Best Butcher Blocks & Wood Cutting Boards

Wood butcher block with steak and knife resting
Raw fresh meat Striploin steak and meat cleaver on butcher block on dark background

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If you’ve ever cooked a whole brisket you will know that a flimsy plastic chopping board just won’t cut it.

The problem with most chopping boards you find in the kitchen is that they don’t catch the juice, and they aren’t large enough to hold larger cuts of meat.

We consider a quality wood butcher block a must-have accessory for any grill or pitmaster.

Here are the best butcher blocks for preparing, resting and slicing meat.

The 5 Best Butcher Blocks Reviewed

1. Best Overall Butcher Block – SoulFino Bamboo Butcher Block

SoulFino Bamboo Butcher Block - Cutting Board, Reversible with Juice Groove and Handles - Maximum Health Benefits and Low Maintenance - Less Bacteria Bamboo Means a Healthier Family

The SoulFino Butcher Block is made from thick bamboo and measures in at 17″x13″ in total, providing optimal space for most meat-cutting endeavors.

It possesses a deep groove that can catch most meat juice and prevent you from having to clean up an excessive mess.

The block is also equipped with handles on either side for easy carrying from the grill to the house.

One of the biggest downsides of bamboo butcher blocks is their tendency to accidentally dull knives over time. But the SoulFino Butcher Block is made with ultra-gentle bamboo that isn’t as likely to cause this effect.

The bamboo material resists microbial contamination. It also doesn’t absorb liquid the same way that most wooden butcher blocks do.

As a result, it won’t warp or crack even if a lot of liquid pools on its surface.

It possesses a simple but classic aesthetic appearance. Since it’s scratch-resistant, it’ll continue to look excellent even after a lot of use.

The SoulFino Butcher Block is usable on both sides, although only one side has the extra-deep juice groove. You can use the grooved side for meat preparation and the other side for other foods.

What We Like:

  • Lifetime Guarantee – The manufacturers of this butcher block offer a lifetime guarantee. 
  • Reversible Sides – This functionality still increases the life span of the block, as you won’t wear out one side faster than the other so long as you flip it every now and again.
  • Doesn’t Dull Knives – The block has all the excellent aspects of bamboo butcher blocks, such as water resistance and durability. Its tendency to take on scars is also lower than with other bamboo blocks.

What We Don’t Like:

  • Slides Around Sometimes – Be careful if you put a lot of weight into your cutting motions. You may accidentally help this block to slide around on your countertop. Its smooth surface makes this butcher block easy to accidentally push off the counter.
  • Needs Sanding – This block could have been sanded better before shipping, but it’s easily fixable with a little polishing of your own. Still, be prepared to take care of this before use; it’ll be a bit rough on the surface right out of the box.

While the bamboo isn’t as luxurious or long-lasting as some other blocks in this guide, this is a great value for money butcher block that is kind on your knives and large enough for resting and slicing a brisket.

You can also choose a maple or acacia version of the same board.

Get the latest price on Amazon.

2. Runner Up – Catskill Craftsmen 21×17 End Grain Chopping Block

This chopping block measures 21″ x 17″ in total. That’s quite large compared to most competitor products, and it’s 2 inches thick as well. The block is heavy as a result: 19 pounds which helps the board stay fixed and avoid sliding.

The solid end grain wood material means that it’s not particularly light or easy to handle. But it is quite durable and will last a long time so long as you maintain its surface with frequent oiling and proper cleaning.

The block is heavy and large, so it’ll be unwieldy for a lot of chefs.

You should be careful when maneuvering this butcher block around the kitchen while it has food or juice on the surface.

The lack of juice grooves doubles this issue since there’s nothing to stop said moisture from spilling over the sides onto your countertop or kitchen floor.

What We Like:

  • Handles on the Sides – The addition of handles on either side helps to alleviate this concern somewhat, even if the handles aren’t very deep.
  • Excellent Durability/Lifespan – The thickness of the wood makes it an ideal butcher block for sharpening your knives. You can afford to dig deep grooves or scars into its surface without compromising the integrity of the block.

What We Don’t Like:

  • No Juice Grooves – This block lacks any grooves or valleys for catching meat juice. You’ll have to be extra careful when preparing your foods if they have excess moisture. 

Get the latest price on BBQGuys.com

3. Best High-End Butcher Block – John Boos Block RA02-GRV Maple Wood Butcher block

John Boos Block RA02-GRV Maple Wood Edge Grain Reversible Cutting Board with Juice Moat, 20 Inches x 15 Inches x 2.25 Inches

The John Boos Block is 20″ x 15″ x 2.25″. Although it isn’t the largest block we’ve looked at, it is the thickest.

There’s plenty of strength and durability in this block. Even the heaviest butcher cleavers won’t be able to easily harm it after continued use.

The maple wood is hand-selected for even more durability and quality and the block is equipped with deep juice grooves that run along the perimeter of the rectangular shape.

At over 17 pounds, the John Boos Block is going to be heavy for many chefs and cooks. The handles help to alleviate this problem somewhat.

