12 Best Steak Tenderizers (Review) In 2021
- The Best Steak Tenderizer
- 1. TenderPro Meat Tenderizer Tool with Stainless Steel Needle Blades
- 2. KITCHENDAO Stainless Steel Deluxe Meat Tenderizer Tool
- 3. KitchenAid Gourmet Meat & Steak Tenderizer
- 4. Killer's Instinct Outdoors Commercial Meat Tenderizer
- 5. Ccfoud Stainless Steel Ultra Sharp Steak Tenderizer
- 6. Aliglow Dual-Sided Meat Tenderizer Mallet
- 7. Steak Ninja Meat Tenderizer
- 8. Jaccard 48-Blade Meat Tenderizer
- 9. Checkered Chef Meat Tenderizer Hammer
- 10. AOMGD 2-Pack Meat Tenderizer Tools
- 11. JY COOKMENT Ultra Sharp Meat Tenderizer
- 12. MERCIER Professional Needle Meat Tenderizer
Tenderizing meat can be a great way to achieve juicy steaks and with a little bit of elbow grease, a manual tenderizer will do exactly that. Things like meat mallets and marinades can help to turn a tough cut of meat into a piece that is soft as butter. What basting brushes do to a turkey, tenderizers do with a steak. With each cut of meat being different, due to the collagen and muscle fibers present, tenderizing can break down and damage the fibers getting your meat ready to introduce to your best frying pan, oven, slow cooker, or barbeque for cooking to you and your guests' liking.
Whilst you probably know already the advantages of tenderizing even tougher cuts of meat, we have highlighted below that the benefits of tenderizing meat far outweigh the job of not tenderizing cuts of meat at all. Using a multitude of different tools designed for softening tough cuts of beef, we came up with some great reviews on how good - or bad the 12 tenderizers that we picked are, and how suitable they are for you.
The Unclutterer team, or most of us, adore succulent and delicious steak so we knew this was going to be a great way to review what's out there for both professionals and home chefs. And, tenderizers aren't just limited to converting your steak to a zesty juicy bit of meat, they work brilliantly on chicken, fish, venison, and poultry too.
Take a look at our line up below if you're looking for the best new tool for your kitchen.
The Best Steak Tenderizer
Stainless steel blades
Our best choice meat tenderizer is the TenderPro Tool with Stainless Steel Needle Blades. Rather than using a meat mallet or hammer, this won’t flatten your beef but will help subtly pierce the surface you work on so that it can absorb its own juices as well as marinades which is much better than juices slipping around over the meat. Although this is made with stainless steel blades, or prongs, and easy to clean, you might find that you need a brush to get between them and the protective plate. Just use hot soapy water for the best clean. We think this is a must-have for the kitchen.
Easy to store
Strong & hard wearing
May want to soak to clean
Might prefer more heavy duty
48 stainless steel prongs
The KITCHENDAO manufacturers say that the KITCHENDAO Stainless Steel Deluxe Meat Tenderizer Tool is best meat tenderizing tool for the kitchen. The stainless steel prongs penetrate the meat beautifully, giving access to juices and marinades for faster cooking times and juicer steaks. We like the way this is designed as it’s easy to ‘grab’ with one hand while holding the meat or fish with the other so it’s user-friendly. The prong blade section is detachable for cleaning too so it just pops in the dishwasher. This tool also comes with a perspex cover for when it’s stored away. It also has a protective cover and a safety lock.
Easy to use
Hard to clean
Easy to ‘overwork’ food
Blades aren’t for deep cuts
If you aren’t already aware of looking out for good brands, KitchenAid has been an expert manufacturer of kitchen tools and appliances for years and their gourmet meat and steak tenderizer is no exception to the quality we have come to expect. The KitchenAid Gourmet Meat & Steak Tenderizer is designed to be a mallet with a textured tenderizer on one side and the opposite side is smooth for pounding meat. It’s also good for crushing herbs. We thought that the hole for hanging is ideal as you have that option instead of storing it in a drawer amongst your other pieces. It’s heavy-duty and a great take on a traditional timber mallet as it doesn’t hold bacteria and is easily cleaned with hot soapy water and a brush. We didn’t think it was too pricey but delivery can be as its quite a weighty item.
Superb % of positive reviews
Easy to hand clean
Not dishwasher safe
Quite expensive with delivery
Plastic w. metal mechanics
Our premium pick was the Killer’s Instinct Outdoors Commercial Meat Tenderizer. If you have a worktop with a little space underneath, it will clamp on for keeping it sturdy while you push through up to a half-inch thick piece of meat or fish. This is one serious bit of kit for under $40 although we don’t think it would be great for cooks who prefer to be in charge of how deep the prongs dig into the meat. There is a hefty delivery charge so do be aware that this could almost double the price, though we think it’s a great investment. Can be used for outdoor cooking as well as keeping handy in the kitchen. The white plastic is more of a safety feature than part of its style although it does cheapen the look of what otherwise is a heavy-duty tenderizer.
