Sterilizing oak cubes?

Would 5 minutes in 80 proof vodka be long enough to sterilize oak cubes so I could add them to the secondary?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Probably not. Oak is porous and it is almost impossible to sterilize it without subjecting it to high heat - which would leave you with just ash.

But if you put it in the oven for at least 20 minutes at 150F, it will almost certainly be sanitary enough to use in your beer afterwards.

Boil or steam it.

I would do at least a 24 hour soak in vodka, if not longer.

This isn’t advice, but I didn’t do anything to the cubes when doing things in the past.
The beer still turned out amazing

Something I do with my cider:

Dilute 10 parts everclear with 2 parts water … which will get you right around 125 proof (the proof typically used for barrel aging bourbon). Stuff the cubes in a small jelly jar or mason jar & cover them with the mixture, then let them sit for a few months. You can then add the “essence” a little at time to get the flavor you’re looking for, without any fear of infection … and it’ll give you considerable control over the oaking level.

Just be careful not to over do it – the essence is quite strong. Sometimes I just use an eye dropper and add a drop or two to my glass after I pour. I saw this in a cider video (BrewTV or something). It actually works very well.

Use caution if you bake them. Too high heat or too long can extract tannins from the oak you do not want. Steam seems to be a good choice but I have to admit to never trying it.

I usually put them in a saucepan and add a cup of water. Put the lid on and steam them for 10 minutes. Add the oak and all the liquid to the secondary and you’re good to go.

For my IPA, I cut a branch off of a white oak in my yard. Cut it into cubes and boil it for 60 seconds. Not much can survive a 60 second boil. And I still be great oak flavor from a one week soak. No issues so far.