Experienced grill masters know that not every cut of meat is made equal.
Where a properly seared tenderloin will practically melt in your mouth, cooking a flank steak without some SERIOUS tenderizing is just asking for a mouth full of shoe leather.
Did you know that there are cuts of meat that you should tenderize even when they’re not tough, though? Far from just improving the texture, a well-designed meat tenderizer can even out the cooking area of chicken breasts and other poultry, ensuring an even temperature all the way through.
Tenderizing tough cuts of meat can be hard work, though… Unless you equip yourself properly. The Leifheit Pro Line Meat Tenderizer Tool is easily our #1 pick, making quick work of even the toughest cuts of meat with its compact design and 2-sided pounding disk.
What’s more, we’ve put together this review of the 9 best meat tenderizers available today, with examples to fit every need and budget. So when you’re ready to put in a little elbow grease to get the most out of every cut of meat, read on!
Our Top Choice...
Top Reasons to Buy
For the complete product list, please continue reading...
Top 9 Best Meat Tenderizers Reviews
1. Best Overall - Leifheit Pro Line Meat Tenderizer Tool
Comfortable, ergonomic design
Reversible pounding disk
Of all the designs of meat tenderizers available today, we think that this hand-stamp style tool is the most versatile and suitable to all sorts of different people. No matter which way you grip it, it’s comfortable and puts very little stress on your wrists.
With a reversible screw-in disk, Leifheit’s tenderizer offers both a flat side for general use, and a spiked side for particularly tough cuts of meat. It’s equally well suited to crushing garlic for use in marinades, and completely dishwasher safe.
In short, our # 1 pick combines ease of use with fantastic ergonomics and multi-purpose versatility, all in one dishwasher-safe package. While it’s not the heaviest option on our list, its combination of all these great qualities in a reasonably priced package have easily made it our favorite.
2. Runner Up - Norpro Grip-EZ Stainless Steel Meat Pounder
Comfortable, ergonomic design
Stainless steel coating
28 oz weight
Now, this one was a close race indeed!
Similar to our #1 pick, the Norpro boasts an exceptionally comfortable design that’s tailor-made for all sorts of different users. Its slightly longer handle and wider base make it maybe even a little bit easier to use than the Leifheit listed above… But, that comes at the price of having just one flat pounding surface rather than a reversible spiked surface.
About a quarter pound heavier than our #1 pick, it will make short work of just about any cut of meat. Heavy enough for quick work but featuring precise handling as well, it does a fantastic job on all except the toughest cuts of meat. For things like beef shank, you NEED something with teeth to really break up those tough muscle fibers.
What the Norpro lacks in spiked teeth, it more than makes up for with an affordable price. So, if you’re going more for tenderizing chicken and skirt steak rather than the most difficult cuts of meat to work with, we highly recommend this tenderizer.
3. Premium Choice - Wusthof Gourmet Meat Tenderizer
Flat surface can be used as a weight for faster grilling
Completely dishwasher safe
Nearly 3 pounds
You may already know how crazy we are about Wusthof knives… But did you know that they make a range of kitchen accessories, all with the same crazy attention to detail of their knives?
This gourmet meat tenderizer is a fantastic example of how dedicated Wusthof is to making only the highest quality kitchen equipment. Is it expensive? You betcha! But is it worth it, too? Without a doubt.
No other tenderizer on our list is as easy to use as this one from Wusthof. You may be able to tell just from looking at its totally different design that this tenderizer is made for heavy duty work.
Indeed, Wusthof tools are popular in professional kitchens — where they may be tenderizing hundreds of pounds of meat in a day. This calls for maximum efficiency, and Wusthof delivers!
Weighing nearly 3 pounds, each one of these stainless steel forged meat tenderizers takes A WHOLE DAY to manufacture. They’re perfectly flat and immaculately balanced, making quick work of even the toughest cuts of meat.
