New Cutting Blocks

Discussion in 'Food Safety' started by lubbocksmoker, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. I recentley won 2 new Butcher Blocks at a auction. They are brand new and have never been used.

    However, I have been given conflicting advice on how to season them from some of my friends. So I thought I would ask my friends here on this forum.

    So, what is the best way and what should I use to season my new blocks

    Lubbock Smoker
  2. rdknb

    rdknb Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I use a butcher block wax like stuff I got at the hardware store.  I wipe it on then let it dry and buff the excess
  3. If they are true butcher blocks then they would be made from Maple and would be end grain, normally they are covered with wax and need to be scraped down to be cleaned if raw wood it needs bees wax melted over the top and using a hot/warm cloths iron and a sheet of wax paper wax is forced into the end grain seasoning and sealing the wood, when cold scrape off excess wax.

    This is all I do with mine
  4. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Mineral oil is what we use.
  5. What about plastic cutting boards. Do they needed to be treated like these maple boards? I just disinfect and wash?
  6. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    I use 1/4 cup bleach to 1  gallon of water to disinfect plastic boards and then wash as normal.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012
  7. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Like Al, I use USP mineral oil on my board.  Only have to do it every two or three months.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  8. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I use food grade mineral oil on my boards and in my sharpener - plastic boards I only use for veggies. In my opinion it is not safe to use plastic for the proteins, the cuts on the boards harbor bacteria
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Here is everything you need...JJ

    How To Season Cutting Boards

    Cutting Board Oils - Bucher Block Oils:

    Before using a new butcher block, season it to prevent staining and absorption of food odors and bacteria. Proper surface treatment is important to guard against germs and/or mold growth on both new and older boards. The wood surface needs an oil that can be repeatedly applied to fill the wood pores and repel food particles, liquids, and oils. Never use any vegetable or cooking oils to treat or finish a cutting surface, as in time the wood will reek of a rancid spoiled oil odor.

    [​IMG]USP-grade mineral oil is a popular choice as it is the cheapest pure food-grade oil you can buy (do not use vegetable or olive oils because they can turn rancid). Mineral oil remains safe throughout its life. There are various oils available for cutting boards and butcher blocks. Some are called "Butcher Block Finishes" or "Mystery Oil." Save some money by visiting the local hardware or drug store and purchasing Mineral Oil. (not mineral spirits - this is paint thinner).
    [​IMG]Beeswax is often added to mineral oil and walnut oil to give a tougher finish. The wax of bees has been used for centuries for waterproofing and sealing materials from baskets to cloth and for preserving foods and other perishable materials, including wood. It will make wood water-resistant (though not water-proof) and will help protect the wood surface from use and wear. It will also give a wood surface a nice smooth feel to the touch and leave a gentle, sweet fragrance. Simply shave about 1/2 teaspoon beeswax into a microwave safe dish with a cupful of mineral oil; microwave on high for about 45 seconds. Apply to the cutting board or butcher block while still warm.

    Beeswax Top Coat - A beeswax top coat is an optional addition to the re-finishing process, but is well worth the time. The beeswax sits on the surface of the wood in contrast to the oil that soaks into the wood. As a result the beeswax fills in pores and gaps that thin oil can't bridge. This helps to keep moisture, bacteria, and other contaminants from getting into the wood surface. To apply the finish, simply wipe it on with a clean cloth. The beeswax is a soft paste that has a similar consistency to that of a shoe polish. Excess finish can be easily buffed off with the cloth. Once the finish has had some time to dry it can be buffed to a shine.

    Walnut or Almond Oil. These are all-natural oils and are one of the few oils that do not turn rancid as easily as other oils. However, all vegetable oils will go rancid eventually. I, personally, don't recommend using these oils. These oils are available in grocery stores and some mail order woodworking supply stores. NOTE: If anyone in your family has an allergy to nuts or nut products, do NOT use these oils.


    Coconut Oil. I recently did some research and experimentation and found out that food-grade coconut oil/butter also works great. I also use it for seasoning my Cast-Iron Pots & Pans. Coconut oil is one of the most stable oils and is highly resistant to rancidity. It is stable because of its high proportion of saturated fats. Coconut oil has a long shelf life of two or more years, and does not have to be refrigerated. Coconut oil should be stored out of direct sunlight. If you live in a hot climate, I recommend storing unused coconut oil in the refrigerator.

