Introduction: Knuckle Duster Meat Tenderizer

Picture of Knuckle Duster Meat Tenderizer

I like my meat a little on the tender side. But I don't have a meat tenderizer. It always seemed like an unnecessarily bulky kitchen tool that I'd rarely use. The shape of a regular meat tenderizer (the one that is basically a modded hammer) is perfectly shaped to get stuck in drawers, and it's not useful enough to earn a spot on the countertop. And I so rarely cook meats that require tenderizing.

To bludgeon my beef, I generally just ball up my fist and punch. Repeat till tender. I'll maybe hum "The Rye or the Kaiser" under my breath while doing so, and my meats are usually sufficiently softened as a result. This was all fine until I discovered the ultimate in faux-badass kitchen accessories. The Knuckle Pounder Meat Tenderizer!

Ever since I saw that little gem, I knew that I had to have one. But I wanted the option of using the brass knuckles again for another project or perhaps a good old-fashioned street rumble. Welding was out because A: It's permanent, B: I don't know how, and C: this project is too ridiculous to learn a new skill that requires specialized equipment.

Luckily, the dollar store sells this wooden meat tenderizer that might as well just be a beef massager. (I suspect that's what they use when Kobe cows* get their luxurious and sensual massages.) With some zip ties, a drill, a handsaw, and a lot of patience, I was able to put together a brass knuckle meat tenderizer that is both less practical and more expensive than the one I saw online.

*Right? It's not technically Kobe beef until they get butchered. Or until they start a fight with a Los Angeles Laker.

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies
  • Saw
  • C clamp (also called a pony clamp or "that adjustable metal thing that goes over the side of the workbench and sticks stuff to it")
  • Drill
  • Chisel
  • zip ties
  • wooden meat tenderizer
  • brass knuckles
  • a tough steak (optional)

Everything on here is pretty easy to find. Except the brass knuckles. They're illegal in some states. Including this one. California Penal Code section 12020 states that possession is at least a misdemeanor and possibly a felony (it apparently depends on what they're made of - metal is a possible felony, composite or wood is a misdemeanor.) Other states have other rules, so check before you order a "belt buckle" off of Amazon or visit the local flea market and buy yours out of some shady dude's trunk. If you're on parole, don't do this project.

I found mine at a little shop in Chinatown. I asked if they carried anything similar to brass knuckles, and the woman at the counter pulled some from a hidden cabinet. I decided against the ones with spikes on the front and knives sticking out the ends because they seemed impractical for this purpose. We haggled over the price and I got her to lower the price by a third. I then proceeded to pay. And she charged me sales tax.

Step 2: Behead & Bisect

Picture of Behead & Bisect

That wooden meat tenderizer is not in the shape we want. So cut off the handle as close as you can to the square head.

Then carefully cut the square head in half. Use your pony clamps to ensure that you don't accidentally remove a digit. If you lose a finger, the brass knuckles won't fit properly.

You'll be left with two meat-tenderizing chunks of wood that you can attach to your brass knuckles.

Step 3: Cut a Channel

Picture of Cut a Channel

In this step, you'll be cutting a channel into the meat tenderizer. This was my least favorite part of the process, so if you've got the power tools on hand for this... you win.

Start by centering your brass knuckles on the meat tenderizer. Draw a line along each side of the brass knuckles in pencil. You'll want to cut along the inside of the drawn lines to ensure a snug fit. You can take more wood off later. Adding epoxy or wood filler will just ruin your Sharks v. Jets fantasy by making the brass knuckles impossible to remove.

Measure the depth of the brass knuckles. The top part. The part that will make first contact with whatever is being punched. It'll probably only be a few millimeters. A fraction of an inch. Mark the depth along the side of the meat tenderizer. This will mark the depth of the channel you'll cut.

Now start cutting. I did mine by hand, which I don't recommend.

Start by clamping the meat tenderizer to your bench. Score along the inside of the lines along the bottom of the meat tenderizer (the part opposite the teeth) with a razor blade. Be careful. These will help guide you as you saw.

Now saw. Try to keep your blade level so you don't cut below the depth mark you made earlier. Cut several parallel channels to the depth you marked. This will make it a lot easier to chisel the rest of the wood out of your channel.

Now chisel. Sand. Get the rest of the wood out. Use a Dremel. (If you don't have a good set of sharp chisels, use a screwdriver and a hammer.)

Step 4: Drill Baby Drill

Picture of Drill Baby Drill

Now we're going to drill out the holes for the cable ties.

This part is pretty easy, particularly if you have a drill press. If not, it's somewhat easy if you have a drill with a built-in level. If you have neither a drill press nor a drill with a level, you'll just have to do a good job of keeping your drill straight. Good luck.

Measure from the top and sides of the meat tenderizer to mark your two drill holes. Using an awl (or anything sharp, really), poke a hole so your drill bit has somewhere to sit.

Set up your C clamps again, this time with another piece of wood beneath the meat tenderizer to prevent punching holes in your work surface. Make sure you're drilling straight down, then drill through.

(You can still do this step without another piece of wood; just wrap a little bit of tape around the drill bit where you want it to stop going into the meat tenderizer. This can be hit or miss. After a few lazy drill sessions, my workbench looks like it had terrible acne as a teenager.)

