Grilling enthusiasts are always looking for ways to make meat juicier and more flavorful. While marinades and brines work wonders, the flavors don’t always get into the center of the meat. That’s where injection comes in. This flavor infusing method works faster than marinating and really kicks up the flavor on grilled meats.
Choosing an Injector
An injector is basically a giant syringe and is available at most stores that sell grilling or cooking supplies. They come in a variety of needle and fluid sizes, but those don’t matter much. Just choose one that feels comfortable in your hand and that is large enough to hold the amount of marinade you want. Whichever model you choose, wash it thoroughly in soap and water before using it for the first time.
Mixing up the Marinade
Mix up the marinade of your choice in bowl. You can mix and match spices into salt water, vegetable oil, olive oil, juice, butter or other liquids. If you use spices that are larger, grind them up in a spice grinder, food processor or chop them finely by hand. This prevents the flakes from clogging the tip of the injector needle. Use garlic paste instead of crushed garlic for the same reason.
Fill the injector by placing the end of the needle into the bowl and pulling up on the plunger. Insert the needle between 1/2 to 2 inches into the meat, depending on the thickness. When inserting the needle, aim the tip towards the center of the meat rather than straight down. Slowly depress the plunger by a fraction of an inch. Remove and reinsert the needle 1 inch away from the first site. Continue injecting the meat until you have 30 or 40 holes in it. You may notice some marinade oozing out of the skin, but this is normal. If it spurts out, apply a lighter pressure on the plunger. After injecting the meat, place it into the refrigerator for one hour to allow the juices to disseminate.
When injecting large slabs of meat, don’t remove the needle after the first injection. Instead, pull it almost out and point the tip in another direction before pushing it back into the meat. Using this method allows you to add more flavor in concentrated areas.
Cooking Injected Meats
Injected meats can be grilled, seared, smoked, roasted and even fried. Just remove it from the refrigerator, pat it dry with paper towels and cook it. When flipping the injected meat, use tongs instead of a fork. This prevents puncture holes which can allow the marinade to leak out.