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When it comes to cooking perfect pieces of meat, a lot of ink is spilled debating the best skillet to use and what cut of meat is the most flavorful. But you can go a long way in making perfectly tender cuts of meat by simply investing in the best meat tenderizers, also known as meat mallets.
These mallets typically have sharp dimples on the ends and hammer-length handles. Hitting the mallet against cuts of beef or chicken allows you to quickly and effectively soften and tenderize meat, resulting in delicious cuts of meat when it’s time to eat. Since premium cuts of meat come at, well, a premium, a meat mallet is a great way to improve cheaper cuts of beef and make them more tender.
Besides meat mallets, there are a few other ways to tenderize meat. One option is tenderizer powder, which has enzymes that help break down the proteins in meat. However, if you’re trying to maintain a low sodium diet, the presence of salt in meat tenderizers can be problematic, and there may be other ingredients that can interact with allergies.
Another option is a bladed meat tenderizer, which has small pointed blades that move up and down to soften the meat. The small parts of these kinds of meat tenderizers can potentially make them harder to clean, however. That’s why of the common types of meat tenderizers, a meat mallet is arguably the most versatile option and something that’s worth having in any kitchen. These are the best meat tenderizers for your kitchen.
1. OXO Meat Tenderizer
This option from OXO has a wide handle with comfortable rubber grips on the sides, making it easy to use. It’s made from aluminum with a non-stick coating, and it’s designed to be dishwasher safe. The double-headed meat tenderizer has a spiky end and a smooth one for tenderizing and pounding. The ring at the bottom of the handle can be used to hang this tenderizer from hooks if desired.
Pros: Comfortable ergonomic grip. Easy to clean. Made to be dishwasher safe.
Cons: Bulky size may make it hard to store.
2. Westmark Germany Double-Sided Meat Tenderizer
If you’re looking for a high quality, no-frills option, then look no further than this sturdy meat tenderizer from Westmark. It’s made from lightweight cast aluminum and has a double-sided design. While the other options on this list have a textured side and a smooth side, this option has two spiky ends. One end has 16 points and the other has 36, allowing you to choose how tender you want the meat to be.
Pros: Sturdy made-in-Germany option. Double-ended mallet with different size points on either end for more control.
Cons: Small size can be hard to handle and more time consuming to use.
3. Spring Chef Meat Tenderizer
This meat mallet has a modern look thanks to its shiny chrome finish, and it has several features that make it a versatile option for the kitchen. The double-headed mallet has one spiky and one smooth end for tenderizing and pounding. The metal handle has a rubberized cover that makes it more comfortable to hold, and the base of the handle has a large slot, making it easy to hang from kitchen hooks if desired.
Pros: Comfortable handle for sustained use. A shiny chrome finish gives it an eye-catching look.
Cons: While it’s technically listed as dishwasher safe, it may not be ideal.