If you own a restaurant or you love to eat meat on a regular basis, it’s likely that you have a meat slicer. A good meat slicer can run for many years without much hassle except one – you must keep it clean to be safe from it.
If you use a meat slicer constantly, you’ll see some micro food particles get stuck inside the complicated parts. Most of us think of this as nothing to be worried about. However, the bacteria takes no time to contaminate the whole machine.
Before we dive into how often to clean a meat slicer and how to do it, let’s first understand what cleaning and sanitizing mean.
Cleaning vs. Sanitizing
Cleaning and sanitizing are two very common interchangeably used terms. They mean different things in fact.
Cleaning is the process of removing dirt, impurities, and leftover meat parts from any usable surface of the slicer. On the other hand, sanitizing means getting a deeper cleaning on the same surface by means of a chemical or heat.
Usually both the tasks can be done in a single go by using a chemical based cleaner. If you want to do the cleaning, you should start with cleaning the slicer and its insides and remove every meat particle visible. Only then go for sanitizing.
A rule of thumb you can follow for cleaning and sanitizing your slicer –
- Clean and sanitize before every use.
- After using the machine.
- If there happens a break between the preparation process. Meat attracts bacteria very quickly.
- Even if you use it non-stop, you should still clean it because of the same reason mentioned on the previous point. The time interval can cause bacterial contamination which can transfer to succeeding batches of meat.
How to clean a meat slicer – step by step
Now that you know the differences between cleaning and sanitizing, let’s talk about some easy steps you can follow to do the whole cleansing of the machine. But before even starting the steps, wear a pair of cut-proof hand gloves first.
Step 1 – Turn the machine on and set the cut thickness to zero. Use a scrubber or a cleaning cloth and hold both sides of the blade while it’s rotating. The largest meat particles will come off in chunks and then you should turn the power off.
Step 2 – Cover the gauge plate as well as get the sharper stone from blocking your way to the other parts of the machine. Now carefully remove the tray, plate and slicer from the slicer. Clean them by following the process mentioned previously.
Step 3 – The cutting blade will have a lot of grease with it so you have to be extra careful while cleaning it. Let the blade soak for sometime in hot water mixed with a dishwashing cleaner or soap. Clean the blade well with a scrubber.
It’s important to ensure that there are no remaining food particles of grease left over on the blade. The bacterial infestation has the highest possibility here as the blade can be a good bacteria breeding ground. So, wipe it with a dry cloth after.
Step 4 – Check the slicer to see if there is any water remaining in hard-to-reach corners. Use a clean cloth and take the water out with it. Afterwards, use a good grease spray beneath the sliders and join the parts you removed for cleaning.
Step 5 – Now finally you can use a sanitizing chemical to spray on the machine. Spray on every inch of surface area and leave no corners. Use a good amount of chemicals in this step and allow the machine to dry completely.
How often should you clean your meat slicer?
Now that you have a good idea on the cleaning process of your meat slicer, let’s talk about some rules on how often a meat slicer should be cleaned.
- Since you can cut cheese, vegetables, and fruits with the slicer, you should clean afterwards. Also avoid cutting fruits and vegetables with lots of seeds or with hard seeds. Tough seeds will damage the blade quickly.
- If you switch between meat, cheese, vegetables, fruits or anything you can likely use the machine for, you should clean it. Would you like your meat tasting like an apple because you cut apples with it and used it for meat next? I bet you wouldn’t.
- Raw / uncooked meat can contain harmful bacteria so if you decide to cut cooked meat afterwards, you better clean the machine. It is safer and will zero the risks of bacterial cross contamination.
- Also, as a general rule, try to keep it clean every four hours even if it’s in constant use. Germ and grease build up takes a little time and once the bacteria starts to regrow, the subsequent food will be affected if that gets in touch with the slicer surface or blade.
Q – Can you slice raw meat on a meat slicer?
Ans – You can slice raw meat but be careful not to use the same machine for cutting cooked meat subsequently. You can cut cooked meat beforehand and then get the raw ones sliced. But if you need to slice some cooked meat afterwards then you can clean the machine well and now you’ll be good to go.
Q – What food items would we use a meat slicer for?
Ans – Another name for a meat slicer is – deli slicer or simply “slicer”. The reason behind the deli slicer name is that you can slice any deli item with the machine. Items such as cheese, sausages, meat are some examples of the deli items.
Though it’s easy to cut meat without a meat slicer, using one will give you a range of options and cutting style to choose from. If you’re a meat lover, having one in your kitchen can be a great idea. Just take some good care and it’ll provide for a long time.