What Is A Meat Shredder?
- A meat shredder is a BBQ accessory
- It is a claw-like hand extender
- You can use it to quickly and easily shred various types of meat
- Much more efficient than using forks or other methods
1. A Tool You Didn’t Know You Needed
Have you ever had this experience? You acquire a skill-- let’s say, barbecuing -- and you get pretty good at it. You feel like you have a handle on things, not only “pulling it off” but actually excelling at it. Friends and family compliment you on this newfound skill. You start considering yourself an expert. You incorporate it into your identity. You might even add it to your Twitter bio: “BBQ fanatic.”
But then you’re at somebody else’s backyard barbecue and you see something that throws your entire world into disarray. Something that makes you feel like a fraud -- like all that expertise you’d acquired was for naught. Something you didn’t even know you were missing. You see someone pull out a pair of meat claws and start going to town on a nice juicy brisket.
You think “wait a second. What are those? I don’t have those. Why don’t I have those? Where can I get them? Is my entire identity a lie? Am I even who I thought I was?” Kind of like a Patrick Bateman freakout about business cards, except you’re standing in someone's backyard holding a solo cup and your friends start to worry about you.
Sometimes you need an experience like that to show you that there’s always room for growth. That there are, indeed, some tools you might not know about. Tools that will make your life easier, even if they look as simple as cave tools. And one of those tools that BBQ experts should know about is the mighty meat shredder.
2. What Is A Meat Shredder?
A meat shredder is one of those extremely useful cooking tools you didn’t even know you needed. Or, at least you didn’t know until you watched someone else use a pair -- then suddenly everything snaps into place, and the huge amount of time you spent trying your best to shred pieces of meat using a couple of regular table forks will start weighing on you.
You might know this nifty tool by another name. They are also sometimes called “pork pullers” (which points to their most common use), “meat shredding claws,” “bear claws,” "the bear paw," “pork shredder claws,” “wolf claws,” "puller pork shredders" or “BBQ claws.” Whatever the name, these tools are essentially hand extenders with razor-sharp claws that make it extremely easy to quickly and easily shred a piece of meat.
And why would you need to shred? Isn’t the traditional “slicing and dicing” technique good enough for any recipe that requires small pieces of meat? Well, no! When you shred a piece of meat, you’re not only portioning it into an easily chewable bite, you’re also increasing its tenderness, creating a delightful texture that is sure to bump up any meal a couple notches.
Meat shredders are usually made of materials like plastic or heat resistant nylon. Often, these meat shredder claws are just lookalike clones of each other, and the quality varies wildly. The best ones have stainless steel claws (we’ll show you the very best one in the market a little later). Like with a good knife, you want to focus on quality when choosing one.
There are many common uses for a shredder claws like these, so let’s start talking about the tasks you might use them for. Then we’ll show you the very best meat shredders in the market.
3. What Is A Meat Shredder Used For?
Chances are, the very first thing that comes to mind as soon as you lay eyes on this tool is “pulled pork.” That was certainly the case with me; I immediately started to visualize myself applying these to a nice piece of pork butt and making some succulent pulled pork sandwiches. Indeed, these are fantastic pulled pork shredders, and we’ll even share a recipe for that.
But there are other uses for meat shredders. You can use them for preparing chicken thighs for tacos (or delicious shredded chicken quesadillas), a nice big piece of brisket, turkey, roast beef, pretty much anything that you may need to shred cooked meat for. That’s why meat shredder claws have become my favorite BBQ accessory.
Now, bear with me here. This might seem a big juvenile, but they’re also extremely fun to use. Unlike traditional shredding methods that take up a lot of time and energy, like toiling away at a piece of meat with two regular forks, these meat shredders serve as extensions of your hand. Going to town on a large chunk of meat is satisfying in a strange, almost primal way. And they result in perfectly shredded meat.
Not only are these fantastic meat shredding claws, they’re also extremely useful for tossing a big bowl of salad. Bet you didn’t expect that from a product called a “meat shredder.” You can also use them to pick up a pot roast or brisket with ease and no bending.
