This is just a cheap-o slicer from Harbor Freight we’ve been using for our processing needs this year. It’s a “compact electric food slicer” with a 6 1/2 inch stainless steel blade and a plastic body. Item number is 42787. 110 v, 60 Hz, 95 RPM, slices (supposedly) 1/16″ to 1/2.”
It’s quicker than slicing all that bacon by hand, but it’s got it’s drawbacks. Someday maybe I’ll get a nicer one, but for now it works.
Some details if you’re thinking of getting one:
It suction cups nicely to the counter and does dis-assemble reasonably for cleaning.
There’s a safety button to press while using it, so it’s a two hand job always- one to hold the safety button and one to move the food on the tray to slice.
The platform is pretty small, so to slice anything deeper than 4 1/2 inches is pretty much impossible with the guard and sliding tray in place. More than about 6 inches tall wont be cut with the wheel, and the platform is about 8 inches wide, but only about 6 inches is usable with the food pushing guard in place. So you can only effectively use the safety pieces for the last few inches of most anything you slice. (But definitely use them then!)
It works pretty good for pepperoni since it’s small, but the food pusher is useless until it’s only a few inches long since pepperoni is so skinny. The guard and food pusher are pretty useless until the last few inches of food is left. For bacon, I could fold the last inch or 2 in half and then put on the slicing guard to finish to get the last few slices done without having as many choppy little bits.
The thickness gauge doesn’t have much accuracy. Trust how it comes out of the slicer, not what the gauge says.
The wheel turns very slow, especially if you’ve ever seen or used a commercial slicer. You do have to go a bit slower in your slicing process. The last portion of meat (or whatever food) that goes into the cutting wheel doesn’t always cut off completely and so you sometimes drag what you just sliced back.
The food builds up at the exit quickly, calling for frequent stops to clear it. A contour in the plastic juts in where the food exits the slicer. That means a cutting board to “catch” food from the slicer won’t meet where the food actually drops. Even a thin mat can’t slide in under the food, since the suction cups on the bottom prevent the mat from sliding far enough under the plastic contour. It just adds more mess to clean up.
The clean up drawbacks: Although it comes apart fairly well, there’s some portions that don’t come out without a screwdriver to dis-assemble and are hard to clean. Even if you take out the screws, one screw is a strange head that cant be removed with a standard screwdriver. The drive gears for the blade (plastic, by the way) are hard to clean, and the coordinating gear on the blade is riveted, not bolted. A job like bacon can really leave things gross.
A few things that have improved the slicing ability for me: The bacon sliced much better after being low cooked- se my bacon post for more on that. It also worked good to firm it up for an hour or so in the freezer. This kept the shape of the slab so it was easier to handle on the working side, kept it from crumpling when cut and exiting the slicer, and cut down on the amount that was dragged back to the cutting side because it wasn’t cut all the way through in the front bottom corner.
Check my “index” post for more on how we’ve been raising and home processing our pigs.