A meat slicer is one of the best ways to get perfectly sliced meats and other food. However, working with this type of machine requires time and practice to get it right.
Before you can work with the best meat slicer, it's important to know how to operate the machine.
Here's a helpful guide on properly maintaining and using a meat slicer.
How to Use Meat Slicer Properly - The Slicing Process
Operating meat slicers doesn't have to be difficult, especially if you know the basics.
We've arranged this quick guide full of tips and tricks to help you get slicing like a pro in no time.
Here's how you can use a meat slicer safely and properly.
Step 1. Prepare Your Equipment
Before working with any food slicer, preparing your equipment is paramount. It will help you operate the meat slicer safely and effectively.
Read any user manuals and safety reminders before activating your machine. While meat slicers have their similarities, different manuals can help you understand the individual features of your machine.
You should also ensure that your machine's safety features are functioning correctly to prevent accidents while working.
Wear cut-resistant gloves from the start of the preparation process until you're done working with a food slicer.
Also, prepare the food you'll be working with. Cut any large chunks of meat into manageable pieces and ensure no bones can damage your blades.
Step 2. Place Your Food in the Meat Slicer
Once you've got everything set, lift the weighted pusher arm and place your food onto the food carriage.
Close the handle and make sure that it's firmly held in place. It will keep the food mounted securely while working your sharp blade through it.
It's best to have a flat surface where your meat slices can fall on while slicing them.
Add wax paper onto the flat surface that will catch your meat to keep the slices in perfect shape.
When working with round meats, like roast beef, it can be difficult for the meat slicer to work with your food. It can take a few slices before you can get uniform slices.
Step 3. Adjust the Machine to Your Desired Thickness
Before working through your meat, adjusting how thick your cuts will be is crucial. You can adjust this by turning the index knob.
You can quickly run your blade through the slab of meat for a sample slice and adjust it according to your preference.
It can be a trial-and-error process if you're unsure how your index knob should be positioned. You'll be able to get the hang of it once you've gotten some practice with your machine.
This step is essential to ensure that your meat slicer is stable and can safely cut through the meat.
Step 4. Turn the Meat Slicer On
For manual meat slicers, you can skip this step.
Now that everything is prepared, you can turn your meat slicer on. Plug it into your power source and switch on the power button.
As soon as you do this, the blades should start turning. Be careful to prevent accidents.
If you're still new to using a meat slicer, you can switch to manual mode before plugging it in. Switch to automatic mode when you're ready.
Step 5. Make Swift Slicing Motions
Once your machine is on, you can start slicing your food. This step is usually more manageable with a manual slicer since you have more control over how you slice.
Push the sliding tray forward as you work through your food. Don't use your hands to touch the food to prevent accidents with the blade, even when wearing cut-resistant gloves.
For manual slicers, ring down the blade onto your food and let it cut through before bringing it back up.
Start slow if needed, especially if you're still getting used to the process. Over time, you can make swifter motions as you slice your food.
Once you feel more confident, let your free hand shift to where the sliced meat will fall to catch them and ensure that your slices are intact.
You might have to readjust the thickness of your slices in between. Be sure to turn the machine off to avoid accidentally cutting yourself while adjusting.
Step 6. Turn Off Your Meat Slicer
Once you're done, turn your machine off and remove the remaining food from the food carriage.
Close your gauge plate and dial your index knob to zero so the blade presses against the machine.
Turning your machine off immediately after use is important, especially if you have children nearby. It prevents your machine from accidentally turning back on in case your table or counter is bumped.
Step 7. Clean and Sanitize Your Meat Slicer
Once you're done using the machine, it's important to clean and sanitize it to eliminate any food particles and cooking oil on the equipment.
Note that there is a difference between cleaning and sanitizing. While cleaning entails wiping down every crevice, sanitizing is a more thorough process following the FDA's food safety guidelines.
For businesses, it's recommended to clean and sanitize every 4 hours. It ensures that all food served is clean and safe for consumption.
You can clean and sanitize it after use if you use it at home and only briefly. However, if you use it any longer, it's best to follow the every 4-hour rule.
Place your meat slicer blade cover on AFTER cleaning, especially for home kitchens. Putting it on before you clean it can transfer food particles onto the cover and breed different bacteria over time.
What's a Meat Slicer?
A meat slicer, also known as a deli meat slicer or food slicer, is a machine that allows you to slice foods efficiently and uniformly.
Based on the name, you would think that only meat can be sliced on this machine. However, it's one of the most versatile machines in the kitchen, working with many different types of food.
This machine can slice anything typically sliced with a mandolin or knife, like cheeses, fruits, and vegetables.
The best part about a meat slicer is that you can get paper-thin slices whenever done properly.
Different Types of Meat Slicers
Despite having the same objective, meat slicers come in different types. It mostly depends on what they're going to be used for.
Meat slicers can be classified into three types:
- Light-Duty -These are low-volume equipment best used for meat and vegetables across short periods. These are not designed for frozen foods.
