Meat slicers are a great complement to any deli or cheese shop, basically, any food establishment that serves machine-cut slivers of meat, vegetables, and cheeses. Knowing how to sharpen a meat slicer blade, in turn, complements owning a meat slicer as it empowers you to prolong the life of this nifty equipment and ensure that whatever food it cuts is not contaminated by debris and bacteria from previously cut food items.
These slicing machines help maintain consistency when it comes to the size of the servings, which bodes well when it comes to the economy of the shop since you will be able to predict how long your stocks would last. Aside from maintaining consistency, meat slicers also streamline food preparation and production by cutting the time spent by at least half of what usually would take train someone to finely slice ham and other kinds of meat using a regular knife.
First things first. What are the things you need to sharpen your meat slicer blade? Check this list out:
These gloves are usually made of chain links or mesh, something similar to what you find in ancient armors but lighter and purposely built for handling sharp objects.
These are thicker than usual glass that protects the entire eyes, sealing them in a dome. This offers much better protection than traditional glasses
Never use sponges and abrasive scrubs to wipe and clean meat slicers as these will scratch the surface which can lead to rust and other unsightly blemishes. Soft washcloths are preferred.
A quintessential requirement for sharpening a blade, or any other sharp items for that matter, is the sharpening stone or whetstone. Some meat slicers have whetstones that come as an attachment while others would require you to buy or use your own.
A blade sanitizer is a disinfectant explicitly made for items used for handling food, like a meat slicer blade. Most specialty shops would carry this, but if you cannot find one, then you can use rubbing alcohol as a substitute, although it would not be as effective in preparing the blade for handling food.
Most, if not all, meat slicers come with their instruction manuals, and they are there to guide you in your effort to maintain this food handling equipment.
Most manuals would have a specification of what tools you would need to use to accomplish this particular task and that. Some would even come with their set of customized tools, especially if they have patented screws and bolts.
You can use sharpening oil or cooking oil to make sharpening go smoothly and seamlessly.
Before going any further though, here are some basic instructions you need to follow before, during and after maintaining a meat slicer.
To maintain the benefits that meat slicers bring into a food establishment, you must know how to sharpen a meat slicer blade and to maintain the whole meat slicer contraption as a whole. Proper maintenance and cleaning help keep everything looking and feeling sharp no matter what.
Step 1: Turn the meat slicer off and unplug it. If it’s a little warm from a constant operation, then let it cool down for a bit.
Step 2: Uninstall the blade cover and wipe it clean. Clean the blade with your soft washcloth soaked in warm water mixed with a mild detergent. Rinse the blade and dry it with a new washcloth.
Step 3: Apply some lubricating oil on the surface of the blade.
Step 4: Using the product manual, adjust the blade to align with the sharpening stone attachment. If you are using a separate whetstone, then make sure that the whetstone sits close to the blade. Ensure that everything around the machine is dry and then plug the meat slicer back in.
Step 5: Turn the power on and let the blade spin for a minute while grinding on the whetstone. If you are using a separate whetstone, then make sure that it is secured and would not fall off while sharpening the blade.
Step 6: Using a piece of paper, test the blade’s sharpness and rerun it if you are not satisfied with how sharp it is. Once you are satisfied, turn the machine off and unplug it again.
Step 7: Clean the blade again with warm water and mild detergent to ensure that any dust and metal fillings are washed again.
Step 8: Use another washcloth to apply your blade disinfectant or rubbing alcohol. Air dry the blade while you clean the rest of the meat slicer.
Step 9: Once everything is dry, place everything back together and ensure that nothing is loose. Plug the machine back in and run another test. Once satisfied, unplug it and put its cover back.
Step 10: Store your meat slice in a secure and dry place, away from kitchen traffic when not in use.
Maintain your meat slicer regularly to prolong its sharpness and life as a whole. It should at least be wiped clean after every use, regardless of what kind of food item was sliced using your machine. The blade itself should be sharpened at least once every two weeks, and the whole contraption maintained and oiled once a month.
Some instruction manuals would direct you to bring your meat slicer to a certified service center near you, but it would cost you more money than it should, and you wouldn’t know if everything has been done properly. This is the prime benefit of knowing how to sharpen your own meat slicer. When you know how your equipment is maintained, you would know if it is indeed sharp and clean, meeting your standards of cleanliness.