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9 Reasons to Consider a Meat Slicer or Saw

1. True culinary aficionados know that salted, cured deli meats require a very thin slice to really be appreciated. Slicing a ham too thick can result in an overly salty taste that betrays how phenomenal good ham can taste. A meat slicer is the key tool to getting consistent slices from fine meats; not to mention your money's worth.

2. But a meat slicer shouldn't be used only for meat. Cheeses, breads, vegetables and fruits can be processed handily with a deli slicer. Nothing gives that professional look to your cookout than perfectly sliced tomatoes to top off a burger.

3. The carriage of your meat slicer is where you put the food to be sliced. Some styles of slicer have a motor that will do the slicing for you, while some require you to push the food through. The former is good for large cuts, but smaller items generally require the user's attention.

4. By slicing your own meat, you're almost guaranteed to save money in the long run. Deli meat is prepared to last a long time, so by buying larger cuts and slicing them yourself, you often get the same product for half the price. This is especially true of specialty dried sausages like Capicola ham or salami.

5. Common sizes for carriages on deli slicers range from 7.5 to 12 inches. If you have something in mind that is larger than that, you'll want to get a slicer that can accommodate. Of course, if the food item can be cut in half without ruining the presentation, that is probably the best solution.

6. Some might think they have a hand steady enough to double as a meat slicer, but the truth is you'll never get cuts as consistent as a slicer. A properly cared for slicing blade will hold its edge much longer than a knife that is put in a drawer or thrown in the sink.

7. Slicing meat can sometimes be a messy process, especially the last part. Partially freezing your meat before it's sliced and always slicing against the grain are good habits to get into. Beef Carpaccio, for example, always required that the beef be partially frozen. Because it is so thin, the beef is room temperature and ready to eat in minutes.

8. Meat slicer blades start off at 9 inches and get as big as 14 inches. Blades on the smaller end are limited to small blocks of cheese, vegetables and sausages, whereas a larger blade can tackle just about anything.

9. For large jobs usually done in industrial meat processing plants, a meat saw is a good thing to have. They have varieties that resemble the table saws and band saws that you normally see in a garage. Hunters who process a lot of meat often have these, as home cooks can have this work done by a butcher.