Great for gift giving
Easy to use
Food grade rollers
Brush clean only
Not for thick cuts
Fiddly to use for some
48 steel prongs
Weighs 7 oz
The Ccfoud Stainless Steel Ultra Sharp Steak Tenderizer is a blade based tenderizer. As with many others on our 2020 review list, it has steel prongs to dig into the food. This is dishwasher safe but again, like with all tenderizing tools, meat and muscle fibers can get stuck so it needs a brush when you clean it. It is convenient to use and all it needs is a gentle push to cut into the meat, poultry, or fish. It will cut cooking time and allow the juices and marinades to permeate through the meat.
Easy to use handle
Secure blade cover
Fiddly to hand clean
The Aliglow Dual-Sided Meat Tenderizer Mallet is an ergonomically designed tool that will allow you to tenderize meat as much or as little as you wish. The handle is a little thinner than you might expect, with a hole for hanging it with your other kitchen tools, but it is rubberized for good grip. The heaviest part of the tool is concentrated in the important bit – the head – and it feels very sturdy. The head is double-sided and it’s a good all-rounder for using to tenderize meat on the cutting board.
Easy to clean
Weight focused at correct section
Small tenderizing area/spikes
56 stainless steel blades
Weighs 4 oz
Our choice for best value in 2020 is the Steak Ninja Meat Tenderizer which is another easy way for tenderizing meat and tough cuts by getting right into the connective tissue to soften the meat and help keep it moist while cooking. Rather than aimlessly stabbing your filet mignon with a knife, simply press down so the blades penetrate the beef. Just make sure to keep your knife blade efficient with a knife sharpener first. It works with white meats and fish too. We think you might like that it’s strong enough to work on bone-in meats and that it’s packaged well to give as a gift.
Easy to use
Protective storage cover
Fantastic gift idea
Good on cheaper cuts
Hard to clean without effort
48 stainless steel knives
Weighs 12 oz
A great way to tenderize meat, the Jaccard 48-Blade Meat Tenderizer can deal with tough cuts of meat like its cutting through butter – though it is easy to overwork food unless it’s very tough meat. It will dig into meat as much as 4 inches deep and works well on cheap cuts to get right through the connective tissue. It’s just like other comparable models that it needs a brush as well as soapy water if bits of food get stuck in the blades, it’s dishwasher safe but needs attention with the brush first. We didn’t like that there’s no warranty though!
Food grade material
Protective storage cap
No warranty apparent
Not sure on white color
Black coated metal
A basic meat mallet, the Checkered Chef Meat Tenderizer Hammer is a good way to tenderize tough cuts of meat with a double-sided head. The textured side for tenderizing and the other is smooth for pounding making fish, poultry, beef, and more tender and ready to pop in your best frying pan. You can make the meat tender enough for the slow cooker too. It’s impressively designed in black metal. The rubber handle makes it easy to grip. It’s designed with the weight at the right end – the head – so this does all the work for you, cutting down the time preparing food and making the cooking faster.
Solid & strong
Rubber grip handle
Surface may chip over time
Doesn’t feel sturdy
Reports handle comes away
Stainless steel blades
The AOMGD 2-Pack Meat Tenderizer Tools is a great idea, a bundle of two cheaper meat tenderizers so you’ll have one to give away or to keep as a spare. Although they are not that expensive, they make good starter tools if you’re looking to add to your kitchen collection. It’s small when compared to other tall tenderizers with only 21 steel blades on each one but this means you are able to concentrate on smaller areas of your meat so you can marinate it and get your steak or other foods ready for your indoor grill. The tool does what it is supposed to although we weren’t sure about the longevity of it. It has a poor level of good reviews although at this price we wouldn’t argue!
Bundle of two
More novelty than pro!
Not as sharp as others
48 steel prongs
If not for the brand name printed on this tool, we would say that the JY COOKMENT Ultra Sharp Meat Tenderizer is the exact same model as the Ccfoud one we reviewed earlier (no.5 on our line up). But it apparently isn’t, it’s heavier and has different dimensions but overall is designed in a similar way – handle and shape, number of prongs, color. It can deal with tough meat easily and cheap cuts of meat can be made into tender steaks so they’re ready to cook when you are. As with all tenderize tools it cuts cooking time by piercing the meat or fish allowing salt, juices and marinades to infuse into it.
