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How to select a meat slicer for thin slices?

Meat slicers were exclusive to delis, where they sliced rare roast beef and other meats and cheeses for the ideal sandwich. In 1898, Wilhelm van Berkel patented his sophisticated and intricate slicing machine in the Netherlands. Even today, his slicing machines are works of art. The value of Berkel slicing machines is high at auctions and on antique websites. Wilhelm understood the importance of slicing meats and cheeses as thinly, quickly, and uniformly as possible. 

Now, more than 120 years later, it’s simple to select the ideal meat slicer with the help of our comprehensive guide! At Williams Food Equipment, we create a collection of commercial-quality cookware, including meat slicers. Here is what you should look for, along with some of our favorites. 

Why Purchase a Meat Slicer? 

Even though it makes the best salami sandwiches, a meat slicer can be used for much more. Since the introduction of wholesale chains, meats and cheeses in bulk have become an industry standard for home kitchens. Opportunities abound when purchasing large roasts or blocks of cheese to save money. You can shave off equal portions of any desired substance using a meat slicer. The meat slicer will be helpful in your home for making sandwiches for kids’ lunches, shabu-shabu, charcuterie, and in many other time-saving and cost-effective ways. 

Until recently, a high-quality meat slicer cost upwards of $1000. You can easily slice the meat at home to resemble your favorite delicatessen for significantly less. The Chef’s Choice Meat Slicer is an excellent meat slicer that will help you save money, have fun, and prepare delicious food. When meat is sliced so thinly, it produces a sensation in the mouth that no other device can replicate. 

The Diverse Electric Meat and Food Slicers 

Electric meat and commercial-grade food slicers vary in price and workload. The Omcam 12″ Belt-Driven Meat Slicer is our recommended beast for deli-style cuts, weighing over 75 pounds. The Chef’s Choice Meat Slicer is one of our go-to suggestions for home chefs. 

Back in the day, manual meat slicers like the Berkels’ were the way to go. And they continue to be! The 14.5″ Blade Manual Volano Slicer with Flower Flywheel from Omcam is an actual work of art. Effortless and remarkable slicing, stability, and dependability on an effortless flywheel allow the user to appreciate the craftsmanship that went into creating this superior machine. When slicing prosciutto so effortlessly and thinly with the Omcam, you will be convinced that this new tool in your arsenal elevates your culinary skills to the next level! 

What to Look for When Buying a Meat Slicer 

It took me some time to select the best meat slicer; I conducted extensive research and discovered several pitfalls. I wanted to share some information to help you avoid purchasing the incorrect equipment. 

The day I purchased a proper meat slicer for cured meats, I was ecstatic about my first piece of dry-cured meat sliced to a paper-thin consistency. It was a homemade bresaola that had spent three months in the curing chamber. Previously, despite using all my different types of knives, I could not achieve wafer-thin deli cuts, but now I can! 

After conducting extensive in-store and online research on meat slicers, experimenting with various brands in commercial kitchens, and speaking with a few butchers, I questioned local delis. There are many of them in kitchen stores, but most of them are ineffective. There are several factors you must watch out for. 

Here are the most crucial factors to consider when selecting a meat slicer, particularly if you are making dry-cured meats or want to slice whole-muscle salumi at home. For dried meats such as salami, this makes the job incredibly simple; it’s my only opinion. This meat slicer has also been used for turkey, ham, bacon, pancetta, cheese, and bread. 

How to Choose a Meat Slicer for Thin Slicing 

    • Sharp Flat Thin Blade 
      • Heavy Weight for Sturdiness 
      • Sized to match 
      • Adequate Power 
      • Precision Controls 
      • Built-in Sharpener 

      I will show you images of the types of meat slicers that are unsuitable for ultra-thin slicing (but not the brands). This type of slicing is less than one millimeter thick. With the proper equipment, a hundred slices can be made in under ten minutes. Here is a summary of all these factors and why they are significant. 

