Our Top Pick for 2019: Catskill Craftsmen Super Slab Butcher Block with Finger Grooves
Are you thinking of renovating you kitchen? If you want a feature that adds a sense of warmth and beauty to your cooking area, then consider getting a butcher block. A butcher block can be a small unit that you keep on the top of your counter, or if you prefer, it can be the actual countertop in your kitchen. Regardless of the size you choose, you will need to make a few decisions to pick a style that fits your needs as well as your flavor profile. With a little bit of knowledge, you will be able to add a beautiful surface that is sturdy and reliable in no time. We have included four different butcher blocks for you to consider; three are high end kitchen appliances and the fourth is a more budget friendly option.
Let’s Have a Quick Look of Our Top 4 Picks:
#1. Catskill Craftsmen Super Slab Butcher Block with Finger Grooves
Catskill Craftmen is a company that has been manufacturing ready to assemble kitchen carts, islands, and work areas since 1948. Since that time, they have risen to the top of the market, creating top of the line kitchen surfaces across the nation. Their super slab butcher block is one amazing product that they manufactured that is made from all natural self sustaining wood. All of the trees are non-endangered, and the wood shavings are turned into fuel to heat local homes in the community. This specific butcher block is created from yellow birch, which is a strong hardwood that will last for years.
This board is a complete square that is 20 inches by 20 inches; in addition, it has a three inch height, which makes this board a pretty large surface that will give you plenty of space for your cooking preparations. It actually weighs about 36 pounds, which means that it will not slide across the counter when you are using it, but as a precaution, the company has also fitted the board with small wooden ball feet and rubber pads. In addition, there are also finger slots carved into the ends of the board to make it easy to maneuver.
The craftsmanship of this board is truly amazing; this butcher block features an end grain compilation that is styled like a checkerboard. The corners of the board are rounded off to give it a more chic look, and there are juice groves around the edges to prevent your counters from getting chicken juices all over them. The butcher block is also designed as a reversible kitchen assessory that can be used to cut vegetables, and then flipped to cut meat, which will prevent cross contamination from occurring.
The surface of the unit has been oiled to make it easier to clean the board, and this coating will also help prevent your blades from becoming dull. Do not soak this board in water, as the wood will absorb the water and eventually warp the butcher block. In addition, you will need to oil the wood about once a month to keep it in good condition.
When it comes to reviews, there are about 200 available on Amazon. 85 percent of all of the reviews have been rated with a positive four or five star rating. Here is an example of one such five star testimonial: “This board is STUNNING! The craftsmanship is impressive, to say the least. End-grain boards are much more difficult to make. They are much kinder to your knives though and well worth the extra money. This Catskill board is of remarkable quality and exactly what you would expect from American craftsmen.”
#2. John Boos Reversible Maple Cutting Board Butcher Block
John Boos, which is the company that manufactures our silver pick, has been creating quality products for your kitchen since 1887. For over 130 years they have been a reliable company that manufactures durable products that you can expect to last for years. This specific butcher block is crafted from beautiful maple to create a solid surface for your cooking needs.
The unit is 24 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 2 ¼ inches in height; in addition, it weighs about 27.5 pounds, which means that this board will provide you with a large space for all of your cooking needs that will not easily shift on the countertop. This reversible device features an end grain design that will look great with any kitchen décor. The edges feature a sleek rounded shaping, and the entire unit is coated with a delicate cream finish that brings out the natural details of the wood. This finish also makes the surface resistant to water and stains, which will help extend the life of the board.
This butcher block is designed to be washed by hand, so don’t attempt to put it in the dishwasher if you want to preserve the quality of the wood. It is available in five different sizes, so make sure to decide which size accommodates your kitchen needs. It also comes with a one year warranty that will cover any issues during the first 12 months of ownership.
When it comes to reviews, 84 percent of the over 400 reviews posted on Amazon have received a positive four or five star rating. Here is what one customer had to say about this butcher block: “This is the BEST cutting board you can buy. I’ve been a professional chef for over 18 years and I swear by John Boos’ board.”
