It was early on in the pandemic when the shelves were bare and people were buying up all sorts of food items and supplies. There wasn’t a paper towel to be had in Douglas County, or so it seemed. Techies working from home were buying up yeast and making sourdough and posting to Instagram. I too, wanted to do something different now that I had a bunch of time on my hands at home. I figured I would make some homemade bacon. And for that, I would need a slicer. I was already in the market for a meat slicer, and at $87 the Weston 9″ Slicer seemed like a good option.
The slicer is a pretty straightforward scaled down version of what you might see at a deli. The Weston 9″ slicer, as the name implies has a nine inch diameter cutting blade. It sports a plastic hand guard big enough to protect my meat mittens, and a large on/off switch that is protected from grease by a rubber cover. The 150 watt motor is quiet when running, and the unit’s suction cup feet help stabilize it on your countertop. The food tray tilts out off the cutting face of the machine for easy cleaning. The tray itself runs along a sort of fixed track on a metal guide rod so as not to slip. But how does it fare in use by a home cook and aspiring baconater like myself?
I thought going for the smaller blade would make storing the slicer more easy, and it does. Unfortunately the whole reason I purchased it was to make bacon. The sliding tray on the meat slicer doesn’t go very far, so I had to cut my slab bacon in half lengthwise in order to fit chunks on the tray. Then, because of the design the sliced bacon falls out the back behind the slicer blade, as you would expect. Unfortunately the meat rather than falling to the side piles up dangerously immediately behind the blade. In theory you can invert a baking sheet to allow meat to pile up. In practice the design still creates a pit of despair where your sliced deli goodness falls. If you’re slicing a full sized log of bologna though, it would fall neatly onto said baking sheet.
The blade adjustment in the rear of the unit allows for very thin cuts of meat up to cuts of a couple of inches. However, the slide on the food pusher / hand guard only allows food of about 8″ deep before you run out of space to slide the handguard. If you’re looking to cut tenderloin into boneless porkchops, use a butcher knife.
After about three uses the suction cup feet stopped actually suctioning to my countertop. Maybe they’re not actually meant to be suction cups, but I find the amount of pressure required to cut thin pastrami without the meat whipping off the blade and into my backsplash necessitates some down pressure in addition. Having a whirling cutting death blade on an unstable position on my counter top seems like a recipe for disaster.
Cleaning the slicer can be a bit of a chore. You’re not supposed to submerge the motor which makes sense, so I generally get hot water and soap to sponge down the outside. The smooth grey paint is easily slicked up with fat from smoked meat products. While this could be improved somewhat with a hammer finished coating, it’s not all doom and gloom. The 8 5/8″ blade is removed from the Weston 9″ slicer by a scrwdriver and a quarter turn. From there you can remove the blade and clean behind it. Unfortunately the way the slicer is designed it seems to trap a substantial amount of meat behind the blade.
This is probably the most cursed at fixture in my kitchen other than my 80 lb setter that just won’t get out of the way. Meat sticks in the nooks and crannies, it’s greasy and slippery, the meat often flings itself from the handguard. For $87 you’re better off lighting your money on fire. There’s so much room for improvement on safety and functionality I’m not sure who the actual target market is. I love products from Weston in general and have a bunch for home processing, but the Weston 9″ slicer misses the mark on pretty much every possible category. It is cheap, unfortunately it’s not for me.
There’s enough room for improvement that will motivate me to look elsewhere when I’m in the market for a meat slicer for processing. The biggest gripe that’s the easiest to fix is the hand guard. I need longer spikes on my hand guard. The butt of the tavern ham I used in this review spun pretty much other slice I took. That just isn’t acceptable or safe. If you have enough storage space it might be worth looking at Craigslist for deli slicers used from a commercial kitchen.