Do you have a meat slicer but unsure of how to use it? Not sure whether getting a meat slicer is worth the investment?
Then you’ve come to the right place!
A meat slicer is a machine that allows you to slice cheese, meat, and other deli products in a short amount of time.
Having deli level meat from the comfort of your own home can be simple with this machine.
Meat slicers are also much faster than almost any other slicing tool, and they’re more versatile than most people give them credit for. If you can slice it on a mandolin, you can slice it with a meat slicer.
These appliances are a fantastic way to get perfectly sliced meats and produce every time. They might look a little intimidating, but meat slicers are easy to use and relatively easy to clean and care for.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- The benefits of using a meat slicer
- The different ways of using a meat slicer
- And more!
What's in this Guide?
What Are The Benefits of a Meat Slicer
There are several benefits of a meat slicer as they are dependable, versatile, and they help save you money. Buying slabs of meat or a chunk of cheese and slicing it yourself costs less than buying pre-sliced meat and cheese.
Meat slicers help you to effortlessly slice meat and cheese in a short amount of time.
They are especially great to have during the holidays. You can impress all of your friends and family with beautifully cut meat and cheese that you cut yourself. They are also great to have at home for everyday use.
They’re also good for turning leftover ham and roast into lunchmeat, and even thin-slicing onions for a pot of french onion soup.
While most people associate meat slicers with only deli products, many also come with serrated blades for cutting through breads and other more delicate foods. You’ll also want to switch to a serrated blade for most cheeses.
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The high rate of consistency, fast slicing, and range of thickness make meat slicers the ultimate tool for a wide variety of in-home food prep like making delicious holiday charcuterie boards and gorgeous sandwiches.
You will save money by not needing to buy processed sliced meat every week, especially if you have a large family and eat a lot of meat and cheese. This is especially true of aged sausages and other more expensive meats. Buying pre-sliced summer sausage is much more expensive than buying the whole roll and slicing it yourself.
Slicing your own meat is also a lot healthier than buying processed sliced meat. One of the top ingredients in cold cut meat is the preservative sodium nitrate. Eating cold cuts daily can lead to health issues such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
There’s no need to buy processed store-bought meat anymore when you can buy slabs of meat and slice it yourself!
Slicing your own meat also means that you have control over what cut of meat you use, and opens up hundreds of flavoring options instead of the 4 or 5 that are available at your local grocery store.
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What You Need To Know About Meat Slicers
Meat slicers are a great item to have in the kitchen. Meat slicers make slicing foods easier.
In addition to slicing meat, they are versatile and can slice other ingredients such as cheese and vegetables.
However, a meat slicer is a machine and when not handled properly, they can be dangerous. Meat slicers need to be operated correctly and with caution.
When they are handled with care, they are a great machine to own.
Every meat slicer is a little different, so be sure to carefully read the instructions that come with yours. Make sure the safety guards are in place before you turn on the slicer and never leave the blade running when you walk away, even if it’s just for a minute or two.
Cleaning a meat slicer is fairly straightforward but with each machine being different, each comes with its own set of instructions from the manufacturer.
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When cleaning your machine, always use cut- resistant gloves while handling and working with the blade. The blade is extremely sharp and the cut-resistant gloves will help protect your hands if they were to ever brush up against the blade.
Never use steel wool to clean on your machine because it can scratch the meat slicer.
Never submerge your slicer in water completely, and always check with the manufacturer to see if the slicer is dishwasher safe.
In this video, a chef demonstrates how to properly take a meat slicer apart and clean it. He gives great tips and provides step by step guidance on how to correctly and safely clean a meat slicer.
It’s also important to know that you shouldn’t slice any produce with noticeable seeds. Tomatoes are the exception, since the seeds are small and contained in a juicy layer that’s very mobile and will avoid the blade.
But you should never slice whole avocado, peaches, or any other stone fruits in a meat slicer without first removing the pit. Seeds are generally very tough and fibrous, and will quickly damage the blade.
They can also damage your whole meat slicer if the blade catches wrong. Even seemingly small seeds, like apple seeds, should be avoided because they will cause uneven dulling.
The same principle applies to bone. Never try to cut bone-in meat on your meat slicer. Even frozen meat can be too hard for your blade to handle, so let it thaw first.
The last thing I want to mention is that you can slice raw meat as well as cooked meat. However, you will need to immediately clean the slicer, and should clean it more thoroughly, after slicing raw meat.
Never slice cooked meat and raw meat on your slicer one after the other, even if it’s the same type of meat. That kind of cross contamination makes food poisoning much more likely. It’s best to clean the meat slicer between any two different kinds of food, and especially between slicing raw meat and anything else.
Supplies You’ll Need For Meat Slicers
All meat slicers work with the same concept in mind, no matter what size or model they come in. They all require certain supplies and certain instructions. Specifically, you will need:
- Meat, cheese, or desired produce
- Meat slicer
- Cut-resistant gloves
When it comes to slicing vegetables and produce on a meat slicer, keep in mind that the machine will generally work best with hardy vegetables. Onions work well, and you can even use a meat slicer to get paper thin potato slices for homemade potato chips.
