Category: Butchers

A Deli Slicer Size Chart For Printing

Updated December 16, 2018

Download (PDF, 83KB)

How many times have you gone to the deli to get meat or cheese sliced, they ask how thick you want it, and it still takes three or four tries to get it right? Or if you own or work in a deli, how frustrating can it be to be on the other side of the same conversation? There have been many times I’ve actually given up and taken whatever thickness they’ve cut, regardless of whether or not it’s suitable for the purpose, and had to make do.

This may not seem like an issue to many people, but there are differences in how meats and cheeses should be sliced for a given dish. Roast beef is a relatively thin slice for sandwiches, but raw ribeye for Steak & Onion or Philly Cheesesteak should first be frozen and then sliced as thinly as possible. Bologna for Fried Bologna Sandwiches should be around 1/4″ thick, but for cold sandwiches the meat isn’t more than half that thickness. Similarly, cheese for sndwiches might be 1/8″ thick, but to roll up cheddar for an appetizer it’ll need to be 1/16″ or less.

To assist in this area, here’s a handy-dandy Deli Slicer Size Chart I’ve put together for you, dear reader, to download (the link is under the viewer window), print, fold, and laminate, either to show those deli folks what you want, or for the deli folks to use to ask customers exactly what they want.

There are a few caveats, which are repeated on the PDF:

  1. The rectangles are the indicated thickness in inches, so when printing this card don’t resize or scale it.
  2. Honestly, after all the time meat slicers have been used in the industry you’d think there’d be some kind of standard. But there isn’t. In other words, I can’t promise this will be accurate 100% of the time. I’m not sure, but worldwide that may drop to 45% … I just don’t know. So take your slicing accuracy with a grain of salt. Or not, if you can’t have much salt …
  3. And another thing: The metric measurements are slightly off by about 1.5%, but variations will also occur due to product temperature, ambient temperature and humidity, and blade sharpness. Due to this, all settings are only suggestions. Really, there are so many variables, this whole subject can get a little nuts.
  4. For best results, only shave frozen product. Of that, we can be sure

Michigan Cherry Burgers à la Hockeytown Café

This past Wednesday evening we were fortunate to snag tickets for the opening night of the latest national tour of Fiddler On The Roof. The first two performances were at the Fox Theatre in downtown Detroit before the company moved on to Wisconsin … they’re currently in North Dakota and will tour nationally till June.

Before the show we headed next door to the popular Hockeytown Café, a sports bar/restaurant to honor both the Detroit Red Wings and also to curate a collection of custom Harley-Davidson motorcycles designed with the Red Wings and Detroit Tigers in mind. It’s a nice place, with music that’s not overbearing, a friendly and attentive staff, and some seriously good food.

The one thing that jumped out of the menu at us right away was the Michigan Cherry Burger. The menu describes it as, “Our famous 1/2 pound burger topped with Traverse City cherries & Boursin cheese and served with lettuce, tomato and red onion.” We went ahead and ordered a couple of these beasties and thoroughly enjoyed them. The sweetness of the cherries, combined with the garlic and herbs of the Boursin cheese all on top of a tasty burger, all complimented each other nicely.

I decided I’d make them at home for the family.

Pic-A-Nut in Detroit distributes dried Michigan cherries from the orchards near Traverse City. Boursin Cheese, created by Francois Boursin in Normandy, France, in 1957, is made by Bel Brands USA, a subsidiary of the Bel company in Paris. Both are readily available in Michigan, with the cherries being from Kroger and the cheese being from Meijer.

We made the burgers stuffed vs. layered as Hockeytown has them. It’s difficult to take a photo of a stuffed burger … I’ve done it before and the pics turn out to be fairly lame. In the first photo above we took the other pre-formed 1/4 lb chuck burger, topped the cheese and cherries with it, and then crimped and sealed the edges. We then grilled them outside for the best flavor before topping them with the same kinds of lettuce, tomato and red onion as the restaurant.

They turned out quite nicely, to the point where one of my kids ate two of them … a whole pound of chuck plus toppings and cheese. And he’s a younger teenager who weighs no more than 100 lbs … Mary’s burger was ground turkey, with the light Boursin stuffed inside with the cherries, which was then pan-fried in a bit of olive oil. She said it was excellent, and was a nice lighter representation of the beef version.

We’ll certainly be making these again.

