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Using meat slicers for chicken breasts?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I’m looking into purchasing a meat slicer ( Amazon.com: Chef's Choice 610 Premium Electric Food Slicer: Kitchen & Dining ) for home use primarily to save time cutting breads and bagel. However I’d love to be able to cook boneless chicken breasts and slice them thin for sandwiches. I’d also love to cook a pot roast, then slice it thin for sandwiches as well. I know this is a silly question but is this possible?

I purchase processed deli meats from the deli, but would love to find a way to cook a regular chicken breast or turkey and slice it thin enough for a sandwich. Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated!

Thanks,
Emily

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post #2 of 29
I'm in the market for a meat slicer as well. IMO you would be expecting a bit much from that unit. If you want a new unit I would expect to spend in the $500-650 range for a quality unit. Two I have been looking at are the Berkel 825A and the 9" Sirman Mirra that Marc is carrying over at Chef's knives to go. I do not care for any Chef's Choice slicers. You may want to look for a used Berkel. I have found them in the past in the $200-250 range.



Gravity Feed Slicers


Meat Slicer, Meat Slicers
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post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I've read a lot about slicing meats raw but can you slice a pot roast or chicken breast after it has been cooked?
post #4 of 29
sure do, most roast beef sandwiches come off a meat slicer. Slicing chicken breast for sandwiches is done but can be a bit tricky due to the odd breast shape.
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post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks Gunner. For a chicken breast, would I slice against the grain making small thin strips or with the grain to create long strips?
post #6 of 29
I have a 10 year old Rival slicer that is similar to the one from Amazon. It was under $30 new and works well. Only drawback is the small blade diameter.
post #7 of 29
lol, its chicken. It won't much matter. However, cutting cross grain is always safest as to not get sloppy when it matters ie, tri-tip, roasts etc..
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post #8 of 29
Yes, you can slice after it's been cooked, but it's better to chill it and let it set up before slicing; then if you like, you may reheat.

As to another question: If red meat has a grain, slice against it. This makes it seem tender. If you slice with the grain, the meat will become stringy when you try and chew it. Not all red meat has enough of a grain structure to matter. But pot roast... usually.

Grain doesn't matter with poultry. Go for pretty slices.

Fish can be a lttle tricky. It's usually best to slice on a bias -- both with and on top of the grain.

A 7" Chef's Choice is about 1/3 the weight and the cost of a 9" Mirra or Berkel. Feel free to form your own conclusions as to relative overall quality and as to which is more appropriate for a home kitchen.

BDL
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post #9 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all of the replies. I didn't know if poultry would be too dry to eat as thin slices but that would be great if it will work for sandwiches (I try to avoid processed deli meats).

As the primary purpose of the slicer is to cut breads, I believe the quality of the Chef's Choice will meet my needs. It will be an extra bonus if I can use it to slice meats as well.

Thank you!
post #10 of 29
Overall the Chef's Choice slicers are pretty good ones for the money. Most cheapie home versions are chronically underpowered but that one isn't bad. You might have trouble slicing cheese, at least thick blocks, but it should work on beef & chicken as well as bread. Cheese is pretty tough for a slicer, it takes quite a bit of power to do the job well.
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #11 of 29
The trick with poultry is to cook whole birds and then remove the breasts. This way you have a nice lobe to slice. You need to be careful not to over cook as you will want the poultry to rest and cool. Sliced turkey breast is very good.
As far as slicing bread you may want to consider a quality bread knife. Many of these small units do not come with sharpeners and replacement blades are not cheap. The small Chef's choice units do have a serrated blade option but by the time you buy the machine and the blade you will be very close to the price of a used Berkel. It's been said many times, you get what you pay for. The Chef's choice units are almost all plastic and that includes the gear on the back of the blade. Let us know what you get and how it works out.
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
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post #12 of 29
I am using this one also. Cheap though has a good performance. I agree with you.
post #13 of 29
I'm pretty sure Duck has the right of it when it comes to using this sort of slicer for bread. Crusty bread especially, is very hard on a high speed knife. Even serrated.