But, while the best slicers will cut a tomato, it’s a little more difficult, and harder to control.
Look for vegetables that are firm to the touch, and that aren’t juicy like a tomato, at least to start.
What Are The Different Ways to Use a Meat Slicer
Every machine is different and they all work slightly differently. Each meat slicer has different, tailored instructions specific to the particular machine, but for the most part, meat slicers have basic instructions on how to use them.
How To Use a Meat Slicer (7 Step Guide)
- Put your cut-resistant gloves on and make sure the machine is in manual mode
- Lift up the weighted pusher arm and place the food on the food carriage
- Adjust the plate that holds the food in place
- Turn on the machine and push the carriage back and forth
- Check the thickness of the first slice and adjust if needed, then switch to automatic mode
- When finished, remove the food and turn the machine off
- Clean the machine
Step 1: Put your cut-resistant gloves on and make sure the machine is in manual mode
Wash your hands and put on your cut-resistant gloves. Make sure the machine is in manual mode, then plug in the meat slicer.
Step 2: Lift up the weighted pusher arm and place the food on the food carriage
Lift up the weighted pusher arm and put the food on the food carriage. Use the handle, so the food is pressed while slicing it.
Make sure you already have a flat surface on whatever you’re slicing. It’s not likely, but there is a slim chance that your meat slicer will struggle to hold a more rounded piece of food. In the worse case, that could mean that whatever you’re slicing rolls off the appliance and falls on the ground.
A round end also won’t make as good of contact with the blade, and it will take several slices before you start getting the uniformly even slices you want.
One tip for making your food easier to control, and the slicing process faster, is to cool whatever you’re slicing before you start. The colder you get it, the easier it is to get perfectly uniform slices.
Just avoid slicing food that is frozen or partially frozen. Ice crystals can dull the blade faster, forcing you to replace the blade sooner. Refrigerated foods are best, but let meat taken from a freezer thaw before slicing.
Step 3: Adjust the plate that holds the food in place, so it runs the length of the food
Make sure you adjust the plate that holds the food in place, that way it runs the length of the food. This step is critical for making sure the meat slicer is stable, and preventing rocking, or your food running across the slicer blade at an uneven angle.
Step 4: Turn on the machine and push the carriage back and forth
Carefully, turn the meat slicer on, and push the carriage back and forth and move the food across the blade. You should move only as fast as you are comfortable, and it’s okay if that’s relatively slow.
Everyone has seen workers at the deli quickly slicing pounds of meat and moving the carriage incredibly quickly. That’s a product of experience, both with slicing in general, and with that particular meat slicer.
It’s much better to move slowly and carefully than to be unsafe. You’ll gradually be able to increase your slicing speed as you gain more experience and learn how best to maneuver the carriage.
Step 5: Check the thickness of the first slice and adjust if needed, then switch the machine to automatic mode
Check the first slice and make sure the food has the desired thickness and make adjustments if needed. Once the thickness of the food is to your liking, you can then switch the machine to automatic mode.
Most slicers have a thickness guide on them, but I prefer to use this method because it gives you more control over the slices. The thickness you think will work might not be the best option, at least until you know your meat slicer and your preferred thicknesses well.
Step 6: When finished, remove the food and turn the machine off
Once you are finished, before you remove the product, turn the machine off and close the gauge plate.
It’s a good idea to go ahead and unplug your meat slicer at this point, especially if you have kids. You don’t want the machine to get bumped and turn back on. Keeping your meat slicer unplugged any time it’s not in use is a good way to avoid accidents, or even the threat of an accident.
Step 7: Clean the Machine
Wipe down and clean the machine according to the owner manual. You should also clean the surrounding area at the same time. It’s not uncommon for small pieces of whatever you were slicing to escape the meat slicer and fly onto nearby counters and even the floor.
Don’t worry if you spot those small bits. You’re not doing anything wrong, it’s just a side effect of the meat slicer itself.
My Final Thoughts on using a Meat Slicer
A meat slicer is a great machine to own. There are several advantages of owning a meat slicer as they are versatile, dependable, and can help save you money. Plus there are a ton of specialty meals out there that require incredibly thin slices of meat or produce.
While it’s possible to make French onion soup with only a chef’s knife, or with a mandolin, the whole process is much faster and easier with a meat slicer. These appliances really help to open your culinary options and let you experiment with a wider variety of foods.
Meat slicers are still a machine and they can be dangerous, so it’s important to know how to use them correctly. Always take the time to read your owner’s manual, even if you’ve owned another meat slicer in the past. You never know when the safety mechanisms have been updated or changed completely.
It may seem like a lot of steps, but you will master the meat slicer and impress all of your friends and family with perfectly sliced meat and cheese in no time!