Best Meat Tenderizers

Think of a situation – on the weekend; you wish to enjoy steaks full of flavor and tenderness. You cooked it following the chef’s best recipe. Then, once you take a bite on it, your teeth feel like falling off each time. Isn’t it stressful?

Yes, it is. So now let us tell you where you went wrong. You didn’t use the best meat tenderizer while preparing the meat. A meat tenderizer makes the meat taste more flavorful. So, it is the secret to turning brick-like texture into juicy and tender.

Meat tenderizer helps to flatten meat and allows flavors to get into it. Also, it helps to cook your meat quickly. The result you get is easy to chew and more delicious meat. So, there is nothing better than owning the best steak tenderizer.

Since you are here to purchase a meat tenderizer, it is worth knowing – what is a meat tenderizer tool? Where and how is it used? What is the history behind using the tool?

Let’s dive in.

What is a Meat Tenderizer?

Meat tenderizer is also known as the meat pounder or meat mallet, or meat hammer. It is a hand-powered tool used to tenderize slabs of meat while preparing it. Or it can be said that the meat tenderizer tool is a mechanical way to soften the meat.

The tool is used to beat all types of meat to flatten them and make them softer. It makes the meat more porous and reduces the toughness of meat fibers. Thus, the flavors get quickly into the meat, which results in delicious, juicy, and tender meat.

There are three types of meat tenderizers used for tenderizing meat.

  • The first type resembles a mallet or hammer with dual heads.
  • The second type looks like a potato masher with a short handle.
  • The third type is a handheld knife with multiple tiny blades.

We’ll be discussing these three types in the following part of the article. Now let us tell you the history of using a meat tenderizer.

Where Does the Meat Tenderizing Concept Come From?

Mechanical meat tenderizer has been used in the kitchen for a long time. In the early 19th century, a meat mallet was invented. It was in use until 1961 when the first meat tenderizing technique was conceived.

The tenderizing technique already existed a few years before the invention of a meat pounder. The first efforts to tenderize meat involve living animals. People used to inject papain enzyme (product of papaya fruit) into living animals.

The Best Meat Tenderizer Review: Our Top Picks of 2021

Are you ready to end the craving for steak? Then it’s time to invest in the best meat pounder. But, which one is the best meat hammer for you? Here we assembled the top steak tenderizer tool on the market.

Let’s find what these meat tenderizers have to offer and then decide on the perfect one for your needs.

1. Weston Manual Heavy Duty Meat Cuber Tenderizer

 

Our very first addition is a commercial-style hand-cranking meat tenderizer from Weston. The Weston Manual meat tenderizer is excellent for making cube steaks for busy restaurants and steak-loving families.

This cuber tenderizer features a sturdy cast aluminum body with a food-safe plastic coating. It includes 31 stainless steel blades that quickly and effectively tenderize meat. You can use it for up to ¼” thick larger cuts of meat.

Also, these blades soften meat and allow the marinades to enhance the flavors. The machine is designed in a way that prevents jamming. Along with a strong base, the machine also comes with 2-piece C-clamps.

You can mount the machine for strong support. There is a receiver where you can put on meats using the included stainless steel tongs. What’s more? The machine includes a rotating handle to make your job easier.

Above all, it is super easy to clean as some pieces can be quickly taken off. It also takes less space for storage. The best part is the machine cubes the meat after tenderizing it.

What We Liked:

  • Compact, heavy-duty construction
  • Easy to mount with a strong base and C-clamps
  • Sharp blades tenderize meats effectively
  • Easy to clean and store

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Blades tend to fall out once it falls
  • It can be tough to clean manually

2. Jaccard 48-Blade Meat Tenderizer

 

What if you get 48 extra-sharp blades into a small meat tenderizer? Indeed, it is possible if you buy this Jaccard meat tenderizer. No matter what types of meat you want to eat, this handheld meat tenderizer will make it possible.

The 48 sharp double-edged stainless steel blades can turn tough cuts of meat into soft and flavorful. It can penetrate 1.5-inches into the meat without changing its shape.

Also, the blades are securely attached to the holding plate at the bottom. It keeps your hand and fingers safe during the process. Not to mention that the blades effectively create heat channels and thus, reduce cooking time by 40%.

However, the handle of the tenderizer is made with white ABS plastic. It provides you comfortable grip. Even better, it is easy to clean both manually and dishwashing.

