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Last updated: April 13, 2021
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Tough and chewy meat isn’t enjoyable to eat. Meat tenderizers can change a tough cut of meat into one that is both juicy and tender. They do that by breaking down the meat fibers, but it’s hard to achieve good results with a low-quality model. That’s why you need to get the best meat tenderizer to make the task easy and fast.
This is where we want to help as we’ve searched high and low to find the top-quality tenderizers out there. What makes a great meat tenderizer? Well, we closely looked at the material, dimensions, weight, and any extra features it has, along with its overall performance. There are also three main types to choose from, which we look into further. Now, let’s dive deeper and take a closer look at the products and their features so that you can have a clearer picture of what makes a suitable option for your kitchen!
"An outstanding spring-loaded handheld model with 48 razor-sharp blades. It features exceptional sharpness and helps to reduce cooking time.301 stainless steel blades.Double edge sharpness.Compact design."
Here, we see the best Jaccard meat tenderizer, along with being a contender for the best meat tenderizer out there today from any brand. It’s a handheld model that will tenderize the meat by repeatedly puncturing it with the 48 sharp blades. It has a compact design that is easy enough to store and work efficiently.
Why is it special? Any meat tenderizing product needs to have a high level of strength, and that’s exactly what you get here. It’s well-machined, and that allows you to give the meat repeated blows for a high level of performance. The ergonomic design means your hand won’t get cramped up, and the amount of effort required is minimal. It tenderizes the meat very quickly and helps to produce tasty results.
What are the flaws? Many of the tenderizers that have this stamp action can be hard to clean as the meat gets in between the blades. It can be annoying, but as long as you soak the tenderizer immediately after use, then you shouldn’t have much of an issue.
This is an affordable meat tenderizer tool with a stamp action, which is also highly effective. The blades are made from stainless steel with the housing made from durable plastic. It also has 48 blades and is simple and quick use. To keep your fingers away from the blades, the tenderizer comes with a protective case.
What are its best features? There are many reasons why we thought this was the best meat tenderizer tool. The non-slip handle allows you to pound the meat repeatedly and safely. It’s also easy to clean as it’s dishwasher safe. Next, the protective case is a great addition, especially as the blades on this model are extremely sharp. It makes it perfect for not only tenderizing but marinating too.
What could be improved? The meat can get clogged up in between the blades when you’re trying to use it, which can be a little annoying at times. Most of the time, you can keep using it until you’re finished, but sometimes you need to pause to pick pieces out.
As the best mechanical meat tenderizer out there, we have this model. You feed the meat through the device and then turn the handle for tenderized meat. Also, it can slice through thinner cuts of meat or larger cube pieces if you keep running it through. It has clamps to give it stability, and you can get the job done with a minimum amount of fuss.
What do we love it for? Many great features help to make this the best hand crank meat tenderizer. First and foremost, it has an exceptionally high level of build quality, and you won’t have to worry about it breaking. It will be able to minimize any preparation time, and once you’ve finished, the whole unit can be disassembled for simpler cleaning. The results are great, and it will make your meat much more enjoyable.
What were we disappointed with? The plates used for tenderizing are quite close together. This can make it hard to use it with thicker cuts of meat. Also, even though it can be disassembled, cleaning the machine can take quite a while.
This meat hammer features a traditional method of tenderizing. Because it’s made from aluminum, it comes at a weight of only 10.7oz. The hammer is two-sided, with one being grooved and the other having a much smoother surface. It also has a one-year warranty so you can be confident about its build quality.
What do we love it for? The hammer feels comfortable in your hand, and the balance is very good, which results in a minimal amount of arm ache. On top of that, it ranks very highly in terms of usability. That includes the flat side being great at crushing spices, giving it more versatility compared to just having two similar sides. Another great feature is the handle, which has a very high level of grip.
What were we disappointed with? The product description states that it is dishwasher-proof, but it’s not. This can make things a bit more difficult and is especially annoying for those who want to buy it with the dishwasher cleaning method in mind.
Here, we see another great hammer that works perfectly as a steak tenderizer or beef tenderizer. It has a rounded head with pyramid-shaped points on the hammer and an overall weight of 12.7oz. It’s all made from stainless steel, which is going to see it lasting for a long time.
What makes it stand out? This is another hammer that feels great in hand and is ideal for those looking for a little more weight for more effective pounding. The construction is solid throughout, and you feel that this model would be able to take years of punishment. The handle is comfortable to hold and has a loop on its end for simple storage.
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind? While being comfortable to hold, we think the handle could have done with a little more grip. While it works most of the time perfectly, it can be a little difficult to grip if you have anything on your hand, such as meat juices.
XSpecial is another company that has made a very impressive meat tenderizer in the stamp style. This one only weighs 7.2oz but still has 48 ultra-thin blades that are going to consistently pierce the meat. Like other models we’ve seen, it’s made from a mixture of plastic and stainless steel.