#3. Top Notch Kitchenware Large End Grain Bamboo Antibacterial Butcher Block
Our bronze pick is a butcher block that was manufacturer by Top Notch Kitchen ware, which is a company that is known for its durable wooden kitchen accessories. This board is designed with the end grains facing upward, so it leaves the butcher block with a beautiful checkerboard design that will look amazing in any kitchen. It is 15 5/8 inches long, 11 7/8 inches wide, and 1 ½ inches high, so it is a relatively large accessory that you may wish to keep in view on your countertop.
This Top Notch Kitchenware butcher block is only 6.2 pounds, so it you prefer to move it around the kitchen or use it as a serving tray to serve sliced cheese or fruit, you have that option. There are even side handles on the device to make it easier to pick the board up from the counter. In addition, this stylish board is designed with juice groves to make cleaning up your meal preparation limited to the board you are cutting on instead of the countertop as well. In addition, the base of the unit is designed to be non-slip, so you will not have to worry about any movement while you are cutting on the board.
Since this butcher block is crafted from beautiful bamboo, which is a naturally non-porous type of wood, the surface of the board is naturally resistant to bacteria growth. It is an accessory that is easy to keep clean; simply wash the surface with hot soap and water when you are done using it. The butcher block is also resistant to stains and warping, which is an aspect that occurs when the grain of the bamboo is arranged with the grain edge facing upward like with this board. This surface will also strive to keep your blades from going dull as they are used on this butcher block.
When it comes to reviews, there are only about 50 of them posted on Amazon, but all of them are positive reviews. In fact, 94 percent of the users who gave reviews deemed this butcher block worthy of a five star rating. Here is an example of one five star testimonial seen on Amazon: “This is my first non-slip cutting board! I’ve always had antique wood cutting boards and I thought they were enough. This cutting board is heavy duty, non-slip, and very easy to clean. I keep this on my counter because I am always trying a new Pinterest recipe! I highly recommend this item for its high quality and also because it is a good looking cutting board.”
#4. Mountain Woods Butcher Block Cutting Board
Mountain Woods is a company that has been making hand crafted kitchen accessories for over 40 years. They put their heart and soul into each butcher block they create, which ensures that each one is a unique one of a kind creation. In addition, the y offer these butcher blocks at convenient price points that will be easy on your budget. Our last pick is created with the same standards in mind, so it is sure to last you for years to come.
This butcher block is about 15 inches in length, 12 inches in width, and two inches high; in addition, it is only a little more than seven pounds, so it is easy to maneuver and carry around the kitchen when you need. It is crafted from bamboo, which as we discussed earlier is naturally antibacterial, so it will be a great way to prevent bacterial growth from forming on the surface. The board uses an edge grain pattern that is easy on your knives as well as beautiful to look at. The extra thick board is designed with an elegant two-toned look that will look stunning in any kitchen. It also has indented handle grips that make it easy to grip.
The wood is coated with a food safe finish, but it will still need to be coated with mineral oil or vegetable oil about once a month to keep the wood from drying out and warping or cracking. In addition, this butcher block should not be soaked in water at any point or placed inside of a dishwasher. Simply wash the surface with a scrub brush and warm soapy water.
About 90 percent of the 138 reviews posted on Amazon for our ballin’ on a budget option have received a rating of four or five stars. Here is an example of one such five star review: “I can’t overstate the value here — this board costs so much less than comparable products, but the quality has been great thus far, and it has made my life in the kitchen so much better finally having a decent cutting board. Just make sure you buy an appropriate food-grade mineral oil to keep it maintained properly.”
Type of Wood
The type of wood that your butcher block is made from should be the first consideration that you make when you want to purchase a new one. The type of wood will change the color of the board as well as the designs that are featured on the surface. Here are some of the most common wood variants that you can select from:
• Maple is an extremely hard wood that has a delicate, but clear grain pattern that is perfect to match most kitchen décors.
