What meat slicer is right for you? Where do you get one and how much should you spend?
I was given an old one of these at a food festival by a very generous stall owner - a lovely looking piece of kit! Suckers on the base help to prevent it slipping around and the serrated blade means that it can actually get through slices of cheese! Adjusting for thickness is simple but not particularly accurate and can slip with pressure, but its easy to store and clean and great for slicing bread and meat that only requires thicker slices (above 5mm).
You can find these sort of slicers online and on eBay for between £10 and £30
Electric slicers like the one below (Andrew James Meat Slicer) are a great step up and make slicing bacon and bread really easy. It can also manage salami and larger cuts (Coppa and Bresaola for example) but the motor may struggle a little and it can be tricky to reliably produce really thin slices for larger cuts.
I used this particular slicer for a few years, until i became frustrated with the motor slipping when slicing large cuts and not being able to slice Coppa and Bresaola thinly enough. It’s light weight, easy to store and really easy to clean - a perfect first start and you’ll be able to pick one up from between £35 and £70!
These can get expensive, but if you have room, and really want to produce consistent, super thin slices, then there is no substitute. I got a superb deal on mine by looking for refurbished returns on Bay from well known manufacturers. You can also find ex-catering equipment on gum tree quite readily. You can expect to pay anywhere from £200 to £5,000!
Whilst the machine is heavy, takes a lot of table space and is slightly more involved to clean, it slices effortlessly, can manage cuts up to around 6 inches (check the blade diameter and how far back the platform goes) and will be able to produce slices around the 0.5 mm mark. It also makes your food go a long way and if you’ve spent 12 weeks drying a whole muscle cut, it’s nice to be able to do it justice by slicing it thinly enough so that it almost melts in the mouth.
It goes without saying that when operating this sort of machinery, you need to be very careful.
Make sure you have no loose clothing exposed, wear protective gloves and take special care when slicing.
I use the below cut resistance gloves and latex free gloves when slicing and handling:
Clean the machine as per the manufacturers instructions after every use, especially if you have been slicing raw meat!
The meat slicers above, and indeed most meat slicers, are not designed for slicing cheese. This requires a lot more power and will likely damage equipment that is not designed to do so - check the manufacturers product details to be sure!