Getting your meat ready for cooking can take a couple of crucial steps that ensure that it’s easy to chew. There are a lot of products on the market that can help you with this, and most of them involve items that you can place into the meat itself. Meat tenderizers are a bit different, however.
With these, you simply make incisions into the meat, which allow sauces and marinades to travel deeper into the tissue. This creates more flavorful meats in the process, making food taste better. Your cooking time could also shorten since heat will flow throughout the entirety of the meat. Shown below are ten of the best meat tenderizer tool pieces sold online, all of them being useful for cooking chicken, pork, and steaks.
In the end, one of them is announced as the best of the best. To find out which, read further and get ready to have better-tasting food.
The purpose of meat tenderizers is to make it easier for you to apply marinades, and easier for the people eating the food to chew. A tool can do this much easier than the seasoning you may be familiar with that goes by the same name.
Marbling (fat) is separated in the meat, so biting down on your steak will become a lot easier to do. You can use a meat tenderizer for most meat and poultry and it’s particularly suited for meats that are known for being tough and dry, such as turkey.
Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Meat Tenderizers
There are several types of meat tenderizers so familiarize yourself with them all before making your final choice:
This is the most common type of tenderizer and is recommended for all, even when other types of tenderizer are already in possession.
These tenderizers can sometimes be industrial types found in restaurants, although some are good for home use. They’re powerful but may be hard to come clean and contain lots of moving parts.
These tenderizers usually contain a handle that pushes out a needle on the end that touches the meat.
When the needles are released, they travel back into the holding area inside the handle. They’re great for tough meats like steak and poultry.
Best Meat Tenderizers:
1. Jaccard 48-Blade Meat TenderizerView at Amazon
The Jaccard is the best meat tenderizer for people that are worried about the safety aspect of such machines. As you can see in photos of a meat tenderizer’s product description, some of them may appear to be a bit hazardous. The pointy blades have a lot to do with this.
However, don’t be intimidated. There is a safety feature placed into the Jaccard that will keep your hands free of the blades at all times.
Consumers liked the safety features of the Jaccard, along with its numerous blades (there is 48 total) that shorten the time spent on making incisions.
If you want a tenderizer that’s safe to hold but don’t mind cleaning it by hand, this brand is high on your likely-to-purchase list.
- When you ready yourself to press into the meat, only then will the blades open up for cutting.
- And every time you let off the pressure on the device from your hands, it’ll automatically go back into the handle.
- The chances of you accidentally cutting yourself are reduced in this manner.
- Feels comfortable in the hand; ergonomic
- A cover prevents the sharp edges from being exposed when the tenderizer isn’t being used
- Each edges produces 48 punctures into the meat to a depth of 1 inch deep
- Parts are interchangeable so each blade can easily be replaced on its own
- Takes a long time to get clean due to meat sticking to the blades
2. OXO Good Grips Meat TenderizerView at Amazon
The OXO Good Grips is the best meat tenderizer hammer for grip. Unlike other hammers of the same caliber, this one will stay in your hands during the entire session that you spend tenderizing meat.
The biggest compliment that users have for the OXO is its grip and overall ease of handling. You’ll have to wash it by hand, so don’t try putting it in your dishwasher.
Some people learned the hard way when doing this after the outer layer of aluminum began to tarnish. If you don’t think this will bother you, give the OXO a shot.
- Even with sweaty palms, it’ll remain easy for you to hold.
- It’s slightly weighted around this area, though doesn’t contain a significantly uneven weight distribution for most to notice.
- The solid grip makes holding the weighted handle much easier
- Not much exertion is needed to press the blades into the meat
- The handle is designed to minimize the risk of slipping
- The aluminum will tarnish if cleaned inside of a dishwasher
3. Checkered Chef Hammer for Tenderizing SteakView at Amazon
The Checkered Chef is the best mechanical meat tenderizer, owed in part to its fantastic design. Holding it is nothing like clinging to a hammer to hit a nail. The design isn’t too heavy but not light to the point of feeling cheap.
For the people that tried out the Checkered Chef, the positives outweighed the negatives. Be careful not to drop this, as it could easily dent and scratch. And again, never place it inside a dishwasher.
- It has even weight distribution, so your hands won’t feel exhausted after only a few hits of the meat that you’re tenderizing.
- For people that aren’t accustomed to tenderizing meat in this manner, the Checkered Chef is highly recommended.
