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Ground beef is one of the most used Cuts of meat in America. It uses for chili, bolognese, stews and just about anything stew related. However, a lot of time, they clump together and makes browning difficult. As a result, you are left with lumpy piece of meats. To break up ground beef while cooking, what you can use is a meat chopper, it is tool designed to break down the meat and give you even browning. The Best Meat Chopper should be easy to use and comfortable as well.
What is a Meat Chopper
A Meat Chopper looks like a toy air plane. It has fins on the end with a tip on the other end. I suspect you can even throw it pretty far. However, appearance aside. It is used during the initial stage of browning. You put the fin side downward and smash on the ground beef. By doing this, you are breaking apart any clump and promoting more even browning. Most models will have a silicone end that lets you scrape the side, removing any stuck on pieces.
Why Plastic and Silicone?
The vast majority of meat chopper on the market is plastic or silicone. You will be hard press to find a metal model. However, this is done for a reason. Plastic and Silicone is safe for nonstick pan. Using a metal meat chopper on a nonstick pan is almost a death sentence. Unless you have a stainless steel pan, its not recommended to use any metal utensil on a nonstick pan.
There are issue though, the main thing being heat resistant. Most of these model will have a temperature safety limit of 400-450 degree Fahrenheit. If you are not careful or you just let it sit, you can easily melt your meat chopper. Numerous reviews has user experiencing this. The good thing is that most meat starts to brown at 300 degree. So as long as you dont over heat the pan, it should be fine.
You can also be proactive when using the meat chopper. If you are beating the meat, its best to do so in short burst. This way, you wont overheat the chopper and risk melting it. Nevertheless, getting a model with better heat resistant is better.
While the main purpose of a meat chopper is to break up meat. You can also use it to break and mash any food. Most prefer using it for soft stuff like fruits or vegetable. By mashing it down, you break down the walls, releasing the juices. You can also use it to mash potato. The fins makes it easy to stir as well.
Best Meat Chopper Tool List
There are quite a few different meat chopper on the market. The specs will vary slightly. Choose one that best fit you. They all work pretty well.
Farberware Professional Heat Resistant Nylon Meat/Potato Masher (Best Overall)
Faberware makes one of the best meat chopper on the market. It boast a heat resistant temperature of 450 degree Fahrenheit. Much higher than the competition. One issue is the handle, since its a smooth plastic, it does not provide as much grip as the other models. Other than that, it carries a lifetime warranty.
The Pampered Meat Chopper Chef Mix N Chop
A good alternative would be Pampered Meat Chopper. The handle is rubberized for a comfortable and slip resistant grip. It has a heat resistant rating of 428 degree. While it does not have as high of rating of Faberware, it makes up for it with the handle. As with all the meat chopper, do not leave it on the pan. You can melt it.
OXO Good Grips Ground Meat Chopper (Best Three Fin Design)
The other models are my preferred choice. However, some people prefer models with thinner blade. OXO version uses three blade so that instead of mashing, it cuts right through it. One one side of the fin, there is a silicone portion for easy scraping. However, just be aware it has the lowest temperature rating at 400 degree Fahrenheit. Nevertheless, it wont burn as long as you use it effectively.
On a side note, it makes for a good dart.
For a clump free dish, consider using a meat chopper. They will help you cook food at a more even rate. There are a few different models, for those who are a bit foregetful, models with a higher temperature rating might be better. If you want a more effective chopping experience, the oxo will be better for you. However, for a combination of comfort grip and mashing, then pampered chef would be a good choice.
Looking for more kitchen gadgets, check out our article on the Best Spoon for Cooking.