Let’s face it: Every steak prepared at home isn’t going to be six-ounces of grade 10 Wagyu shipped in from the rolling hills of Australia. Unless you’re Mark Cuban—or a Wagyu beef farmer—most of the steak you have to work with is likely a bit of a lesser cut. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be delicious, it just won’t be as much of a delicacy. After all, those prime cuts should be saved for life’s victories, cooked perfectly, and served with that special bottle you've been saving.
An essential tool for making the most out of those meager cuts, however, is a meat tenderizer. The simple handheld instruments feature a variety of spikes on one side which you pound into raw flesh to loosen the fibers into a less stringy, more desirable finish. Normally these tools are mallet-sized metal objects with considerable weight that could be confused for a Gaddafi torture device. The Microplane Easy Prep Tenderizer, from the company most known for its cheese and vegetable graters, is a plastic half-moon tenderizer with a removable plastic cap that reveals a maw of angled metal teeth. Rather than being used to pound tough pieces of meat, it's meant to be rolled back and forth gently.
The Easy Prep Meat Tenderizer is light, simple to hold and quiet. I rolled it over a few pieces of tough flank steak and the teeth massaged the raw flesh. Most heavy tenderizers cause you to flatten the piece of meat. Not so with this. By rolling it back and forth I was able to soften the flesh without smashing it into a lesser shape.
The blades are sharp—very sharp. The plastic casing that covers them falls off easily. Place it in your kitchen drawer and reach in to fish out another tool and you may come away with scars instead of salad tongs.
If you’re looking for a lightweight, simple tool to add to your kitchen arsenal, the Easy Prep Meat Tenderizer is a safe bet. It’s 20 bucks and makes lesser cuts of meat taste better without pounding them flat or scraping your countertop. $19.95; Microplane.com
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