What We Like:

  • Deep Juice Grooves – These are well-positioned to prevent juice or other moisture from spilling over the sides. However, they are a little close to the center and limit your operational space somewhat.
  • 1-Year Warranty – There’s a one year warranty included with the purchase. It guarantees your product against any defects that arose from the workmanship or wood used.
  • High-Quality Maple – The wood used for the John Boos Block is high-quality and smooth to the touch. It looks fantastic and can improve the overall aesthetic of your kitchen both while in use and when it’s resting between meals. 

What We Don’t Like:

  • Heavy – Although this block has handle grooves for your fingers, they aren’t very deep so you’ll have to place your thumbs on the surface at times anyway.

Get the latest price on Amazon.

4. Best Cheap Butcher Block – Greener Chef Extra Large Bamboo Butcher Block for Kitchen

Greener Chef Extra Large Bamboo Cutting Board - Lifetime Replacement Cutting Boards for Kitchen - 18 x 12.5 Inch - Organic Wood Butcher Block and Wooden Carving Board for Meat and Chopping Vegetables

The Greener Chef Extra Large Bamboo Butcher Block is made of organic bamboo and measures in at 18″ x 12″, a very reasonable size for most food preparing tasks.

It features a two-tone design, with the interior of the piece being a darker color than the edges where you’d hold it.

It looks rather unique as a result, and this coloring difference doesn’t compromise the overall integrity of the block as a whole.

What We Like:

  • Very Affordable – This block is one of the most affordable you can find. It isn’t quite as durable or long-lasting as more expensive blocks but proper maintenance can stretch its lifespan.
  • Made from Raw Bamboo – The use of raw bamboo helps keep the cost of the Greener Chef Bamboo Block down. The bamboo also imbues it with exceptional antibacterial properties. Bamboo won’t cut as easily as wooden butcher blocks. This both increases its lifespan and prevents bacteria from finding a home as easily on its surface.
  • Juice Groove – This block does have a shallow groove that runs along its perimeter. It’s not as deep as most others, but it’s long enough that you still have optimal working space in the center of the block and can hold a decent amount of juice, too.

What We Don’t Like:

  • Ends Can Split – The Greener Chef Bamboo Block is susceptible to having its ends split and crack relatively easily.

Get the latest price on Amazon.

5. Best Round Butcher Block – John Boos Maple Wood End Grain Round Chopping Block

John Boos Block CCB183-R Classic Collection Maple Wood End Grain Round Chopping Block, 18 Inches Round x 3 Inches

I don’t find round butcher blocks as practical, but if your main priority is serving and presentation there’s no denying they look fantastic.

This John Boos block is made from end grain maple wood and measures 18 inches around and a whopping 3 inches thick.

What We Like:

  • Excellent Maple – The wood used here feels great to the touch and has been sustainably sourced, as well. Your knives aren’t likely to scar the surface easily and it’ll remain smooth and consistent even after a lot of use.
  • 1-Year Warranty – The John Boos CCB183-R Block comes with a one-year guarantee against any issues arising from its manufacture or the wood itself. This is a great bonus since the asking price is fairly high.
  • Interesting Surface Design – The block is made with an interesting brick pattern on its surface. It’s unlike most other butcher blocks you can find on the market and it’ll add a nice bit of aesthetic value to your kitchen.

What We Don’t Like:

  • Can Crack Along the Sides – We’ve seen a few reports of this board cracking. This shouldn’t happen if you don’t leave it to soak in water.
  • Can only chop on one side – Bottom of the board warns you not to use it for chopping.

Get the latest price on Amazon.

Why we recommend a wood butcher block

Wood butcher blocks are superior to plastic cutting boards for a number of reasons. 

  • Most wooden butcher blocks have juice grooves cut into their edges. These grooves, which are not always present with plastic butcher blocks, can catch the juice as you slice your meat.
  • You can find wooden butcher blocks are usually large enough to fit a whole brisket. Finding plastic blocks of the same sizes are a bit trickier.
  • Wooden butcher blocks can also tend to wear better. Blocks made from maple or beech, for instance, don’t scar as easily as your average plastic block or block. This directly translates to a longer lifespan for your butcher block.
  • They can help keep your knives sharper over time. Many wood blocks cause a light sharpening effect for many cutting utensils depending on the wood type.

It’s better to purchase a high-quality wooden piece than a cheap plastic one. You’ll likely have to replace a cheap plastic block sooner rather than later.

wood butcher block with beef brisket

The eco-conscious among you will appreciate the fact that wooden butcher blocks come from a renewable resource.

Wood blocks are also typically made from waste wood that would otherwise be thrown away. This helps keep harmful plastic out of the environment and doesn’t require you to sacrifice quality in any way.

What about when it comes to food safety?

Plastic cutting boards are considered to be more sanitary, and they are definitely easier to clean as they can be placed in the dishwasher.

But there are studies that show that lots of bacteria remain on a plastic block’s surface even after it’s been thoroughly cleaned.

Cutting on plastic cutting boards also leaves lots of grooves where bacteria can hide. Wood is tougher to sanitize, but it’s also (often) tougher in general – you won’t find as many deep scratches in the surface.

