A slicing machine is a real treat for home cooks.
This is a definite must-have for those who like processing their meats or those who like preparing their sausages, bacon, or pastramis.
One tip which you might often hear is that it is better to cut slabs of animal flesh when it’s par frozen or slightly chilled so that you don’t shred it into unsightly tatters.
This is kind of true when you’re using a knife and if you’re planning to come up with thin rashers like bacon or slivers of pancetta.
Machine slicers, on the other hand, can do wonders that knives can’t.
Many meat slicers can slice hot meat.
Some delis do this when preparing sandwiches for their customers.
But possibility doesn’t always mean that it’s the ideal way to do it.
If your roast is fresh off the oven – whether that’s beef, pork, chicken, or something else, it’s best to let it rest so that the juices get redistributed into the muscles and then carved with a sharp knife when it has cooled down.
However, when you cured and/or smoked your ham, bacon, or beef roast and plan to store these for future use, the meat slicer is more effective than a knife.
To understand what this machine can do, it’s best to know what it’s made of:
The Anatomy of a Deli Slicer
There are many kinds of slicing machines available these days.
But whether that’s a large one used in an actual deli or a smaller home version, manual or electric, these are the major components:
For electric types, this is often a circular one with a sharp edge throughout, this rotates to cut the chunk you will be feeding onto the machine.
For manual types, it’s like a knife that is attached to the carriage and pushed down towards the slab. It resembles those paper cutters.
• Carriage with Protective Cover
This is where you place the slab you plan to portion.
The protective cover also acts as a holder and a finger guard, protecting your hand as you are running the carriage with the slab towards the rotating circular blade.
• Carriage Knob
Placed on the side of the carriage, this is turned to set the thickness of your slices.
Often situated on the other side of the bolt that fixes the blade in place, this is turned to face the sharp edge when it’s time to sharpen it.
• Rubber Feet
Aside from the heft of the machine, what stabilizes this and keeps it stuck on the surface are the rubber feet at the bottom.
The element which differentiates an electric slicer from the manual one is the motor, together with crucial parts such as an on/off switch and electric plug.
Important Safety Tips When Using
Although many professional deli slicers can be used to cut through fresh off the oven roasts, it’s important to check your machine to see if it will allow hot meat.
Light duty slicers can’t be used for large-volume slicing because of possible overheating. Hot food might trigger that as well.
Here are other guidelines you should take note of when using this gadget:
• Understand the capabilities of the machine.
As aforementioned, heavy-duty variants used in delis and restaurants can be used on various food items – cured, cooked, and raw meats, bread, packed dried fruits, and cheese.
Those made for home use might not be as versatile.
• Use the holder always.
Never hold and push the slab or chunk towards the blade with your bare hands.
Manual variants don’t often have blade guards so you need to protect yourself.
Electric types may have more protective attachments, but it’s best that you still use the grip because the rotation of that blade is frighteningly fast and accidents could still happen.
• Sanitize the machine after using it, especially when you cut raw meat.
You don’t want germs, especially e-Coli which causes food poisoning, to spread in your kitchen and contaminate your dish.
Sanitize always after use. And if you want to be sure about its cleanliness, do a wipe down before using it.
When you are doing a deep clean, use cut-resistant gloves.
This is quite dangerous because this requires you to take the blade out.
Here are additional safety tips followed by the pros. It wouldn’t hurt if you did this at home too.
• Wear gloves that will protect you from cuts then wear regular sanitary gloves over it.
• Clear your kitchen counter, leaving just the machine and your meat, so you’re focused on the task when you’re slicing.
• If you’re using the electric type, this is the right set of consecutive steps:
Ready the meat on the carriage, turn the knob from zero to set the thickness of the cut, and then turn the switch on.
• If you’re done with the task, turn the switch off, put the carriage knob back to zero and then take out the meat from the carriage.