We bet you’re dreaming of a nice, juicy steak right now. Or maybe you’re craving a dozen hot chicken wings.
Whatever your food favorites might be, we know that you like your meals heavy on the meat.
And perhaps you’re also someone who enjoys preparing your meals, and especially mastering the art of cooking your main, aka the meat, aka the piece de resistance.
One of the most important skills you can master when cooking meat at home is the prep, specifically, slicing the meat.
Often many recipes call for thinly sliced meat, and you start to wonder, is thinly sliced meat only something Food Network chefs can get right?
Not anymore! This guide is going to help you get your meat sliced just right for the next delicious dish you’re planning on preparing.
You have two core options when it comes to slicing meat, a knife, or a meat slicer. Both will get the job done, but each comes with their pros and cons.
Meat slicers are an easier choice and are highly practical if you like efficiency with a touch of simplicity. With correct settings and the push of a button, you can have perfectly sliced meat with zero to no effort involved on your part.
However, although knives take more skill and require far more care, they do offer more versatility and a little bit of sleeves-rolled-up kitchen artistry that you can show off.
Today, we’ll be talking about how to slice meat with both knives and a meat slicer. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know, the steps with either tool, and even the specifics when it comes to some of the more popular types of meat that may want to slice.
Table of Contents
- 1 How To Slice Meat Thin With A Knife?
- 2 How To Slice Meat Thin With A Meat Slicer?
- 3 How To Slice Meat Thin For Jerky?
- 4 How To Slice Steak Thin?
- 5 How Do You Thinly Slice A Beef Brisket?
- 6 How To Slice Meat Very Thin?
- 7 How To Slice Cooked Meat Thin?
- 8 Safety Measures For Slicing Meat Thin
- 9 Closing Thoughts
How To Slice Meat Thin With A Knife?
If you’ve decided that you’re going to go with the more technical route of slicing your meat with a knife, there are some things you need to do before you can start slicing your meat thinly.
Step 1 – Choose the right knife
You can’t just use any old knife that’s lying around your house if you want to get this job done right.
It may seem that any big knife will work, but knives are actually quite diverse, and each is designed for a specific task. Thankfully, when it comes to slicing meat – there are a few different types of knives that will work.
First, the fillet knife is a kitchen staple used for preparing meats and fish. The blade is flexible and will slice raw meat into the thin slices you desire.
Flank knives exist specifically for slicing flank steaks, so if this is your chosen cut of meat, this might just be the right tool for you. A carving set can also help you slice cooked poultry, perfect for those thanksgiving turkey dinners.
And finally, there is a slicing knife. This tool has a long, straight blade and is designed with one purpose in mind – slicing cooked meats. A particularly handy feature is their Granton edges which prevent the meat from tearing while you slice.
Now, before you get slicing, make sure your knife is made with a durable material like stainless steel and comes with a protective cover to avoid hurting yourself with a dull or unprotected blade.
Step 2 – Prep the Meat
It’s often said that slicing cold or partially frozen meat is the easiest way to get thinly sliced pieces.
So if your meat isn’t already in the fridge or partially through the thawing process, dunk it in some ice water to make slicing off neat chunks a little easier.
Step 3 – Get slicing
These are visible lines in just about any cut of meat created by muscle fiber. If you’re aiming for thin slices, you should always try and cut against the grain. Position the meat on your cutting board so that the grain is parallel to it and get ready to cut.
Take your knife, place it at a 45-degree angle on the meat at the end that is farthest away from you.
Hold the other end of the meat with your free hand and begin slicing downward.
In this downward motion, you’ll then pull the knife across the meat towards you, completing the cut.
Make sure to use downward pressure as you do this. Continue this process until the whole cut of meat is sliced.
Lastly, you can store or prepare the meat according to your selected recipe. And don’t forget to clean your knife, cutting board, and station.
How To Slice Meat Thin With A Meat Slicer?
For those of you looking to invest in a kitchen gadget that makes slicing meat thin super easy, a meat slicer is the right choice for you.
Here are the steps to slicing meat thin using a meat slicer:
Step 1 – Select the right Slicer
Most likely, you won’t have access to (or need) a commercial meat slicer such as the bulky machines you’ll find in butcher shops and deli stores.
These models are designed for slicing large volumes of meat and are generally quite pricy as a result.
Home-oriented meat slicers are smaller, more user-friendly versions that can help you attain the same thinly sliced meat you desire for a fraction of the cost, and they are not as demanding when it comes to the space they take up.
Some of these slicers are counter-top appliances, while others come in handheld variants.
Before selecting a meat slicer, consider what types of meat (and potentially other food) you’ll be using it for.
Some slicers are quite versatile and can slice vegetables and bread as well.
Furthermore, you should make sure it’s one that allows you to adjust the thickness of the cut, as that sort of flexibility comes in handy with different types of meat.
We recommend getting a portable electric counter-top slicer, as generally, they’ll help you slice larger volumes of meat, while still being totally storage-friendly once the task is done.
