There are dozens of uses for a home meat slicer and the savings you can bank are amazing. In this article, we’ll talk mainly about how much money you can save using a meat slicer to cut your own lunch meat. And we’ll also share other things that we use a meat slicer for.
Plus we’ll tell you how much our meat slicer cost and what you can expect to pay for a new one.
This is the fourth article of a 5 Kitchen Tools series that will empower you to save thousands of dollars on your food budget.
What’s at stake with your Grocery Budget?
When it comes to feeding a family, there is a lot of money at stake. The average family is spending $200 per person each month on groceries. That means that a family of four will spend nearly $10,000 on food this year!
Maybe you’ve never considered various ways to save on lunch meat, but keep reading, you may be surprised at the options . . . and the potential savings.
Meat Slicer Uses for Slicing It Thin to Save Money
Keep an open mind on this next tool—a simple and inexpensive meat slicer can save a boodle! The cost is about $30 (although we picked an extra one up at a thrift store for $10). Here’s how it can save you money.
There are 3 ways to buy lunch meat at the grocery store:
Deli Counter: you’ll pay between $7 and $9 per pound while you wait for it to be sliced.
Wall Deli: You’ll find Oscar Meyer, Hillshire Farms, Farmer John and others for $5 to $7 per pound.
Meat Department Chub: But the least expensive way is to pick up a Chub of turkey ham, ham or chicken breast in your grocer’s meat department and pay between $2 to $5 per pound. Take the chub home and put your meat slicer to work. We package our lunchmeat in quart sized freezer zippered bags (1 to 2 pounds per bag).
How Much Could a Meat Slicer Save You?
Savings: If a family uses two pounds of deli-purchased lunchmeat each week (at $8 per pound), it would cost about $800 each year. But if you bought chubs of meat (at $2.50 per pound) and sliced them at home, the cost would be $250 per year and would save you at least $550. Not too shabby for a one-time investment of $30 (about an 1800% return in one year).
You can also slice bricks of cheese (usually less expensive than slices) and cooked meat like roast beef or shank ham (see the two videos below).
How Much Does a Meat Slicer Cost
When we first were looking for a meat slicer, we envisioned one of those industrial, stainless steel, automatic cutting ones. But when we saw the $1500 to $2500 price tag and realized that they would take up about half of the space on our kitchen island, we nixed that idea.
A neighbor gave us an old Oster meat slicer that easily stores on our pantry shelves. You can still buy them on eBay for about $30.
But there are better models out there. So check out Amazon’s Top Selling home meat slicers some for as low as $39.99 (gently used) with free shipping! If we were to do it again, we’d probably buy one with a little stronger motor. And because of all the money we’d save, we’d be willing to pay upwards of $50 to $75 for a top rated home meat slicer.
If you do buy a meat slicer and use it regularly, it will easily pay for itself in a few months.
Be safe – Get a Metal Chain Glove
We first saw these being worn by a worker at Chipotle – they are marvelous and clean up really easily. Check out these Epica Cut Resistant Gloves they aren’t very expensive and can really protect your hands when using a home meat slicer.
Where to Buy A Meat Slicer
Many people have asked us where we’ve found our two meat slicers. It’s kind of funny, but our Oster was given to us by a neighbor who was moving and our backup slicer was purchased at Goodwill for $5. We’ve also seen them at garage and rummage sales. But if you want to buy one this week, we’d recommend looking on Amazon. You can get a decent meat slicer for between $100 and $300 and easily recoup the cost in the first year.
Can you Slice Frozen Meat on a Meat Slicer
WE’ve never sliced frozen solid meat on a meat slicer, but we have sliced partially thawed meat for beef jerky on ours. Partially thawed meat is easier to slice as it is less “squishy” and cuts cleaner. We’ve also cut cooked and refrigerated corned beef for Reuben Sandwiches on our slicer and it has turned out fantastically.
After Using a Meat Slicer You Should Sanitize It
Knowing how to clean your meat slicer is really important.
We wash everything in hot water with soap and a little bleach. You’ll want to pay particular attention to crevices where bits of meat or fat can become lodged in the slicing process. You may need to use a toothpick or a mini scrubbing brush to clean some tight spots.
You’ll want to be very careful about keeping water out of the motor housing. There are usually air vents on the motor cover, and if water should get into the motor, you’ll need to open the housing and dry it out to prevent damage.
Because of the sharp edges, be especially careful when cleaning the blade also dry it right away. Even stainless steel can rust over time. We clean our slicer immediately after using and then dry the parts and store it on a high shelf in our pantry closet.
Tips for Meat Slicer Uses
- Remove the bone from any meat that you are slicing
- Don’t try to slice meat that is fully or partially frozen
- Slicing raw meat that is slightly frozen or firm is easier than slicing limp uncooked meat
- We mainly slice fully cooked meat or cheese on our slicer
- When slicing cheese, wipe the blade with a moist paper towel to keep it from sticking to the cheese.
- Disassemble and carefully clean after each use and each type of food you are slicing
- Do not put slicer parts in the dishwasher
- Be sure to completely dry the slicer blade. Even stainless steel can rust.
- Don’t try to slice any food with seeds in it: avocados, apples, pears, peaches, plums. The hard pits and seeds can damage your cutting blade or motor.
- Be sure to work on a solid counter with lots of room around you.
- Keep your fingers far away from the cutting blade.
- Consider having two people when slicing. One person slices and the other stacks the cut pieces.
Other Home Meat Slicer Uses
- Slice bricks of cheese
- Slicing cooked and refrigerated corned beef for Reuben sandwiches
- Slice Cored Apples for drying
- Slicing slightly frozen beef or turkey for jerky. Get our Beef Jerky recipe here
- Slice a deboned shank ham
- Slicing Swiss steaks or breakfast steaks
- Super thin potatoes for potato chips
- Veggies like tomatoes, zucchini, or cucumbers for veggie platters or cooking.
There are so many uses for a home meat slicer that our estimate of $500 per year savings could easily double or triple as you get creative and slice your way to savings.
Watch for the next blog in the series where we’ll talk about a cool and large tool that could save you $2000 in the next 12 months.
Check out the other posts in this series
- Week 1: The Humble SpoonULa
- Week 2: $1000 Lunch Hack
- Week 3: $3400 Crock Pot
- Week 4: $500 Sliced Savings
- Week 5: $2000 Freezer Tool
Here are a couple of videos of our $30 Meat Slicer in use
Cutting a Shank Ham
Cutting the Cheese!
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