4. Different Types Of Meat Shredders
There are a couple different types of meat shredders in the market. They all accomplish pretty much the same thing, but go about it in slightly different ways. The most common ones you’ll find are:
Infusion shredders. These are tools that are designed to keep the mess to a minimum. They feature a non-skid base, and an interior with large spikes that grip on the food you insert. You put the food in, simply twist the lid above, and you end up with shredded meat, all contained within the device. They’re a little awkward to use, but folks worried about the mess might find them useful.
- Meat claws. These are by far the most popular types of meat shredders around. They’re the ones we’re focusing on in this article, because they’re also the best. Not only are they amazing for shredding hot food, but like we said, they’re also extremely fun to use. And while quality can vary, we’ll share with you the very best of them.
5. The Best Meat Shredder
Our pick for the very best meat shredders in the market is actually a very easy choice. Without hesitation, the best meat shredders available today are the Dalstrong Meat Shredding Claws.
While most meat shredders are generic, cheap-feeling, and not very durable, Dalstrong’s Meat Shredding Claws focus first and foremost on quality. These are by far the best meat shredders you’ll find, easily outclassing the competition.
That’s because Dalstrong’s metal Meat Claws aren’t thrown together haphazardly to capitalize on an existing tool. They are thoughtfully and thoroughly designed for BBQ enthusiasts and discerning meat lovers. Their construction is solid: each claw has four 7.7-inch razor-sharp prongs made of tempered ultra strong SUS304 stainless steel. These aren’t the cheap plastic trinkets you usually see.
This focus on quality ensures that they will last a long, long time, even with frequent use. It also ensures premium performance, with unwavering strength that allows them to tear through pork, chicken beef, and much more.
Not only that, but with some of the cheaper alternatives you will inevitably feel the wear of it, and shredding meat will feel like an arduous and uncomfortable task. With Dalstrong’s Meat Shredding Claws, it’s an absolute breeze thanks to the ergonomic, slip-proof G10 handles. They are stain-resistant, easy to clean, and an absolute pleasure to use.
Are these claws more expensive than the market average? Sure. But they are also far, far ahead of everyone else in terms of quality and performance. And if you’re timid when it comes to these purchases, you might want to try one of the lesser products. But if you’re a barbecue fanatic ready to take your game to the next level, you can’t do better than these for a meat shredder for bbq. Also, check out Dalstrong's new Meat Carving Fork.
Let’s recap. Super sharp shredding blades made of high-quality stainless steel. Ergonomic handle that makes it easy and comfortable to use. Premium performance, shredding through meat like butter. And premium design that makes it look like the high-end piece of cutlery that it is. Dalstrong’s Meat Shredding Claws are absolute winners.
6. Pulled Pork Sandwich Recipe
As we’ve established, when you think about a meat shredder, the first food that comes to mind for most people is the perennial classic: pulled pork sandwiches. And there’s a reason why this dish has endured as a BBQ staple over the years. There’s something deeply satisfying about the sweetness, richness, and textural goodness of a pulled pork sandwich.
That said, some folks do get it wrong even with their recipe books. The secret to making epic pulled pork sandwiches is getting the texture of the meat just right. You want it to feel satisfying to bite into. And, unfortunately, some folks go about it the wrong way (usually by using lower quality pulled pork meat shredders, or attempting to shred the meat with inefficient methods.
So now that we’ve talked about meat shredders and established why you need a really good one, let’s talk about putting it to good use. Here’s the best pulled pork recipe you’ll find, guaranteed to make everyone at the get-together sing your praises. You’ll have friends clamoring for another backyard BBQ just to get another taste of these.
We’re not going to get fancy here. If you’re looking for modern twists on a timeless classic, or unnecessary embellishments -- if you’re looking for lemon goat cheese spreads, pork cooked in red wine and rosemary, and fancy toppings, you should look elsewhere. Those things have their place, but for our purposes today we’ll be focusing on a traditional pulled pork sandwich recipe. An all-time classic for good reason.
Red wine vinegar
Soft dark brown sugar
Boned pork shoulder
Hot sauce (optional)
Salt and pepper
- Heat your oven to 320F. Put the onions and bay leaves in the bottom of a large roasting tin. Separately, mix in the mustard powder, paprika, and 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper. Also add in a good pinch of salt. This is your rub. Rub it all over the pork, making sure you really get it in all the crevices.