Fast Facts About Cutting Boards and Food Safety in Your Kitchen

This is partially due to plastic’s tendency to be scarred by most knives. Bacteria can worm their way into these cracks and become hard to remove, eventually filtering into meat that you cut on the block’s surface.

Overall, wood is the way to go.

What type of wood makes the best cutting board

While virtually any wood butcher block will be better than a plastic cutting board, there are some types of wood that are superior to others.

The best cutting boards are made from woods like maple, cherry, or walnut.

  • Cherry is a good pick in many circumstances. Cherry end grain wood will last a long time and look wonderful in many kitchens, as well.
  • Maple wood is another strong choice. Maple, in general, is very strong and quite heavy, and end grain wood possesses some of the best durability you can find. You’ll want to make sure you can easily lift your chosen block if you pick one with maple; the weight is no joke.
  • You can also use walnut for your wooden butcher block. Walnut is dense and heavy and looks good, as well. It’s so dense that the odds of your knife slipping off its surface on an angled cut are practically nonexistent. You’ll get a satisfying sinking sensation with your knife a lot of the time.
  • Bamboo makes for a good budget alternative. It’s even more environmentally friendly since it’s technically a species of grass rather than a tree. Bamboo butcher blocks absorb liquid less quickly than wooden blocks, and they can be just as sanitary.

Overall, any of these three choices will be excellent for a wooden butcher block. If you’ve already got a favorite among all three types, there’s nothing wrong with sticking with your preference.

End grain wood blocks are better than edge grain, since end grain wood is sturdier overall and resists scarring.

The fibers of end grain wood may eventually seal themselves back together.

However, they are a bit harder than even the wood types described above. This has a chance of dulling your knives after repeated use. In addition, the scars or grooves they cause can easily catch on your knives to interrupt your cutting motions.

Read More – Choosing and caring for your barbecue knives

Clean your bamboo blocks thoroughly and often to avoid bacterial problems and to maintain a good cutting surface.

How to Oil and Clean Your Wood Butcher Block and Butcher blocks

Purchasing your wood butcher block is only half the battle. You’ve also got to maintain the block so it’ll continue to be usable for years to come.

Good maintenance also leads to a block that looks good for years to come.

Although wood is the most sanitary butcher block material, it can also absorb juices and bacteria since wood is naturally porous.

This video contains a lot of tips for cleaning and maintaining your butchers block.

A lot of moisture built up inside a wooden block can warp the wood material or cause it to expand and crack; this is a fast track to a busted butcher block.

Rotting wood smells terrible and is unsanitary for food preparation, so in many cases rotting blocks have to be thrown away wholesale.

To avoid this fate, you should always oil your butcher block after you purchase it:

  1. Take a normal food-safe mineral oil. You can find some variants at your local grocery store or at home furniture stores.
  2. You’ll want to soak the block in oil, spreading plenty of it across the surface to the point that it seems to be too much.
  3. After you’ve saturated the block, rub the oil off the surface with a regular dish towel.

An important note: this dish towel should be used for the maintenance of your butcher block from this point onward. Don’t use it for other tasks.

If you’ve done this correctly, your block should look slick and full of oil.

Give the block a few minutes to air dry, then return and you’ll find that the oil should be mostly absorbed by the wood’s pores.

For optimal results, the block’s surface should be relatively uniform in color. If there are dry or “thirsty” spots, you can add more oil and repeat the process.

Do this for one side of the block at a time. Both sides need to be given time to air dry. The best way to manage this is to let your cutting block sit upright in a lid or dish holder so that both sides get exposure overnight.

This oiling should be repeated every time you see the block’s oil layer starting to get thin. You’ll be able to tell that it’s thin if water can drip onto the surface and doesn’t bead away. Water that penetrates the wood isn’t being blocked by the oil.

A good practice is to combine your knife-sharpening routine with your butcher block oiling routine. This way you can take care of both meat-preparing implements at the same time.

Another maintenance tip involves using sandpaper on your block’s surface.

Do this if the marks or scars start to become too much for your eye or for sanitary reasons. Sand the block carefully and be sure to wipe away any dust left behind after you’ve finished, and don’t forget to oil afterward!

To clean your butcher block, use another damp cloth and detergent to scrub the block clean of excessive dirt or debris.

Don’t use too much water or you’ll wear down the oil layer too quickly. You should then use a bleach solution (a good formula is about a single teaspoon of bleach for every quart of water) to sanitize the surfaces of the block.

Then, let the block air dry.

Re-oil the surface if you need to after every cleaning.

Wrapping it up

Overall, the SoulFino Bamboo Butcher Block is the best butcher block for most needs and concerns. Its excellent bamboo material won’t dull your knives.

It’ll also last for a long time to come, and the deep juice groove will help prevent the frequency of kitchen messes.

Whatever your personal preference, remember to oil your block to keep it looking and working well for years to come. Good luck!

Last update on 2019-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Joe Clements

Joe Clements

As the son of a vegeterian, I grew up dreaming about meat. Now as the founder and editor in chief of Smoked Barbecue Source I get to grill, barbecue and write about meat for a living!I'm sharing everything I learn along the way on my journey from amateur to pitmaster.
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