• Cherry is a strong selection that is often designed with the end grain facing upwards, which gives the board a unique, rich red finish.
• Zebrawood is a unique African wood that can be laid flat to bring dark grain and golden highlights into focus right next to each other.
• Bamboo that is steamed tends to darken naturally as it dries, which makes a truly beautiful display, especially when the grain is oriented with the ends showing.
• Wenge is another African wood that is used a lot for butcher blocks. It has a dark, rich color that will match any kitchen, and it is a great surface that will not show knife marks or other inconsistencies in the wood.
• Mixed wood is a great way to add a wow factor to your kitchen, especially if the wood grain is oriented to display the ends of the wood. A mixed wood combination that is very popular for butcher blocks is created from wenge, zebrawood, and mahogany. This gives you three drastically different wood styles that combine into a beautiful work of art to have in your kitchen.
Size of Block
Butcher blocks are typically available in a plethora of sizes. They range from the size of an average cutting board to the size of a full kitchen counter. If you don’t want a surface from either end of the size spectrum, then maybe you prefer an island or a kitchen cart instead. Decide what size best fits your kitchen needs, and purchase a butcher block using those guidelines.
Design and Style
The design of a butcher block will vary based on the type of wood that you select and the cut of the wood that the block is formed out of. Some butcher blocks have unique patterns on the surface of the wood, while others offer a plain look. The style and design that you choose is going to be one that fits your personality. Some individuals prefer darker wood and others may like a checkerboard style design on their cutting surface; decide what you want your butcher block to look like before you make a purchase.
Care and Maintenance
Your butcher block will need to be cleaned thoroughly and sealed with oil to create a beautiful lasting look. Clean the surface with hot soapy water and a soft scrub brush to make sure all of the food particles are removed. Then, rinse the soap off with hot water. If you are deep cleaning the surface to seal it, then you will next need to spray down the surface with white vinegar. As the vinegar sits on the surface, make a paste out of lemon juice and salt. Scrub the mixture into the surface to remove odors and stains that have seeped into the wood from use. Rinse the salt mixture off, and then allow the butcher block to fully dry.
Once the board is dry, rub small amounts of oil into the entire surface until the wood stops absorbing it, which will seal the surface and give the wood grain a nice polished look. There are many different oil variations that you can use on the surface; here are a few:
• Food grade mineral oil will give your butcher block a warm honey coloration.
• Coconut oil leaves a beautiful shine, but it can also attract fingerprints when too much oil is left on the board.
• Pure Tung oil will leave give your finish a beautiful dark amber color, but be aware this oil is from a nut tree, so it can be an issue for someone who is allergic to nuts. Walnut and Almond are other oils that can be used to oil a butcher block that can also cause reactions.
Butcher blocks tend to be heavy so that they do not slide around the countertop when you are using them. One feature that you can get to ensure that your board is sturdy is a z-shaped design. This gives your board a rim in the back so that the ingredients that you are cutting do not fall off of the edge as well as a base on the front of the unit that is designed to be placed against the counter to give more support to the board. This is a feature that is great for a butcher block that you plan to keep in a permanent location in the kitchen. Another consideration to make for smaller butcher blocks that you will be moving around is handles. Heavy butcher blocks often have handle indents on the sides of the board, which make maneuvering from the countertop to the stove with the butcher block a breeze.
Conclusion (Wrapping it up)
A butcher block is a beautiful and functional accent in any kitchen that can add a unique sense of style and elegance that you do not often find in many homes. The warm glow of a butcher block; especially if it is designed into your countertop, is the perfect way to create a rustic feel that marble countertops are often lacking. The most important consideration to make is the type of wood that you will be using, once that is decided, you will be on your way to having a fantastic cutting surface in your kitchen. If our picks in this guide do not bode well with your style, then use our pre-purchase considerations to find a butcher block that does.