The best, inexpensively priced bread slicing machine is holding a decent bread knife in your hand while making, "rummmmm, rummmmm" noises.

The MAC Superior is an outstanding bread (and bakers) knife, for under $100. Hint: If you buy hubby one for Christmas, I bet he'll let you use it all the rest of the year. Forschner Rosewood are very (but not quite as) good, and far more reasonable. If you've had enough with the fantasies already, almost anything in the $25 range (not too cheap, but not too dear) will serve you well.

If you're having trouble making even slices, let me know. Think of slicing as the "eye-liner" of culinary techniques. It's a skill which doesn't take a lot of knowledge, does take some practice, is pretty easy when you get down to it, but don't do it when you're driving.

BDL
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post #14 of 29
BDL, you're always so technical.
Keep in mind that Penguin is a Cook at Home, and may not be up on all of the technical jargon.
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post #15 of 29
BDL, know much about eye liner do ya?;)


I tend to agree with the others about this machine for bread slicing. As a collector of kitchen paraphernalia, if you want it…get it. However, I foresee frustration in connection to slicing bread on that machine.

If you must bring motorization to your loaves…

I’m sure this is going to be absolute heresy to the knife purists, but I have found that a $10 electric knife is great for bread slicing. I bought one about 5 years ago and it has sawed its way through countless loaves of bread and biscotti. I only use it on bread and biscotti, nothing else. Is it about time for a new one, yup but I got five good years out of it. I gravitated to the electric knife because I found with all the bread I was slicing my right arm was decidedly more muscular than my left, which just looked funny when I wore my favorite spaghetti strap dress. With an electric knife, the knife makes the back and forth motion, not you, leaving one with perfectly symmetrical and matching flabby arms.

I think that a lot of folks tend to not slice bread well due to the instinct to add a chopping-esque push that squishes instead of slices. Then the extra force can tend to lead to the knife veering off course yielding a too skinny or too thick bottom of the slice. With the electric knife that tendency dissipates since you are just there to guide the knife, not exert pressure on it.

Hope that helps.
post #16 of 29
Are you sure you want to know?

I don't know about $10, but an electric knife can do a lot of things well. Definitely worth having.

As I recall the whole sleveless dress thing was a big issue with Ben Hur. So much so, he asked to change sides on the galley rowing bank.

That's so. It mostly comes from death-gripping the knife handle too tightly. I hadn't thought much about the instinct to chop-esque, you're undoubtedly right.

Yowzers. Let the tool do the work.

BDL
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post #17 of 29
Thread Starter 
Lots of great opinions, thank you!

BDL- I always appreciate your humor! Yes, I’m having trouble with creating even slices that aren’t torn on the sides.

I’m currently using an electric knife and a cheap bread knife ($25.00 range) to cut my bread. We are only a family of three but I feel like I spend way too much time slicing breads each week. I’m happy with the cuts for bagels and sweet breads but my knife pulls on the edges of my sandwich loaves and tears a small chunk off the side each time. I get even slices for the first half of a loaf, but the last half is uneven.

Crusty French breads I’m able to cut okay but whole grain breads seems to tear more with a knife. I figured with as much cutting as I’m doing each week, it may be worth it to get a slicer. I don’t want the extra bulk in the kitchen but I’m up for anything to spare me a few extra minutes.

Are you saying that if I invest in a quality bread knife, then I could see better results? I’m up for any suggestions.

Thanks,
Emily
post #18 of 29
Have you tried chilling or even (sacrilege) freezing the bread first before slicing?

Works a treat.

P.S. BDL....you're a riot...give up the cook book and write comedy hehe j/k
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post #19 of 29
Maybe an electric knife would be okay at home [shudders!] but if you wanna use them to cut bread for banquets you better have a stack of 'em, cause you'll go thru 'em pretty fast. They're underpowered and not meant to operate continuously for long periods of time. Plus, the steel they use makes Costco blades look like Cowry X.:lol:
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #20 of 29

Do you still prefer electric knives over slicers?

