Each day presents itself differently. There’re days in a week you’d crave for green veggies. On other days, you’ll want to enjoy a nicely-prepared chicken. With enough tools in your kitchen such as the best meat tenderizers, you will have no fears to ENTERTAIN yourself or friends.
Having the ideal kitchen tool to prepare your meats is one thing. But, how to make use of the tool is quite another. This latter point continues to give many people sleepless nights. But, not anymore!
This article will discuss in detail how you can prepare tender meats. This, the course has to come in handy with the use of the top-rated meat tenderizer.
Before you hit the bottom of this write-up, you’d have learned quite a lot. What is in store for you? Here is a summary of the article:
Table Of Contents
7 Best Meat Tenderizers Chart
I have tried to sort the presentation in a sequence. I at a firstly present very beginning issue like the meaning of meat tenderizer and the history of it. Next, I have given an idea that how does a meat tenderizer work. In this article “Ways of the Tenderizing meat” and “Benefits of using the meat Tenderizer” is a notable factor. I try to give my best efforts on “The Factors To Consider When Buying A Meat Tenderizer.
Let’s start with the first question:
What is a Meat Tenderizer?
It is not hard to know what a meat tenderizer is. From the word ‘tenderize’ alone, you will know the work of a meat tenderizer. So, what is this tool? Where is it used? Who uses it?
A meat tenderizer, meat pounder, or meat mallet is a kitchen tool. Many modern kitchens have the tool whose main work is to tenderize or pound slabs of meat.
Although not all types of meat need to be tenderized, if you are used to eating soft meat, you will tend to crush or pounder each slab.
Quality meat tenderizers have various characteristics. Some are heavy, others have long handled with a storage option, and others have different designs.
The History of a Meat Tenderizer
A meat tenderizer is one of the oldest kitchen tools. The meat mallet was invented in the early 19th century. However, it was until 1961 when meat tenderizing technique was formerly used.
A few years before the invention of a meat pounder, the technique of tenderizing meat was already in place. What many people do not know is initial efforts to tenderize meat involved living animals.
Those who were interested in tenderizing meat had to start early. Preparations included gathering and injecting papain enzyme into an animal’s bloodstream. This enzyme is a product of the papaya fruit.
Many years later, the same enzyme that was initially used to tenderize meat from living animals is still in use. In fact, the white powder meat tenderizer is still the product of a papaya.
Perhaps, Latin America is adversely mentioned when it comes to tenderizing meat. While contemporaries now use different mallets to tenderize their meats, many natives still use papain.
It is said that papain, which is the main ingredient in the papaya juice, is still one of the best ways to tenderize meat. This does not happen in South America alone but also in the whole world.
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How Does a Meat Tenderizer Work?
By now, you know that it is important to tenderize meat. However, it is a good thing to know how a meat tenderizer (tool and powder) soften meat.
It is everyone’s pleasure to eat deliciously soft meat of their choice after a hard day’s work. To achieve this, you must be ready to use the top meat tenderizer.
Although there are several ways to tenderize meat, pounders or mallets that have been designed to do the job are readily available.
A nice tenderizer tool should be heavy at the head. This is an important aspect because you need weight to pound or smash meat to your preferred tenderness.
With a quality mallet, you will place a piece of meat that you want to tenderize on a board or table. Using a mallet, or a tenderizer with needles or blades, make as many holes ay you wish.
If you decide to use a tenderizer with a flat head, you will need to hit the meat severally until your desired shape is achieved. On the other hand, if you are using a meat tenderizer with blades or needles, all you need is to place it on top of the meat. You will then need to punch holes on the meat.
Now that the meat has been beaten or has holes, you can place it on the grill. The holes will allow heat to penetrate through thus allowing the meat to roast or grill evenly.
Many people prefer to add spices to the piece of meat before it is ready. The best way to do this is to sprinkle your spices on the meat. Thanks to the holes, most spices will penetrate inside the meat. As it continues to cook, the moisture inside the meat, together with the spices release the mouth-watering scent.
The other common method of tenderizing meat involves the use of edible acids in the form of powder. More of how this works will be explained under ‘Ways of Tenderizing Meat’ below.
For now, it is important to know that unless you tenderize meat, you are not enjoying it if it is not softened. Tenderizing meat also enables you to crave for delicacies, something you wouldn’t if it was poorly prepared.