- Medium-Duty -These are more robust pieces of equipment than light-duty ones. It can let you slice meat and vegetables for several hours a day. These can also cut up cheeses for up to 30 minutes or as advised by its user manual.
- Heavy-Duty - These are top-of-the-line equipment used by large restaurants and butcher shops. They are used for extended periods. They have the best motors, making them more expensive than the typical commercial meat slicer.
While some heavy-duty meat slicers can be used to slice frozen meat, it's best to let them thaw out first to prevent heavy damage to the machine.
When choosing your meat slicer, it's best to consider what you will work with and your budget for this type of machine.
What Can I Use a Meat Slicer For?
Despite its name, a meat slicer can produce more than sliced meat. It's one of the MOST VERSATILE tools you can have in your kitchen.
You can make the most of its functions and use this machine in various ways.
Slicing Lunch and Deli Meats
Why go for processed store-bought meat when you can slice your own meat at home?
A deli meat slicer at home can let you buy whole meats in groceries and cut them to your desired thickness.
Whether making a sandwich or having cold-cut meat for your charcuterie board, this machine can help you work all that at home.
Besides meat, you can also use this machine to slice cheese. It can undoubtedly round out your charcuterie board by accompanying your sliced meat.
A deli slicer is more efficient at cutting cheeses than any other cheese slicer on the market.
Using this machine, you can also slice bread much faster using a serrated blade.
This machine is guaranteed to give you evenly sliced loaves instead of having to estimate every time.
Slicing Fruits and Vegetables
You can also slice fruits and vegetables using a meat slicer.
If you want thinly sliced fruits and vegetables for sandwiches and other meals, having a food slicer can be helpful for you.
Slicing Raw Meat
You can use a meat slicer to work with raw meats, like in deli shops.
Be sure to disinfect your meat slicer afterward to prevent diseases and cross-contamination.
Slicing Meat for Hot Pots
Hot pot meats require the slices of meat to be paper thin so it can easily cook in the broth.
When you use a meat slicer, it's easier to get the pieces perfect for a hot pot.
Slicing Roast Beef
One of the most common ways to use meat slicers is to have them slice roast beef. These are common for restaurants but can also be done at home.
You'll be guaranteed even slices of roast beef every time compared to using a knife.
How Can I Keep My Meat Slicer Sharp?
The best way to get the best thin slices of meat and other food is to keep your blades sharp and ready for action.
Here's a step-by-step guide to keeping your meat slicer blade sharp and ready for slicing.
Step 1. Turn Off Your Machine and Prepare the Blades
Before sharpening your blades, it's important to prepare them.
Ensure that your machine is turned off and unplugged before preparing it. Let it cool down before sharpening the blades if you've used them beforehand.
Then, open the cover of your blades and wipe it with a dishcloth and detergent water. It should help remove any particles from your last slicing session.
Rinse and dry your blades to remove soap and water interfering with the sharpening process.
Step 2. Turn On the Slicer and Grind
Once your blades are clean and ready for sharpening, apply lubricating or cooking oil.
Then, adjust your blades, so it's touching the sharpening stone. You can check your device's manual for special instructions, especially for this part.
If you're using a whetstone for sharpening, ensure that it's close to the ends of your blade for the best results.
Turn your machine on and let the blade grind against the stone. Let it run for a few minutes to sharpen your blade.
Step 3. Turn Off the Slicer and Clean the Blades
Turn your device off and check if the blades are sharp enough. If not, repeat the grinding process until you're satisfied with your blade's sharpness.
If you're done with grinding, turn your device off and unplug it to prevent accidentally turning it on while cleaning your machine.
Once again, wipe off any excess dust and metal particles using warm detergent water.
Rinse and apply sanitizer or alcohol to thoroughly eliminate any harmful substances which can contaminate your food next time you use the slicer.
We also recommend sanitizing the rest of your machine in case any dust or residue gets stuck on them.
Step 4. Put Everything Back Together and Store Machine Properly
Once everything is dry, you can put everything back together. All parts should be secure before storing them, especially the blades.
Ensure your machine is dry before putting it away to prevent rust.
Keep it in a secure and dry place to avoid accidents, especially if you have kids around. It will also keep your machine in top shape for the next time you have to use it.
Electric Meat Slicers Vs Manual Meat Slicers
Meat slicers can be classified into two based on how they're operated.
Electric meat slicers automatically cut through food by using an electric power source. Most commercial meat slicers fall under this category.
It's best to use an electric meat slicer if:
- You want to cut meat faster
- You're working with large amounts of meat (e.g., restaurants, bakeries, etc.)
- You don't mind spending more on your meat slicer
On the other hand, manual slicers require strength and effort to cut through the meat. The operator needs to rotate the slicer blade for it to work manually.
It's best to use a manual meat slicer if:
- You want more control over your blade
- You're only working with a limited amount of meat
- You're on a budget
How Not to Use a Meat Slicer
Now that you know where meat slicers are used, you must also know what to avoid when using a meat slicer.
By being aware of these safety tips, you can avoid damaging your machine or contracting diseases.
