Last year we had the privilege of putting 6 deer in the freezer. People often ask us if we consume all the meat each year to which our response is, "of course!" Our favorite way to prepare venison is making it into jerky on our smoker. One thing about jerky is that it seems like you start with a pound of meat and end up with what seems is a bookmark...
For the past several years processing meat took a lot of time. We used to cut meat by hand, and it would take several evenings to cut into the correct thickness. Last year we bought a cheap meat slicer from a local big box store, and sure enough by the end of the season we burned through the device. We both agreed that we needed a serious upgrade if we wanted to process this amount of venison in the future.
I have always been a fan of our LEM processing products. I knew that they had high quality grinders, stuffers and slicers. I did some careful analysis of their slicers to see exactly what would fit our needs. We decided to go with the LEM Big Bite 8-1/2" Meat Slicer. At 30lbs of commercial grade equipment, you know that the unit is meant to last.
The feature that drew me to this particular slicer was that it has a 1/4 HP motor to get our tough slicing jobs done. (We found out that the key to cutting up meat is to thaw it in the fridge for a few days after we take it out of the deep freezer. Just a little bit of frost makes the slicing job easier) There are also safety features in place that make me feel more comfortable using the slicer. The bottom has skid resistant rubber feet which keeps the unit in place. There is also a built in blade sharpener so you do not have to take it apart to sharpen. Finally, the metal food pusher with teeth keeps your food in place to avoid any slips while slicing.
What normally takes us 2-3 evenings in the winter only took us one hour on a Saturday a few weeks ago. We were able to slice 20lbs of jerky in one hour, and slice the perfect strip every time. You can adjust the thickness of the cuts so if you need to cut a small portion off the exterior of the meat, you can cut this portion off then go back to your preferred setting for thickness. The unit is also really easy to take apart and clean which is a bonus!
If you are looking for a commercial grade slicer that is built to last the Big Bite is a great choice. If you do not do heavy processing there are other less expensive slicers available. At $370 it will cost you more than something cheap from a big box store, but I believe that the price is worth it for the quality. There is also a 5 year warranty just incase anything happens to your unit. If the Big Bite 8-1/2" exceeds your needs, LEM has other meat slicers that will suit your preferences.
Sallie is a bow and rifle hunter with almost a decade of experience hunting and processing. On top of being an avid hunter and processer, she competes as a triathlete! Along with making jerky, she enjoys creating delicious meals like chili and roasts with the meat she harvests each season.