Step 5: Zip Ties & Finish

Picture of Zip Ties & Finish

We're almost done. In fact, you can probably figure this part out for yourself.

Put the zip ties through the meat tenderizer. Fasten them. Tighten them. Clip them. And you're done.

Time to beat some meat.


dr_peru (author)2015-01-13

I love this! A great way to use agressions in a productive way. It reminds me of a nutcracker a friend of mine invented in designschool: It consisted only of a 1 foot long leathersack. You had to place the nut inside and whip it against something hard :)

jakethegreat98 (author)2011-08-30

I thought brass knuckles were illegal

Oh, they certainly are. Just how much varies geographically. In California, metal knuckles are a misdemeanor/possible felony, and plastic/wood/composite is a misdemeanor. And if they're used in conjunction with a crime, that'll add an "armed" to any charges which will add a few years to your sentencing.

Art is an exception. And this is clearly art.

To determine just how illegal your next art project will be, you can look up state penal codes and statutes on findlaw. (Only in IL, NY, CA, TX and a handful of others. Search your state or province's website for its penal codes.)

JuCo (author)wilgubeast2011-08-30

hmmm... findlaw, eh? that will be useful for my barely legal "shouldn't that be a crime?" spree.

OptimistSpencer (author)JuCo2014-11-27


zomfibame (author)2012-10-27

heee heeee, this brass knuckles meat tenderizer idea is too funny.

Woodyouliketo (author)2012-10-13


curt-fullmer (author)2012-02-17

haha, I love this instructable. I just learned about this meat tenderizer yesterday. i didnt expect to find anything on this website though, good job.

Pfarmkid (author)2012-02-05

Punching bag or Steak

That's the real question

cobalt420 (author)2011-12-12

Very innovative and great design. What kind of meat do you use this for?

Ole bally (author)2011-09-05

I use a wooden cutting board, place the meat on top and use a clean empty soda or beer bottle and holding it upside down pound the meat. The bottle won't break and the meat is easily tenderised!

splazem (author)2011-09-04

Feel the PAIN, meat! Great job!

ZoDo (author)2011-08-31

Great idea. Post a movie so that we can see some violence.

daliad100 (author)2011-08-30

I am so cutting some tenderiser teeth in cowscankill's cow shaped knuckle duster so I can punch cow with more cow. Then I am punching your salad.

balisticjoe (author)2011-08-30

You should have gotten one of the brass knuckles with the knives, it would be the perfect all-in-one kitchen tool.

mrmerino (author)2011-08-30

Oh baby.

MillenniumMan (author)2011-08-30

And now you can beat your meat like it owed you money!

Ehhhhh.... waidaminnute...

mikeasaurus (author)2011-08-29

You teach that meat a lesson. Collagen doesn't stand a chance!

When can we expect to see action shots of you beating your meat?

kerns (author)mikeasaurus2011-08-30

Mikeasaurus FTW with that comment.

JuCo (author)mikeasaurus2011-08-29

i feel so immature, but i couldn't stop laughing when i read this.

ostomesto (author)2011-08-30

This is so EPIC

vfranko (author)2011-08-30

The second rule is the meat of the club. Never tell anyone to talk about meat club

CatTrampoline (author)2011-08-29

Very creative, and a 10 on the silliness scale. It has my vote, but I hope ATF doesn't prowl this site!

angelabchua (author)2011-08-29


zazenergy (author)2011-08-29

I love this!

escapefromyonkers (author)2011-08-29

always remember that the quality of zip ties are not equal . I prefer Thomas and Betts / T and B, they have different types, but i have found them all superior to the others that were in our storerooms. I am retired telco lineman , and we would get different vendors and a lot was crapola, but i would only use thomas and betts for anything where slippage and breakage not be good.. For a pounding like this it could make the difference between working as planned or loosing or breaking. Most of the thomas and betts i have used have the stainless steel zip tab as opposed to the plastic zip tab.. If the tie wraps available don't work out ,try a couple of slots with hose clamps, they will be extremely secure and being stainless,clean up nice for your next pummeling. This holds true with all tie wrap uses, same as cheap tools made of cheese, if the purpose is critical , as in meat pummeling, gotta have the right tight pummel . There are probably equal strength brands, just not all are the same. I use the hammer type pounder, one of those tools i use more for breaking up ice clumps and frozen fruit. The knuckle duster meat tendererizer is pretty cool. would have been good for the meat locker shot of Rocky Balboa pounding the hanging Beef.

Thanks for the great zip tie info. The stainless zip tabs sound durable and attractive. Perfect for all meat tenderizing applications.

This project was inspired by the Rocky scene (along with the legitimate product I found), but I felt that the Weird Al parody of Eye of the Tiger was a better video to link to.

snotty (author)2011-08-29

Heh heh heh

kelseymh (author)2011-08-29

You forgot the first rule of Meat Club. Don't talk about Meat Club.

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm an English teacher and former Instructables staff member.
More by wilgubeast:Use Kobo for Accountable Independent Reading9 Unusual Uses for BeerMantener frescos los plátanos durante más tiempo (¡las rodajas, también!)
Add instructable to: