Home Deli Slicer – Savings Realized

Deli meat – that is thinly sliced cooked meats are rather expensive.  Now some of those meat products are processed to a considerable degree and often loaded with lots of preservatives, but others are fairly standard meats.

Home deli slicer pays for itself

Home deli slicer pays for itself

Now it appears based on the price that a lot of folks hold the act of slicing big hunks of meat into thin slices with a significant level of reverence because they are certainly willing to pay a lot for the conversion.  Compare the price of whole turkey – often on sale for less than a dollar a pound to deli sliced turkey breast, or roast beef, or even ham… wow.  On a per minute basis the deli slicer dude is probably creating more value that a brain or cardiac surgeon.  .

But today I come today bearing great news – you too can become a man or woman or even a child capable of engaging in this magical and lucrative transformation from big meat chunk worth comparatively little to thin meat slice worth great riches, and it can all be done for about a hundred dollars in investment and without more than a half dozen years of education.

Ok, now seriously a home deli meat slicer is a great buy.  I have a kitchener brand unit from Princess Auto – I purchased it for less than a hundred dollars on sale and it’s served me well for a number of years now, more that recouping its cost in savings.  It definitely isn’t industrial quality but it’s more than adequate for home use – even significant home use.

Packaging sliced meat in butcher paper in preparation for freezing

Packaging sliced meat in butcher paper in preparation for freezing

I usually find I pull out the deli slicer about four or five times a year to cut up significant quantities of meat that has come on deep discount.  For instance I just cut up five big black forest hams that were on sale for about two dollars a pound.  When the stores run their Christmas and Thanksgiving promos offering turkeys for silly prices, last year the lowest they went was 77 cent per pound I will buy up a bunch.  I’ll cook them, cool them off and then cut off and slice the breasts for lunch meat – use the rest for a meal or two but more or less toss a meaty carcass into my big pots and boil them for a few hours,  and then once cooled I’ll pick the meat off the bones, cut it up into smaller chunks and pressure can some hearty turkey soup base.    The same thing goes for roast beef though even on sale it usually is pricier than turkey.

The sliced meat gets divided up into portions that cover the needs of about a week, are wrapped in good butcher paper and frozen.  Getting pulled out a few hours or the night before sandwiches need to be made in order to thaw, with the remainder getting stored in the fridge.

Now, I’m not going to knock the fact that it’s nice to have thinly sliced deli meats – but seriously you can pay for the deli slicer very quickly – probably on your first slicing venture if you pick it and the meat up on sale.

The amount of work and time it takes to prepare, slice and package the meat isn’t all that huge, but the savings certainly are significant.  The time required to do the work is also less pronounced when you start to realize that with a deep larder you needn’t run out to do last minute shopping which saves time in addition to money.

Now, the real pain is the cleaning of the unit – it involves unscrewing the machine screws that hold the blade in place – on my model anyway.  It isn’t complex or involved just not as easy as might be necessary.  This is part of the reason that I tend to do bulk runs of meat slicing – because the time needed to clean the machine is fixed irrespective of if I slice one small ham or six large ones.

So if you use deli meats in your household consider getting a deli slicer and putting the earnings from the magical task of slicing thin in your own pocket.


Crisis on skis – Jerky is finished

Ok, so it’s not as dire a crisis as one might expect from a trip out cross country skiing in the hills when the trails are icy.  But running out of jerky is a pretty big deal.

It’s been a popular treat – better received than gummy bears – which is saying quite a bit.  So, in a way while it’s sad to see the snow slowly wasting away and the inevitable nearing of the end of the ski season – it’s nice that it’s warming up enough that the home built smoker will be coming out in about a month – when the evening temperatures are consistently above zero – to get us ready for hiking and canoeing season.

If you haven’t tried curing and smoking your own jerky you really should try.  Check out our bookstore for the simple plans laid out in the “Homestead Expedient Cold Smoker” that should see you build a smoker for less than $20.