High end knife vs electric slicer vs the local butcher

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Dec 30, 2023
Grey Eagle, MN
As the title states, which route would you recommend? Price is not an issue. I don’t mind spending over $100 on a knife but certainly not hundreds for an electric slicer. Butcher I’m not sure how reliable. I suppose it’s user ability, but will a good knife make cutting raw beef easier and more precise?
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Depends if you're making jerky this once or it's going to be a regular occurrence.

Do you already have a half decent knife (that's honed/sharpened)? If so, like Murray said, partially freeze the beef (I do mine for about 60-90 mins), then slice it. A good knife makes a difference but it's not like you need to go out and spend $5000 on a Japanese Yanagiba if you already have a sharp knife - and I say that as a guy who likes his knife collection.

However if you're going to be doing this weekly/monthly, I'd highly recommend a slicer. Even a basic one makes jerky a breeze, and you get nice uniform slices, which when you dehydrate makes a difference.

You could probably find one used for a reasonable price as well, that seems to be something I always see at thrift shops/classifieds, depending how accessible that is for you.

Also, it's worth noting your jerky changes depending how you slice it. Slicing WITH the grain = Chewy / Tough Jerky; Slicing AGAINST the grain = Less Chewy / Soft Jerky.

Personal preference. I know lots of folks who like both.
Lol! It's pretty simple really. A board that has a 1/8"depth on one side. And a 1/4"on the other. Put meat on it and slice away.

if you go knife- victorinox 8inch breaking knife great quality and cheap price. another option if you have a meat grinder they sell an attachment that tenderizes and slices jerky strips. if no grinder they have manual tenderizer/jerky slicers
If you're buying the meat at a full service meat counter , they should slice it for you .
I have a slicer and decent knives . I slice all my jerky by hand with a boning knife .
I don't go less than a 1/4 " on a raw slice . You will lose some of that when it's dried .
To thin to start and you'll have beef razor blades .
I agree with Culinary Otter Culinary Otter in buying a slicer. Not only can you cut your jerky slices, but also lunch meat and bacon.

Know this, like everything else in life, you get what you pay for! Scour Craigslist and Marketplace for a commercial slicer and never look back.
I agree with Culinary Otter Culinary Otter in buying a slicer. Not only can you cut your jerky slices, but also lunch meat and bacon.

Know this, like everything else in life, you get what you pay for! Scour Craigslist and Marketplace for a commercial slicer and never look back.
...and cheese...

I found myself buying slabs of deli/cured meats from Costco business center. I slice it and vac seal in 500g bags. The money I've saved more than pays for a good slicer.
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Many years ago I had a friend give me 4 used packing house knives. They wear them down so far then get replacements. Old ones are to be destroyed but no count ever taken. They are stiff blades and take some getting use to. Not for everything but work good for most cutting and hold an edge through fish bones better than any fillet knife I ever was around.
Knives and slicers each have their place. Seldom do they overlap.
For jerky slices, a slicer is the way to go. You can rely on the butch/clerk at the store or buy your own slicer. With the store sliced, you are subject to the person slicing it's interpretation of how thick you want it. I know plenty that can't read a tape measure ( not that they have one available) and have no concept how thick 1/8, 3/16 or 1/4 inch are or how they relate to each other. You are at their mercy. SLicers are generally marked with reference numbers for thickness, but these numbers don't seem to have any correlation to real numbers ( inch or metric) and they differ by brand slicer. So you tell the guy to slice it on a 15 setting and his slicer only goes to 10...... Or you say a 4 setting and it's paper thin after the last store came up to 3/16 inch.
So.. if you go the store sliced route, go to the same store each time and ask what the setting was when it's the way you want. That way you should get the same result each time.
I have never used a home grade slicer. I have commercial ones at work and lucked into a commercial one for home many years ago. But I see no reason even a cheap home grade unit wouldn't give consistent results. There will be a learning curve.
Add to this that the longer you have a slicer around, the more uses you will find for it. Lunchmeats, summersausage, holiday hams ect.
If you can swing it get a used commercial unit and find a home for it (they are heavy) and make sure it comes with the sharpener. You'll never lose money on it.
A cheap home unit will be CHEAP in almost every aspect. Great for a fill gap til you can do better, but this really is a case of you get what you pay for and buy once, cry once.
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Home type slicers are not that expensive. We have one that has been used for several years slicing everything from meat to garden veggies. Even found a new drive bolt & washer for ti on the net. Consistent thickness once set, no numbers to go by just your eyesight to set it the way you want it. Don't force it, let the blade do the work and it will run a long time.
If this question is for jerky 💯 slicer. You won't just make jerky once. You can get a decent slicer brand new for $100-$150 easily. Chefschoice 615 is a great budget slicer. You can find it multiple times a year on Woot for $100. Slicer comes in hand to slice homemade bacon and smoked meats for lunch meat slices too. It's one of those things you won't know how you got by without it once you have it
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