Are you looking to cook the perfect juicy and tender steak but have no idea how to use a meat mallet?
A meat mallet is the tool of choice for many professional chefs when preparing steak dishes.
However, there are also a few suitable substitutes.
Whether you don’t have a meat mallet or just want to try something new, this article provides five alternatives for similar results.
From cast iron skillet to stainless-steel rolling pins, learn how to substitute a meat mallet with ease and create deliciously succulent steaks for your next meal.
What’s Meat Mallet?
A meat mallet is a kitchen tool used to tenderize cuts of meat.
It is designed in a hammer-like shape and consists of two flat sides of the metal, a handle, and usually, two edges – one smooth and one tooth.
The toothed edge has tiny grooves for breaking down the muscle fibers, making tougher cuts softer and more palatable.
The smooth side simply smashes the underlying meat to thin it out or open up crevices for stuffing or marinating.
It’s easy enough to use; just place the mallet on top of the piece of meat, and make sure you press the edges together firmly and make sure you are pressing against the surface at an angle; then apply pressure while repeatedly striking with a swift motion.
For best results, keep flipping over the meat and hitting both sides so that it is evenly pounded throughout.
The 5 Best Substitutes for Meat Mallet
If you are looking for a way to tenderize your proteins without using a traditional meat mallet, there are several options that can provide the same results.
Here we will discuss five different substitutes for the traditional meat mallet and how they can help you create flavorful, juicy dishes.
1 – Rolling pin
A rolling pin is a kitchen tool used to flatten and shape the dough.
Generally long cylinder-shaped, it is intended to be manipulated by hand – one end handle for stability and force, the other for crisp contact with the dough.
Rolling pins come in different sizes and materials, such as wood, silicone, or marble.
They can be heavy enough to press out air pockets that form when making pasta or light enough that they can provide precision while rolling out pie crust.
Additionally, many people have successfully substituted rolling pins for meat mallets – just remember to use an appropriate amount of pressure when pounding tough cuts.
2 – Potato masher
Potato mashers are a staple kitchen utensil for mashing potatoes, but they can be utilized for so much more.
A potato masher is usually composed of a handle and a head with several prongs that come together to mash creamed potatoes or other vegetables.
The tool also doubles as a great substitution for the classic meat mallet.
With its same concept of crushing ingredients, you can use your potato masher on meats such as chicken, pork chops, steaks, and even on fish to tenderize them before cooking.
The added bonus? This kitchen accessory is way easier to store in your cupboard compared to large meat mallets – plus, it does not take much effort at all to operate one.
3 – Wooden spoon
The wooden spoon is an indispensable kitchen utensil.
It is sturdy, lightweight, and versatile – perfect for stirring soups, sauces, and stews.
The bland, slightly rough surface of a wooden spoon is also great for scraping down the sides of bowls when mixing batters or doughs.
Plus, if you don’t have a meat mallet handy, the broad flat base of a wooden spoon can easily be used to pound out pieces of chicken or other proteins for breading or tenderizing.
A heavy-duty wooden spoon will effectively break down the thick fibers in dirt-cheap cuts that are too tough to eat.
4 – Hammer
Hammering is a fundamental tool for any DIY enthusiast.
It’s not only used to drive nails and assemble furniture but can also be used to tenderize meat in place of a meat mallet.
The process involves covering the cut of meat with a protective wrap and then applying gentle, even pressure to flatten it.
Typically done on thicker cuts, this ensures even cooking and increased tenderness of the finished dish.
To use a hammer as an alternative to a dedicated meat mallet, ensure that the head is smooth and no bolts are sticking out – which could puncture the wrap or damage the meat – and always handle it with care.
5 – Cast iron skillet
A cast iron skillet is an incredibly versatile tool in the kitchen that can be used for searing, baking, grilling, and pan-frying.
Even though you may think of it as just a frying pan, this handy piece of cookware can even be used to tenderize meat.
If you don’t have a meat mallet, follow the same principles and just use a cast iron skillet instead.
Place the meat onto a cutting board, then gently pound from the center outward until it reaches your desired thickness.
Be sure to use even pressure when striking with your skillet to get consistent results.
Additionally, for tougher cuts of meat, you may need to increase the amount of effort required during pounding in order to tenderize it properly.
In conclusion, a meat mallet is an essential tool for many kitchen tasks, but there are a few alternatives that you can use when one is not available.
Rolling pins, potato mashers, wooden spoons, hammers, and cast iron skillets are all substitute options that can be used to tenderize meats or press out air pockets when making pasta.
All of these tools have the same concept of crushing or pounding the ingredients to desired thickness, and they are all easy to store in the kitchen cupboard.