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Can You Slice Meat With a Mandoline in a Pinch?

Can You Slice Meat With a Mandoline in a Pinch?

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The mandoline’s true virtue lies in its fast speed and versatility. It is a French standby tool typically used for cutting cheese, fruit, and veggies into thinly cut slices.

However, desperate times call for desperate measures  have you ever considered using the mandoline to slice meat?

It is possible to use a mandoline to slice meat, especially cured meat. However, it’s vital to know that all meat types have to be chilled or par frozen before cutting it with the mandoline to prevent shredded, ruined slices of meat. So, instead, use a deli slicer to ensure thin, perfect meat slices.

If you don’t have a deli slicer and you’re in a pinch to slice the meat, consider giving the mandoline a try. However, first, give this post a read to gain valuable tips on using the mandoline effectively and preventing unwanted injuries.

Can You Slice Meat With a Mandoline?

Mandolines are practical, efficient, flexible, and time-saving tools that are sure to provide countless benefits in your kitchen! For example, mandolines are used daily to julienne vegetables and thinly slice cheese and a variety of fruit.

Although slicing meat is not a mandoline’s intended purpose, you can use it to slice meat. However, please note that a mandoline won’t be as effective in ensuring perfect sliced meat as the deli slicer or a regular sharp carver knife.

Also, note that it is quite the challenge to use a mandoline to slice cooked meat. A mandoline works more effectively on par frozen, chilled, or uncooked meat than to cut cooked meat. Additionally, be cautious when using the mandoline on par frozen cooked meat, as it can cause the meat slices to shred due to the consistency of the meat and friction.

The affordable and multi-purpose mandoline is a more economical solution for households and is helpful for various food items; however, you’ll need to take caution when using it to cut meat. Additionally, it’ll require skill to perfectly cut thin slices of beef, lamb, or chicken.

You’ll want to continue reading for tips on which meat types to use it on and tricks on how to use this kitchen tool properly.

Tips on Using a Mandoline to Slice Meat


Here are several straightforward tips to follow for cutting thin, even slices of meat with a mandoline.

  1. To cut thin slices of meat, you’ll want to adjust the mandoline’s blade to its narrowest setting (approximately 1/8 inch).
  2. Consider wearing gloves or thumb caps while slicing the meat to prevent any injuries from occurring.
  3. Place the mandoline perpendicularly to the piece of meat while keeping your fingers away from the blade.
  4. To have perfectly sliced meat, you’ll need to prepare the piece of meat by placing it in the freezer for 20 minutes or in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours. Furthermore, be sure to cut off excess fat before slicing the meat. The mandoline is not strong enough to slice through the fat layer.
  5. Whether cutting meat or veggies, the mandoline’s blades turn blunt over time, so you’ll need to replace them. Also, dull blades will damage the cut of meat.
  6. Lastly, ensure that you clean the mandoline properly after slicing meat. Additionally, ensure that never use the mandoline to slice cooked meat after cutting raw meat products. Harmful bacteria quickly spread and can make you very sick.

In addition, common mistakes to avoid when using the mandoline to slice meat include using too much pressure—using too much pressure results in shredded, ununiform meat slices.

The purpose of a mandoline is to slice, not to cut the meat. Therefore, you’ll only need to apply a gentle amount and pressure, allowing the mandoline to do its job.

Can You Use a Mandoline to Slice Roast Beef or Lamb?

Slicing roast meat using a mandoline is possible thanks to the mandoline’s sharp blade. First, however, the piece of meat needs to be chilled or par frozen to prevent ruining the cuts.

So, use the mandoline to slice leftover roast beef or lamb for tomorrow’s sandwiches instead of cutting the meat directly after coming from the oven.

Attempting to slice hot pieces of meat will only shred the meat, turning into a mess!

Follow these easy steps to cut roast meat in thin, uniform slices using a mandoline:

First, cut the roast beef or lamb into smaller chunks as large slabs of meat like Sirloin or Eye of Round are too large to slide over a regular size mandoline.

Then, remove the fatty part on the piece of roast meat to make the slicing easier. The blade tends to struggle to cut through the fat.

Next, you’ll want to par freeze your meat by wrapping it in cling wrap and placing it inside the freezer for 20 minutes. Par freezing the beef will ensure that the consistency is firmer, making it better for slicing.

Now, handle the beef or lamb gently while slicing it; pushing it down too hard will cause tension, leading to shredding and ruining the meat. So, with a relaxed grip, slide the chunk of meat lightly over the surface of the mandoline, allowing the blade to do its job.

Consider using a food holder; beef and lamb are oilier than fruits and vegetables, increasing the likelihood of injuries.

Can You Use a Mandoline to Slice Cured Meat?

Sliced Cured Meat

One of the most common and unarguably the best ways to enjoy cured meat is in thin slices, salami, pepperoni, pastrami, or ordinary ham. Fortunately, using a mandoline is one of the best and fastest ways to ensure even and thinly cut cured meat slices.

Before jumping into slicing the cured meat, ensure that you partially freeze the cut of meat to give it a firmer texture, reducing the risk of crumbling and simplifying the process.

