Ditch the messy fork method of shredding meat for a much quicker and easier approach using dedicated meat claws. These kitchen superstars make fast work of tearing apart your next slow-roasted pork belly or prime rib roast. They can even help lift a Thanksgiving turkey out of the oven effortlessly or be used to toss a salad.
Meat claws work like a pair of forks, but are much more efficient. Important considerations when shopping are the material they are crafted from and whether the handles are solid or hollowed out. Look for durable plastic, like nylon, for a lightweight option. Metal claws yield razor-sharp slices but tend to weigh more. Solid handles are the more durable option, but again, are heavier. Hollowed-out handles offer easy handling, but have grooves that can hide food debris, making them more difficult to clean.
From claws with extended knuckle space for comfort to stainless steel versions with knife-like precision, these are the best meat claws.
Bear Paws Meat Shredder Claws
Easy to clean
Easy to use
Lower heat resistance than some others
Developed in the early 1990s, the iconic Original Bear Paws are said to be the first-ever meat shredder claws. Crafted from durable nylon and heat-resistant up to 475 degrees, they can handle tough shredding jobs as well as most of your meat-lifting tasks.
These claws are spaced for optimal shredding, and the comfortable grip makes lifting your next turkey or salad toss as simple as can be. Constructed with a continuous piece of nylon, there are no crevices or crannies for bits of food debris to hide, and they are dishwasher safe for no-fuss cleanup. Endorsed by respected food institutions, including Guy Fieri, America’s Test Kitchen, and the National BBQ Association, these meat claws are a reliable, sturdy choice for your next shredding adventure.
Price at time of publish: $15
Dimensions: 12 x 6 x 1 inches | Material: Nylon | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Cave Tools Meat Claws
Included recipe book
Easy to clean
Easy to use
Teeth are far apart
With patent-pending talon tips to ensure fewer shredding passes, the Cave Tools Meat Claws make the size of shred more precise. The nonslip handles keep your appendages secure while working through a juicy brisket.
The grip on this is lightweight and designed for comfort, even if you have large hands or knuckles. Use them for everything from carving a turkey to slicing tomatoes, and then throw them in the dishwasher when you’re done. You can also use these to grab and transport hot foods from the kitchen to the table with ease. As a bonus, 25 barbecue recipes with additional video tutorials are included with each purchase.
Price at time of publish: $13
Dimensions: 6.2 x 4.8 x 1.5 inches | Material: Plastic | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Best for Large Hands
Pampered Chef Quick Shred
Good for larger hands
Magnetic handles for convenient storage
Bulkier to store
Lauded by home cooks for its reliable products, Pampered Chef’s Quick Shred claws do not disappoint. The tines of each claw seamlessly fit together, making pulling and shredding meat easy. The long handles allow larger hands more room to lift whole chickens, beef roasts, or roasted turkeys out of pans, too—they can lift up to 25 pounds.
The evenly spaced tines serve as a slicing guide for meats, and the magnetic handles make storage a snap. When finished with your meat shredding forays, throw them in the dishwasher.
Price at time of publish: $47
Dimensions: 8 x 9.25 x 0.5 inches | Material: Plastic | Dishwasher Safe: Yes, on top rack
Best Stainless Steel
1Easylife Metal Meat Shredder Claws
Easy to clean
High heat resistance
These attractive stainless steel claws are heat resistant up to an incredible 1,112 degrees, making them the right choice for meat fresh off the barbecue with no worries of melting, even if you leave them right atop the grill. The stylish oak handles are designed with comfort in mind, so there should be no hand fatigue involved with big shredding tasks.
Crafted from 18/8 stainless steel, meat slips right off these meat claws, and they are sharp enough to tackle any slicing or carving jobs. This model is heavier than most, but that heft offers versatility with lifting large roasts and holding turkeys securely while carving. They are attractive enough to use as serveware on any table, too. The thick wooden handles are coated with a dishwasher-safe finish for quick-and-easy cleanup.
Price at time of publish: $26
Dimensions: 4.69 x 4.21 x 0.79 inches | Material: Stainless steel and oak | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Cave Tools Metal Meat Claws
Included recipe book
Easy to clean
Comfortable to hold
Grip is not as high-heat resistant
Here’s another stainless steel option, but with a lightweight, comfortable grip. Cave Tools Metal Meat Claws have a nonslip textured handle featuring extended knuckle space, which is ideal for even the largest hands. The safety considerations continue to the claws, too: They are not as razor-sharp as other models, making use and cleanup less dangerous.
The less-sharp tips make these claws better for pulling and shredding, but they aren’t as effective when carving meat. The hollowed-out handles make them more lightweight, but still robust enough to lift corned beef brisket from the slow cooker. The tines are high-heat resistant, though caution should be used leaving the handles near direct heat, as the plastic could melt. The bonus with these claws beyond the ergonomic design is the included 25 barbecue recipes with detailed grilling tutorial videos—no more guessing about cook times or sauce preparation. They even come with a lifetime satisfaction guarantee.