- Place the pork, rind side up, on top of the onions in the tin. Pour 200ml of water into the tin. Wrap it well with foil and bake for 4 hours. You can do this up to 2 days ahead, just by covering the tray in foil and chilling it until you’re ready to barbecue.
- Once you’re ready, light the barbecue. Mix the ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar in a bowl. Remove the pork from the tin and make sure you pat it as dry as you can. Into the tin, pour in your sauce mixture and let it bubble for 10-15 minutes until it reaches a thick, glossy consistency.
- Then remove the bay leaves and pour the sauce into a food processor. Run it until it’s smooth. You have your sauce! (For more tips on making your own barbecue recipes, check out this article). Now cover the pork with the sauce, using up about half of it.
- Put your pork in the barbecue skin-side down, cooking it for 15 minutes until it’s nicely charred. Then flip it over and cook for another 10 minutes. Be careful: at this point, the meat will be extremely tender (which is what you want!) and if you mishandle it it might start to fall apart.
- Now place the pork on a large tray. Peel off the skin. And this is where the meat shredder comes into play: go to town on that bad boy, shredding it into chunky pieces, until it reaches that wonderful texture we all love. Add the rest of the barbecue sauce to the shredded meat, tossing it well to ensure it’s all coated. Then simply pile it into your brioche buns and serve with whatever additional toppings you want.
Mouth-wateringly succulent pulled pork sandwiches every single time. Now that you have the recipe, grab Dalstrong's pulled pork claws and go to town!
Personally, I’m a heat lover, so I always recommend adding a few dabs of hot sauce to your sauce mixture. You can go with something vinegary, like good old Tabasco, or if you could also try a Sriracha-type sauce. If you’re feeling adventurous, try making your own hot sauce; we wrote an entire explainer about it!
7. Frequently Asked Questions
How can I use a meat shredder to pull pork?
As outlined above, the most important step is to get the meat to a point of tenderness where it will easily shred. With long, slow-cooked barbecue methods, this is pretty easy to accomplish (though often a bit time consuming).
Once it reaches that falling-off-the-bone consistency we’re looking for, simply hold one meat shredder in each hand, almost like they’re extensions of your knuckles, and run them through the meat in opposing directions. If it’s well cooked meat, you’ll find it easy and, hey-- even fun!
What meats can I use a meat shredder on?
Meat shredders can be used on pretty much any type of meat you can think of, as long as it has reached that point of tenderness where it will easily shred. It is most commonly used with bbq meat like pork, chicken, and beef (the best cuts for shredding being chuck roast, rump roast, brisket, flank, and skirt).
Can I use a meat shredder on larger cuts of meat?
Yes! You should be able to use a meat shredder on large cuts of meat. It’s very common to use them on large pork shoulders or brisket. That said, for maximum efficiency we do suggest breaking the meat down into more manageable cuts before shredding; this will also make it a quicker task.
Can I put my meat shredder in a dishwasher?
In the case of Dalstrong’s meat claws, yes, they are dishwasher safe! However, some other brands may not be safe to put in your dishwasher -- check with the product’s manufacturer.
Can I use a fork to shred meat?
Ehh. You could, and many people have been doing precisely that for decades, but it’s not exactly the easiest or most efficient (let alone pleasurable) way to do it. You won’t be able to cut nearly as much with a knife and a fork, and you’ll find yourself getting tired quicker. Meat shredders like Dalstrong’s meat claws are a great solution.
Is there anything I shouldn’t do with my meat claws?
They’re meant for food only, so don’t try to put them in the fire or use them to pick up hot charcoal. Don’t use them for non-food-related shredding. And try to resist the urge to pick them up and play-act as Wolverine (at least while other grown-ups are in the room).
The 9'' Pitmaster knife pictured below doubles as a bottle opener. How many knives do that? Whatever you're in the market for, you're sure to find the perfect bbq knife or tool for the grill master in your life here at Dalstrong.
You can also check in with our Expert Knife Finder Quiz and get specific recommendations based on your needs.
Written by Jorge FarahBorn on the coast of Colombia and based in Buenos Aires, Jorge is a cooking enthusiast and kitchenware obsessive with a tremendous amount of opinions.