I initially had purchased a Chef's Choice 615 slicer from Amazon for $150. It did ok but you couldn't get super thin slices of meat and with most meats you had to freeze the meat a while before slicing and you had to have fairly small pieces of meat. It just wasn't "cutting" it for me. :) So I figured I would do a bit of hustling and smoke lots of goodies and sell them at work to turn a profit and offset my costs on the new slicer.
I bought it from http://www.webstaurantstore.com/ for $699. Shipping was $25 and there was no tax for me in WA state so $724 total. I ordered it May 1st and got it on May 12th. The packaging leaves a little to be desired since this thing is so darn heavy. It really should be packed a bit better but I guess they aim to keep the costs as low as possible. The box was fairly beat up but everything was intact. The shipped weight was about 70lbs. The unit itself weighs in at 64lbs! I inspected everything and it looked ok, no outward signs of damage. I did notice a slight burn on the power cord. This concerns me a little bit, so I wrapped it in electrical tape and let the machine run a bit and it was ok. I will be contacting the seller tomorrow and seeing if they can send out a new cord.
I had about 15lbs of buckboard bacon just waiting to be sliced up and packaged to sell at work. I did not have to freeze the meat at all and it worked like a charm. Though, some pieces get a bit unwieldy due to the random nature of the cuts when deboning and butterflying the pork butts. After slicing it all up, I had about 1lb of chunks and pieces that were shredded up or too small to slice safely. So I bagged those up and will make bacon bits or bacon jam with them. All total it took me about 40 minutes to slice it all up. Way quicker than with the Chef's Choice unit and the slices were all uniform and no excessive shredding on the ends of the pieces.
Clean up is a bit of a chore just because of the size of the unit. The carriage arm comes off, then the center plate, then the blade, then the ring guard and meat deflector. I wish you could remove the ring guard and leave the blade in but you can't. Bacon is a real pain to clean up because of the fat/grease content and how soft and mushy it gets, it ends up getting into a lot of the crevices and sticking there. The ring guard is held in place by 1 screw and 2 bolts. The bolts are a bit awkward to get to and are in a bit of a tight spot so my ape-like hands struggled to get the bolts back on after cleaning.
I would give the unit a 4 out of 5 score. It runs very quiet, especially compared to the cheaper units like the Chef's Choice model. It slices nice and smooth. My only gripes would be the weight of it but it's a deli-grade slicer so it's to be expected . The manual is crap. It explains nothing and does not have any really useful info in it. If you've never cleaned a deli slicer before you might be quite puzzled on the easiest process. http://www.webstaurantstore.com/ does offer a detailed cleaning guide which is only included in their $60 slicer cleaning kit that also includes a wand cleaner, a small wire brush to get into the crevices, cleaning pads, a bottle of degreaser and a bottle of sanitizer. Really they should charge $25 tops for that kit and they should include the cleaning guide with the slicer itself.
It will be interesting to see how they handle the burned cord. The cord looks removable, so hopefully it's a matter of just sending out a new cord.
Next up I think will be some eye of round roast beef in a few weeks. I can't wait to get nice super thin slices of that stuff.
This sucker is huge. I am going to have to get a stand to keep this on in my garage. My giant storage racks in there are not big enough to hold this beast.
I still can't believe I got this thing. It's so sweet so far.
This was the shredded shavings I had after doing about 5lbs of bacon.
Coming out on the other side in perfect form.
Decent size tray area.
Mountain of bacon in minutes.
The burned cord.