What We Liked:

  • Numerous blades for effective result
  • Slim yet razor-sharp stainless steel blades
  • Comfortable ABS-plastic handle
  • Safe and effective for a thick piece of meat

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Somewhat difficult to clean; muscle fibers may be stuck into the blades

3. Norpro Grip-EZ Stainless Steel Meat Pounder

 

Next, we have a hammer-style flat meat tenderizer from Norpro. Unlike the hammer-style tenderizer, Norpro Grip-EZ is easier on the wrists. The meat pounder does a great job at pounding any kind of meat into uniform thickness.

What sets it apart from the rest is its vertical design with a flat base. The meat pounder is heavy enough to flatten meats fast and effectively. Also, it is compact enough that ensures precise maneuverability.

The flat base of the pounder is constructed with mirror-polished stainless steel. Then, it has a Santoprene handle that provides a secure grip even when your hand is wet. One of the reasons why you should buy this is that it helps in cooking meat evenly.

What We Liked:

  • Heavy base
  • Smooth and flat surface for effective meat pounding
  • It fits comfortably on the hand
  • Super easy to clean

What We Didn’t Like:

  • A little heavy, so falling out of hand can cause accidents
  • Not ideal for pounding too many meats

4. K BASIX Meat Tenderizer Tool, Stainless Steel Meat Hammer

 

Quality that lasts for a lifetime – that’s what K Basix believes in. K Basix brings the best meat tenderizer hammer you can get on a budget. The tool comes with a dual side for pounding as well as tenderizing.

The flat side effectively flattens, and the textured side tenderizes any cuts of meat, including lamb, chicken, steak, etc. This pounder is made with commercial-grade stainless steel that will never rust.

Then, it has a soft rubber handle that fits comfortably in hand. There is a hole to hang the tool anywhere in the kitchen. The best part is it’s a versatile tool. You can use the tool for crushing nuts, candies, ice cubes, loosen garlic skin, etc.

What We Liked:

  • Commercial-grade stainless steel meat tenderizer mallet
  • Dual side ability
  • Ergonomic design with excellent grip
  • Easy to store

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Not suitable for larger cuts of meat

5. Ccfoud Meat Tenderizer 48 Stainless Steel Needle Blade Tenderizer

 

Ccfoud brings you an ultra-sharp and easy-to-hold meat tenderizer to make your life easier. It’s a needle-style meat tenderizer that doesn’t change the meat’s shape and helps the marinade penetrate faster. Thus, it helps reducing cooking time by 40%.

The tenderizer includes 48 ultra-sharp stainless steel blades with a sturdy texture. These blades remain sharp for longer without corrosion and rust, even after frequent use.

Then, it has an ABS hand-press handle that brings convenience in holding the tool. The tool is safe to use and carry as the blades automatically retract when you lift it. It comes with a brush for ease of cleaning.

What We Liked:

  • High-quality 48 retractable stainless steel blades
  • Safe to use
  • Create tiny holes for effective marinating and cooking
  • Easy to clean

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Care is required as the blades are incredibly sharp

6. OXO Good Grips Meat Tenderizer

 

OXO is best-known for its well-designed, easy to use and ergonomic kitchen tools. The OXO good grips are no exception. However, it’s a popular hammer-style meat tenderizer among meat lovers.

The meat hammer comes with sturdy and durable one-piece aluminum construction. The design has a double-sided head for optimal tenderizing. Also, it features a flat, smooth side for flattening meats.

Also, there is a textured side for piercing tougher cuts of any meat, including beef, lamb, chicken, etc. This metal meat tenderizer has a nonstick surface. So the meat doesn’t get stuck while tenderizing.

The attraction of the tenderizer is its OXO trademark ultra-grip handle. It is so cushiony that it remains secure even if your hands are wet. Above all, this hammer-style tenderizer is lightweight, which makes it easy to pound. Also, it is easy to clean and store after use.

What We Liked:

  • Heavy one-piece aluminum construction
  • Double-sided head including a flat surface and a textured surface
  • Non-slip handle
  • Easy to use and clean

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Though they claim it as dishwasher-safe, dishwashing can damage the rubberized handle.