These are a few things to avoid when working with a meat slicer.
Slicing Raw Meat Before Cooked Meat
One of the most important things to remember about food prep is to avoid mixing raw and cooked meat. That includes when you slice meat through the food slicer.
Slicing raw meats before your cooked meats can cross-contaminate the food you're about to eat. Raw meat can breed bacteria that cause severe illnesses, like E.coli and salmonella.
If you must do this, ensure your slicer is THOROUGHLY SANITIZED before moving to your cooked meat.
Slicing Frozen Meat
It's best to not use a meat slicer for frozen food. Over time, the ice crystals can damage the blades of your machine, especially when they're not properly maintained.
You can let your meat thaw out and soften or run it through a meat grinder to prepare it for the meat slicer.
While some machines claim to be safe for frozen meat, it's best to avoid doing so unless necessary.
Cutting Meat With Bones
You should NEVER slice meats with the bone in them since they can be challenging for the meat slicer to work with.
These are too hard for any blade and can damage your machine in the long run. While some blades may be strong enough to cut through bones, they can wear them out over time.
It's important to prepare your meat before placing it onto your machine. Remove any parts which may be difficult for the machine to cut.
Slicing Soft Cheeses
A meat slicer is also usually used for cheeses, especially since they're more efficient than any cheese slicer.
However, ensure you're not working with soft cheeses when slicing cheese. You wouldn't want them to goop up your slicing machine.
Save the deli slicer for firmer cheeses that won't melt through the machine. These can easily be cut into thin slices without slipping through the machine's meat pusher and making a mess.
Cutting Oversized Meats
When your meat is too big, your whole meat slicer can get overwhelmed by the weight and size. They might not even fit in the meat carriage under the camp arm.
Preparing your meat involves cutting it into smaller, more manageable pieces for slicing.
Using the Wrong Meat Slicer Blade
Depending on your cutting, you can easily switch between stainless steel blades. Blade size can affect how your machine performs.
Use a serrated blade if you're working with hard cheeses, bread, and other food items you usually cut with a serrated blade or knife.
Use a smooth-edge blade for a cleaner cut for meat and other foods.
Working Without Proper Protective Gear
Since you will be working with a sharp blade, wearing cut-resistant gloves is always important to ensure you won't cut yourself.
It's also important not to use your hands to push the meat through your blades. Use the clamp arm and food pusher to keep yourself from getting injured.
Is a Meat Slicer for You? Factors to Consider
If you're considering if a stainless steel meat slicer is for you, you can consider the following factors:
- Space: If you have limited space, it's best to look for lighter, more compact models. Ensure you have the space for it, especially since the machine works with sharp blades.
- Material: Meat slicers can be made from different materials, affecting their price and longevity. You can choose from stainless steel, aluminum, and plastic.
- Frequency: If you only use it a few times a year, purchasing a small meat slicer is best, especially for home cooking. Otherwise, invest in a professional-grade slicer with a durable motor for more frequent slicing.
- Budget: Meat slicers can come at different prices based on material and features. Don't go for the lowest price because it can be made with cheaper, less reliable parts.
You may have more questions on how to use a meat slicer. We’ve gathered the most common questions on the subject to help you further understand it. Yes, you can slice raw meat on the meat slicer. However, properly disinfect your machine to prevent food poisoning and other diseases. It’s also important not to slice cooked meats after using the machine for raw ones until adequately disinfected. It depends on what you’re going to use the meat slicer for. If you’re going to use it for a business requiring slicing meat for long periods, it’s best to get a commercial meat slicer powered by electricity to make things easier. However, if you’re only going for a simple home meat slicer that doesn’t need to be used for long periods, you can settle for a manual meat slicer. Yes, they can also be used for vegetables. It can slice anything that you can slice using a mandolin or knife. Just be careful working with them, especially the leafy ones. If you’re not confident, you can work slowly to prevent accidents.
Use Meat Slicer FAQs
You may have more questions on how to use a meat slicer.
We’ve gathered the most common questions on the subject to help you further understand it.
Yes, you can slice raw meat on the meat slicer.
However, properly disinfect your machine to prevent food poisoning and other diseases.
It’s also important not to slice cooked meats after using the machine for raw ones until adequately disinfected.
It depends on what you’re going to use the meat slicer for.
If you’re going to use it for a business requiring slicing meat for long periods, it’s best to get a commercial meat slicer powered by electricity to make things easier.
However, if you’re only going for a simple home meat slicer that doesn’t need to be used for long periods, you can settle for a manual meat slicer.
Yes, they can also be used for vegetables.
It can slice anything that you can slice using a mandolin or knife.
Just be careful working with them, especially the leafy ones. If you’re not confident, you can work slowly to prevent accidents.
Now that you know more about using a meat slicer, you might also be interested in learning about other tools, like a manual meat grinder.
It's vital to learn how to safely use these tools in the kitchen if you have them.
Whether it's to slice roast beef, cheese, or vegetables, become more efficient with this versatile and reliable machine.