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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, not “really” my first board (I have made many) but this one isn't your common "cutting" board, per se. it is the first “food specific” board that I have made in a very long time. All my current flat boards are just too short for a full slab of Spare Ribs and it has aggravated me for years. While at my local WoodCraft store last week, they had a Hard Maple board that was 11 inches wide . . . and I said to myself . . . well now, I think I’ve fixed my rib problem !! so I bought a 3 foot piece for a “prototype” prep-board.
so, I will "show" you how I made it and "tell" you about how I use it. (which fits the Show-n-Tell forum guidelines).
After a little thought, I got my router and whacked away at it and a couple of hours later, it was done. Just the right size for the standard WalMart spare ribs.
I marked off the 1" border and "free-handed" the inside circumference to define the inside profile and depth with a round nose bit - then, the flat bottom planing bit, removed all the material from the bottom. then, some fine tuning with hand chisels and sanded smooth. a finger lift was cut into each end. 4 coats of Watco Butcher Block Finish. (I prefer a hard oil finish over the sticky mineral oil or beeswax).
There is still a few more alterations that I want to make. But for now, it will serve the purpose. (while applying the last part of some walnut stain, it occured to me that this would be a good project for the Shou Sugi Ban technique of burning the outside with the bottle torch just to have something “different” in the kitchen.
so - let's get to the gist of it: this is not about the "woodworking project", it all about them RIBS !!!
(and again - this is not a "cutting" board - it is a meat preparation board only).

the first step was to shave off the "cupped" bottom as the board had a 1/4" cup across from side to side.
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and now, to demonstrate the idea behind this project
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and it fits the needs perfectly
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a little trimming and the meat is ready for the next step
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for ribs, I discovered that I could save the original bag the ribs came in for the marinade.
rinse well, apply your dry rub to the ribs, insert ribs back into the bag, let sit for half an hour. then pour in your favorite liquid marinade (if that is your choice) and seal the end with Duct Tape. it works well for me.
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I trim the ribs to where I have just the part with the bones and save the thin end for another dish.
place in a foil-lined pan in a "tent", add the marinade contents of the bag, cover, and bake in the oven.

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and this, ladies and gentlemen, is the fruits of a "Food Specific" kitchen tool that you made yourself.
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Ya done good John. That prep board really looks like it was made for the job. I usually do a pack of 3 from Sam's Club and use my smoker....yes after years of trying to and eventually quitting smoking I went back ... but in a much healthier way. I have been using a large high-density polyethylene prep board and it really isn't as good as a board such as yours. What really caught my eye was the tool you're using to peel back the "skin" on the back side. With the arthritis acting up I find getting that skin off a real challenge some time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks Reilly - those are catfish skinning pliers ($5 at Walmart).
on the other forums - a lot of "the way I do it" replies is grab the membrane with a tea-towel or paper towel and pull.
as the saying goes - there is more than one way to skin a RIB !!! lol. (whatever works for you is the best way).
I did a 2nd slab of ribs this morning that was a "wider" cut and I had a bit of a hangover on the sides.
BUT - the board still contained all the juices. I'll probably give this "prototype" to my neighbor and make one that is laminated 5/4 x 2" hard maple. I'm a thinking that 14" inside recessed area will be perfect for me.
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Nice. I like the plexiglass base you mounted on the router. Spans the sides to give you great control of the depth all the way across the board. What stain did you use? I thought stains in general aren't appropriate for food surfaces? The torching looks pretty interesting too. My wife loves ribs, but hates cooking them, so I'm going to share the foil tent method you're using. That would keep all the juices nicely and give a nice, even cooking. Do you put the ribs under a broiler to get it browned first? I know her mom boiled the ribs for bit to remove some of the fat, but not all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thanks Tom - I have a lot of plexi in various thicknesses and sizes - so it is convenient to make a base as needed.
I used a common walnut stain on the outside only. I just had the idea of the torch burn after the stain. but will definitely be used on the next board.
there is no stain on the recessed food contact area - just the butcher block finish. (same as a salad bowl finish).
stains and epoxy on the surfaces that come in contact with food is way over rated, in my opinion. to my knowledge, nobody has ever gotten severely sick or died from eating food that was prepared on a board with "questionable" coverings. (but, if it bothers you, don't do it).
I cook for one hour with skin side down then turn over and finish cooking skin side up. if I do broil, it is the last 5 minutes after cooking. here is a slab I cooked today for lunch (ribs don't last long around my house). no broiling, just the natural cooking as described. . . . made some tater salad this morning so lunch was pretty simple - but really good.
the wife butchered the end before I could get the camera - otherwise, it would have been museum quality.

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this particular slab had a pretty big chunk of "meat" that turned out really juicy.
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Wow, that really looks delicious! I have to eat these days through a stomach tube. Uncle pays for all my liquid food, LOL. It shocked us to see how much we'd been spending on eating out before this. Have enough money left over now to buy actual hardwood!

But I do love the smell of good food. My vocal cords no longer close (throat cancer radiation 13 years ago), food particles get into my lungs and I had a severe bout of pneumonia Last Christmas that is still affecting me. I've always been a very good cook, so it pains me that I can't really cook anymore. Only prep minced chicken, turkey or pork for my little dog. We have a great Mexican supermarket up here that butchers their own steer carcasses, so the cost is pretty light, especially for the chicken. I usually prep 12 lbs for him which get frozen in one serving packets. He loves it and I know he's getting the good stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
thanks Marco - first a block plane then the belt sander then rubbed it on a rough cinder block wall to fine tune it.
hey - it's not a piece of furniture, it's a "rustic" kitchen tool. (the key word is rustic).
I have a Dewalt 734 thickness planer, but it was under a bunch of "stuff" and since I only had to flatten one side, it was quicker to just rough it out by hand.

Edit: I forgot that I also used the King Arthur grinding wheel on some of it too.
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thanks Marco - first a block plane then the belt sander then rubbed it on a rough cinder block wall to fine tune it.
hey - it's not a piece of furniture, it's a "rustic" kitchen tool. (the key word is rustic).
I have a Dewalt 734 thickness planer, but it was under a bunch of "stuff" and since I only had to flatten one side, it was quicker to just rough it out by hand.
Something that wide (more than 6"s) can be a challenge.

I'm good at Rustic as I tell people that's the way it's suppose to be. As long as it looks right and doesn't wobble I will claim to be the maker.
 
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