Injecting meat is not a part of a traditional smoking recipe. You can always choose to barbeque your meat with or without injecting it. Nevertheless, it is an optional step which many of us choose to skip.
But, let’s reveal a secret – most professional chefs swear by this innovative idea of cooking meat. This is because injecting your meat can enhance its flavor a hundredfold and even provide it with a perfect texture, thus making it look more appetizing.
Here comes the main question – it is worth the effort to inject your meat or should you just continue cooking your meat the old-fashioned natural way?
This is what this article is all about. Here is an ultimate guide to injecting meat which will answer all the questions that you have ever had.
The Best Meat Injectors for 2020
Now that you know all about why it is good to inject meat and how you can go about doing it, it is time to get your hands on the best beat injector available so that you can put it to good use in your next barbeque session.
Our recommendations are the below two best meat injectors which are certainly the best in the category because of their quality and features.
The Grill Beast meat injector is made of stainless steel which is a sufficient guarantee for its quality as well as durability. The entire kit consists of three different kinds of injector needles along with a pair of Kevlar grilling gloves as well as a couple of recipe e-books. However, this injector is meant for big meats and may be a bit inconvenient for use on smaller cuts.
What we like:
- The syringe barrel can accommodate about a quarter cup of solution in one go which prevents the hassle of refilling it several times.
- The six-inch needle comes in really useful when you are injecting large meats.
- It is very affordable and is the best meat injector at a mid-range price point.
- It comes with a warranty and a money back guarantee
- It can even be washed in a dishwasher.
Get the latest price on Amazon.
The meat injector by SpitJack Magnum belongs to a more professional class of cooking equipment and is the top choice for pro barbeque chefs as well as championship winners. It comes with 4 different needles as well as 3 brushes for cleaning.
However, it is also one of the expensive meat injectors and also requires some effort in its upkeep and maintenance.
What we like:
- You can measure the amount of solution you want to inject with each push through the measurement guide on the barrel.
- The longest needle can penetrate up to 5.5 inches of meat.
- It is made in the USA and comes with a one year warranty.
- The construction is sturdy and reliable. Replacement parts are also available.
Get the latest price on Amazon.
Why Would You Even Want To Inject Your Meat?
Meat has a beautiful, mouth-watering flavor that can be enhanced with the right amount of regular seasoning that is rubbed on its surface before it is put on the grill. It is worth noting here that seasoning only enhances the flavor of the topmost layer of the meat and does not permeate down to its inner layer.
In fact, even if you go for bringing the meat i.e. when you let the meat sit in seasoning for 12 hours or so before grilling it, it still doesn’t achieve the same flavor as you get when you insert the flavors right into the center of the tender meat through an injection.
- Injecting meat ensures that you get all the right flavors in your meat within a matter of seconds.
- This is a great way to ensure that even if you go a bit amiss in your smoking technique, you will still get barbequed meat that everyone will be praising you for.
- The best part about injecting your meat is that the entire process takes only a couple of minutes so that you do not even have to bother with the hassle of seasoning or worse still, brining.
We have an in-depth guide on how to inject later on, but if you want to see how the pros do it this video from HowToBBQRight does a good job of explaining it.
What Kind of Meat to Inject?
Generally, meats which have a dry texture need separate injections to stay moisturized and tender. However, many celebrity chefs believe that meat injections can be used in all kinds of meat irrespective of whether it is naturally dry or moist.
For instance, Malcolm Reed of Beef Brisket Junction says:
Malcolm Reed, Beef Brisket Injection: I always recommend injecting Beef Brisket just because it will give your meat more flavor and it will help to keep it moist during – and after – the cooking process.
- Injecting meat will also give you great results when you are cooking very large pieces of meat such as whole hogs, hams, whole poultry, briskets or pork shoulders as regular seasoning might not just provide the right flavor here.
- On the other hand, dry meats such as pork loin, lamb leg, beef round roast and double thick pork chops can still get more decadent flavor through a flavorful injection.
What to Put in the Injection?
Meat injections can be of any kind of spices, seasoning or other kinds of flavor that you want to put into your meat. You must keep in mind though that the flavor that you put in the injection should not be so strong that it overpowers the meat itself.
The whole idea behind injecting the meat is that the flavor of the meat should be enhanced rather getting completely changed due to the addition of spices. Undoubtedly, preparing meat injections require some creativity on the chef’s part because a lot depends on what kind of flavor you want the meat to have.
For example, if you like strong flavors in your meat, you can put in some garlic in the injection solution. On the other hand, if you like your smoked meat to have a little bit of sweetness in it, you can add a bit of sugar to the injection.
In any case, you will need to experiment with the meat injections and conjure up your own blend of spices to provide your meat with the perfect flavor just the way you like it.
If you have not made any meat injection so far, following are some tips that you can follow:
- If you are adding any solid ingredients to the injection such as garlic, cardamom or other kinds of whole spices, you should make sure that you grind them to a powder-like consistency. If the spices are left whole, they will not be able to travel through the injection needle and into the meat.
- You can choose different kind of needles for the injection depending on the consistency of your solution. If it is entirely liquid, you can use a thin needle. If it is like a paste, you will need a thicker needle which has a bigger opening.
- You can also check out some custom-made injection solutions for specific kinds of meat. For example, the Madeira Injector Sauce is a world-famous recipe for injecting into turkeys. You can also browse through the Pork Shoulder Injection recipe by Chris Lilly which has helped him win the championship six times.
