Meat Pounders

Published May 1, 2010. From Cook's Illustrated.

Flattening a pork or chicken cutlet takes a steady hand and the right tool.

Overview:

Flattening a pork or chicken cutlet takes a steady hand and the right tool; otherwise, your dinner’s liable to be raggedy around the edges. There are two styles of meat pounders: those with vertical handles and those that are offset-handled (i.e. horizontally oriented). We tested five models, in both styles, priced from $17.99 to $179.99. In the main, heavier models (approaching 2 pounds), with larger surface areas and vertical handles offered better leverage and control. Our first choice flattened cutlets quickly and easily with hardly any damage to the meat or our wallets.

Flattening a pork or chicken cutlet takes a steady hand and the right tool; otherwise, your dinner’s liable to be raggedy around the edges. There are two styles of meat pounders: those with vertical handles and those that are offset-handled (i.e. horizontally oriented). We tested five models, in both styles, priced from $17.99 to $179.99. In the main, heavier models (approaching 2 pounds), with larger surface areas and vertical handles offered better leverage and control. Our first choice flattened cutlets quickly and easily with hardly any damage to the meat or our wallets.

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  • Product Tested

  • Prices are subject to change.
  • Highly Recommended - Winner

    Norpro GRIP-EZ Meat Pounder

    The shape and heft of this vertical-style model provided the right combination of control and force to produce nearly flawless cutlets.

    $17.50

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended

    Wüsthof Classic Meat Pounder

    This offset-handled heavy hitter was more efficient than our winner—with twice the surface area and almost twice the weight, it required half as many strokes to pound a perfect cutlet—but it costs 10 times as much.

    $179.99

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended

    Leifheit Pro Line Reversible Meat Tenderizer

    We got comparable results to our winner’s with this vertical-style pounder, though some testers found the thick handle awkward. The pounding disk, which detaches from the handle, has a reversible spiked side for tenderizing tougher cuts.

    $20.99

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended with Reservations

    Norpro Meat/Veal Pounder

    When pitted against heavier models, the flaws of this offset-handled pounder became apparent. Shorter testers, pounding at a less optimal angle, found that the heel of the disk often dug into and tore the meat.

    $17.99

  • Not Recommended

    Rösle Stainless Steel Meat Pounder

    The lightest of the bunch, this offset-handled model had the look—and effectiveness—of a cookie spatula. Furthermore, testers struggled to prevent the heel of the disk from digging into the meat.

    $39.95

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