 

7. Norpro TENDERIZERPRO-BX Meat Tenderizer

 

Norpro TENDERIZERPRO-BX is a budget meat tenderizer on our list. It helps enhance the texture of meat, allows better marinating, and ensures fast cooking results.

The tool includes 24 stainless steel prongs that easily penetrate into tough meat fibers. Then, it has a long, secure-grip plastic handle. There is a 2” spring-loaded plastic disk for precise tendering control.

When you press the handle downward, the spring-action mechanism allows prongs to pass through the meat. Similarly, it releases the prongs when you take off the pressure.

Thus, you can tenderize each section of meat uniformly. However, the tool is fairly lightweight and easy to use. It is also easy to clean the tenderizer with hands.

What We Liked:

  • Heavy-duty stainless steel prongs
  • Easy to grasp the plastic handle
  • Spring-action mechanism allows for smooth, even performance
  • Lightweight and easy to store

What We Didn’t Like:

  • It requires extra force for larger cuts
  • Manual cleaning requires a special brush

8. RÖSLE Meat Tenderizer

 

RÖSLE’s elegant spatula-style meat tenderizer is German-engineered for optimal performance. It works just like stainless steel meat tenderizer mallet. RÖSLE named it a meat plater as it comes with a wide, flat base.

The tool comes in handy in pounding a wider portion of meat. It features a full 18/10 stainless steel body, including the base and handles. There are sturdy, seamless joints in between the handle and base for added strength.

The food won’t get stuck like most meat mallets. Moreover, the tool is an evenly heavyweight. When you put on extra power, fewer hits are enough to flatten the meat. Above all, it includes a loop at the end of the handle for easy hanging.

What We Liked:

  • Corrosion-resistant stainless steel body
  • Wide and flat base for even pounding
  • Easy to use
  • Dishwasher-safe

What We Didn’t Like:

  • A bit expensive

9. Checkered Chef Meat Tenderizer

 

Checkered chef is the best meat hammer for tenderizing beef, steak, and chicken. It helps you flatten and soften even the larger cuts of meat. The highlight of the tool is its well-balanced weight.

Its perfect weight ensures pounding the toughest cuts of steak. The tool comes with solid metal construction. Also, it includes a double-sided mallet-style head. The flat head allows for pounding meat, while the textured side tenderizes for juicy and tendered meat.

The tool includes a rubberized handle that fits comfortably on both hands. It features a sleek, nonstick coating that makes sure the meat doesn’t get stuck. Above all, you can use the tool for multipurpose use.

What We Liked:

  • Heavy-duty, nonstick metal construction
  • Multifunctional tool
  • Easy to use and hold
  • Easy to clean

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Not so durable as others
  • Black coating falls off over time

10. Spring Chef Meat Tenderizer

 

Spring Chef is an amazing meat hammer that reduces your cooking time and lets you enjoy perfectly cooked meat. Its heavy-duty body does the pounding without tiring your hand. Instead, it let gravity do your job.

The tool features solid aluminum with chrome plating double-sided construction. It has a smooth side to flatten the meat besides a textured side to tenderize the meat.

Unlike others, it comes with a long nonslip, soft-grip handle. The handle is specially designed for people who have arthritis as it absorbs pressure. Last, of all, the tool is highly functional. You can use it to crack seafood shells, candy, ice cubes, and loosen up frozen vegetables.

What We Liked:

  • Solid aluminum construction
  • A nonslip grip handle, great for arthritis sufferers
  • Easy to clean
  • Highly functional

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Not suitable for heavy-duty jobs
  • Somewhat costly

Types of Meat Tenderizers

There are powdered meat tenderizers you can buy from grocery stores to soften the meat. Those powered tenderizers contain special acids and enzymes. So, they often make the meat too soft then you need.

A mechanical meat tenderizer does the best job in this case. It offers better control in terms of soft and tender. However, meat tenderizer comes in three forms as we mentioned earlier.

Mallet meat tenderizer

Mallet tenderizer is made of wood or metal, which looks like a small hammer. It includes a heavy-duty dual-sided metalhead. One side of the metal head has a smooth, flat surface. It is used to hit, crush and soften the meat.

On the other side, it has rows of rigged, pyramid-shaped tenderizers. It is used to making tiny holes in the meat. So the meat becomes marinade-ready. Mallet tenderizer is perfect for small pieces of meat.