Ways Of Tenderizing Meat
Not every cut of meat is tender enough to melt in your mouth. Some meat cuts are naturally tough and inexpensive meat cuts are also tough. But, with the best meat tenderizers, you are sure of achieving the tenderness you desire.
How can you make tough meat tender? What will help you get soft meat? There are many ways of tenderizing tough and inexpensive meat cut before or during cooking. Here are a few ways of making pieces of meat tender:
This involves using a heavy meat mallet or pounder to beat the meat. The meat is placed on a flat smooth place, covered with a plastic wrap and pound in order to break the tough muscles of the meat making it tender. However, the method can be very messy.
Use of Enzymes and Acids
Several fruits that contain enzymes can be used as a tenderizer. These fruits include pawpaw (papaya), kiwi, Asian pear, and pineapple. Including these fruits adds flavor to meat, leaving it juicy and tender.
Enzymes and acids can also be found in powder form. The powder is added to the tough meat and chemically breaks it down thus softening the meat. In other words, the enzymes or acids digest the meat before cooking. These powders are affordable and readily available in the local stores.
Use of Blades or Needle
This is a method that uses a tool with blades or needles that penetrate through the meat cutting tough muscle tissues. The blades or needles create furrows in the meat. This process permits marinades and seasonings to get deeper into the meat cuts. The result is additional ingredients penetrate thus improving the flavor of the meat.
The channels created by needles and blades make cooking faster. In fact, it reduces cooking time by 40 percent.
Cutting/Slicing the Meat Right
There are knives that perform the trick of making the tough meat tender. All meat cuts contain long muscle fiber running along with the meat. If the meat is cut parallel to these fibers, one will end up using a lot of energy while chewing to break these muscles with teeth.
Therefore, slicing the meat across the grain does the trick. The main aim of slicing the meat across the grain is to break the long continuous tough fibers of meat to make them shorter and easy to chew.
Another way of making tough meat tender is by cooking it slowly with low heat for a long time. This allows time for the tough fibers, collagen, and connective tissues to break down in the cooking liquid and separate. This leaves you with soft tender meat. One can use a slow cooker or by covering a dish containing broth and meat with a lid and putting it in an oven.
Use of Salt
This is done by salting tough meat cut heavily and allowing it to sit for an hour or so before cooking. After an hour or so, the salt is rinsed off the meat, dried and cooked.
Salt removes out the moisture from the meat making the meat more juicy and tasty by increasing the concentration of flavors.
Benefits of Using the Best Meat Tenderizer
Do you even ask whether there is any benefit in having a quality meat tenderizer? On every aspect of life, you will be happy when and if you are using the best tool. It is the same case in the kitchen.
Using the meat tenderizer gives you overwhelming benefits. Although there might be a long list of benefits, I have decided to look at the main advantages.
These main benefits of using quality meat tenderizer are not only good for you but also to your family and friends. Here are 5 main benefits of using a premium meat tenderizer:
- Faster Cooking – remember the characteristics of a nice meat tenderizer. With the sharp blades, some numbering to 48, you can expect the tenderizer to create many cuts. The creation of cuts in whatever piece of meat makes it easy for heat to pass through. The result is the meat cooks 50% faster compared to a whole steak that has not been tenderized.
- Even Cooking – this point is close to number one above. However, there is little difference. Usually, a tenderized piece of meat has uniform cuts. Although some meat tenderizers may have blades with different thicknesses, the aim is to create cuts. If you use discretion, you will know that deep and thick cuts should be at the center. At the center is where the mass of meat is thick. With balanced cuts (thin at the ends and thick at the center), you will achieve even-cooking meat. If you apply this method of tenderizing and piercing the meat, you will also solve the issue of under or overcooking the meat.
- Excellent Flavor – are you wondering how a meat tenderizer adds flavor to your meat? Think about this! Perhaps, the best way to tenderize meat is to pierce several holes on the piece of meat. As you cook, you may need to add several spices. Let’s say you want to add salt, lemon juice, pepper, or even rubs. If you do this to a whole piece of meat, you are aware that the flavor will only be on the outside. Tenderizing meat enables spices to percolate thus add the desired spiced flavors to the entire piece.
- More Juicer Meat – yes, your meat gets juicer every time you use the ideal meat tenderizer. Remember that the holes a tenderizer creates on a piece of meat or chicken serve many purposes. We have already talked about using the holes to add spices. Did you also know that the holes help get rid of the bad raw meat odor? Now you know! However, that is not all. As the heat continues to penetrate through the holes, they continue to shrink. As the meat contracts, it folds flavored moisture. This is the reason why after some time, the outer part of the meat tends to be hard. It is different from the inner side, which retains the ideal moisture. In turn, you enjoy a nicely cooked piece that remains moisturized with spices throughout the day.
