Anyone who has ever tried to slice turkey or chop up beef for stew knows the importance of meat cutting tools. Professional meat cutters use large, expensive heavy-duty equipment, but you can buy smaller versions for your home kitchen. In addition to the larger devices, a number of smaller tools are available for the smaller jobs.
Knives and Cleavers
Knives and cleavers work for smaller meat cutting jobs. Knives include those for slicing and carving, thin boning knives for trimming thin slices or removing fat, and chef's knives for chopping. Some have smooth blades while others are serrated. Cleavers are the main tool for chopping and feature a smooth blade and hefty handle. Knives are usually at least eight inches long and cleavers at least six inches long. Both often feature stainless steel blades. Metal or another nonporous material is best for handles, as wooden handles can lead to cross-contamination, Cook's Choice says. Prices in 2010 for knives and cleavers start around £16 and £32, respectively.
Table saws, also called butcher band saws and meat saws, feature an electric saw attached to a cutting table for large pieces and quantities of meat. The most powerful can cut through bone. Motors are usually at least one-half horsepower and saw blades measure up to 74 inches long or more. The saw blade hangs down over the table, often outfitted with pulleys for manoeuvring. Some saws can cut up to 15 feet of meat per second. Meat cutting table saws and tables are often stainless steel for easy cleaning. Some have a sliding table atop the cutting table for even easier maneuverability, while others double as a saw and meat grinder. Prices start at around £162 in 2010, and vary based on different features.
Handheld Electric Saws
Handheld electronic butcher saws allow more mobility. They are heavy-duty and often weigh as much as 11.3 Kilogram or more. Some saw blades cut on both strokes. The motor's horsepower, strokes per minute and stroke length varies, depending on the size of the saw. Most run on electricity and include a three-prong power cord. Some may accommodate attachments such as a blade support arm. Prices vary as widely as the different designs, but one model that features a two-horsepower motor and runs at 6,300 strokes per minute cost £1,040 in 2010.
Handheld Manual Saws
Manual butcher saws are some of the least expensive meat cutter tools. Standard butcher saws are heavy-duty bow saws, usually with stainless steel blades and plastic handles for easy cleaning. Sizes range from eight inches to more than 36 inches. Additional saw features might include a quick release mechanism to easily remove and change the blade. Most manual butcher saws cut through both meat and bone. Prices in 2010 start as low as £13 for the smaller saws.
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