutting cooked meat.  As long as you clean it well with hot, soapy water shortly after use, it stays nice and clean.  Every few months I refresh it with mineral oil/beeswax conditioner.

I'm not sure about the resin inlay, but maybe others can chime in...

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1 hour ago, K Cooper said:

Chet, what is UHMW? 

What krtwood said.  Its a plastic looking item that they use in restaurants, sandwich shops, delis and other food prep areas for cutting surfaces.  It also comes in a tape form and you can using on surfaces that you want to have an easy sliding motion.  I used some on the bottom of my router table fence to make it slide easier when I am adjusting it. 

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Thanks for the replies. I usually keep my endgrain board for everything but meat. Sounds like another end grain board will be made. 

For the resin, I’ve used small amounts of west system to fill a few cracks on other boards. It seems to be fine. It wouldn’t be in large quantities (only thin lines) and it would really only be used as a serving board. Not much cutting on it. 

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9 hours ago, Chet said:

end grain cutting surfaces are the most sanitary.

Any thoughts on why that is?

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2 hours ago, Mark J said:

Any thoughts on why that is?

I'm guessing that slices to the end grain tend to 'self heal', so provide fewer nooks & crannies for the bacteria to hide in. IMO, UHMW is a terrible cutting board surface. It cuts easier than wood, and makes stringy shavings that you can't sand away. Its only advantage is that it can go into the dishwasher.

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1 hour ago, wtnhighlander said:

I'm guessing that slices to the end grain tend to 'self heal', so provide fewer nooks & crannies for the bacteria to hide in. IMO, UHMW is a terrible cutting board surface. It cuts easier than wood, and makes stringy shavings that you can't sand away. Its only advantage is that it can go into the AUTOCLAVE.

Lab background made me want to make that change. The danger in UHMW or HDPE is that cuts curl and don’t stay open to dry and be cleaned. They have been known to not necessarily be cleaned well in home dishwashers. 

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5 hours ago, Mark J said:

Any thoughts on why that is?

Like Ross said, end grain heals.  And like both mentioned above the others don't, and you end up with areas that just can't get cleaned properly.  We used pressure washers and chemicals and still didn't alway pass health department checks.  When we were using the wood cutting surfaces, they were just washed by hand and never flunked.  Somewhere around the late 70's it became more about looking clean then being clean.  They started making us use these new cutting surfaces and we had to quit using carbon steel knives because they would get dark and splotchy looking over time, even though they clean it was how they "looked".

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I have done some reading about wood vs plastic cutting boards. What makes them safer is a bit counter-intuitive. The pores in the wood draw the fluids down into the wood via capillary action, which sounds like it would be a bad thing. However, this traps the bacteria inside the wood where it cannot grow and spread. It can survive inside the wood for some time (hours), but eventually dies off and cannot return to the surface (even with additional knife cuts). Note that the pores in soft woods or other open grain woods can be too large to trap the bacteria inside the cutting board and CAN return to the surface before dying. 

As mentioned above, as plastic cutting boards are used more, they end up with small areas where the bacteria can grow, spread, and return to the surface. Before plastic cutting boards are worn to this point, they are 'easier' to clean and sanitize than wooden boards, which makes them so popular (along with perceived sanitary benefits).

FDA code 4-101.17 allows:

Quote

(B) Hard maple or an equivalently hard, close-grained wood may be used for: (1) Cutting boards; cutting blocks; bakers' tables; and UTENSILS such as rolling pins, doughnut dowels, salad bowls, and chopsticks; and (2) Wooden paddles used in confectionery operations for pressure scraping kettles when manually preparing confections at a temperature of 110 C (230 F) or above.

 

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18 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

I'd go with end grain. For no particular reason, other than its less work. In fact, a solid plank is even better.

In what way would end grain be even remotely easier? 

You could get that board from a single glue up. End grain you'll need at least 2 and the second being much more intensive.

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I also thought that some woods had anti microbial properties like walnut and others. Not sure if that still works after it's been kiln dried ect but there are woods that hold up  better outside so maybe there is some worth to that.

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I have used edge grain, end grain, and flat sawn cutting boards for years for meat and veggies, without worrying about what I used it for previously - as long as I clean up after each use, and no problems. I will cut meat on a board after cutting vegetables without washing up, but not the other way around. You can worry about these things, but the most important thing is to wash well after use. 

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6 hours ago, Brendon_t said:

In what way would end grain be even remotely easier? 

You could get that board from a single glue up. End grain you'll need at least 2 and the second being much more intensive.

Dang, I could have sworn I type EDGE grain....

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2 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

Dang, I could have sworn I type EDGE grain....

Fixed it.

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13 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

Dang, I could have sworn I type EDGE grain....

I know I'm loonie but couldn't wrap my brain around it

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