      Considerations for Selecting a Meat Slicer for Thin Slicing 

      Sharp Flat Thin Blade 

      Consequently, many meat slicers have serrated blades. Check any butcher or deli to see if the edges have serrations. I am sure you won’t find any with them because they are ineffective for thin slicing! Serrated blade slicers are designed for thicker foods such as bread and chunks of meat such as thick ham. 

      Adequate Power 

      I’ve observed that working effectively requires a minimum of 240W of power, while most mid-range commercial models appear to be around 320W. 

      Generally, the ones you do not want will be less than 240W. Friends frequently utilize electric slicers in the 100-200W range. Not great for wafer-thin slicing, but great for other kitchen tasks 

      Precision Controls 

      If you want a meat slicer capable of wafer-thin slicing, the dial’s response to the thickness setting will be exact. This boils down to the precision engineering required to manufacture this. 

      Remember to close the blade when you have completed a run; doing so prevents you from having an open blade that could cut you. There is no other way to achieve the thin-slice result. When I desire translucent thin slices. My meat slicer has a marking for 1 mm, and I use roughly half of that setting. Believe it or not, it is possible to slice meat too thinly with a precision slicer. 

      When you achieve ultra-thin slicing, the flavor and taste are altered. Consequently, I make minute adjustments to achieve optimal results based on the number of aromatics and spices in my cured meats. 

      Sized to match 

      There is some variation in the size of the blade and the food tray used to direct food toward the edge. My meat slicer has a 10-inch blade, which is adequate for all purposes. Once I had a massive lamb roast, I decided to get out the slicer and cut it into skinny slices. 

      Due to the roast’s high moisture content, the roasting pan resulted in a terrible mess, and that was the last time I used it for anything with high moisture content. Blades on the meat slicers I recommend typically measure eight inches, which may be adequate for your needs. 

      Built-in Sharpener 

      Unless the meat slicer has a built-in sharpener on the top, it will likely not be suitable for ultra-thin slices. Upon entering the “semi-professional” range, these concerns are pretty typical—super simple to use. 

      This is an obvious indicator of whether a machine can perform the task of thin slicing. If you want a detailed description of some decent slicers, click here. I have a bit high-end, but I have also recommended some less expensive options to friends that worked exceptionally well. 

      For my Sirman slicer, I press down on one of the sharpening wheels for 30 seconds before switching to the other wheel. The other sharpening wheel is pushed for two to three seconds. I do this every two or three cutting sessions to maintain its smoothness. 

      Heavy Weight for Sturdiness 

      Any good meat slicer is heavy. Therefore, consider this when evaluating them. I store my meat slicer in the cabinet until I use it extensively. The optimal meat slicer will generally be constructed primarily of solid alloy metal. 

      Other Vital Considerations 

      Sizes of the Food Tray and Blade 

      If you are slicing foods with a smaller diameter, an 8-inch blade may suffice. You can also cut what you will slice, which simplifies the task. 

      If you are the kind of person who makes or purchases prosciutto, you must use 12-inch slices. It is a massive device with a large cutting area; 10 inches is the optimal compromise. 

      Your Budget 

      If you’re looking for a meat slicer that does the job properly, I’d recommend spending at least $300. It is only possible to know if a butchery in your town is closing if you can locate something used. 

      Safety Comes First, Be Super Careful 

      The meat slicer is regarded as the most dangerous equipment in the commercial kitchens where I’ve worked. I have adhered to a single rule in the past; however, I now stick to numerous regulations. 

      Always turn off the main power when the slicer is not in use. 

      The second most important rule I follow is permanently closing the blade completely when taking a break from slicing. Having the slicer open and the motor running is a recipe for disaster, as many kitchen mishaps have occurred. 

      If you develop the habit of doing these things, you will significantly reduce the likelihood of a slice. According to those I know, these are the most severe injuries! 