As a rough estimate, you’ll want to pop the cured meat into the freezer for 20 to 25 minutes before slicing it. On the contrary, if your piece of meat is entirely frozen, consider placing it in the refrigerator overnight to thaw it partially, creating the perfect consistency.

So, to slice cured meat using a mandoline, start with the same principles as cutting any other food object. You’ll want to place the mandoline on a cutting board to increase stability and safety and put on a pair of slicing gloves to ensure that you do not injure yourself.

Then, be sure to hold the mandoline firmly using your non-slicing hand, and use your dominant hand to hold the cured meat and slide it gently against the blade runway to create thin and even slices of meat.

Try to maintain an even and consistent pressure while slicing the meat to ensure evenly sliced meat.

Can You Slice Chicken with a Mandoline?

A wide range of yummy chicken recipes require thin slices of chicken pieces, and fortunately, the mandoline is quick and effective to achieve this goal.

However, be sure to stick to chicken breasts or fillets to prevent tiny bone fragments in your chicken slices.

Like with most other meat types, you’ll want to par freeze the chicken to improve the texture and allow the meat to hold its shape better and prevent shredding. So, ensure that you partially freeze the chicken for 20 to 30 minutes before slicing it. More so, if you’re working with frozen chicken breasts or fillets, allow the frozen meat to thaw overnight in the fridge.

Place the mandoline on a cutting board to ensure that the mandoline is stable and does not slide around while cutting the chicken.

Then, always be sure to wear protective gloves and carefully run the chicken pieces over the runway of the mandoline to create thin and evenly chicken slices. Additionally, use long strokes and even pressure while slicing the chicken against the grain.

Better Alternatives to Slice Meat Than Using a Mandoline

Fortunately, there are alternative methods or tools to consider when slicing meat.

Either keep it old school by using the right knife or go for a modern, highly effective alternative by investing in a deli slicer.

Deli Slicer

Deli Slicer

Whether you opt for an electric or manual deli slicer, you won’t be disappointed in the thin and evenly sliced cuts of meat! Deli slicers are excellent for all kinds of meat, including cured, smoked, and roasted meat.

Now, we know the deli slicer can look pretty daunting and intimidating with its razor-sharp blade and bulky appearance; however, with the right tips, you’ll be able to master this kitchen tool confidently in no time!

Here’s how:

You’ll want to start by opening the deli slicer’s clamp arm and placing the desired piece of meat into the food carriage. Then, close the clamp arm while ensuring that the cut of meat is firmly in place on the carriage surface.

Pro tip: Place a sheet of wax paper on the deli slicer for your meat slices to eventually fall onto the paper instead of the table.

Next, adjust the thickness of the slices by using the index knob to move the blade closer or further away.

Turn on the meat slicer (if electric) and gently push the sliding tray forward to allow the deli slicer’s blade to cut the piece the meat swiftly. On the contrary, if you use a manual deli slicer, you’ll want to bring the blade down on the meat and bring it back up  easy-peasy!

Lastly, please turn off the deli slicer and clean it properly. Please remember to wear cut-resistant gloves to prevent cutting your fingers on the sharp blade.

As vital as knowing exactly how to use a deli slicer is, how not to use it comes a close second. Do not do the following:

  • Do not slice frozen meat with the deli slicer. The ice crystals tend to damage the blade.
  • Do not slice meat with a bone attached to it.
  • Do not try to jam oversized cuts of meat into the deli slicer; instead, cut the piece of meat into smaller, manageable chunks.
  • Do not slice raw meat and cooked meat without cleaning the deli slicer first. Bacteria can quickly spread and cause food poisoning.
  • Never attempt to use a deli slicer without using protective gloves.


Slicing A Brisket With A Knife

Amateur or home cooks often complain of how challenging it is to slice meat thinly using a regular kitchen knife.

The best tips are to practice and religiously sharpen those knives! Blunt blades make the job ten times harder and typically ruin the slices.

More so, using the right kind of knife can save your hours of frustration and grief! Although a regular chef’s knife does a pretty versatile job, a carver knife is best for meat that comes straight out of the oven.

Here’s how to properly cut thin slices of meat using a carver.

First, note that the carver knife has a long body and an extremely thin and narrow and blade with a pointy tip compared to the thick spine and wide blade of the chef’s knife. The carver’s long blade allows you to slice a piece of meat using a single up-to-down motion without “see-sawing” through the meat.

Consider using a carving fork for hot roast beef to prevent you from burning your hands. A carving fork will also encourage stability, thus ensuring even, thin slices of meat.

Additionally, par-freezing the meat for about 20 minutes or so will ensure that meat has a firmer texture making it easier to cut and preventing unwanted shredding.

Final Thoughts

Altogether, the mandoline is a pretty compelling and helpful tool for slicing fruit, veggies, and cheese. However, it’s not the best tool for cutting meat, especially cooked meat straight from the oven.

Consider using the deli slicer or sharp carver knife to cut, thin and even slices of meat. However, if you’re persistent in using your already bought mandoline, be sure to par freeze the meat before slicing it. Additionally, follow the safety precautions to prevent unwanted injuries.


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