Any cook can attest that efficiency and precision are vital when it comes to the preparation of any great meal. It is the careful selection and combination of ingredients, the mastery of the given cooking technique, and the choice of equipment, that add to the outcome of any dish. Home meat slicers are among the top-notch equipment in the kitchen that ensures stress-free and effective cooking.
A meat slicer machine cuts raw meat into uniform shapes and thicknesses. It is a definite answer on how to slice meat thin. These commercial meat slicers get the job done in no time with little to no effort. Slicing raw meat with a meat slicer is not only convenient and hustle-free but also fun.
Due to consistent use, it is common for the blades to become blunt. Blunt blades tend to shred the meat and give messy cuts. They also require more effort to slice through the meat, taking up more time. If left in this state, the machine will soon become ineffective. Therefore, you should sharpen your meat slicer blade periodically.
However, sharpening your meat slicer may be difficult due to the safety concerns involved. Here is a step by step guide you could follow to ensure safe and effective sharpening.
Step 1: Assemble all needed items on a stable working surface
- a pair of cut-proof gloves,
- a sharpening stone (if bought separately from the machine),
- a dry washcloth
- mild detergent
Ensure your working space is clutter-free and has adequate space for you to perform the task at hand. Remove any sharp objects and dry any spills on the working area to avoid accidents. Also, push the meat slicer away from the edge of the work area to prevent it from tipping over when hit or while sharpening.
Step 2: Turn the thickness knob to zero and turn off the power
These are safety precautions to ensure the machine does not accidentally start running until you have set up the sharpening stones.
Step 3: Pre-clean and dry the meat slicer blade
It is necessary to clean the blade before sharpening to remove any fats and oil stains that may inhibit effective sharpening. Follow the guide below:
- Wear your cut-proof gloves and a pair of vinyl gloves over them.
- Detach the blade unit.
- Place the unit in the sink and run warm water over it.
- Use a gentle washcloth and mild detergent to clean the blade.
- Clean from the centre and work your way outwards. Do not scrub the edge of the blade with an abrasive scouring pad as this may ruin the blade.
- Rinse the blade and dry it carefully with a cloth
- Place the blade back to its original position.
Step 4: Attach the sharpening stone to the blade
Some commercial meat slicers come with an in-built set of sharpening stones straight from the manufacturer, whereas others require one to purchase the sharpening stones separately. Even so, most manuals come with sufficient instruction on how to attach the in-built or separately purchased sharpening stones. Ensure you follow these instructions to detail.
Adjust the stones until they sit in place and finally cross-check to see if the sharpening stones are properly ’locked’ against the surface of the blade.
Step 5: Power on the machine and run it for 30 seconds.
With the sharpening stones in place, switch on the power supply, and run the machine until the blades are sharp. The process will take an average of 30 seconds with some meat slicers needing just 10 seconds!
In some cases, some meat slicers require that you push against the sharpening stone cartridge so that the stones remain in contact with the blade when sharpening, while others caution against the same. Where the sharpening stone is purchased separately from the slicer, be keen to ensure that the stone does not fall out during sharpening. All in all, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to the manner and duration of sharpening.
Feel free to repeat this step up until the blade is of the desired sharpness. Preferably run the machine at intervals of 20 – 30 seconds and stop once the blade is sharp enough.
Step 6: Ascertain if the blade is sharp.
You can do this using something that has a smooth texture and is easy to cut through, for instance, a piece of cardboard paper, plain paper, or tomato. Place the cardboard or tomato on the cutting surface and run the machine. If the blade gives a crisp, clean, and effortless cut, it is sharp enough. If not, you should sharpen it once more.
Step 7: Clean and sanitize the blade
Once the sharpening is complete, a whole layer of dust particles from the sharpening stone will have coated the blade. Wipe this off to prevent contamination of any raw meat that will be cut by the appliance.
Detach the blade unit and run warm water over it. Use a mild detergent and work your way all through the blade in the same manner as the first wash, disinfect, rinse and dry with a cloth.
Step 8: Clean the meat slicer machine
It is necessary to clean the rest of the slicer machine, to remove any dust particles, dirt and kill any germs and bacteria. Using a damp cloth soaked in warm water and mild detergent, wipe the machine thoroughly. Rinse the cloth. Ensure no detergent remains. Wipe the appliance again, allow it to dry, and then attach the blade unit.
Regularly sharpening your home meat slicer will ensure your slicer remains in tip-top shape all the time. However, if over-done the sharpening may lead to significant wear and tear and a reduced life span of the blade. To minimize wear and tear while still reaping the benefits of a sharp blade, you should:
- Adopt a periodic schedule on when to sharpen the blade, for example, every two weeks.
- Oil the blade once a month
- Avoid sharpening the blade for extreme periods. A minute or two is enough.