With barbecue season coming up you want to find a kitchen tool that gives you the most tender and delicious meat around. Everyone loves a barbecue, but there is a difference between a good barbecue and a great one. For seasoned pros, the best meat tenderizers are the surest way to make your cookout the talk of the town (and maybe beyond), and ensures everyone will leave fully stuffed and satisfied.
A meat tenderizer is excellent for making beef jerky comparable with what you’ll find at the store, and if you like to marinate your meat before serving it up, it enhances the flavor like you never thought possible. It can also speed up the cooking time so you can serve everything piping hot at the same time and transforms your cuts of chicken, beef, pork, and more so much it melts in your mouth.
Anybody who’s serious about grilling needs a top-quality meat tenderizer in their life, and even if you’re not serious about grilling, having a meat tenderizer might change your mind.
The Best Meat Tenderizer
Going the more traditional smashy route, the OXO SoftWorks Meat Tenderizer is perhaps the best mallet tenderizer available. It has a soft, contoured handle to ensure comfort when battling the toughest meats around, and the non-slip design ensures it won’t fly out of your hand, through the window, and crack your neighbor on the skull. Phew.
The dual sides allow you to both pound and tenderize, making it easy to switch between if you get bored, while the heavy duty construction ensures effectiveness. However, while other hammer-style tenderizers make the most of steel or aluminum heads, this plastic one feels a little unreliable and almost if you can’t get too much heft behind it.
Smooth side for pounding
Textured side for tenderizing
- Weight14.4 ounces
Plastic hammerhead feels a little unreliable
If you’re after a no-nonsense meat mallet, the KitchenAid Textured Aluminum Meat Tenderizer can give you just that. It doesn’t come with any fancy features and requires no bells nor whistles to convince you to buy it. Instead, all it needs to do is showcase how effective it is.
On one side, you’ll get a textured surface, on the other, a flat one for even pounding, but the tenderizing teeth are a little on the small end, so it might demand more effort to achieve your desired tenderness. The mallet balanced but still lightweight so there’s little chance of fatigue (unless you’re tenderizing a whole meat section of the grocery store), while the handle is comfortable and simple to grip.
Tool enclosed in a soft grip rubber material for comfort
Textured surface is to enable optimum use on a variety of surfaces
Construction material makes it lightweight but tough
- Weight10.4 ounces
Hang or place in drawer for storage
Easy to clean
Small tenderizing teeth demand more effort
The Jaccard Supertendermatic Tenderizer is a superb product and for many, it is the go-to option for meat tenderizing. It boasts 48 blades, an ergonomic design, and reliable mechanisms to ensure high quality performance whether you want to tenderizer meat, chicken, pork, or even crocodile.
The stainless steel blades ensure durability, and the simple to use design means even novice cooks will find it straightforward. However, you cannot disassemble it, which makes it difficult to clean as strands of gristle may get stuck in the blades.
Reduce cooking time by up to 40%
Consists of 48 knives with a stainless steel column
Made with food-grade ABS plastic safety and health
Razor-sharp knives that easily cut through connective tissues
- Weight2 pounds
Stainless steel blades
Tenderizes all quality cuts
Easy to use
Cannot disassemble for cleaning
Sometimes, you just want a product that brings you the most basic functions at the cheapest price, and for the best value around, the Spring Chef Meat Tenderizer is perfect. It does everything more expensive tenderizing mallets do but costs less than $10 for the budget-minded chef that’s somewhere in all of us.
Constructed of aluminum with a chrome plating, it’s not the stainless steel you find with other options, but for casuals, you’ll hardly be able to tell the difference, while the soft handle is one of the easiest on the wrist around. It’s a little heavy, but it’s supposed to be, sand despite this weight, you’ll still find it easy to use.
Rugged and tough appliance easy to handle
Aluminum construction and chrome plating making it anti-rust and lightweight
Soft grip handle for comfort, safety, and convenience
Can also be used to loosen packages of frozen vegetables etc
- BrandSpring Chef
- ModelMeat Tenderizer
- Weight10.4 ounces
Reduces strain on your wrist
Heavy but easy to use
Not as durable as single-piece options
The Weston Manual Heavy Duty Meat Cuber Tenderizer is the only option we could have selected for our premium choice. This is the perfect pick for butchers and people tenderizing swathes of meat at once and would suit and serious kitchen comfortably.
It boasts 31 stainless steel blades which will accept meat up to 1-1/2 inches thick for tenderizing, and to do this, there’s a sturdy crank handle to help you get to work. It is also mountable to keep it from shifting during a big job, and you can take it apart to ensure an easy clean without risking a buildup of bacteria.
Steel combs ensure that the mat is not jammed in the tool
Tough aluminum construction
Compact design allows for easy storage
Very easy to assemble and to dismantle
- Weight9.8 pounds
Disassembles for easy clean up
Compact for simple storage
Stainless steel combs to prevent jamming
Manual operation means it can be labor intensive
A combination of both needle and mallet styler options, the Norpro Meat Tenderizer is quick, convenient, and easy to use making it perfect for kitchen novices and more experienced chefs alike. There are 24 prongs which are thicker than other needle-point products that flatten the mean similar to that of a meat hammer while also improving the texture and enhancing the flavor.
The heavy duty spring ensures longevity and also provide a controlled action so you get consistent flatness throughout the cut and prevent any accidents that could occur as you pound away. The tenderizer isn’t dishwasher safe, though, but it should be simple enough to wash by hand.