    Applying Oils: Before applying oil to butcher block, warm the oil slightly. Apply oil with a soft cloth, in the direction of the grain, allowing the oil to soak in between each of the four or five coats required for the initial seasoning. After each treatment, wait about four to six hours and wipe off oil that did not soak into the wood (oxidation or hardening of the oil will take approximately 6 hours). Re-oil the butcher block monthly or as often as needed.


    How To Maintain and Sanitize Cutting Boards

    Caution must be taken when using any type of cutting board. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

    Whichever kind of cutting board you use, all cutting boards should be cleaned and sanitized frequently. Some of the various techniques recommended for cutting boards are as follows (you decide which is best):
    All cutting boards, and other food surfaces, should be kept dry when not in use. Resident bacteria survive no more than a few hours without moisture. Keep moisture of any type from standing on the block for long periods of time. Beware of moisture collecting beneath the board if you leave it on the counter. If you can, prop one end up when not using your board.

    To eliminate garlic, onion, fish, or other smells from your cutting board:

    Use a good steel scraper or spatula often when using the board. Scraping removes 75% of the moisture that builds up on a wooden cutting board. An occasional sanding will return a wooden board to a smooth luster. But never scrub a wooden board with a steel brush (a steel brush will ruff up the finish and should be avoided).

    Wooden boards need oiling or re-seasoning once a week to seal the grain against bacteria. An oil finish helps to prevent the wood from cracking or pulling apart at the seams. See Seasoning A Cutting Board above (top of page).
    When refinishing a butcher block, you may wish to sand the surface of the wood to remove old stains, scratches and marks. When sanding out kicks and scratches, remember that if you don't sand the top evenly you will end up with "hills" and "valleys" in the top.


    Guidelines To Increase Food Safety When Using Cutting Boards
    From the Food Safety and Inspection Service USDA - Basics for Handling Food Safely - USDA:

    Choose a board with a smooth, hard surface. It should be approved for contact with food.

    Replace cutting boards that become deeply scratched, carved or grooved.

    Do not chop salad, vegetables or other ready-to-eat foods on an unwashed cutting board that's been used to trim raw meat, poultry or seafood. If possible, always use a clean, separate, color-coded cutting board for fresh vegetables, fruits, breads, and other food that will not be cooked prior to eating.

    Scrape off any stuck food and scrub all cutting boards completely with hot soapy water after each use. Dishwashers are usually very good cleaners for most cutting boards. However, thin plastic or wooden boards may be damaged.

    Sanitize cutting boards from time-to-time with a mixture of one teaspoon of chlorine bleach to one quart of water. Flood the board with the mixture; let it stand a few minutes. Then, rinse completely with fresh water. For better food safety, sanitize washed cutting boards after using with raw meat, poultry, and seafood. This may be especially important for households with ill family members.

    Let cutting boards dry completely; do not stack together or with other kitchen gear so that they remain wet.

    Store cutting boards so that they stay clean, dry, and do not touch raw meat, poultry or seafood or their drippings.

  10. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    That's some great info JJ! Thanks!
  11. I use the Boos Mystery Oil which is mostly mineral oil with walnut and teak oil also. I used to work at a place that sold it.
  12. New plastic cutting boards can be safely cleaned with warm soapy water or, if you prefer, a bleach solution however, old plastice boards with cuts in them can't be as easily cleaned and the bacteria tends to remain in the deeper cuts even after "sanitizing".  Wood cutting boards absorb the bacteria into the grain where they either die or are so deep into the wood as to have no adverse effect on the foods being processed.  Personally I would relegate the plastic boards to non-meat duty. 
  13. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great info JJ, Thanks
  14. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Once again JJ you have shared with us some great advice.  I remember when I was cutting meat with my dad we had a couple of 4 ft X 4 ft x 4 ft maple butcher blocks that we would strip down and reseason with food grade mineral oil nad reseal with bees wax.  We would do this a couple/three times a year.

    You ought to post this as a Wiki.
  15. Thanks JJ for the information.
  16. wax block is more positive. great smoker.

    everyday eat some Wagyu Beef get good health.
  17. jnorth

    jnorth Fire Starter

    Anyone know a good source of cutting boards / blocks?
  18. Check your local restaurant supply.


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