Some kitchen tasks require a bit more brute force than others. When you’re deboning a whole chicken or carving a rack of lamb or hacking through pork shoulder, you need a board that can stand up to your sharpest cleaver––and come out the other side unscathed. That’s no small feat, even for your trusty everyday cutting board. For that kind of work, you need a chopping block.
Made from a thick slab of wood, or wood pieces melded together, the natural material is an ideal choice for the most difficult cooking prep. Not only does it keep your knives from getting dull, but it is also durable enough to withstand years of regular use with proper care. Plus, each one will develop a natural and unique patina that adds charm to any space over time.
It’s precisely that longevity that’s part of the attraction. But making the right selection can mean the difference between a kitchen heirloom and something that’s little more than kindling after a short while. Here are our top four picks for chopping blocks available.
1. John Boos Block Cutting Board
John Boos boards are quite simply the top of the line in their category. Weighing over 20 lbs and measuring a generous 24″ x 18″ x 2.25″, each one is beautifully constructed in Effingham, Illinois using techniques honed over decades. The Northern Hard Rock Maple in this board was carefully selected for its renown as a quality cooking surface and sustainably sourced to boot. Most boards are difficult to flip over, but this reversible design has two flat sides and integrated handgrips on each end to maneuver it however you like. Its edge-grain fabrication will help it last longer than many other models.
Pros: Its exceptional quality and heavy-duty construction make it a long-lasting investment.
Cons: Its weight might be too much for some cooks to haul around the kitchen.
2. Michigan Maple Block Chopping Block
Made from beautiful maple hardwood, Michigan Maple Block’s board is a stunner that helps the aesthetics of any kitchen. Its material prevents knives from dangerously skipping as you work your way through a thick cut of beef or large root vegetables while also preventing blades from dulling. Certified by the National Sanitation Foundation, it is of professional quality and is sure to make any chef or avid home cook more than happy.
Pros: Substantial proportions give you plenty of room to work.
Cons: The end-grain design looks beautiful but may not last as long as an edge-grain design.
3. Eco Home Wood Butcher Block Cutting Board
Functional but with an eye-popping design, Eco Home’s chopping block is for those with adventurous style. Eschewing the standard practice of employing only one kind of wood, this iteration uses multiple––all highlighted by their unique color variations. Measuring a full 18″ x 14″ x 1.7″, this board has plenty of room to prep on but doesn’t have quite as much room as our top pick. However, it does come with special feet designed to keep it from skidding around your countertop even when preparing the messiest foods.
Pros: It has convenient hand grips underneath.
Cons: The design might be too busy depending on your preference.
4. Bambüsi Meat Carving Board
A brilliant blend of lightweight yet expansive design, Bambüsi’s butcher-quality cutting block is crafted from durable bamboo and features an extra deep groove for catching juice. The extra-large size means you can easily slip over many kitchen sinks to make additional countertop space during the busiest times, like holiday meal prep. Best of all, it’s designed with pyramid spikes to help stabilize your meat while you’re chopping for a seamless cut every time.
Pros: It has a convenient moat around the perimeter to catch juices.
Cons: It’s one of the lighter boards on our list and some users may prefer additional heft.