Features 24 stainless steel prongs that break down tough meat fibers
Can be easily operated with only one hand
Backed by several decades of continuous improvement and innovation
Heavy-duty spring action system provides all the power for its performance
- Weight6.4 ounces
Thick blades flatten the meat
Enhances flavor when marinating
Not dishwasher safe
In crafting its products, OXO is very mindful of the performance of the details within the product. Well, it is said that the devil is in the details and so there is no compromise with the finer aspects since it is the little things that make all the difference. The OXO Good Grips Easy Clean Bladed Meat Tenderizer enhances the taste and texture of meat and drastically reduces cooking time as a result. With this tenderizer, overnight marinating is a thing of the past. Its 50 sharp teeth create tiny holes that form the channels for spices and juices to get soaked into the meat or flesh quickly and easily.
The gadget makes the meat to retain its natural juices and also promotes even cooking. The contoured shape together with the non-slip grip makes handling very easy and comfortable. The base is clear so you can see the indent left in the meat to tender it uniformly. The blades are covered when the device locks so as to achieve safe and compact storage. This tenderizer offers an extra helping hand and delivers just exactly what you would want to taste and eat. It is sharp, durable, quality, safe and very convenient to use.
50 sharp teeth to create tiny holes in the meat
Blades are covered when the device locks
Durable, quality, safe and very convenient to use
Contoured shape with non-slip grip makes handling very easy
- Weight4 ounces
With 56 blades, the Koncle Professional Needle Meat Tenderizers is the most plentiful option we’ve selected. These blades are stainless steel to guarantee excellent quality and performance, while the sturdy construction delivers almost unrivaled satisfaction from a needle-style tenderizer.
The lockable parts keep it safe, and it demands hardly any pressure compared to tenderizers of a similar style. The compact design also makes it easy to store, and you’ll also find it’s easy to clean to prevent a buildup of bacteria.
- Weight8.8 ounces
Suitable for tenderizing and marinating
Speeds up tenderizing and pounding process
Easy to clean
Blades are very sharp
Easy on the wrist and long-lasting, the XSpecial Meat Tenderizer Tool is one of our favorite options in the whole selection. It boasts 48 stainless steel blades that are sharp, but not too sharp, to deliver optimal tenderizing without pulverizing the meat and losing that precious flavor.
It comes with a protective cover crucial for storage and prevents the blades dulling when not in use while also keeping your hand safe as you rifle through the utensil drawer. You can take it apart, making it easy to clean and prevent a buildup of meat residue, and it’s suitable for beef, pork and chicken, among other options if you want to experiment with more exotic meats.
48 stainless steel blades
Protective cover for storage
- Weight9.8 ounces
Doesn’t pulverize the meat
Safe to use
Water may get trapped in casing when washing
The KLEMOO Meat Tenderizer Tool comes with a remarkable 48 blades which are ultra sharp to make your meat the most tender it has ever been and will be. These blades make it a marvel for reducing cooking time while also increasing its ability to soak up marinade so you’re transported to a different world of flavors in your dining room.
It’s suitable for both dishwasher and hand washing, while the protective case keeps the blades sharp when in storage. As for using it, the top casing is ergonomic to ensure it minimizes wrist strain to keep you tenderizing like the best of us.
48 ultra-sharp blades
Reduces cooking time
Easy to control
- Weight10.4 ounces
Dishwasher and hand washing safe
Speeds up marinade time
Sharp blades make it too easy to cut yourself
Our final pick of the day is the Norpro Grip-EZ Tenderizer/Pounder comes with changeable heads and a comfortable design for a satisfactory experience as you prepare dinner.
One head is the tenderizer, while the other is the pounder and both allow the meat to cook more evenly while also allowing the flavor to explode as soon as you take your first bite. These heads are well-weighted, which makes it easy to use while still offering enough weight to be effective.
Allows meat to cook more evenly
- Model NOR-7035
- Weight1.25 pounds
Easy to use
Simple storage options
Versatile application for a variety of meats
A little expensive for what it is
Meat Tenderizer Buying Guide & FAQ
Blade Style - Tenderizer blade styles are in two forms; either needle or blade. The needle style may have the advantage of infusing much-required spices and other condiments deep into the meat. The blade-style slices the meat so thinly it is flattened to make for easier cooking.
Handle - Good grip and materials should be used in the handle. It must be non-toxic, safe and healthy in its construction which is why the preferred tenderizers have food grade rubber material as their cover.
Protective Guards - This safety guard consists of a special plastic that fits over the blade section when stored away; this is a safety measure to avoid accidental cuts when not in use. It also protects the device from contamination and germs. You need to look out for this if safety is a major concern.
Types Of Mean Tenderizers
Whichever type you prefer, tenderizers will always make you meat softer, tastier and will require less time to cook. Here are two types of tenderizers.
Mallet Style - The mallet-style tenderizer simply uses a heavy hammer-like tool that is used to pound the meat until the connecting tissues of the meat are sufficiently broken. This method has the disadvantage of creating a messy cooking environment.
Needle Style - The needle style consists of an array of tiny needles that are made to penetrate the meat and break down the tough connecting tissues and at the same time - convey other required spices and seasonings into the meat.
Meat Tenderizer FAQ
Q: What is a meat tenderizer?
A: A tenderizer is a device or tool that is used to break down the tough connecting tissues in meat that makes it hard, thereby softening the meat for easier cooking and better taste.
Q: How do you use a meat tenderizer?
A: Simply subject the meat to the tenderizer tool, operate it and watch the meat soften with time.