- Good weight distribution; will never tire out the hands
- Stays in the hands, even when wet
- The fast and safe cutting action
- Easy to dent and chip the surface of the handle
4. Spring Chef Meat Tenderizer, Heavy-Duty HammerView at Amazon
The Spring Chef Meat Tenderizer is another hammer type with powerful claws at the tip that won’t rip into the meat.
Sometimes, meat tenderizer hammers have a tendency to scratch and “tear” the meat instead of actually tenderizing it. But here, the meat will always come out as you would expect it, which is punctured and easier for you to work in your marinades.
The consensus on the Spring Chef Tenderizer was that it’s useful so long as too much force isn’t applied when hammering. Meats will taste and cook better/faster, and washing is easy to do provided that the hammer has time to soak in soapy water.
- The metal meat tenderizer hammer featured on this tool is dense, and won’t tarnish when you’re ready to wash.
- You’ll have it around for a long time, no doubt. It’s also low in noise pollution, so you won’t wake up the neighbors if you stay in an apartment with paper-thin walls.
- Has a thick rubber handle that’s suitable for people with sweaty palms
- Both hammers fitted on the tool won’t scratch or peel
- Not too noisy to the ears
- The hammer portion of the tenderizer could come off over time, especially if used with excessive force
5. Weston Manual Heavy Duty Meat Cuber TenderizerView at Amazon
The Weston Manual is a heavy-duty meat tenderizer that can penetrate even the toughest portions of beef. Even some briskets could come out easier to chew, a piece that’s known for being the toughest part of the cow.
Most found that tenderizing with this product was great, although some people didn’t like how the machine jammed at random times. When this happens, you’ll have to reverse the process and start over on the meat that was stuck inside.
And as you may have assumed if you say photos of the product, cleaning can take a long time to do. But it remains a great product for any kitchen, and will certainly last a lot longer than most tenderizing hammers.
- Features-wise, this tenderizer is well-suited for people that was something more mechanical, instead of manual.
- You can place it in an upright position and clamp it against your working shelf.
- And when you’re done, feel free to take it apart to clean easier.
- Stands upright on its own but can also be reinforced with included clamps
- Tenderizing combs are made of steel; no flaking or tarnishing to worry about
- Can be completely disassembled when it’s time to clean out the inside
- Jamming may occur at the bottom where the meat exits the machine, depending on the meat’s thickness
6. ZXZ Meat Tenderizer, 48 Stainless Steel Sharp Needle BladeView at Amazon
The ZXZ Meat Tenderizer is great for people that like making precise incisions in their meat. Sometimes, this can be a difficult thing to accomplish with ordinary meat tenderizers. But here, you’ll be able to mark off where you want your cuts to be, with good accuracy.
Most consumers didn’t find fault with anything featured on the ZXZ. Cleaning could take a while, but that’s the same as most meat tenderizers.
Fat may stick to the needles, so make sure that the faucet on your sink has sufficient pressure to knock all the little pieces of meat off.
- The needles housed on the device are situated at good cutting points and will retract back into the shaft when you move your hand back from the meat.
- As a safety mechanism, this is important, particularly for people that aren’t used to tenderizing meat in this manner.
- The needles will automatically pull back into the handle portion after injecting; good safety mechanism
- Doesn’t rust when exposed to moisture or humidity
- The holes allow for shorter marinating since the marinade can absorb into the meat faster
- Difficult to clean out all the bits of meat and fat after the use
7. KitchenAid Textured Aluminum Meat TenderizerView at Amazon
The KitchenAid is a high-quality tenderizer that’s recommended for all, but especially for people that don’t want to spend a lot of time cleaning it after the work is done.
Some consumers were confused by the marketing of this meat tenderizer. On the packaging, the product is listed as being dishwasher safe. However, this isn’t the case. Don’t place it in your dishwasher; doing so could tarnish the exterior, just like more hammers.
- This KitchenAid meat tenderizer excels at being easy to handle.
- It’s not very heavy, weighing approximately 10 ounces.
- Handling is good for people with small hands as well, so more force will be applied to the meat that you’re working on.
