Plump turkey. Savory ham. Juicy roast beef. Each of these traditional holiday meats may require different carving techniques but they all have one thing in common – the need for a good wooden carving board with deep juice rings and a large surface.
Choosing the proper wood carving board makes slicing meat easier, safer and more effective. Here are five things to consider when looking for your next carving board.
When it comes to choosing the size of your carving board, it’s all about the meat. The last thing you want is a bird or cut of beef that won’t fit on the surface of your board. Once you’ve determined the size of the meat, you’ll know what size board will be appropriate. An average 16lb turkey can measure 16-17 inches in length so a good-sized board to cover your average-sized turkey is 20 to 21 inches long, 14 to 16 inches wide. If you’re not sure the size, it’s always better to error on the side of a bigger board to be sure the meat can fit properly. If you know you are planning a smaller bird or piece of meat for your feast, 14 to 15 inches should do just fine.
You can find carving boards made from many materials, most commonly wood, plastic, glass and acrylic. Most people prefer wooden carving boards for their strength, ease of use and durability. Handcrafted carving boards that use hardwoods like Maple, Cherry and Black Walnut are typically considered the best you can buy. They tend to last longer than carving boards with other materials and won’t split – especially when seasoned and crafted properly.
The absolute best carving boards have special features that make the carving and serving process easier on you and much more efficient. Your board should have pyramid points on the surface that serve to hold the meat in place, making it super easy to slice – and safer too. These boards should also feature deep juice wells in the center to collect the juices. Features like pyramid points on the surface and handles on the side of the board also make it easy to transport meat to other locations without worrying about it slipping onto the floor.
4) Generous Juice Rings or Trenches
A properly cooked turkey or roast should be brimming with juices and it’s those juices that are the key to delicious, savory gravies and sauces. The best wooden carving boards will contain a deep and wide ring or trench around the entire perimeter of the board to collect all of these juices. This trench also makes for a cleaner, mess-free counter as the juices won’t be allowed to spill off of the board. New Hampshire Bowl and Board has designed a wooden carving board that not only has these deep trenches but also has a notch on the rim so you can easily pour the juices into a pot or pan.
Getting a good wooden carving board for preparing holiday meals is a great idea, but what about all the other meals you’ll be cooking and serving throughout the year? Since you probably don’t want to limit your board to just carving meats, it’s a usually a good idea to get a reversible carving board. On one side you have all the features you need to perfectly carve meats. Flip it over and on the other side there is a flat surface for cutting, dicing and chopping your everyday meals.