4. Best Value - OXO Good Grips Meat Tenderizer
Two-sided pounding surfaces
Angled head for easier pounding
OXO is a well-known name in bargain-priced cookware, and their meat tenderizer doesn’t disappoint!
Designed in a classic “claw hammer” style, it definitely isn’t as easy on the wrists and hands as our previous picks — but what it lacks in ease of use, it more than makes up for in versatility and value.
Equipped with both a flat and a toothed side, it’s suitable for every cut of meat that you might want to tenderize. Soft, non-slip grips make it easy to hold onto as well as completely dishwasher safe.
At just over 13 ounces, it’s on the heavier side of tenderizers on our list — but having this weight centered in the head can make it feel unwieldy at times. For the price, though, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better tenderizer.
5. Best Bladed Tenderizer - Jaccard Supertendermatic 48-Blade Tenderizer
48 blades for quick tenderizing
Plastic and stainless steel construction is dishwasher safe
Significantly reduces cooking time
Bladed tenderizers have been a secret weapon of professional chefs for years, now… And Jaccard was one of the early names in the field. By making a meat tenderizer that creates tiny perforations and requires minimal effort, they claim to be able to cut cook time by up to 40%.
Made of plastic and stainless steel, this Jaccard tenderizer’s looks are certainly nothing to write home about. No, this tool is all about function over form: It can completely tenderize even the toughest cuts of meat in no time at all.
So why isn’t this our obvious first choice for a meat tenderizer? Two reasons:
First, it’s a real pain to clean. Even though it’s dishwasher safe, little bits of meat have a terrible habit of getting caught in-between those tiny blades.
But second, it’s almost too much for many smaller cuts of meat. With things like chicken breasts and other poultry, you run a definite risk of overworking the meat… And ending up with chicken pulp instead of a chicken breast.
So, if you’re looking for the fastest, most efficient option at a great price, consider this Jaccard bladed tenderizer.
6. Runner Up for Best Bladed Tenderizer - Norpro 7032 Meat Tenderizer
Spring action mechanism for easy use
24 stainless steel prongs
Ergonomic handle design
Where the Jaccard in the previous review sets the gold standard for bladed meat tenderizers, Norpro has made a fantastic model that combines an easy use handle with a more moderate selection of blades.
24 stainless steel prongs are much more manageable than the 48-blade capacity of our previous review item, eliminating most of the danger of overworking your meats. Just like the Jaccard, it significantly reduces cooking time.
While the plastic and stainless steel construction may be dishwasher safe, the manufacturer recommends hand-washing because of the spring mechanism that controls it… Which, for us, is almost a deal-breaker. If it weren’t for the incredible price and hand-friendly design, we might have had to pass on this one.
In short, if you want the fastest tenderizer available at the most affordable price, go for this one from Norpro. Sure, you’ll need to hand wash it — but that’s not so bad for the value.
7. Best Heavy Duty Tenderizer - Weston Manual Heavy Duty Meat Cuber Tenderizer
31 stainless steel blades
Sturdy, durable construction with C clamps for mounting
Food safe coating
Run steaks through twice to make cubes for stew meat
So, maybe you’ve been looking at the products we’ve reviewed so far and thinking “man, that looks like a lot of work…”? I mean, aren’t there any other options besides hand-held tools? But of course — and that’s where the Weston Manual comes in.
This tenderizer is so darned efficient that if you run a steak or chop through it a second time, it cubes the meat! With a few easy cranks of the handle, you can do away with the whole process of hammering out individual cuts… And get right to the good stuff of grilling.
It’s durably constructed with cast aluminum and stainless steel, and even comes with a one year warranty.
Now, this is a little bit more of an elaborate setup than a simple hand-held tool; but even after breaking it down, the two-piece housing is really quite easy to disassemble and clean. It’s not “throw it in the dishwasher” convenient, but more than makes up for this with how quickly it works through pounds of meat like pork cushions.
Buy this tenderizer if you want the least manual labor, and you’ll be glad that you did.
8. Best Multi-Purpose - REMIHOF Meat Tenderizer and Pounder 4-in-1
Chrome-plated zinc is dishwasher safe
Multipurpose 4-in-1 head
Makes you look powerful and imposing
Looking for a meat tenderizer that can double as a self-defense weapon? Look no further than this 4-way hammer from REMIHOF! With flat, spiked, grooved, and battle axe sides, you’ll be ready for anything that the world can throw at you.
All joking aside, this meat tenderizer really can do just about anything. While it may look like something out of medieval times, the bladed end is perfect for separating bones in whole chickens. Combine that with sides for pounding, tenderizing, and flattening, and you’ve really got a total package meat tenderizer solution.
We only wish that this multipurpose tool had a few more features to make it easy on the hands. With a long handle and heavy head, it’ll put plenty of pressure on your wrists during use… And without a non-slip handle, you’ll have to keep an extra tight grip.
9. Best to Give as a Gift - Marvel Thor Mjolnir Meat Tenderizer
Silicone grip handle
Stainless steel head
Double-sided tenderizing and flattening surfaces
Behold! The power of the gods, right in your very meat tenderizing hands! What grizzled beast of a cut could possibly stand in your way with the strength of lightning behind you?
Do you need a meat tenderizer that gives you the power of a Norse god? Probably not. But if you’re like us, you definitely want one after taking just one look at this super awesome tool.
Perhaps surprisingly for a piece of officially licensed Marvel merchandise, this cool gadget is actually a darned good meat tenderizer. It has a heavy head, double-sided functionality, and a non-slip handle. You’ll need to hand wash it to keep the decorative message looking nice, but that’s to be expected.
With an inscription reading “Whosoever holds this hammer, if they be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor”, this meat tenderizer makes a perfect gift for any lover of Marvel comics or norse mythology.
Any one of the meat tenderizers on this list could be just right for you. By choosing based on your preferred grip style, budget, and desired amount of physical labor, you can end up with the perfect tool for long-term use in your kitchen.
If you want to cook only the tastiest, most tender meats possible, we strongly recommend buying one of these meat tenderizers today. Also consider what butcher’s block or cutting board to use the tenderizer with because if you’re going to tenderize meat, you’ll need a durable platform for the task. The investment you make will more than pay for itself in delicious meals in the future.
Thank you for reading today, and good luck in all of your cooking adventures!
How to Choose the Best Meat Tenderizer?
If you haven’t spent much time working over a tough cut of meat, how can you know what to look for in a meat tenderizer?
Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered! After years of making even the toughest cuts of meat into juicy and delectable finished dishes, we’ve decided on 3 things that make for a really great meat tenderizer:
#1: It’s Gotta Be Comfortable!
No matter what style of meat tenderizer you go for, it absolutely has to be comfortable in your hands. You’ll be putting a fair bit of effort into tenderizing those cuts, so don’t make it harder on your hands than it needs to be!
That’s why we’ve included a variety of styles in this review. You’ll be able to look them over and decide on which one looks right for the size of your hand, or avoid the issue altogether with a hand-cranked machine.
#2: Choose Dishwasher Safe
Tenderizing meat can be messy work. The last thing you’ll want to do after putting in the effort of pounding out a fresh cut is work through a sink full of dishes… So do yourself a favor and go for dishwasher safe tools to make cleanup a breeze.
#3: Higher Price = Less Work
Sure, it might be tempting to get the cheapest meat tenderizer that you can find on a grocery store shelf… But trust us when we say that any money you save, you’ll be paying for with sore wrists and hands.
Simply put, the more expensive models of meat tenderizers cost more because they’re heavier, more efficient, and more ergonomically designed. That’s why we recommend choosing a tenderizer that’s at the top end of your budget if you plan on using it even semi regularly.
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