What Is An End-Grain Cutting Board?

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It’s no secret at all that wooden cutting boards are some of the best you can get your hands on.

They are gentle on your knives, have a rustic aesthetic, and are the preferred material for most professional chefs.

But as I was doing my research on wooden boards, I noticed a couple out there that have a pretty unique aesthetic.

I stumbled upon one particular board that had more of a checkered pattern on it than narrow planks of wood that are seen on most other products out there.

I later found out that this is what’s called an end-grain cutting board, and they are one of the best investments any chef can make.

So if you’ve been wondering what end-grain cutting boards are, exactly, you’ve come to the right place as we take a deep dive into these products in this article.

Read on to learn more!

So, what exactly is it?

At first glance, end-grain boards will look very similar to any wooden cutting board out there, but upon closer inspection, you’ll begin to notice the differences.

The first of these is its checkered pattern made up of many equal squares, which is different from the normal patterns we see on wooden boards.

The reason for this is that end-grain cutting boards are made so that the fibers of the wood are facing up.

These products require more wood panels than regular boards, which is why they are harder to find, make, and can be more expensive at times.

This makes for one of the most durable boards you can get your hands on today, and also one that treats your blades and knives very well.

We’ll be taking a deeper dive into the advantages of having one of these products in your kitchen in the next section.

What are the advantages of having one?

Now let’s look at the actual advantages there are to having one of these boards.

Aesthetic

One of the best things about having one of these products in your home is the aesthetic it has.

Wooden cutting boards are already the preferred product amongst home cooks and professionals because of the rustic aesthetic, but that is pushed a step further with end-grain models.

This is because the wood fibers face up, giving you a design that can’t be found in many other places.

On top of that, since these are considered the more “premium” option out there, more attention is paid to the details.

If you get your hands on one of these models, you’ll be sure to get a cutting board with a unique pattern and an exquisitely detailed finish.

Durability

The next advantage most people point out is how durable these products are.

End-grain boards are made with more wood planks, which will already make them more durable than a lot of other options out there.

They have a reputation for being “self-healing.”

Since the fibers face up, the blade only gets in between the natural separation of the wood, which will close over a certain amount of time.

This also means that bacteria and other substances will not be able to seep into the wood, making it much more sanitary.

With end-grain products, you won’t get any permanent cuts in the board as you do with other products, especially when using sharp knives.

Knife-Friendly

Lastly, we’re going over the biggest advantage to end-grain cutting boards: they treat your blades well.

Because of the fibers’ orientation, the sharp edge of your knife ends up sinking into the fibers instead of banging up against them.

In the long run, this means your knives will last you a much longer time, and you won’t have to sharpen them as often.

How about the disadvantages?

Price

The biggest argument against end-grain boards is that they are expensive.

This is because they require more materials and craftsmanship to make properly, which jacks up the price like crazy.

Since they are the more expensive option, end-grain models are usually reserved for either very passionate home cooks or professionals who work in hot kitchens.

But all that said, it is still an investment worth making, especially if you pay close attention to your gear in the kitchen.

Should you get one for yourself?

And that concludes our crash course on end-grain cutting boards.

They are the ideal option for those of you who have expensive and very sharp knives and professionals looking for a reliable surface to prep ingredients on in the kitchen.

That being said, they aren’t for everyone.

These boards require more maintenance and can be pretty expensive, so home cooks looking for a budget-friendly cutting board should consider edge-grain models instead, which is usually found in the market anyway.

But if you’re looking to invest in a premium piece of kitchen equipment, then an end-grain board may be the way to go.

Last Updated on June 23, 2021

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My name is Andy Wang, and I'm a retired chef. I used to work at the City Vineyard restaurant in NYC. I also had a culinary degree from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. And this blog is where I share my love for knives and cooking with people like you.