Pros: good grip, weighted hammer head, larger head makes for fewer swings
Cons: that I don't use it often enough
This is one of those products that's something of a niche product. Most people have one in their drawer, but how many people use them on a regular basis, even for the purpose they are intended?
The Hamilton Beach Meat Tenderizer is one solid tool. The hammer end has two sides. One is flat which can be used for pounding meat flat. The other side has eight rows of eight spikes used to make meat tender. The hammer head is a solid piece of heavy gauge stainless steel and very heavy. The heads extend out from center of the hammer in a flare-like pattern. It puts some weight behind the process when you're whaling on a piece of meat. There's a sole in the very end of the tenderizer if you want to hang it up rather than keeping it in the drawer.
The metal part of the handle extends down from the head and is all part of one solid piece, so there's no fear of it falling apart while you're pounding on the meat. At the base is a rubberized grip on the handle. It makes holding the Hamilton Beach Meat Tenderizer easy and less likely to slip out of the hand while hammering. The rubberized grip is a bit soft as well, meaning that it's comfortable in the hand even when used for extended periods of time.
We use the Hamilton Beach Meat Tenderizer all the time. We eat a lot of steak and it makes steak very tender. The spikes poke holes in the steak and allow the flavor of any rub or seasoning we use to thoroughly penetrate the meat. The same is true for chicken, although I use this more to pound chicken and veal cutlets flat than for tenderizing. I find that when I do tenderize meat or chicken, there is more flavor in my finished product. Although my mother had a meat tenderizer when I was growing up, it was rarely used and now trying to incorporate it in my cooking process is something I have to put some thought into, rather than being a habit.
The larger head on this meat tenderizer makes quick work of any cut of meat, whether I'm just flattening it or tenderizing it. Many other tenderizers have small heads in one solid piece, rather than the larger fared-head design this one has. It also gives more weight to that end of the hammer and makes swinging it easier.
The Hamilton Beach Meat Tenderizer cleans up easy. It's dishwasher safe. Ours has repeatedly gone through the dishwasher and shows no signs of wear on either the head or the rubberized soft handle. Hamilton Beach backs it with a 15 year limited warranty.
I got my Hamilton Beach Meat Tenderizer from our local Kitchen Collection outlet store for about $10. It's a solid tool that people who regularly prepare meat products should have around and learn to use regularly. Most of us don't, and it's a hard habit to get into once we've been conditioned just to marinate or season our meat products and cook them. Tenderizing before marinating or apply seasonings or rubs adds a lot of flavor to the final product, and this tool will last a lifetime for that purpose.
© 2010 Patti Aliventi