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Wood Species for Butcherblock

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Forum topic by Ynot posted 09-30-2019 07:29 PM 431 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Ynot

25 posts in 2502 days


09-30-2019 07:29 PM

Topic tags/keywords: butcherblock butcher block cutting board outdoor

I’d like to replace the thin sheet metal shelf on my smoker with a butcher-block cutting board. Wondering what species of wood would be best to use.?

Also, although I cover my smoker, what would you recommend to seal/finish the cutting board with, yet still be food safe?

Just as a note I’ll be using a water resistant Titebond for glue.

Tony


9 replies so far

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RobHannon

347 posts in 1447 days


#1 posted 09-30-2019 07:45 PM

Ash, Maple, and Hickory are great choices for a hard block. Walnut is also a good choice. Oak is often used in butcher block as well, but keep in mind it is an pretty open/porous grain and could be less forgiving as far as becoming stained down the road.

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therealSteveN

6655 posts in 1490 days


#2 posted 09-30-2019 09:54 PM


I d like to replace the thin sheet metal shelf on my smoker with a butcher-block cutting board.
Tony

- Ynot

Why am I thinking of a piece of burning wood?

-- Think safe, be safe

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Ynot

25 posts in 2502 days


#3 posted 09-30-2019 10:52 PM


Why am I thinking of a piece of burning wood?

- therealSteveN

Haha, there’s about a 2” buffer from the side of the drum to where the cutting board/butcher block will be, so it shouldn’t be any different from others that I’ve seen manufacturers do. The smokers thick enough to retain most of the heat too unless you were to put your hand right on it. Thanks for the concern though.


Yes, I d stick with maple or Walnut.
Best wishes

- seanj


Ash, Maple, and Hickory are great choices for a hard block. Walnut is also a good choice. Oak is often used in butcher block as well, but keep in mind it is an pretty open/porous grain and could be less forgiving as far as becoming stained down the road.

- RobHannon

Thanks guys. I have some 7 quarter ash, but a bit short, so I may mix it up with one of the others depending on cost.

Any recommendations on finishes or would it pretty much be the same as a cutting board for indoors?

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ibewjon

2140 posts in 3709 days


#4 posted 10-01-2019 11:19 AM

White oak is not porous and has very tight end grain. It is very rot resistant. Red oak is very open grain and absorbs water and food. My grills have wood shelves and handles. No problem.

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smallerstick

31 posts in 2094 days


#5 posted 10-01-2019 12:16 PM

I have used maple and birch for my smoker shelf. I prefer to leave it unfinished although care must be taken to protect it from the weather. Unfinished offers the best “food safe” condition.
Temps in a smoker rarely are high enough to cause any burning or scorching of the shelf in my experience.
Agreed that white oak is also a very good choice, I just don’t have much local access to that in my northern location.

-- Peter

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ChefHDAN

1780 posts in 3766 days


#6 posted 10-01-2019 12:44 PM

Ugh, well a few things here, as for the question of finish, if you’ll be using a knife on the board as a traditional BB, then go with mineral oil or any of the other BB blends with beeswax etc. If it will only be an incidental food contact surface than you can go with just about any other film finish to protect the board from the weather. If you do intend for this to be meat cutting board alongside the smoker, (I’m a Texas boy, I get it), than prior to using the board, use the butchers mantra for the oil, once a day for a week, and then once a month thereafter.

That was the short answer and this might be more 411 than you want but,,,When using the board outside where your ambient temperatures will lie between 40f to 140f (Danger Zone), be prepared to rinse your board and then use a 10:1 water & bleach solution to sanitize the board. Technically by USDA food code, you can leave the board/utensils exposed to the danger zone for 4 hours, but pathogens multiply exponentially and if you were just to wipe food remains of the board with a towel you could create a situation where folks could get sick. Generally in most service situations the meal is served and over within an hour or so making the time moot, but alongside a smoker where you may be using the board at the beginning of a 6 to 8 hour process it becomes different. If it were my smoker I’d look to replace the shelf with a bracket that could hold the board, and permit me to lift the board to take it into the kitchen for washing.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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smallerstick

31 posts in 2094 days


#7 posted 10-01-2019 02:07 PM

Food safety is always a primary concern. When I was designing and building my mobile BBQ rig for catering, I worked with my local health unit (which licences and approves commercial restaurants and food service operations) to achieve a safe and workable unit. They approved my use of a single worktop for both food prep and service. Reasoning was that because cook times are relatively long, there was sufficient time between prep and service to wash down and sanitize the surface and allow it to air dry. That takes into account the danger zone you refer to as neither prep nor service goes near the 4 hour mark. Wash down can be done effectively without removing the board provided you have access to hot water.

As to oil treatment or not, that’s always a hot button issue. Studies showing the natural tendency for wood surfaces to perform better than plastic in slowing the growth of pathogens were done with untreated wood. Personal choice, I have always preferred not to oil treat and, again, that choice was approved by the health unit.

-- Peter

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ChefHDAN

1780 posts in 3766 days


#8 posted 10-01-2019 06:05 PM

Peter, no doubt, the key is the ability to clean and properly sanitize, most folks don’t get into the microbiology of how food-borne illnesses, infections, and contaminations occur. That’s part of the reason there are several instances each year where large groups get sick at church functions etc. where proper sanitation and local health department oversight is at a minimum. I’ve worked all over the states and each region and inspector gets a bit of latitude in how they interpret the code. I’ve never worked in Canada so can’t say what is or isn’t approved, but the general best practice always applies, keep it clean, get it hot fast,(or in the case of smoking maintain the delta), get it cold fast, and store it right.

As for the oil, yeah it’s often argued, but the study you refer to was between wood & plastic, the NSF cited the ability of the porous nature of wood to prevent moisture being trapped within cuts to the surface as it would be absorbed whereas the plastic board would trap moisture and when stored in the temperature danger zone pathogens could propagate. What I’ve found and had approved by local DOH is that the mineral oil will still permit the absorption of moisture and also extend the life of the boards, which are often not treated very well, especially when a dammed heat lamp get set too close to the surface… I hate rental staff…

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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smallerstick

31 posts in 2094 days


#9 posted 10-01-2019 07:22 PM

Same with the inspection here, there are always local differences in interpretation.
I hear you on the heat lamps lol. When the inevitable knife marks, raised grain an so on from repeated cleanings etc take their toll on a working surface, a couple of passes with a cabinet scraper will get you back to a smooth, safe surface in no time. Works on wood and plastic too.

-- Peter

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