Step By Step Guide to Injecting Your Meat
Injecting meat is quite a simple process and does not even take a lot of time. However, if you are doing it for the first time, you are bound to be a bit apprehensive on how to handle an injection. Well, fear not. With our step-by-step guide to injecting meat, you will be performing this surgical procedure with as much precision as a nurse does with an actual patient.
We have also included some useful tips and tricks that we have gathered from barbeque experts all over the world which have made them masters of this simple but useful technique.
Step 1: Choosing the right needle for the injection
- Meat injectors are comprised of two separate parts. The bottom part is the barrel where you fill in the solution that you want to put into the meat and the top part is the needle with which you poke the meat.
- Most meat injectors come with more than one kind of needle so that you can interchange the needles according to what kind of injecting solution you have and what kind of meat you are using it on.
- You need to choose between a thin needle with holes all along its shaft and a thick needle which does not have any holes. The thin needle should be chosen when you have a perfectly liquid solution for injecting into the meat. The holes designed along the needle shaft ensure that the solution is dispersed along the length of the meat as it travels through the needle. This ensures a perfectly even distribution of the flavor.
- On the other hand, if you have a solution that is made up of ground spices that may also have some chunky pieces, you should use the thicker needle so that the solution does not get blocked inside the needle but is able to transfer on to the meat smoothly.
Step 2: Keep all the necessary equipment at hand
- You might be wondering what equipment you will need for this basic process. Well, a good quality meat injector is obviously one equipment that you simply cannot do without for injecting the meat.
- You will also need to make sure that all the components of the meat injector are completely clean of any injecting solution that you may have used in your previous recipes.
- You should take special care that the needle is free from any residue of the solution or bits of meat that may cling to it when you insert it into the meat. This promotes good hygiene while cooking and also makes sure that you stay away from any infectious bacteria that may develop on the needle.
- Apart from the meat injector, you will also need a wide dish in which you can keep the meat when you are injecting it. Never make the mistake of putting the meat on the grill and then injecting it as that is not just dangerous but also defeats the entire purpose of injecting the meat.
- Also, we recommend that you wear a cooking apron or some other piece of clothing over your nice clothes as it can get quite messy and we wouldn’t want your good clothes to get spoilt by meat juices and injection solution.
Step 3: Preparing the injection solution
- The trickiest part to injecting the meat is the preparation of the injection solution as it is this solution that determines what kind of flavors your meat will get when it is finally cooked.
- It is important that you prepare the injection solution beforehand so that it gets at least some time to settle in. However, make sure that you store the prepared solution in a non-reactive container otherwise the solution will end up getting some flavors that you did not intend.
- You should also mix the ingredients really well. A good way to do this is to shake it up vigorously in a bottle and then pour it out in a bowl from which you can draw it up into the injection.
- Preparing the injection solution should a fairly easy step as most meat injection solutions do not require a lot of components. In fact, you will be surprised by how much a meat’s flavor is enhanced with the addition of only a few basic ingredients.
- To get some idea of injection solution recipes, you can try making a solution of apple juice, water, sugar, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce to be injected into any kind of pork meat. You will need approximately 2 cups of solution if you are cooking an 8 to 12 pound hunk of meat.
Step 4: Filling the syringe with the solution
You can fill the syringe with the solution by simply dipping the needle into the bowl of solution and drawing it up.
Sometimes, the solution maybe a bit thick so that it does not come up easily. In this case, you will need to make a kind of gasket which will help you fill in the syringe quickly.
- All you need is a plastic bottle in which you will pour the solution.
- After screwing on the lid, heat the tip of your needle and pierce the lid so that an opening is formed.
- Cover the lid with electrical tape.
- Heat the needle again, insert it into the lid through the electrical tape covering and then pull up the handle of the meat injector so that air is released into the bottle.
- This will cause pressure to build up inside the bottle after which you can just tip the bottle to let the solution flow into the injection syringe.
Step 5: Choosing the perfect place to deliver the injection
- A meat injection must always be delivered from the side of the meat and never from the top.
- This ensures that the solution you are injecting goes into the muscle fibers and is evenly distributed along the entire length and breadth of the meat rather than being concentrated in one place.
- In fact, when you inject the meat from the sides, you will be able to actually see it puffing up as the meat gets plumped up.
- If you are cooking meat which has a bone in it, you should take special care to inject the meat around the bone which will enhance the meat’s flavor many times over.
Step 6: It’s time to inject!
- Simply push down the syringe to release the solution into the meat. However, you must ensure that the needle is embedded deep inside the meat so that the solution permeates properly. If the needle is inserted only in the periphery of the meat, the solution will likely spill out.
- If you are using a needle with holes along the shaft, you will have to be careful that all the holes are inside the meat as otherwise, you will end up losing a lot of solution that leaks out of the holes.
Step 7: Keep injecting in different places to cover the entire meat
- You will need to give the meat several shots of the solutions at different sides and angles.
- You will also have to flip the meat to effectively cover both the sides which ensures that the injection solution is properly distributed.
- You can even give the meat an injection shot from the top for maximum effect.
- You may also have to dip the needle into the solution bowl several times to refill the syringe so make sure that you that at hand.
Injecting meat is a great way to customize your meat so that it has all the right flavors that you prefer in your food. It is also a great way to show off your creativity in the kitchen and treat your family and friends to flavorful meat that they will want to come back for.
We hope that our meat injection guide would have proved to be useful in your culinary journey. Make sure to leave us a comment. Oh, and if you have some more tips that we missed, you are most welcome to share for other readers’ benefit!
Last Updated on August 17, 2020 by Judith Fertig