What cutting boards should you use to cut meat? What's the best for reducing bacteria but keeping your knives sharp at the same time? Thanks.
Cutting boards for meat?
Gear mentioned in this thread:
A good, wood board is best for your knives. Keep the board clean and well oiled.
In terms of sanitation: When you cut something which may result in "cross contamination," use some sort of board sanitizer. You can buy a commercial sanitizer in a spray can, or make your own by diluting regular, household bleach and putting it in a spray bottle.
A sanitized wooden board is as germ free as a sanitized plastic board.
About fifteen years ago some joker in Arizona did a study which resulted in the conclusion that wooden boards have inherently antiseptic properties, and for that matter are cleaner than plastic boards. That study and conclusion have been disproved. A sanitized board is a sanitized board, a dirty board covered with chicken "juice" is a dirty board covered with chicken juice; it doesn't matter if the board is wood or plastic.
It is true that the self healing properties of wood tend to suffocate any bacteria which do get trapped under the surface, so sanitizing the (clean) surface is plenty good enough; but it's also true that plastic is non-absorbent, so nothing gets trapped beneath the surface.
If you have a plastic board, get rid of it when the scars get too deep. They not only trap juices which breed bacteria, they promote chipping of your knife edges.
Dishwashers are not magic, they are just hot water and soap. It's nice that you can toss a plastic board in the dishwasher, but it's not the only way to keep a board clean.
Wood boards especially those made from oak or maple have natural antibacterial compounds in them. I first read about this when Fine Woodworking magazine quoted a study done at a University about 20 years ago. Cooks illustrated reported on another study in the last year. Both studies found that plastic boards harbor bacteria unless thoroughly sanitized, where wood boards kill the bacteria.
for me, I like plastic for meats, I just throw it in the dishwasher. I take the flexable plastic mats with us on long road trips, just in case we decide to cook something, never know. (I take one of my really old knives too and a small container of dish soap)