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If You’re Serious About Meat, You Need a Serious Meat Mallet

It doesn’t need to look like a hammer, says Bonnie Morales of essential Portland restaurant Kachka

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In the kitchen at the Portland-based Russian restaurant Kachka, the meat mallet is an indispensable piece of equipment. Chef and co-owner Bonnie Morales uses it to pound out cutlets for everything — from the chicken kiev to the pork schnitzel — to ensure an even cook.

But she doesn’t use the traditional hammer-like mallet, which she says are inefficient and have a tendency to tear the meat. Instead Morales swears by the Norpro Grip-Ez Stainless Steel Meat Pounder. It looks like no meat mallet you’ve ever seen — it’s short, with a large, circular base. But it’s exactly those attributes that makes it so effective, Morales insists: The circle shape allows it to pound more surface area at a time, and its small handle more effectively transfers kinetic energy as you pound. And it’s weighty, she adds, which helps to more easily flatten out a cutlet.

The stainless steel (as opposed to the aluminum that most meat mallets are made of) is easier to wash, lasts longer, and doesn’t get “grody,” in Morales’ words. And the rubberized handle doesn’t slip out of your hands as easily. At $20 or higher, depending where you purchase, “it’s spendier than the traditional meat mallet,” she says, “but it is way more efficient.”

Perhaps most importantly, for the home cook, this kind of mallet removes at least one perceived barrier to prepping meat. “Pounding out cutlets can be one of those things I am just too lazy to do,” Morales says. “This is just so much easier to use and more effective and requires not a lot of skill. The fewer barriers you have, the more likely you are to take on that recipe.”

An added bonus? “It’s great for getting your stress out.”

Buy Norpro Grip-Ez Stainless Steel Meat Pounder, $20

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