Flexible Cutting Mats
In the test kitchen, we avoid cross-contamination (passing bacteria from one food to another) by using different cutting boards for meat, poultry, seafood, and vegetables. Restaurants often do the same thing, but having a cupboard at home devoted to four cutting boards seems excessive—and expensive.
Flexible cutting mats (also called chopping mats) are a perfect supplement to a single cutting board. They are thin enough to be rolled up like a newspaper yet sturdy enough to withstand the strike of a blade. Cut up chicken for a stir-fry, toss it out of the way in the sink, and then proceed, safely, with the veggies. Flexible mats are also great for transferring ingredients: Simply roll up the mat and funnel food right into the pan.
A set of two flexible cutting mats can cost as little as $5, but we liked a $10 set. All six mats are dishwasher-safe, and they are thicker (and stronger) than the competition.
The nonslip grip and narrow, straight blade let testers remove the smallest bones with precision and complete comfort. Perfectly balanced with enough flexibility to maneuver around tight joints. The low price was a bonus.
Hefty in weight, this knife was a solid performer when removing poultry bones, and the handle was easy to grip, even when covered in chicken fat. Piercing silver skin was a challenge since the tip wasn’t sharp enough and the long narrow blade produced slightly jagged cuts.
|Recommended with Reservations|
The sharp tip performed well when removing silver skin, but it was too flexible when maneuvering around poultry joints, leaving testers feeling a lack of control. The heavy handle was slightly unbalanced and became slippery once covered in poultry fat.
Designed to replicate a samurai blade, this expensive knife was a disappointment. It struggled to pierce the silver skin, although long cuts were smooth and even. Minimal flexibility and extreme curve got in the way when maneuvering around joints. The smooth handle was hard to grip and slippery.
The large, cumbersome handle reminded testers of an outdoors knife for fishing and hunting. The blade was too wide to maneuver around joints and it struggled to pierce silver skin. Unlike other knives, this boning knife could only slice in one direction, making intricate cuts around joints difficult.
The blade was so flexible it led to erratic cuttings; testers said the knife was hard to control. The blade was not sturdy enough to maneuver around joints and the lightweight handle felt flimsy and unbalanced.
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