Easy to use handle
Secure blade cover
Fiddly to hand clean
56 steel blades
Good looking meat tenderizing tool and neatly packaged. The MERCIER Professional Needle Meat Tenderizer is good on tough meat and cheaper cuts to tenderize the muscle fibers for a moist and tender finish. Cuts of steak can be made extra tasty and this tool is easy to use. It comes with its own brush for cleaning off any connective tissue that gets between the prongs and is dishwasher safe. It’s a great investment and will pay for itself by turning tough cuts of meat into tender meat and you aren’t limited to beef steaks, it will work on poultry, white meats, and fish too. You might like that the lockable protective cover keeps it safe whilst it’s in storage. It has some great reviews and we agreed. We like that the manufacturer is clear on what it can do.
Locking protective cap
Easy to hold
Won’t work on thick pork skin
Features To Consider With Steak Tenderizers
There are a number of things to consider when choosing a tool for tenderizing meat and we looked at all of these when we reviewed our list of twelve. Things like grip, design, ease of cleaning - all things to look at before you choose - and of course the size and price.
While a handy tool like this can deal with tough meat, if you're looking to pierce thicker skin such as when you make crackling, not all will do that. They do help if you want to improve cooking time though, and we particularly like the small handheld ones to tenderize steaks as they're easy to use and tiny enough to store away neatly. You can also use natural methods too and these include soaking cuts of steak and other meats in lemon juice or vinegar.
Here are a few tips to look out for.
To cut through tough cuts and help tenderize your meat, whether you're aiming for filet mignon, perfect flank steak, or just to soften up cheaper cuts, you'll want lots of blades that should be ultra-sharp. To make meat tender, pop the steak on your cutting board and concentrate on pressing a tool down onto the meat around 30 to 40 times. A small tool should have a good enough grip that you don't end up letting go or injuring yourself. A good design will have a protective cap so it's safe enough to store away in a drawer without risk of cutting your fingers when you grab other utensils out.
If you prefer a meat mallet, it should have no joins so it doesn't fall apart after a few uses and the heavy part should be focused at the head and not the handle so that it does the work for you. Mallets aren't great if you're concentrating on being able to tenderize meat on the bone. Some tools with blades might also get damaged so best used on boneless steaks.
Ease of Cleaning
Anything with texture such as a meat mallet or hammer should be easy to clean just with a brush but any coated hammers might lose their coating if you use anything other than a soft brush. The best steak tenderizer will come with a brush that's been designed to get between prongs if you opt for a tool rather than a mallet. When you turn tough cuts into tender meat the fibers will often get caught up in the blades so make sure you brush these off before soaking or putting in the dishwasher.
Hammer vs Needle Tool
You might like the idea of hammering your meat, it's actually quite therapeutic! It is, however, pretty easy to overwork the meat and if you use the mallet to much on your steaks will end up more flat and floppy than juicy and delicious. The downside of hammers is that they produce a lot of splattering all over your kitchen surfaces and your clothing also, so you might want to consider wearing a kitchen apron while tenderizing those delicious steaks with a hammer.
We like the needle tool for making our steaks tender they just need a bit more cleaning effort than a hammer.
Either way, both do a good job and save you cooking time as they open up the steaks so moisture, juices, and marinades can permeate the meat.
Try to ensure that the tool you choose is made with food-grade materials and is BPA free. This way you know that it's safe and non-toxic. Stainless steel blades or mallet design will ensure that it is strong enough to make even tough and cheap cuts into perfect steaks every time.
The smaller the head the more you can focus on small sections of your meat. Ideally, you will be looking at one small enough and light enough to hold for periods of time, but that allows you to focus on large cuts too. You'll want to think about how easy it is to grip and of course how easy it is to store.
Steak Tenderizer FAQ
Q: Does tenderizing meat reduce cooking time?
Yes. It will soften up tough meat and enhances its flavor as well as cutting down cooking time as the juices and heat penetrate the steaks faster when heated. When your steaks are ready they will be softer and easier to chew as the connective tissues are broken down through the tenderizing process. In the end, you will be rewarded with beautiful steaks, fish, or other meats that are perfect to serve your family and friends - or just when treating yourself!
Q: Does tenderizing steak bring our more nutrients?
In a word, yes and no. Tenderizing damages and breaks the muscle fibers but doesn't increase nutrients as they are already present. It will, however, help to release more flavor. Some people prefer to simply braise steaks and meats for longer to release a perfectly delicious taste and this is good if you want to avoid the preparation work needed with a tenderizing tool. Either way, you will achieve a simply mouthwatering bit of meat no matter which method you choose.
3 Tips for Tenderizing Meat - Simmons