But, it is not suitable for thicker cuts of meat like a whole chicken or beef steak. The best meat tenderizer mallet is considered a versatile tool for preparing meat.

Potato Masher-style Meat Tenderizer

This type of tenderizer looks like a potato masher. It comes with a short handle and a large metal face. The metal face can be smooth and flat, which is used to pound, pulverize and soften the meat.

Also, the metal face can be decked with pyramid-shaped tenderizers, just like the mallet tenderizer. It mostly comes in a stainless steel body.

Needle or Blade-style Meat Tenderizer

Needle-style or blade-style tenderizer comes with dozens of needles or blades that are razor-sharp. This type is designed to puncture the meat and cut through the muscle fibers. It is effective at penetrating up to 2-inches of thick meat.

Also, it can cut through the tough parts of the muscle fibers. This heavy meat tenderizer creates small holes that allow the seasoning to penetrate inside the meat. Besides, it helps to reduce the total cook time by 40%.

There is a plastic disk at the bottom of the tenderizer. When you press down, the blades move through the holes. It also has a handle to push down. When you lift the handle, the needles or blades retract back inside the disk.

It means the blades and needles are not exposed. Thus, your hand remains safe. However, the tenderizer is not preferable for thinner cuts of meat. It may tear the meat apart so that it loses its original shape.

While processing extra-thick meats, you need to put on extra pressure. So the blades or needles do not get stuck inside the meat. The disadvantage of using the tenderizer is the cleaning process. You need to be extra careful as there are dozens of needles or blades.

Commercial-style Meat Tenderizer

There is a special-type tenderizer used in busy restaurants or families who love to eat meat. A commercial-style tenderizer is a free-standing unit. It includes meat feeding Shute at the top.

Also, there is a manual crank handle that directs the meat through the tenderizer. It has sharp stainless steel blades. The blades can quickly flatten and tenderize larger meat. However, it is suited for red meat but not effective for chicken.

Factors to Consider When Purchasing A Meat Tenderizer

At times, you may wonder which qualities make meat tenderizers so effective to soften meat. There is no wondering magic in it. A few features make the tool worth considering.

Nonetheless, it can be difficult to buy the best if you don’t know what key details to look for. Here we’ve listed some criteria to look for in a meat tenderizer.

Design

The best meat tenderizer has a practical design; again, some may just be a replica of it. So, you need to be aware of it. Some have a massive mallet head, while others have metal blades. Whatever the design, they all serve the same purpose.

They all aim to pound the meat and break up muscle tissues. However, the best meat tenderizer hammer should be easy to handle. The design of the tenderizer should serve its purpose.

The Blades

When you consider buying a blade-type tenderizer, there will be blades attached to it. So, you need to consider the number of blades. The numbers of blades found in a meat tenderizer are 16, 24, 48, or 56.

It is ideal to buy a meat tenderizer with at least 48 blades to process larger meat pieces. The depth of each cut also needs to consider. Each cut should be 1.5 to 2-inches thick. Then, check what material the blade is made of.

Stainless steel is the preferred material for blades. Since stainless steel meat pounder resists rust so that it lasts longer. Stainless steel is also a good material for mallet-type and potato masher-type meat tenderizers.

Handle

The best meat mallet should feel secure in the hand. The handle can be either horizontal or vertical. Make sure it has ergonomic, non-slip handles. Non-slip handles are easier in hand, and it makes your job faster, easier, and safer.

Maintenance

Maintenance is a must considering the factor of meat tenderizers. The tool gets deep into the meat cuts, so it can quickly become dirty. Since it is used to process food, it must be clean and hygienic. Hence the tool must be easy to clean.

Some meat tenderizers can be cleaned manually, while others are dishwasher-safe. When it requires manual cleaning, make sure the process is easy and safe.

Safety Features

Meat tenderizers are one of the most dangerous tools found in the kitchen. So, it is essential to have the following safety features.

  • Protective guard – Needle-style or blade-style tenderizers include a protective guard over the needles. There is a plastic cap that fits securely over the blades. It prevents any accident touch with the blade edge and allows for safe storage.
  • Lock-In most tenderizers, there is a locking mechanism on the handle. It gives you the ease to open and close the tool during use.
  • Retractable blades – Some meat tenderizers have permanently fixed blades. The blades remain unprotected, which is dangerous for users. Also, there are some meat tenderizers with a spring-loaded mechanism in the handle. It allows pulling back the blades after use. You should opt for this feature.