- Makes Meat Soft – this is undeniable! When you use a nice meat mallet to pound and tenderize meat, you are also making it soft to chew. Among those who benefit a lot are senior citizens, who may not have the energy to crush hard meat and some bones. If the meat is soft, chewing and digesting come easy as well.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Meat Tenderizer
If you are a lover of meat but at times you find it to be tough, dry, and gristly, you should consider buying a meat tenderizer. This kitchen tool is perhaps, the sole reason you will enjoy delicious tender meat.
Before you opt on which meat tenderizer to purchase, there are things that you must put into consideration. Let’s look into the factors to consider.
Most meat tenderizers have a few components in common since they all serve the same purpose. Some have sharp metal blades that perforate the meat. Others use a massive mallet head to crush the meat and break up muscle tissues.
As none is preferable than the other, consumers are advised to try different types to find the one that works best for them. Speaking of the design, you should put in consideration the tenderizing surface and the handle. An excellent meat tenderizer should feel secure in the hand. Consider a nonslip handle grip.
By design, a needle- or a blade- type of meat tenderizer is one of the most dangerous preparation tools found in the kitchen. The best tenderizer should always be user-friendly at all costs.
Some mallet-style mechanical tenderizers are bulky by nature and can cause serious injury to your hands if you are not cautious enough.
Put These few Pointers in Mind When Thinking of Safety:
Retractable blades – One safety attribute to look out for in blade-style tenderizers is retractable blades or needles. Some meat tenderizers have a permanent assemblage of edges that remain unprotected at all times.
As a consumer, you should avoid this. Most common tenderizers have a spring-loaded mechanism in the handle that enables the blades to be pulled back when not in use.
People with children who are always eager to learn out of curiosity should store the meat tenderizer out of reach.
Lock – another safety feature is a locking mechanism on the handle. It gives you the benefit of selecting an open and closed option during use or storage.
Guard – most needle-style meat tenderizers today have a safety guard over the blades. A special plastic cap fits securely over the blade section while the tenderizer is in storage. It prevents any accidental contact with the edges.
The pounding surfaces are not as dangerous as the blades of a needle- style tenderizers are.
Ease of use – a good tenderizer should penetrate the meat using minimal effort. You can only achieve this if the blades or needles are sharp enough. When it comes to ease of use, stainless steel is an excellent source of material. The handle should feel comfortable in hand, and the blade assemblage should cover a lot of surface at each pass.
My view: I recommend models with many blades.
Good tenderizers are easy to clean with a brush and hot soapy water after every use and should be dishwasher safe for maximum sanitation.
Most mallet tenderizers are also dishwasher safe. You should always be keen enough to wash and sanitize appropriately after every use.
Top Rated Meat Tenderizers Mallet
1. Kitchenaid Stainless Steel Meat Tenderizer Black
Tenderize and flatten all types of meat with a classic yet better meat tenderizer from KitchenAid. It is needless to change recipes because the meat is tough.
You will love this meat tenderizer because it is one of the most affordable kitchen tools in the market.
- Made from aluminum for great performance and durability.
- The head has both a flat smooth, for pounding and flattening, and raised surface for use on variety of meats.
- Comfortable soft-grip handle.
- It has a hole in the handle for hanging in storage.
- 11 inches long.
- Either side of the tenderizer is smooth.
- Lightweight thanks to aluminum.
- Strong and durable cabinet.
- Multiple storage options.
- One-year replacement chance.
- Lifetime warranty.
2. Kitchen Basix Dual Sided Meat Tenderizer
This excellent meat tenderizer is made from stainless steel. The material is one of the things that draw many users to it. You cannot experience corrosion or rust.
- Dual-side ability.
- Ideal for any type of meat, whether chicken, lamb, veal, pork, or whole steak.
- Soft rubber handle for an excellent grip.
- Made of commercial grade stainless steel thus rust proof.
- Hole on the handle makes it storage convenient.
3. Checkered Chef Meat Tenderizer
Use it to pound and tenderize steak, beef and poultry. It has solid metal construction and comfortable rubber handle. You will love it because it is dishwasher safe.