      Home Slicer vs. Butcher Thin Slicer 

      Now, I’m not saying that homemade slices have no purpose. However, this is all about thin slicing, so I hope to provide you with information on how to do it correctly the first time. 

      Cleaning & Wipe Down 

      Just so you’re aware, cleaning a meat slicer does take a bit of time, but it’s not a big deal; it’s a routine like cleaning any other piece of kitchen equipment. 

      It is required each time and takes between 10 and 15 minutes. That is comparable to the equipment I usually use in the kitchen. 

      The Alternative Is the Salumi Knife 

      If you are unwilling to use a slicer, the alternative is a salumi or prosciutto knife; when I take my time, I can achieve acceptable results. I’ve examined quite a few at chef and hospitality shops; when I only have a simple dry-cured fridge project, I’ll use this one. 

      A Granton blade is one of the most critical factors. The Granton blade has egg-shaped grooves running along its length. This creates more air pockets, preventing the meat from sticking to the edge. 

      The flexible Salumi blade is used horizontally, slicing Iberian, prosciutto, and Parma ham. It is an ultra-sharp and ultra-thin blade with which you can achieve decent results, although the technique is also crucial. I take my time and slow and steady work exceptionally well. 

      Warnings Regarding the Use of a Meat Slicer 

      This is crucial for your fingers and your well-being. Adhere to the safety instructions listed above. Focus your attention on your task. Do not allow family, friends, or alcohol to distract you. Maintain the same stance throughout the slicing process. Never stoop over the device. Always maintain proximity to the Off button and electrical outlet. 


      A meat slicer capable of producing wafer-thin slices will aid in achieving success. Specific characteristics must be present in a meat slicer; most meat slicers cannot have thin slices. A substitute is a prosciutto knife capable of producing thin slices. 

       Using a meat slicer to cut raw meat can produce uniform sizes. However, cleaning raw meat will take significantly longer than cleaning dry cured meat due to the meat’s inherent moisture. The semi-freezing of raw meat can facilitate slicing. 

      Blade size – Depending on the size of the restaurant or business you own, you’ll want to pick the right blade size. In general, 12-inch blades are the most common; 12-14 inches are for premium, and 9-10 inches are for small restaurants. Guards – It would help if you bought a meat slicer that has a knife guard.

      The following is a guide on how thick you achieve a specific level of thickness.
      • Shaved – Less than 1/16” Shaved slices of meat are those paper-thin beauties that you can almost see through. …
      • Thin Sliced – Between 1/16” to 1/8” …
      • Medium Sliced – Between 1/8” to 3/16”

      The mandoline is a special tool used for slicing ingredients to a uniform thickness. Typically, a flat surface features a sharp blade that can slice or julienne. Some mandolines are handheld, and others have a footing that swings out to provide stability during use.

      In basic terms, there are three types of slicers—manual, semi-automatic and automatic. They come in two formats, vertical and gravity feed. And most manufacturers build models in three versions—light duty, medium duty and heavy duty.

      While there are many meat slicers on the market, some produce super thin slices – close to 0.02 mm. These meat slicers are a must for people who like slicing dry-cured meat themselves. Dry-cured meats, such as prosciutto and capocollo, should be sliced thinly as if done otherwise they will be too tough to chew.

      The number one determining factor in choosing a slicer is not price, but application. Your menu will determine how often you use your slicer, and for what purpose. Choosing the wrong slicer can result in costly repairs, and added cost of ownership.

      Deli slicers have an adjustable knob that allows you to determine the thinness/thickness of a slice. The smaller the number, the thinner the slice.


      Now that we’ve explained why and how meat slicers are so cool, it’s time for you to start slicing! It is very entertaining and pays for itself. Using a meat slicer to make sandwiches on your own will be worth the investment. A unique party will result from experimenting with foods such as shabu-shabu and Mongolian BBQ at home. Stay safe, content, and healthy, and always remember to slice thin to win! Visit Williams Food Equipment for additional products to enhance your home kitchen. 

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