When it comes to meat slicers, whether manual or electric, many people overlook operational safety to their own detriment. After all it’s simply a case of pushing a slab of meat into the meat slicer and taking out beautiful slices of meat right?
They don’t call it meat slicers for no reason. If you don’t want to lose a part of yourself in the process- literally- make sure you always practice the proper safety precautions when using these machines.
What is a Meat Slicer?
A meat slicer, also known as a slicing machine, a deli slicer or simply as a slicer. The meat slicer is a tool used in butcher shops, delicatessens, cafes, restaurants, supermarkets and at home to slice meat, sausage, cheese, bread, vegetables and a whole host of other deli products.
Traditional models of the meat slicer are operated manually by turning the handle of a crank. The newer models of meat slicers have an electric motor attached which makes meat slicing as simple as flicking a switch. While the meat slicer is traditionally a commercial tool used to slice meat at an industrial scale, smaller domestic use versions are now also marketed and used.
Reasons to Buy and Use a Meat Slicer
The key reasons to slice your own meat are to:
- Save Money: Slicing your own meat results in saving a lot of money. The sliced beef, lamb, or even cheese you find in local supermarkets is often overpriced. Many dishes such as hot pots, stir fry and salads require thinly cut meat and vegetables. Why not buy your favorite ingredients and slice them in the comfort of your home? Buying sliced meat in supermarkets sometimes costs more than double unsliced meat.
- Save time: Slicing meat usually takes a lot of time if done by a carving or slicing knife. However, the meat slicer performs this task quickly. You can save a whole load of time by using a meat slicer machine at home. When you want to cook a meat dish you can simply whip out your meat slicer and cut the meat into slices or pieces that you desire.
- Create Healthier Meals: Owning a meat slicer at home can help help you and your family avoid packaged and processed meat slices. Deli meats for example often are extremely high in sodium and other preservatives linked to cancer. Is that really something you want to feed your family?
- Create Fancy Meals: With the help of a meal slicer you can now afford to be more social and cook fancier and better meals for your family, friends and co-workers. You can afford to try out the fancy meat recipes you always wanted to. Many delicious recipes such as hot pots, Korean BBQ, gourmet sandwiches require thinly sliced meats, which you can now do with your own meat slicer.
- Slice Vegetables/Bread/Cheese: Many meat slicers can also be used to slice fruits, vegetables, cheese and bread. The meat slicer can be handy in your kitchen in a number of other way- you might have bought it to slice meat but it can be used on a whole host of foods.
Top 10 Safety Tips When Using Meat Slicer
We now take a look at the top 10 safety tips to keep in mind when using a meat slicer. These safety tips will ensure that the meat is sliced more effectively, cleanly and safely. These tips are really easy to follow and quick to carry out.
Tip 1: Read Meat Slicer Instruction Manual Carefully
If you have brought a new meat slicer, or if this is the first time you are using a meat slicer, there’s nothing more important than reading the instruction manual cover to cover. We’re not talking about a vacuum here where the worst thing that could happen is that your room isn’t clean at the end.
While there are safety practices that apply to all meat slicers, each model is slightly different in design, which is why reading the manual thoroughly should always be the very first thing you do after unboxing your meat slicer.
Tip 2: Place the Meat Slicer On a Firm Surface
Regardless of the type of meat slicer model you own, a stable base is paramount to avoid any unforeseen accidents. Always remember to put your meat slicer on a stable and non slip surface. A flat and strong surface will ensure that the slicer remains level and the slicing is done uniformly and without your hands accidentally slipping.
Tip 3: Clear Away the Clutter on Your Kitchen Work Surface
Another important but obvious tip is that you should clear away any clutter present on your kitchen work surface before you put the meat slicer there. Clearing away clutter will give you a free workspace and help you concentrate on the task ahead. And with meat cutting, concentration is everything.
Tip 4: Use Chainmail or Kelvar Cut Resistant Gloves
When using a meat slicer, whether it’s manual or electric, always prepare for the worst. For complete pierce protection, use stainless steel chainmail gloves like the ones butchers use in their shops. They are heavy and unwieldy, however. Kelvar gloves are a viable alternative, especially for use with manual or mandolines.
The key when using cut resistant gloves is not to become complacent as a result. Your hands are still not invulnerable with them on. Exercise the exact same precautions as you would if you weren’t wearing any.
Tip 5: Focus on the Task Ahead
One of the most important things to remember when you are slicing meat is that this task requires your absolute concentration and you simply cannot afford to multitask. When you have meat which needs slicing, switch off your phone, turn off the television, and make sure that you aren’t busy talking to someone or looking elsewhere. This task requires your complete attention and it’s better for your safety that your mind isn’t anywhere but on the task ahead. If you want perfectly sliced meat and you want to avoid any accidents or mishaps, keep your eyes, ears and hands on the meat slicer.
Tip 6: Always unplug meat slicer and set thickness dial to 0 afterwards
Once you have finished slicing the meat, always switch off the meat slicer and physically unplug it. Just switching it off isn’t adequate, as it’s easy to for someone in your household to accidentally turn it back on.
Furthermore, just as an extra precautionary step, always set the thickness dial of your meat slicer to 0 as well, so nothing can pass through it even if it’s on.
Of course you can still go one step further and lock away the meat slicer in a kitchen or pantry cupboard to keep it out of the reach of mischievous children and adults alike. This way you leave no room for any accidents or mishaps to happen.
Tip 7: Exercise Proper Caution when Cleaning the Slicer
Did you know a lot of the accidents that occur with meat slicers happen not when you’re operating them, but during the cleaning phase? It’s easy to get complacent as this stage, just like many car accidents happen when people are pulling into their drive ways with their seat belts already unbuckled.
After you’re finished slicing meat, follow tip #6 first above to make sure the meat slicer is completely off. Use kelvar gloves to prevent any accidental cuts.
Carefully take apart all the meat slicer parts that can be disassembled. I’d like to use a bucket of soapy water and a cloth to clean my meat slicer. To clean the blade, always wipe from the center out, which minimizes cutting yourself.
Here’s a good video showing how to clean your meat slicer safely:
Tip 8: Keep Meat Slightly Frozen Before Slicing
One of the most important rules of slicing meat at home is keeping the meat cold. Warm meat will smear, the fat will leak out, and the meat has a higher chance of becoming contaminated. Half an hour before the slicing process put the meat in the freezer. Take out the meat when ready to start slicing.
Tip 9: Never Reach Across or Bend Down When Slicing Meat
This tip might sound a bit obvious but it’s still important to take note of when slicing meat. Supposing you are slicing a slab of meat and it slips out of your hand and falls off the workstation. If you want to retrieve the slab of meat, switch off the slicer, and then bend down. Perhaps you want to retrieve something which is sitting on the other side of the meat slicer, well rather than reaching over, switch off the slicer, and walk to the other side of the slicer.
Tip 10: Never Try to Slice Bones
Most meat slicers were designed only to slice pure meat and vegetables. Slicing cuts of meat with bones inside can damage the blade or even the motor on electric models. Chipped bones can also fly out, hurting you in the process.
Further Information on how to use meat slicers safely
When it comes to meat slicers safety, there’s no such thing as being too careful. Watch the following video to solidify the most important points:
A meat slicer is a wonderful kitchen appliance that can really elevate your cooking and impress your friends. However, never, ever get complacent around it.