Meat tenderizers (also known as meat mallets) are not a required kitchen tool, but I would seriously recommend them. They provide two important functions in the kitchen. The side with sharp teeth tenderizes tough cuts of meat. This makes them easier to chew and taste more delicious. The flat side pounds out meat, flattening the cuts into a uniform shape. Meat that has a uniform size is easier to cook, especially when it comes to chicken. Many people say you can use ingredients to tenderize meat and common tools like a frying pan to flatten meat. This is true, but neither one of those methods works as well as the meat tenderizer.
There are a few choices when it comes to meat tenderizers. We wanted to know which meat mallet was the best one on the market. We chose three brands and put them to the test, scoring them from 1-5 (where 1 is the worst and 5 is the best). We rated them on Design, Clean Up, Weight Distribution, and Handle. We looked at all of the scores and added in other unique factors to come up with an Overall Score. The one with the highest score became our Pitmaster’s Choice for the Meat Tenderizers category.
Take a look at the table below for an overview of each brand’s score. If you're interested in learning more, you can scroll down to read the full review on each mallet. We have also made it easy to purchase them by clicking on the Amazon link.
Overall Meat Tenderizers Review Scores
Cave Tools Meat Tenderizers Mallet
The flat side of the steak mallet is for flattening food if you’re making rolled or layered recipes. This side is also useful for opening nuts, crushing garlic, and even breaking up hard candy or ice. The handle is non-slip, so you can get a good grip on it, even with greasy hands. A meat tenderizer is basically a hammer, and so it does have some weight to it. I found it heavy enough to do the job but not so heavy as to cause wrist ache.
Like all Cave Tools items, this steak tenderizer comes with access to the their professional recipes online, and comes with a lifetime satisfaction guarantee.
Cuisinart Meat Mallet
The Cuisinart meat mallet is made from stainless steel with a zinc alloy head. (The Amazon website lists this as stainless steel, which is incorrect). It measures approximately 12” x 3” x.1.5”and has a soft grip handle. One face of the meat pounder is flat, actually slightly rounded, and the other has rows of sharp teeth. The head narrows in the middle where it’s attached to the handle. It’s part of their Barrel range, and so will match other Cuisinart items in the same range.
Due to health and safety reasons, tenderizer mallets like this need to be thoroughly cleaned between uses. Ideally, you would put it in the dishwasher after use, and although the Cuisinart website itself says it’s dishwasher safe, there are those who don’t recommend putting zinc alloy items in the dishwasher. I’d say if Cuisinart say it’s safe then go for it, and take it up with them if things go wrong.
OXO Good Grips Meat Hammer
If you have any other Good Grips tools like this meat pounder, they’ll match the design of this one. It does feel a bit light in the hand, but the grip is excellent, even if your hands are greasy or wet. The textured side is used for tenderizing meat, the flat side for pounding and flattening. This flat side of the tenderizer mallet can also be used for breaking nuts, crushing things like garlic, and for breaking ice and hard candy. Just make sure it’s been cleaned if the steak hammer has already been used on raw meat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Meat Tenderizers Dishwasher Safe?
Meat tenderizers are easy to clean. Some brands are certified as manufacturers dishwasher safe. You should always check with the manufacturer before placing the tenderizer in the dishwasher. If it is not dishwasher safe, it is easy to clean with warm, soapy water.
What is a Meat Tenderizer?
Meat tenderizers can refer to two different things. One is the mallet that is used to pound out meat. The second is a powdered enzyme (or another ingredient like beer or pineapple) that is used to break down meat proteins.
How Do You Tenderize Meat Without a Meat Mallet?
Without a meat mallet, you can tenderize or flatten meat but the tool is the easiest and best way to do it. To tenderize meat, you can use an ingredient like pineapple or a powdered tenderizer. To flatten the meat, you can also use a rolling pin or a heavy-bottomed pot covered in plastic wrap.
Why Are There Two Sides to a Meat Tenderizer?
Meat tenderizers have two sides. One is flat - this side is good for pounding out meat so it is nice and thin. The second side has sharp teeth on it. This is used to tenderize meat.
Can You Use A Meat Tenderizer For Foods Other Than Meat?
Meat tenderizers are most commonly used for meat. They tenderize tough steaks and pound out chicken breasts for recipes like Schnitzel. They can also be used for cracking nuts, crushing garlic, or breaking up ice. Before using, make sure it is thoroughly cleaned after using meat. This way, it will not contaminate ready-to-eat foods.