Christopher Kimball: If you’re like me in the kitchen, you’re both cheap and unorganized, because you never find a kitchen gadget when you absolutely need it. So when I have to pound a filet of chicken [gestures toward tray of chicken cutlets], for example, I might just grab [picks up a skillet from the countertop] whatever’s at hand. And that could be a little skillet like this, which doesn’t do a bad job at all, but we’re here in the Equipment Corner with Adam, who’s actually tested meat pounders, to see if there’s something out there that will do a substantially better job than just grabbing any old skillet.
Adam Ried: That’s it, Chris. We’re going from not a bad job [points at CPK in emphasis] to the perfect job. We tested five different meat pounders here. [Camera pans to the five meat pounders on the countertop] Unbelievable price range—$17 was the least expensive.
CPK: Well, that seems fair, though [nods head approvingly].
AR: Yeah, that is fair. $180 was [grins]…
CPK: No [laughs in disbelief]!
AR: …[laughs] the most expensive meat pounder, if you can believe that [shakes head]. It’s incredible [chuckles]. We tested these [gestures toward meat pounders] by taking chicken cutlets, slicing them crosswise and pounding into big, wide, thin [holding out hands to indicate width] paillards. Now we have five different pounders here—why don’t you try this one first [picks up first pounder from countertop and hands to CPK; CPK takes and scrutinizes it with furrowed brow]. This is not one that our testers loved.
CPK: So wait a minute, so what’s this for? [points at textured area on side of pounder] I have to ask.
AR: Well, that’s theoretically for tenderizing. We don’t like a textured surface like this—we found that it really beat up the chicken. Instead, we want a broad, flat surface [emphasizes by holding out palm; CPK begins pounding chicken cutlets]—which that one has. How does that feel to you?
CPK: Ehhh, [pauses for a moment] it’s too much work [pounds cutlets a few more times].
AR: Yeah. I mean, our testers thought that that was sort of an awkward stamping motion.
CPK: I agree.
AR: That didn’t really work that well for them. Why don’t you try the $180 meat pounder [grins as he hands CPK second meat pounder].
CPK: I’m going to like this [gleefully]. It’s heavy [turns over in hand].
AR: Yeah. We were looking for heft.
CPK: [pounds chicken cutlet] Ooh [pauses appreciatively and then resumes pounding chicken cutlets].
AR: These five meat pounders fell into three weight categories.
CPK: I like this one [holds up pounder]. I’m sorry. [resumes pounding]
AR: That one [points at meat pounder] was two pounds plus—that’s a heavyweight. It does a great job.
CPK: But $180 for a meat pounder is obscene [emphasizes word]. That’s the only adjective I can find.
AR: I couldn’t live with myself recommending [grins].
AR: And I knew you [points at CPK] couldn’t live with me recommending that [laughs]. So we moved on [CPK places meat pounder back on countertop]. This is actually [picks up third meat pounder from the countertop] the Norpro Chrome Plated Cast Iron Meat Pounder. It’s midweight—it’s about one pound, ten ounces, and it did a very good job [hands pounder to CPK, who begins to pound the chicken cutlets]. It’s got a nice, angled handle for leverage, it’s well-balanced, it’s got a broad pounding surface—and that one was just $24.
CPK: Well, I like this [points at meat pounder], because it’s like using an axe. You’re letting gravity [demonstrates by raising pounder high and swinging through air] do most of the work. You don’t actually have to force it down [demonstrates by awkwardly pushing pounder down through air] like this [momentarily picks up first meat pounder from countertop].
CPK: That’s good.
AR: Exactly. It was a good natural motion. So that’s our winner. It actually won the last time we tested meat pounders, and it’s still the pounder to beat. It’s the Norpro Chrome Plated Cast Iron Meat Pounder for $24.
View the full report of our Meat Pounders testing.
Captioned by Media Access Group at WGBH
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