I have never used these knives but a Rival slicer does it all for me!
 

post #21 of 29

I cannot see buying or using a slicer to cut bread. Those little toy slicers they sell for the home wont do it and the commercial ones to expensive for homes Leave the plastic ones for Ron Popiel . Invest in a good serrated knife and use a SAWING long motion. Let the knife do the work not the hand. The hand is simply for control and the knife for cutting. As far as chicken breast. If you practice with a GOOD SHARP knife you should be able to get it thin, the colder the item the easier sliced. I have shredded chicken for salad  on a Mandolin, can't get any thinner then that. A good used Berkel or Globe slicer should run $500.00 and up an automatic Hobart used $1000.00 new close to 3000. The typical home does not require a slicer, there is simply not enough production or work to merit one.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
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      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post

Maybe an electric knife would be okay at home [shudders!] but if you wanna use them to cut bread for banquets you better have a stack of 'em, cause you'll go thru 'em pretty fast. They're underpowered and not meant to operate continuously for long periods of time. Plus, the steel they use makes Costco blades look like Cowry X.:lol:


I would disagree with you (in a friendly sort o way) on this Phaedrus. When I was at the Four Seasons we used electric knives all the time. Particularly for cutting lots of pates for party platters. I think they would work fine for bread but maybe I have been out of practice too long. 

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post #23 of 29

Hello Duckfat,

 

I am in the market for a commercial slicer Berkel 825a or 827a for my home kitchen. The "desire" for a commercial grade slicer is greater than the "need" after viewing Seinfield's Kramer slicer episode in youtube. So, the budget is $1000.

 

I would like to slice deli meat, and paper thin raw ribeye slices for Philly cheese steak, Mongolian BBQ, and Japanese shab shabu hot pots.

 



I wonder if an 10in blade slicer would be enough for occasional use for the cooking enthusiast/home kitchen? but, a few restaurant equipment stores recommend a 12in blade as it is more versatile so I will have no regrets later, but it hogs up counter spaces and a bit heavy to move around. 

 

Andrew

 

post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

The best, inexpensively priced bread slicing machine is holding a decent bread knife in your hand while making, "rummmmm, rummmmm" noises.


 

Still laughing from that quote!!

 

Chefedb mentions using a mandolin for the chicken breast and that is the way to go .... thin slices, durable blade and WAY easier to clean up than a slicer! In fact the only thing you mention cutting that is worth the effort of cleaning up the slicer (if you never took one apart and cleaned one, it's kind of a pain) would be the roast beef.

post #25 of 29

Electric knives are awesome!!!.... for cutting foam.

 

Unless you're cutting dozens of loaves, stick to cutting by hand with a serrated knife.

I second the opinion regarding the mandolin. Buy an inexpensive one, you won't be using it that often... but for the love of all that's squishy... be careful. Nothing takes a fingertip off like a misused mandolin.

post #26 of 29

You took the words right out of my mouth.  Better to invest what you would spend on a decent meat slice on a nice serrated knife and a sharp chef's knife then practice getting that baby thin.  

post #27 of 29

By the time you put chix breast on slicer, take it off adjust it cause all breast slightly different, then clean the machine I can do better and faster by hand and less clean up (raw or cooked)    Best slicers are still Globe or Hobart.  For the home just get a good sharp knife.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #28 of 29

"Have you tried chilling or even (sacrilege) freezing the bread first before slicing?"

 

Just saw this post, sorry...

 

don't put your bread in the fridge... it will go stale very quickly. Freezing it is fine.

post #29 of 29

If you are getting a slicer at any price point be sure that it can sharpen itself or it'll get dull and you'll either pull off the blade and sharpen it by hand (difficult), buy a new blade (expensive), or let it sit and never use it again (most likely).  Especially if you're going to be slicing bread.

 

As others have suggested, what you really need is a sharp knife but that is a whole different topic.  I'll just say that If I were on a budget and looking to get some cutlery, I'd probably spend more on stones than I would on the knives.  There are lots of cooks wielding dull $200 knives in the kitchens I've worked in.  The cheapest knife in my bag is a $6 chinese cleaver but I could shave with it.  As for a bread knife, I've never owned one that cost over $10.  I throw them away when they are dull.

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