Slicing meat by hand is a difficult task that can take a lot of time. Think of supermarkets and restaurants where there is so much meat to be cut and sliced. For this, they use meat slicers. If you are planning on buying a meat slicer, then you should know what to look for in a meat slicer.
The fact that a meat slicer gives out perfect cuts in a short amount of time makes it a must-have for restaurants as well as for homes. It is an important investment as it will have a direct impact on the many aspects of food preparation.
Here are the five things you need to look for in a meat slicer:
This is directly related to the efficiency of the meat slicer. The larger the size of the infeed, the less work on your part. Also, this feature also allows you to get a variety of meat slices of different sizes.
During busy hours at a restaurant or at home, you will be pressed for time. Having a large feed mouth will allow you to put in larger pieces of meat, eliminating the need to cut them into smaller pieces.
As a guideline, look for a meat slicer that has an infeed that is eight inches wide or bigger. Some manufacturers producing premium-tier meat slicers may also be able to provide a feed size that is customized to your requirements.
The power of a meat slicer is measured in horsepower. If you are going to use the meat slicer frequently (few times a day), then go for the one with higher horsepower. Usually, you can find 120- to 240-watt motors. The more powerful the motor, the better the precision it offers.
The power varies depending on the size of the slicer. Entry level meat slicers usually have the lowest power. They are not meant for frequent use and can stop working if you use it to slice a large amount of meat at one time.
Whether to go for a manual or automatic one is purely based on your needs. The most basic and traditional meat slicers are manual, which means that you have to operate the machine manually to cut the meat into slices. However, automatic slicers have a motor that does the work for you at a faster rate.
Any facility where large amounts of meat have to be cut should go for an automatic one. Less manpower would be required to run the machine, and the work will be done much faster. Most supermarkets and delis use large automatic meat slicers. However, automatic electric meat slicers are also getting popular among home users.
Safety features are crucial and should never be ignored when buying a meat slicer. It can cause an injury to the person operating it if there are no proper guards on the machine. Make sure they are high-quality and easily removable.
There should be an emergency off switch as well as lockout features too. Generally, all the slicer blades have guards, some removable while others are permanent, which is done so that very little part of the blade is exposed.
Also, your slicer should not require you to use your hand to push the meat in. The contact with the machine and its blades should be as minimum as possible. It would also be good to make sure the feet have a good grip, and it doesn’t move on your kitchen counter when in use.
You will not really understand the importance of this quality until such a time that you need to clean the machine. Since it handles different kinds of food items, you need to put real effort into making sure that it is always sanitary, which is why it should also be easy to clean and wash.
For starters, look for a meat slicer that is made of stainless steel and has a wash-down motor. All the electrical components in the slicer should be properly insulated and sealed so that you can easily wash it.
Another important thing to look for in the context of easy cleaning is a removable guard that does not require any tools to be detached. This can save you a lot of time when it comes to clean up.
Washing the meat slicer every once in a while is important because otherwise there can be bacteria build up. You do not want you family complaining about bad meat. After all, it is our responsibility to keep the standards of sanitization in our kitchen very high, right?
Here are some other things you might want to look for in order to get the best meat slicer:
Non-tempered Meat: Some slicers do not slice frozen meat and require you to temper or unfreeze it, which can be time-consuming. If you are running a busy kitchen that handles a big amount of meat every day, you would want a slicer that can slice non-tempered meat as well.
Belt-driven: There are two types of meat slicers. One is belt-driven, and the other is gear-driven. If you want something that has easy and cheap maintenance, then go for the belt-driven slicer. Belts are cheaper to replace, while a gear-driven slicer would be very costly to repair.
Blade Size: Blade size usually corresponds to the size of the slicer, but it does not hurt to check out the size and quality of the blade before purchasing the product. Smaller slicers have smaller blades while premium-tier slicers have the biggest and heaviest blades.
A 12-inch blade is good enough for industrial use while a seven- to 10-inch blade is more than enough for home use.
Warranty: A good quality meat slicer would go a long way and would give you perfectly cut meat pieces for years. Make sure there is a warranty for the expensive parts of the meat slicer too. The warranty can save you in case anything goes wrong.
At the end of the day, your own needs should be the most important consideration before buying a meat slicer. While there are different sizes, advanced features, and many brands to choose from, you should only go for what you really need.
Now, the new models are exceptionally safe, but still, you can never be too safe. Thus, make sure to be careful when using a slicer. We are sure after reading our guide on what to look for in a meat slicer, you can now make the best decision.