Updated December 16, 2018
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:
- The rectangles are the indicated thickness in inches, so when printing this card don’t resize or scale it.
- 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 …
- 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.
- For best results, only shave frozen product. Of that, we can be sure