- Unlike a lot of other mallets, cleaning it is very easy (debris doesn’t cling to the edges)
- Not much exertion is required to tenderize, thanks to its 10-ounce weight
- The handle isn’t too big; perfect for all hand sizes
- Unlike what is listed on the label, the utensil is not dishwasher safe
8. Norpro Meat Tenderizer, PRO-BX As ShownView at Amazon
The Norpro is a bladed meat tenderizer, recommended for people that are working primarily with poultry. If you want your chicken or turkey meat to come out in an easier-to-chew form, this is the product that you should try out first.
Be careful with the nail prongs, they can a little sharp. If you’re worried about cutting yourself with this tool, consider using a protective glove of some sort. This won’t likely happen, so long as you’re paying attention to what you’re doing.
- The handle has a spring-loading mechanism.
- Every time you push into the meat, the blades will come out then.
- After you’re done, only then will they move back into the chamber.
- You must use the tenderizer in a vertical position, which keeps your hands and wrists from tiring out too quickly.
- Since the device is used with the handle facing in a vertical position, not a pain on the wrists when operating
- The white handle spring makes it easy to find small bits of meat when hand cleaning
- The pins won’t tear frail poultry
- The nail prongs are pointy and sharp but the item is lightweight.
9. Cave Tools Meat Tenderizer Mallet ToolView at Amazon
The Meat Tenderizer Mallet Tool is very lightweight and easy to hold. When needing a meat tenderizer that can hold up under numerous types of meat, this tool will surely do the job. For this reason, it’s recommended as an all-purpose tenderizer that you’ll have around for a long time.
Cleaning was the biggest complaint about this product. You’ll spend some time trying to figure out the best way to get the steel heads spotless. Consider soaking the entire thing in warm water when you’re done and the debris should fall from the tenderizer.
- Although primarily a beef tenderizer, you should have no issues when using this with other meats.
- It doesn’t have sharp edges here, you won’t have fat pieces spraying all over your kitchen as you work.
- Surprisingly lightweight but tenderizes as fast as its heavier competitors
- No sharp edges equal reduced messy cleanup when the meat is wrapped in plastic
- Safe for dishwashers
- The steelheads contain ridges that could be hard to come clean unless scrubbed after leaving the dishwasher
10. Jaccard 45-Blade Simply Better Meat TenderizerView at Amazon
Last but not least is the Jaccard, a needle meat tenderizer with 45 sharp blades. It’s good for steaks and lamb but won’t leave your meat looking like it’s been shredded in a paper shredder when you’re done tenderizing.
Because this Jaccard product doesn’t weigh much, you might find yourself exerting a bit of force into the meat.
This shouldn’t happen when you first acquire the tenderizer, however. But as the blades dull, the cutting may become a bit more tiring for your hand. But even in this situation, you’ll still have great-tasting meat in the end.
- The needles on this tenderizer are made to slice into meat quickly, making air circulate into the tissue.
- The same applied to your marinades, so watch your time when you’re done with this part if you don’t want to end result to come out too salty.
- Great for steaks parts that are tough
- Allows meat to air out prior to applying marinade
- Lightweight design
- At times, the meat may come out a little too flat
- Because of the way marinades can absorb better when using this tenderizer, food may taste a bit more salty than normal
- Must be thoroughly cleaned, the dishwasher won’t work.
Best Meat Tenderizers FAQ
Are meat tenderizer easy to clean?Most products are actually difficult to clean. That is if you're doing it without allowing it to soak first. As with anything kitchen utensil you use, soaking is a surefire way to eliminate most of the gunk that clings to its surface. The same applies to meat tenderizers.
Should I apply marinades any different?This depends on how thoroughly you tenderize the meat. If you're making deep incisions into whatever meat that you're working on, then it might be a good idea to lower the amount of time it sits in the marinade that you've prepared.
Will meat tenderizers make the food taste different?Leaving off from the previous answer, yes, they can. If you thoroughly tenderize your meat and keep it marinating for a long time, you can expect it to taste a bit more salty than normal. Of course, this is also dependent on how much sodium is in the marinade, to begin with.
What do you think is the best meat tenderizer shown in the list? Of them, the most recommended is the first Jaccard product shown in number 1. It has great handling and is a bit easier to clean than the others.
It also doesn’t corrode or rust when the needles are exposed to water. As long as you keep it dry when you’re cleaning, it’ll last for many years.
However, this isn’t to say that the other tenderizing tools shown are inferior. They’re also very useful, with some containing features that aren’t found on the Jaccard. Buy any of the options now, and it’s guaranteed that you’ll be happy with the choice you make!