This is kind of a mini-post directed at those cooks out there who like a little woodworking or have a willing woodworker in the house. I’m sharing the meat tenderizer my husband made for us years ago. Now that the kids are grown, he made a couple for them this Christmas, and we thought, “Hey, maybe my readers could benefit from this, too.”
Pounding meat is a great way to tenderize it. I’ll actually be calling for that in my next post, so this seemed like a good time to share my husband’s creation. You basically just cut it out of a piece of 1 by whatever board. My husband used some leftover maple we had from a toy/blanket chest, and he says that’s really the best wood to use as it’s dense and hard. This is an ideal way to use scraps from other projects. Alternatively you can purchase a small board, and hey make some for friends – maybe they’ll invite you over to dinner to sample the fruits of your labor!
The tenderizer is a very simple, highly ergonomic shape that gives you a large flat surface as well as a narrower one to use, and fits very comfortably in your hand. It gives you much better leverage than those spiky meat tenderizers on a stick. And you don’t really need the spikes – they mangle the meat too much anyway.
We mostly use the narrow sides for pounding, either the straight or the curved depending on how large a surface you’re pounding and how much leverage you want. You can pound at an angle with it to spread a piece of meat. My husband also uses it to smash garlic and to bang on the back of a knife or cleaver when cutting bone.
The shape is so simple that it’s very easy to cut. You can use a band saw or a jig saw. And then just sand the surfaces smooth. The picture above shows the general shape. It’s 13 ½ inches long, about 2 ½ inches wide at the top, and tapers down to about ½ inch at the bottom. The thickness is about ¾ inch (from a 1 by X board). So just sketch it out from the picture to about those dimensions and you’re good to go.
The best tools are sometimes the simplest, and that is definitely the case with this homemade meat tenderizer!