- Heavy in pounding especially on tough steaks thus making it tender. It’s designed in a way that the weight of the hammer does the pounding and not the arm.
- Double-sided with a flat side for beating fillets thin and a textured side, which tenderizes steak, and make it soft and juicy.
- Has rubber grip handle, which absorbs pressure and provide comfort to both left hand users and right hand users.
- Its shiny, black non-stick surface protects the metal making cleaning easy. It is also 100% dishwasher friendly.
- Helps you save money. The meat tenderizer can be used to make cheap meat cute tender for a juicy stews and steaks.
- Solid and strong with only one part of aluminum all the way from the mallet head to the handle. This ensures that the mallet is unbreakable and safe such that no part can break off or get damaged during pounding.
4. Stainless Steel Ultra Sharp Needle Meat Tenderizer Machine
It has 48 stainless steel blades sharpened on both sides, with hard texture and does not does not rust.
- The appearance and shape of the meat remain intact. It creates small contours in the meat that allow marinade to get in faster. Use of this meat tenderizer reduces cooking period by about 40% and be able to retain the original flavor.
- Great quality and perfect design. It has 48 stainless steel edges with tough texture, does not rust or corrode and it is long-lasting. These edges can be sharpened on both sides for a perfect performance even after a long use. Its ABS handle is comfortable and easy to grip.
- It is safe with a safety cover and the blades only set up when pressed on the meat and automatically pull back when lifted. When pressed on the meat, the blades pierce the meat thus allowing the marinades to penetrate into the meat rapidly and deeply.
- Easy to clean as it dishwasher safe and can be soaked in warm water with soap for some minutes and then cleaned with a brush.
- The meat tenderizer comes with one-year warranty for any problematic issue. The Ccfoud store is devoted to address any issue with the product. Note: Kindly confirm Ccfoud as the only legal store of Ccfoud Brand in Amazon to avoid counterfeit and substandard products.
5. Spring Chef Meat Tenderizer, Heavy Duty Hammer Mallet
Spring Chef Meat Tenderizer is among the best kitchenware I have recently come across. It can do many tasks apart from pounding the meat. You need to buy it because it does more than flattening meat.
- Helps to cook food 50% faster than ordinary tenderizers.
- Enables even cooking of meat.
- Makes yummy chicken wings, which have a uniform thickness.
- Recommended for people with arthritis because it is light at the handle but heavy on the blade.
- It does more than tendering – use either side to flatten or tenderize the meat, and at the same time crush nuts, garlic, and ice cubes.
- Made from solid construction that contains chrome plating.
- Comfortable wash using hot water to kill bacteria.
6. Jaccard Supertendermatic 48 Blade Tenderizer
With double-edged sharpness, this is everything you need as a professional chef or for people with home cooking zeal.
- Known for cutting cooking time up to 40%.
- Penetrating knives build with the ability to minimize shrinkage in the meat thus making the meat tasty and juicer.
- Comes with double-edged knife that cuts meat fibers that are responsible for making meat tough.
- Provides a suitable channel for the meat to absorb marinade to be absorbed. It does this by an ingenious creation of small channels on the meat.
- Made from ABS plastic (white).
- The tool measures 5.5/8” by 4.1/8”.
7. Norpro Grip- EZ Stainless Steel Meat Pounder
Norpro Grip-EZ Stainless Steel Meat Pounder is a cutting-edge meat tenderizer. This kitchenware will help you do a perfect job in pounding chicken, meat, and even vegetables into uniform thickness. One of the reasons why you should love it is it is a master in cooking meat evenly.
- Ability to uniformly pound meat into small pieces thus making even cooking a reality.
- For proper control and force, the tenderizer takes a vertical shape. This is the ideal shape for meat tenderizing.
- Small size that offers easy maneuverability.
- The tenderizer is heavy enough to be able to flatten whatever size and type of meat.
- Stainless steel is put over the iron, which prevents rusting.
- Measures 4.8” x 3.3” x 3.3” / 12 cm by 8 cm by 8 cm.
- Weighs only 28 ounces.
Now you have what you needed in order to choose the best meat tenderizers. Do not forget that if you make a wise decision, you will be happy. But, if you make a haste decision, you will not only be disappointed but also lose your hard-earned money.
Rita C. Donnell (Jennifer) has spent the last 26 years studying and practicing nutrition science. She has used a larger part of this time in improving people’s livelihoods. She has done so by coming up with unquestionable ideas on how to tackle food problems in her community. Readmore