Step 2 – Clean & Prepare the Slicer
Once you have your slicer out and ready, make sure it has been cleaned and is prepped and ready for use.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t use your meat slicer to cut foods with seeds, meats with bones left in, complete frozen meats, or over-sized cuts.
This will destroy your slicer before you even have the chance to really get it going. Use a slicer with a fine edge blade, this will get you cut your selected meat thin.
Step 3 – Get Slicing
The first thing you’ll need to do is to turn the adjuster knob to select your desired thickness. Once that’s done, you can place the meat onto the slicer’s carriage and turn the slicer on.
Make sure the speed knob is on low and that your back lever is positioned manually. You’ll be using the weight handle to move the meat back and forth to slice it. Make sure you are manually slicing at your desired thickness.
If your slicer is automatic, you can now shift your back lever into automatic mode. This will allow the slicer to do the entire job for you, with minimal involvement on your part.
And once you’re all done, you should turn the slicer off, unplug it, and clean it up before stowing it away.
How To Slice Meat Thin For Jerky?
Now that you have the basics down pat let’s look at some specific types of cuts you might be looking to make.
We’re going to start with everyone’s favorite – jerky!
There are a lot of different cuts and types of meat you can use for jerky. Some of the best cuts of meat to use for jerky are Eye of Round (most popular), bottom round, top round, sirloin tip, flank steak, deer meat, elk meat, and pork tenderloin.
Once you select your cut, here’s how to slice it thin for jerky:
- Remove the fat.
- Select your knife or a meat slicer made for slicing jerky.
- Slice with the grain for chewy or tough jerky. Make your slices about a ¼ inch thick.
- Slice against the grain for less chewy or softer jerky making your slices roughly a ¼ inch thick.
How To Slice Steak Thin?
First of all, select your cut of steak.
As we’ve mentioned previously, you might want to make sure your meat is cold or partially frozen. This will allow you to slice your steak thin with a little more accuracy.
A good trick of the trade is to wrap the steak in plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for about 20 minutes. This gives it the time to become a little more firm, making the slicing process a whole lot easier.
- Place your steak on your cutting board (or get it into the meat slicer)
- Manually slice it against the grain
- Continue slicing at the desired thickness
Thin steak slices are particularly popular for stir-fries, pho, and tacos.
How Do You Thinly Slice A Beef Brisket?
If you want thin slices for your brisket, it’s often better to wait until the day after you cook it. It’s much easier to slice cooked meat, and you’ll end up with far more accurate slices, with less effort involved.
Here are the basic steps:
- Rest 20 minutes to 24 hours once cooked, before slicing (cold is better)
- Pick out a long, serrated knife
- Cut the brisket in short strokes against the grain
- Aim for pen-width slices
How To Slice Meat Very Thin?
Here are the best tips we have for getting incredibly thin slices out of your cut of meat.
- We said it once, and we’ll keep saying it – cold or partially frozen meat slices with ease and allows you to get the thinnest possible slices out of your cut
- Having the right tool on hand is key. Make sure your knife is sharp and large enough to slice through your cut of meat in one go. Alternatively, you’ll need to pick out a meat slicer that goes below the standard 1/2 inch slice width
- Gently slice against the grain of your meat. Or, if you have an automatic slicer, you can kick back and relax while it does the work for you
How To Slice Cooked Meat Thin?
The best way to get deli-thin cooked meat at home is by using a meat slicer.
It’s an easier process than going to town on it with a knife, and often it can provide for effortless paper-thin slices, with little to no risk of cutting yourself involved.
However, you can definitely use a knife. You just need to ensure that the blade is sharp enough and that it is the right knife for the task at hand.
If you’re working with meat like ham, you can use a special ham or brisket knife to slice the meat against the grain for some accurate thin slices.
However, if you’re carving chicken or turkey, think turkey sandwiches post-thanksgiving, use your carving knife instead.
Safety Measures For Slicing Meat Thin
When using a knife to slice the meat thin, you’ll have to take some safety precautions to make sure you walk away with all 10 digits intact.
First of all, the sharper the knife, the less chance for an error or blade-slip during the slicing process.
In addition to this, if you place a damp cloth under your cutting board, it will be less likely to slide while you’re working.
If you need to stop cutting for any reason, make sure you place the knife down in a secure spot where it won’t come falling off the counter.
While you’re cutting – cut the meat away from your body and make sure that your fingers and thumbs are clear of the cutting line before you make each slice.
And once you’re done, store your knives in a designated storage area or with a protective cover.
When using a meat slicer at home – you’ll want to make sure the machine is always off and unplugged when not in use.
Ensure the blade is properly attached and remains that way for storage.
Finally, do not slice cooked meat immediately after slicing raw meat. The machine will need to be properly cleaned to ensure food safety and avoid cross-contamination.
So, re you hungry yet? If you’ve stuck with us this far – you’ve now got all the know-how when it comes to slicing meat thinly.
Whether you’re going to opt for a knife or an electric slicer – we’ve equipped you with the top tips when it comes to getting the thinnest slices of meat out of your cut.
With that, we wish you luck in your culinary endeavors, and we hope your cut of meat turns out delicious!