Benefits of Using the Best Meat Tenderizers

Every meat lovers wish to enjoy deliciously soft meat at least once or twice a week. Whether it is steaks or a whole chicken, having meat on a budget can be a challenge. That’s because naturally tender cuts of meat are pretty expensive.

Luckily, you can tenderize meat at home with the steak or chicken tenderizer tool. All you have to do is to follow the best meat tenderizer recipe. As you know, there are many ways to tenderize meat at home.

Above everything else, the meat tenderizer utensil gives you excellent benefits. Take a look at them;

Cooks faster

The sharp blade, needle, or edge of the tenderizer tends to create many meat cuts. These precise cuts or holes make it easier for heat to penetrate inside. Thus, a whole piece of meat cooks 50% faster compared to the untendered meat.

Even Cooking

As you know, the steak tenderizer tool makes uniform holes or cuts. Mostly the thick cuts are made at the center where the mass of the meat is thick. So, the meat cooks evenly with balanced cuts. A perfectly tenderize meat solves the issue of over or undercooking the meat.

Texture and Excellent Flavor

Tenderizing pierces several holes in the meat. When you add your favorite spices, all these easily penetrate through the meat. In the end, you get well-cooked meat with a nice texture and excellent flavor. But, if you do this in a whole piece of meat, the flavors will remain outside.

Save Money

As mentioned, tenderized pieces of meat tend to be more expensive. Don’t let this reason devoid you from enjoying your favorite steak. Now you can buy an inexpensive piece of meat from the butcher.

With the best meat tenderizer hammer or blade, you can soften any thicker piece of meat. It saves a lot of your money on serving meat.

The Ease of Digestion

Meat tenderizer gives a soft texture to the piece of meat. Due to the process, the meat loses its fibrous texture and becomes easy to chew. It’s a great thing if you are often prone to digestion. The tenderized meat becomes easy to digest. Now the senior citizens in your family can enjoy steak as well.

How Does a Meat Tenderizer Work?

Basically, meat is made of muscles, and each cut of meat consists of muscle fibers. Tenderizing breaks the long strands of muscle as well as softens the meat. However, tenderizing can be done either through physical means like pounding or through chemical reactions.

Chemical tenderizer like powdered tenderizer contains two ingredients such as papain and bromelain. Both are enzymes that attack the muscle fibers and collagen webs. Thus, it softens the meat and makes it much tender.

But how does a mechanical meat tenderizer work? A meat tenderizer tool can be a stainless steel meat pounder or the best meat mallet. Or, it can be a needle-style tenderizer. Whichever type you use, it should be heavy at the head.

A heavy meat tenderizer is essential to pound the meat to your preferred tenderness. When you use a flat head tenderizer, you’ll need to pound it severally. Otherwise, if you use a needle or blade-style meat tenderizer, it’ll create holes in the meat.

Now the smashed meat or meat with holes is ready for marinating. Many people prefer to add spices before putting them into the grill. So, you can sprinkle the spices you prefer and place them on the grill.

The holes or beaten meat will allow spices and heat to penetrate inside the meat. Once it starts to cook, the moisture and spices inside the meat release the mouth-watering smell.

What Are the Ways to Tenderize Meat?

The cuts of meat that come from the market do not come like melt-in-your-mouth tender. You need to make some effort to turn tough, chewy meat into soft and tender. By far, you possibly know what extra effort you have to make.

There are multiple ways to tenderize meat, as follows;

  • Mechanical tenderizing using the best meat tenderizer hammer, mallet, etc.
  • Tendering using the powdered meat tenderizer.
  • Using the natural enzymes before cooking. Enzymes are papain from papaya and bromelain from pineapple.
  • Marinating with lemon juice, vinegar, wine, yogurt, or buttermilk.
  • Adding salt into the meat before cooking.

Conclusion

Evidently, a meat tenderizer makes any piece of meat delicious and juicier. Now you don’t have to eat those hard, chewy steaks anymore. We’ve assembled a list of the best meat tenderizer, so you don’t have to worry about finding out.

All you have to do is sort out the features and consider one according to your needs.  Whichever you pick, make sure all sorts of meat dishes can be made with it. So we can be sure that you can now make delicious, tender steak with ease.

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