What are our favorite features? The build quality on this meat tenderizer is impressive even though it doesn’t weigh quite as much as other models out there. The sharp blades enable it to have a high level of performance and make marinating very easy. We also loved that it’s detachable as cleaning some kitchen tools can be a nightmare, but that’s not the case here.
What could be better? We mentioned that low weight as being a positive, but it may be a contributing factor to its average performance on tougher cuts of meat. Sometimes a high level of effort is needed to get the right results.
This is another spring-loaded meat tenderizer but with a much more vertical design. It comes down to personal likings, but some may prefer this to the other stamp types that we’ve seen because it’s very light. The tool relies on 24 prongs to do the tenderizing for you.
Why are we impressed? The spikes used on this model are heavy-duty and are going to be able to do a great job at tenderizing that meat. The design makes it exceptionally easy to use, and the handle is also very comfortable. It does require handwashing, but it’s relatively straightforward to clean.
What negatives must you be aware of? Due to its vertical design, the surface area of the blades isn’t that large. It means that you need to take a little more time tenderizing than with some other options that we’ve looked at.
The thing that strikes you immediately is the large handle this tenderizer features. It makes it feel larger, but the weight remains fairly low at 8oz. Plastic is used for the majority of the components, and the blades are made from stainless steel.
What do we love it for? This tenderizer can be used for a wide variety of meat types, and the blades can handle the toughest of cuts. That handle is not only comfortable to use but allows you to put plenty of force down onto the meat. Those blades have a good level of penetration, which is due to the high-quality steel that is fairly easy to clean.
What were we disappointed with? While the meat tenderizer is great to use, the overall build quality isn’t quite as high as we see with other models. The plastic used is questionable, so the product doesn’t look sturdy.
This is one of the best meat tenderizer mallets thanks to the traditional style that many people love. Next, the meat mallet is made completely from cast aluminum and has a weight of 9.6oz. It has a double-sided head, which helps to give it a good level of versatility.
What stands out? The cast aluminum used helps to give it a high level of quality without being too heavy. The wide spacing on the spikes also helps to make it very easy to clean, and you’ll have no issues when using it. It’s an excellent tenderizer and one that has a high level of performance.
What cons did we manage to find? It’s worth checking if the dimensions are right for you as the mallet does feel a little small in your hand. That helps to keep the weight down, but we feel as though it could have been a little bigger.
This is the best meat tenderizer hammer for anyone looking for a high level of versatility. That’s because it has four different sides, with the three of them being perfect for tenderizing different meats, and the top side is great for marinating. The tenderizer is made from stainless steel and has a rubber handle.
What are its best features? We loved the versatility of this model as it allows you to be more specific when using different types of meat. There is a good feel throughout your swing, and it’s safe to place it in the dishwasher. The handle also has a high-grip rubber texture, so you don’t have to worry about it slipping off your hands.
What could be improved? While there are many great aspects to love on this tenderizer, the quality of the handle isn’t one of them. We didn’t have an issue, but it has broken for a number of users, so you do have to be a little careful when using it.
Things to Consider
Not all meat tenderizers are the same, with a few different types available. It’s important that you get the one that most closely matches what you’re looking for so that you’re not wasting your hard-earned money. This buying guide is all you need to be able to make the right decision as we’ll be going through all the key features that you need to think about and explain why they are important. You shouldn’t be left without any doubts, but we’ll clear everything up after that with our FAQs if you do have some.
Advantages of using meat tenderizers
There are a few great reasons to use a meat tenderizer, and here, we’ll take a quick look at them.
Taste and texture – The biggest reason to use a meat tenderizer is that it’s going to improve the taste and texture of any meat. It will break down the fibers inside the meat, which allow it to be much more easily chewed without losing any of those juices.
Saving money – The highest-quality cuts of meat are expensive. Using a meat tenderizer will allow you to improve the quality of a cheaper cut of meat vastly. That allows you to save money by avoiding expensive meats.
Saving time – Trying to tenderize via other methods or with a lower quality tenderizer can take a lot of time.
Using a high-quality tool is going to cut down on your preparation time and make cooking a lot easier.
Marinating – As a tenderizer is going to open up the meat, it allows it to be marinated a lot more effectively than untreated cuts of meat. This can end up with them being a whole lot tastier.
How to find the best meat tenderizer tool?
All of the meat tenderizers that we’ve looked at here have a very high quality level, and you can’t go wrong with any of them. That being said, everyone is different, and the best tenderizer for someone else may not be the best suited for you. That’s why it’s a good idea to know which type you require and what features you’re looking for. All you need to do is make a note of each section coming up and check how that relates to what you’re looking for. By the end, you’ll get the complete picture of what is the best meat tenderizer for you.
Type of steak tenderizer
There are three main types of meat tenderizers we’ve seen here.
Handheld – These work like a stamp – when you press down, the blades become exposed and puncture the meat. They are very easy to use and highly effective but can be difficult to clean. A great example here is the Jaccard 48-Blade Meat Tenderizer.