Price at time of publish: $21
Dimensions: 6.93 x 6.06 x 2.01 inches | Material: Stainless steel and plastic | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Grace Kitchenwares Premium BBQ Dream Set
Included recipe e-book
Claws are waterproof
Included gloves and brush
Difficult to clean
Meat claws are an important tool in the pitmaster’s arsenal, but a set that includes silicone gloves and a basting brush is nirvana. GK’s Premium BBQ Dream Set features lightweight claws for pulling and shredding, a silicone basting brush that won’t shed bristles during use, and the ever-important silicone gloves designed to handle hot meat.
It’s not just the included pieces that make this set a great buy. Each implement is designed for barbecue success. The basting brush has a retractable head, making it easy to clean and use; the gloves are crafted from heat-resistant, easy-to-clean, odor-free, and stain-proof silicone; and the claws are constructed from hard plastic that efficiently pulls and shreds everything from roasted boneless pork loin to chicken. The only downside is that the handles are hollowed out, making it more challenging to remove all food debris that might be trapped in crevices.
If you’re looking for one-stop shopping to equip your grilling toolkit, the GK set is a great choice, and the included recipe book makes this an exceptional value.
Price at time of publish: $20
Dimensions: 4.5 x 4.25 x 0.5 inches | Material: Plastic | Dishwasher Safe: No
The Original Bear Paws Meat Claws are our top choice because of their durable construction, ease of cleanup, versatility, and comfortable grip. If you are looking for a budget-friendly option that doesn’t skimp on quality, we recommend the Cave Tools Meat Claws with nonslip handles.
What to Look for in Meat Claws
The field is pretty narrow when it comes to materials: either metal or some form of plastic. Stainless steel is high-heat resistant, easy to clean, and razor-sharp, but it does tend to be heavier to grip and requires more care while cleaning to avoid cuts. Certain plastics, like nylon, can be long-lasting, affordable, and easy to clean, but other plastics run the risk of melting with too much high-heat exposure. Unlike metal, you can’t sharpen plastic claws when they become dull.
Handles and tines
When attacking tasks, like shredding pork roast for posole, you want something comfortable to grip. If you have issues with arthritis or other hand and wrist maladies, you may want to consider an option that has extended handles. Longer handles also keep your hands from getting close to hot, messy meat. Some classic-shaped claws are ergonomically designed and work well for larger hands—look for extended knuckle space or wider grips.
As far as tines, look for spacing that affords that type of cut you want. Closer tines create thinner shreds and pulls whereas wider tines cut thicker pieces.
When it comes to size, there are two considerations: your hands and the types of jobs you plan to tackle. Larger claws will afford more space and comfort for larger hands, and they can handle bigger tasks efficiently. That said, they tend to weigh more and can create greater hand fatigue.
Small claws tend to be lightweight, but if you have larger hands, the grip may feel tight and uncomfortable. Also, if you cook for a smaller group, small claws may be the right choice as they require less strength to wield, causing less hand stress while still easily working through that brisket. The most important thing is to get the claws that feel good in your hands.
Ease of cleaning
Using meat claws is a messy undertaking—juicy meat splatters and drips. To make the process less stressful, look for claws that offer easy cleanup. Many are dishwasher safe, but be sure you read the manufacturer’s label to ensure the material can withstand the heat and turmoil of a dishwasher cycle. It’s also a snap to throw these in a basin of hot, soapy water to hand-wash. Just be careful if you opt for metal claws, as they tend to be much sharper.
How do you use meat claws?
First, read the included instructions as each model has its own quirks. Beyond that, it is much like how you would use forks to shred meat. Grip the handle and dig in, pulling away from the center to shred or pull. For carving, use one of the claws to stabilize the meat, and the other as a knife.
What else can you use meat claws for?
Meat claws were created to shred, carve, and pull meat, but they can also be used as lifters for heavy turkeys, roasts, or chickens coming out of the Crockpot or oven. They even make fantastic salad tossers and servers.
What’s the difference between hollow and solid handles?
Hollowed-out handles are lightweight, but the grooves on the underside can trap food debris and bacteria if not completely cleaned after each use. Solid handles are heavier, but there is no danger of food debris, as there are no nooks and crannies.
How We Researched
To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ease of use, material, or price—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. We then used this research to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Carrie Honaker is a food writer who prepares a lot of roasts on the grill and in the oven. As a restaurateur and avid home cook, she knows the importance of finding a tool to shred pork for posole or lift corned beef brisket out of the pan for slicing. She loves her Pampered Chef Quick Shred meat claws for their comfortable grip and easy storage. Carrie’s work has appeared in many publications including Bon Appetit, Allrecipes, and Wine Enthusiast.