The Best Meat Slicers for Home Use in 2021
Meat slicers don’t aren’t just a tool for butcher shops and delicatessens.
If you need to process a lot of meat (or vegetables or cheese) then hand slicing can be tiresome.
Plus, it’s hard to keep your slices consistent.
A good meat slicer should be able to help you in both these areas. They come in both manual and electric varieties and let you slice meat to the thickness you desire.
I wouldn’t recommend using one of these to slice brisket. You’re better off investing in a good knife thats designed for slicing meat.
But if you make your own bacon, or want to make sandwich slices from leftover meat then a slicer could be a great investment.
What to look for when buying a meat slicer
When selecting the best meat slicer for your kitchen, try to focus on these four aspects the most.
The motor used in your meat slicer dictates how fast it cuts and how much power it brings to bear on a chunk of meat.
The motor power is typically displayed by horsepower.
When it comes to horsepower, the more you have, the more you can use a given slicer.
Lighter-duty slicers usually have ¼-1/3 horsepower. These are great for less than one hour of slicing per day. They’re usually only good for cutting thinner meats.
Medium-power slicers have 1/3-1/2 horsepower. These are good for cutting most meats and cheeses for a few hours each day.
Higher horsepower motors can be used more frequently, so they are best if you’re planning to use your meat slicer every day. They have ½ horsepower or above. They can slice most foods for 4-6 per day.
Some of the highest-duty slicers can even go all day long.
If you only want to use your meat slicer once in a while, a lower horsepower model will be best. These are also usually cheaper so you’ll save money instead of picking a motor you don’t really need.
The blade size of your meat slicer also matters.
A larger cutting blade is better for heavy-duty use and allows you to cut foods besides plain meat, such as vegetables. Smaller cutting blades are better for light-duty or for slicing up thinner chunks of meat into narrow slices. Smaller blades are also easier to clean.
Overall, entry-level slicers usually have blades around the 9 to 10-inch mark. More powerful slicers will be between 12 inches to 14 inches. Most commercial meat slicers will have cutting blades around the 12-inch mark.
There’s no blade size that’s perfect for every occasion. Decide what size makes the most sense for you and your kitchen for the best results.
Some meat slicers have safety features or guards in place to make cutting yourself less of an issue. Meat slicers are serious tools, so it pays to check if a particular model has something to avoid injury.
Specifically, check for a blade guard that comes with the purchase. You can also invest in cut-resistant gloves if you want to take your safety into your own hands.
Ease of Use
Finally, there are two main types of meat slicer: automatic or manual. Automatic meat slicers are a lot easier to use since they cut meat that you feed into the machine without you having to operate the blade for each cut.
Automatic slicers are also better for chopping up larger quantities of meat in short order. It’s a great idea to get an automatic slicer if you’ll be slicing meat every day for some time.
Many automatic slicers also have a manual setting for finer cutting control.
Overall, automatic slicers are a little easier to use for large-scale operations. But manual meat slicers are intuitive to use and don’t require much prep time to start.
Also consider whether or not a given meat slicer has a cleaning leg or kickstand. These let you clean the meat slicer a little easier.
Check the meat tray size, as well. Larger trays can let you cut more meat in rapid succession. Smaller trays will require you to feed more meat into the tray more frequently.
How to use a meat slicer
While the specifics of your slicer’s operation will vary in the details, most meat slicers operate on the same basic principles.
All meat slicers have you attach the food to a sliding tray.
Lift up your meat slicer’s clamp arm and swing it out from the main body of the slicer. You should put your meat on to the tray. Next, swing the arm back to secure the meat into place.
Many slicers have an adjuster knob. This dictates how thick the end meat slice will be once it has been cut.
Now it’s time for preparation. It’s a good idea to wear plastic or cut resistant gloves for sanitary and safety reasons. You should also make sure there is wax paper or deli tissue at the end of the slicer. This way, your meat can be caught and wrapped up immediately.
This tray is then passed over the rotating cutting blade. The blade cuts a thin slice from the main piece of the meat, to be repeated as necessary. Your blade may be used manually or proceed automatically once you click the electric switch to the “on” position.
After using your meat slicer, be sure to clean it thoroughly to prevent contamination.
Can you cut frozen or raw meat with a slicer?
While it is possible to cut frozen meat with a slicer, your blade will likely be damaged in the process.
Therefore, it’s not recommended that you cut totally frozen meat unless absolutely necessary.
Some of the more expensive slicers can handle partially frozen meat.
You can cut raw meat with a meat slicer. However, you should always thoroughly clean your slicer blade after cutting raw meat before moving on to cooked food.
The chance for cross-contamination is high. In addition, some raw meats will be too squishy to cut into thin slices effectively. They will require a little cooking or chilling in the freezer before you can cut them evenly.
Can a meat slicer cut through bone?
Like with frozen meat, it’s possible that a sturdy slicer can chop through bone. But this is also likely to damage the blade and is not recommended.
Care and maintenance
Like most other kitchen tools, your meat slicer will last longer if you properly maintain it after each use.
How often should you clean your meat slicer?
Any meat slicer should be cleaned at least after every time you use it to prepare some meat slices.
Every use allows the opportunity for meat juices or bacteria to coat the blades of your meat slicer. Bacteria can also filter into the machinery inside the slicer if it’s not removed every time.
In addition, you should periodically sanitize and clean your meat slicer even if you haven’t used it in a while.
Maintaining the blades and removing excess dirt or dust will improve its condition. Its quality will not degrade over time as it rests, awaiting the next time you’ll use it.
How to clean a meat slicer
To properly clean your meat slicer, you should use a good sanitizer concentrate and water.
Regular soap runs the risk of damaging the slicer blade, but using a sanitizer product and thoroughly rinsing the blade won’t have this issue.
You can find commercial sanitizer product online. Remember to use gloves to protect your hands during the application of the sanitizer. Most sanitizer concentrates will be rough on the skin.
You should also thoroughly rinse your meat slicer once it has been sanitized and dry it to prevent to rust from forming.
Finally, don’t forget to lubricate your meat slicer’s moving parts. The feeder tray that slides in and out and which brings meat to the cutting edge should be lubricated every time you clean the greater machine.
A food-grade lubricant is the ideal chemical to use since this will be food-safe and won’t cause damage to the blades or other parts of the slicer.
How to sharpen a meat slicer
You should also periodically sharpen your slicer blade. Doing so will help your meat slicer continue to provide you with great results even after lots of use.
Some of meat slicer kits will have sharpener attachments. Otherwise, you’ll need to purchase a separate sharpener instrument.
Whatever the case, thoroughly clean your meat slicer blade beforehand.
Apply a good cooking or sharpening oil to the blade’s edge and surface, as well.
After this, adjust your slicer blade against the sharpening edge of the sharpener.
Most sharpening attachments or stones will have you position the blade edge close to the stone.
Then simply sharpen your blade until it appears to have regained its edge. You should be able to tell from sight alone, but you can also leave out a piece of meat or another food to test it before putting the sharpener away.
Be careful not to over-sharpen your meat slicer blade. Edges that are too sharp can be crushed or bend easily when you use them next.
Wrapping it up
Overall, the Chef’s Choice 615A Electric Meat Slicer is a fantastic choice for most users. It balances good cutting power inside a small and maneuverable shell.
Many of the parts of the slicer can be removed for easy cleaning. It’s also built to last with an excellent stainless steel coating.
Whatever your choice, we’re sure you’ll enjoy the versatility and efficiency a decent meat slicer will bring to your next food prep. Have a great time!