Can You Slice Raw Frozen Meat with a Mandolin?

By Ryan Leavitt •  Updated: 05/06/21 •  5 min read

The mandolin is a great device that home cooks should have in their kitchen because it can slice fruits, vegetables, and cheese to your desired thickness.

With this tool, you will get even pieces every single time and accomplish the task in half the amount of time.

With such amazing efficiency, many are wondering if they can use this with frozen raw meat.

After all, no one can deny doing this task with a knife can be very difficult.

Theoretically, one can use a mandolin to slice frozen raw meat because it has a blade. Aside from the fact that slicing anything frozen is nearly impossible, this gadget isn’t the best tool to accomplish the job.

The slicers professional butchers have whether manual or electric are your best bet for this task. And even they won’t run slabs of pork or beef straight from the freezer through this.

Not everyone has this in their home though so a sharp, well-honed knife and chilled meat is the best way to go.

If you have been toiling long in the kitchen, there are some truths that you have probably learned over the years.

One of these is that numerous technological advancements have made chores easier and faster to complete – blenders, waffle makers, air fryers, and coffee makers are just some of these.

While some are relatively versatile, many of these do very specific jobs.

The mandolin may be categorized under the latter. Here’s why…

What a Mandolin Can Do

Invented by Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin (yes, the same person who came up with the guillotine) and named after his former lover Mandy, the mandolin prototype is made up of two parallel surfaces that are encased in wood.

The one below can be adjusted up and down to set the thickness of the slice while the one on top has the blade.

The food item will be slid from the end of the lower surface towards the one with the sharpened edge, cutting it and then dropping the sliced piece under.

Improvements have been added to the original design over the years.
Newer models can now do different kinds of cuts, depending on the attachment:

• Juliennes
• Crinkled
• Waffles
• Matchstick
• Shreds

Safety features have also been added because the blades affixed to these are very sharp:

• The holder grips the fruit or vegetable so you can maximize it without nicking your fingers
• The stand, sometimes a container under, is added so you won’t have to stabilize it.

But there is one thing which hasn’t changed.

The mandolin is made to slice fruits, vegetables, and fairly malleable items.

For meats, there’s always the knife.

Practice Makes Perfect

Using the good old knife for cutting up the meat into random shapes and sizes is not that hard.

The more challenging job is to cut it into thin, even slices.

But it’s not rocket science.
The key here is to par freeze (slightly freezing) the slab you’ve got before taking a blade to it.

• Wrap your meat in a sheet of plastic, shaping it into whatever you like.

• Place this in cold storage to chill for twenty minutes.
Remember: you don’t want this rock hard, just firm enough so it won’t get shredded under the blade.

• A regular chef’s knife will do the job as long as it is sharpened and well-honed. A blunt blade will ruin almost anything. If you haven’t done this, you will have time while you’re chilling the meat.

• After you’ve taken it out of the cold storage and peeled the plastic off, you can start slicing.
Use your knuckles as a guide for the thickness of the cut.

Try the straight up-to-down slicing motion instead of the back-and-forth sawing motion.

The latter might cause tatters on the meat. If your knife is sharp enough, the former will be possible.

But If You Still Want to Give It a Try…

We did say it is possible to use a mandolin and we aren’t backing down on that idea.

Here are some tips which you should take into consideration.

• The best slice you can get here is extremely thin slivers which you can use for stir fry or short bacon strips. Going for anything thicker than that will ruin your meat or your mandolin.

• Par-freezing is still a must.

• Cut your meat into smaller pieces – something that the holder can handle.

• Don’t press the holder with the slab of meat too hard down. That’s an accident waiting to happen.

• Wash your mandolin well after using meat on it. Unless you have one specifically for meat, you don’t want Salmonella and E-Coli spreading to your fruits and veggies.

A Valuable Kitchen Lesson

As aforementioned, most kitchen innovations are not as versatile as most of us would like them to be.

While the mandolin is a great tool, it won’t work as well as a knife especially when it comes to meat.

Nevertheless, it’s very expedient to have one.

Get it but use it for what it’s originally for – slicing fruits, vegetables, and other more pliable food items.

Ryan Leavitt

Hi my name is Ryan Leavitt a Marine Corps Veteran and currently an over the road trucker (Long Haul). I am no expert chef but am enjoying preparing my own meals on the road and testing all the different knives.