Mallets – Here, we see the traditional method of tenderizing meat. It can require a bit more effort and a solid surface, but the results will be great. The mallets will also be very easy to clean. The KitchenAid Gourmet Meat Tenderizer is a marvelous example of a two-sided hammer.
Hank crank – These can be easier to use but are bulkier and aren’t as versatile. As they create a lot of torque, they are often easier for those who don’t want to stand there repeatedly hitting their meat. The Weston Manual Heavy Duty Tenderizer is a brilliant hand crank that can be attached to the counter.
Size and weight
The handheld meat tenderizer is very compact, which makes it easy to store away. They often don’t weigh too much and are simple to use. On the other hand, a mallet is usually a bit bigger, and it will weigh a little more to be able to get the force required with each strike. Many will have a loop on ends for easy storage. The hand cranks, such as the Weston Manual Heavy Duty Tenderizer, will usually be the bulkiest option available and needs to be clamped on the surface.
It’s important to check where you’re going to store the tenderizer before using it.
These meat tenderizers are going to go through a lot of punishment, and you want them to be made from high-quality materials. The handheld models are usually made with plastic housing and have stainless steel blades that ensure durability and sharpness.
Meat mallets and hammers will often be made from aluminum instead, which is to prevent them from being too heavy. With this type, it’s great if they are made from one solid piece of metal, such as the KitchenAid Gourmet Meat Tenderizer, rather than being in parts. It’s good to look at what other people say about the durability of a particular product beforehand.
Ease of use
The ease of use is an important consideration, and that’s why the stamp type of tenderizers has become so popular. They work brilliantly and take minimal effort as they are spring-loaded. Where they aren’t that great is with their cleaning process as this takes more time.
Mallets require more brute force and effort to get the results you want. Many people still prefer to use this more traditional method. Hand cranks take minimal physical effort, but for cleaning, you will have to disassemble them completely, and this can be somewhat time-consuming.
There are a few ways these tenderizers can be versatile. Firstly, many of the mallets have more than one side, which is good for working on different meat cuts. Some, such as the KitchenAid Gourmet Meat Tenderizer, have flat surfaces that can be great for crushing spices.
The handheld models also work brilliantly at large chunks and allow you to marinate the meat with more intense flavor. You also get the likes of the Weston Manual Heavy Duty Tenderizer hand crack, which is able to slice thinner pieces of meat and larger cube pieces.
What else can be important?
Cleaning can be a vital consideration when it comes to tenderizers. If it’s too difficult or time-consuming, you may just stop using the tool altogether.
Mallets and hammers are usually very easy to clean, and as for the smaller handheld models, it’s important if they are detachable as this will make it easier for you.
You also want to have a solid grip on your tenderizer, and if that’s a potential issue for you, look for one that has a non-slip grip or a textured surface. A final feature can be a hanging hole such as the one on the Rösle Stainless Steel Meat Tenderizer, as this can make storage a lot easier.
The Weston Manual Heavy Duty Tenderizer is the most expensive product on this list at a little over $100 due to it being a more mechanical device. It’s worth it for many people with how well it gets the job done.
This will depend on how you are going to be tenderizing your meat. All mechanical methods work in the same way as you’ll want to give the same attention to all parts of meat and do this on both sides of the cut, especially if it’s a thick piece of meat. For the meat mallets, it’s best to cover it in a material such as wax paper to prevent any mess. The amount of time you tenderize it is up to you, but it’s better to pay more attention to meat’s worst cuts. Whether you are using a mallet or a handheld stamp, it’s important to be safe, and this usually means keeping your non-dominant hand well away from the tool.
There are three common ways of tenderizing meat, and they are mechanical (by using one of these tools), slow cooking, and enzymes.
Collagen and connective tissues are responsible for tough meat. At over 160F, this tissue will slowly start to turn into soft gelatin, but if you cook it too quickly, the meat itself will become dry and tough before the tissue has a chance to soften. Slow cooking means you give a chance for that gelatin to soften while not overcooking the meat.
There are molecules out there that will start to break down the meat and naturally tenderize it. There are many options out there to do this, such as salt, fruit, add an acid, or there are even man-made powders created specifically for tenderizing meat.
Not necessarily. Some of them are, but many aren’t due to the type of plastics used or the handle material used. It’s often better to soak your tool immediately after use. If you want a tenderizer that is definitely dishwasher safe, then it’s a good idea to check the product description and the user reviews. You can also contact the manufacturer to get a clear picture of whether your particular model is dishwasher-friendly or not.
We’ve looked at many great options here, but the one that stood out the most was the Jaccard 48-Blade Meat Tenderizer, as it’s also ideal for marinating meat. Additionally, it has an impressive level of build quality along with its compact size.
As an affordable product, we’ve picked the KLEMOO Meat Tenderizer. It features 48 stainless steel blades and comes with a protective cap.
Whether it’s one of these three or any of the other seven we’ve looked at, you can be assured of getting the best meat tenderizer with this list. As we’ve said, it’s important to know your requirements and get a tenderizer that matches them. When you do, you’ll love being able to have tastier meat than ever before.