Homemade Old-World Lunchmeats in Toledo? Yes, at Kilgus Choice Meats

Homemade Dutch loaf, homemade Kielbasa loaf, and some homemade Krakowska sausage, all from Kilgus Meats. When I got the slices of loaf lunchmeats home, that’s when I realized they were still warm.

A variation of this article is also posted on the Toledo Food Examiner pages of

Paul … quit bugging me already … I get it now, alright? Sheesh …

About a month ago Paul, the owner of the software development company I work for, happily lectured me about my lack of knowledge about Kilgus Choice Meats in Toledo. “Go to Kilgus Meats … When you get there … write this down … get some Krakow-… are you writing this down?? You really need to write this down … get some Krakowska … why aren’t you writing this down???”

About a week later I hear, “Dave come down here …” Thinking I was in trouble for God knew what, I headed downstairs … where Paul promptly shoved a slice of the homemade Krakowska sausage at me.

Ok, sure. Probably the best damn sausage I’ve had in a good long time. Probably ever. I got a little curious.

Paul also knew of my love of Koegel’s Braunschweiger, and that I’ve probably eaten it my whole life. So, he then handed me a slice of Kilgus’ homemade coarse Braunschweiger.

Yeah, that does it. Koegel’s is now a close second in the Braunschweiger department. (Sorry John!)

I finally made it over to Kilgus Choice Meats in Toledo this morning. Located in a small strip mall on the north side of Laskey just west of Secor, if it hadn’t been for the amount of cars in the parking lot I may have missed it. Still, it should be fairly easy to spot with the classic butcher shop signs in the windows.

Inside the atmosphere was decidedly friendly. The prevalent culture in the shop is eastern-European. German is spoken fluently on both sides of the counter. There’s Stollen on the shelves, countless handmade sausages and bacon in one case, cheeses and homemade luncheon loaves in the back case, and beautiful cuts of beef, pork, veal and poultry in the main case on the left side. There’s even homemade corned beef, which for some reason I totally neglected to sample or purchase …

3rd Generation Master Meat Packer Erich Schiehlen slices some of his homemade Kielbasa loaf for me to bring home.

On August 21, 1962 Erich Scheinlen received a MeisterBrief in Fleischer — a Master’s Degree in Meat Packing — from the University of Frankfurt. The degree itself is displayed proudly on the wall in Kilgus Meats for anyone who’d like to see it. This is definitely “old-world” meats at their finest, in a Toledo neighborhood where you wouldn’t expect to see such things.

Growing up in the Flint, Michigan area and enjoying Koegel meats all my life, I have also been to the village of Frankenmuth, Michigan countless times over the years. I’ve had my share of products from Kern’s Sausages where they make culturally authentic meats. But I do believe Herr Erich Scheinlen (as it reads on his degree) has a much stronger pedigree … and likely makes even better products than the excellent meats and sausages at Kern’s.

Erich’s homemade Dutch and Kielbasa loaves on the countertop. What I brought home was cut from these two loaves.

I had the priviledge of Erich filling my order himself. He’s delighful to talk to, the thick dripping German accent sounding of the old-style meat packer he is. You know how you talk to someone who’s spent their life on the sea, and you can tell just by listening to them, your wanting fish more and more during the whole conversation? Erich’s voice just wants to make me order more fresh-cut meats. He’s justifiably proud of what he does, and simply enjoys it. His son Bill started working at Kilgus Meats at the age of 17. Now 44, with a business card listing him as the shop’s “Proprietor”, Bill is proud 4th generation meat packer.

I couldn’t get out the door of Kilgus Meats without succumbing to the temptation of picking out a quart of Erich’s homemade lentil soup. I’ll have to try that for lunch tomorrow. I’d have had some today, but I doubt our fellow guests at a wedding we’re attending this evening would appreciate it.

For lunch, Mary and I had sandwiches of the Dutch and Kielbasa loaves on oatmeal bread with a good mayonaise. Mine also had yellow mustard, along a few slices of the Krakowska. The quality of the meats cried out for better, likely homemade, bread of eastern-European origin, and maybe even some horseradish mustard. But now two hours after lunch, I keep popping into the fridge for more of what’s left of the sliced Dutch loaf …

I leave this post with a shot of some of Erich’s homemade veal loaf. Minutes after I shot this photo, there was only an inch or so left of this.

I guess I should have asked for some when I had the chance.