Turkey Injection

Inject Marinades directly into a Turkey for Maximum Flavor

Turkey Injection Sauce
Turkey Injection Sauce. Sabrina S. Baksh/Regarding BBQ, Inc.

Imagine a way to get great flavors deep inside the meat of a turkey. That’s where injection sauces come into play. Sauces, rubs, and marinades can only go so far, but an injection gets right to the center of the meat. By using a meat injector flavors can be combined and inject them straight into the thickest parts of the bird.

Meat injectors are basically a hypodermic needle with a large gauge needle.

Use this syringe to place small amounts (about 2 teaspoons per location) of sauces into thick parts of any meat before cooking. Whether grilling, smoking, frying or roasting a turkey this is the best way to get extra moisture and flavor into the deepest parts of the meat. This is a good strategy with turkey since the thickness of the breasts is so great. Applied flavorings, like rubs or marinades, will only flavor the surface. The injection will get deep into the meat and distribute as it cooks.

To make this work and to get the most from your injection sauce, start with a liquid that doesn't contain anything that might clog up the needle. Avoid flaky herbs, crushed garlic or anything else that might have a tough time getting through the needle. Good things to look for seasoned oils, vinegar, finely crushed spices, wines or beers. As long as it will fit through the needle it will work.

Secondly, make sure to spread out your injection pattern.

You want to get small amounts of the solution into as many places as possible. Also, aim the needle to the middle of the meat. If you overshoot, the sauce will just slip through to the other side of the meat. If you don't get it in far enough it will seep out the hole it went in through. One tip is to think about making 40 injections instead of 4.

On a final note try not to overpower the flavor of the turkey. You might be tempted to add a lot of hot sauces or cayenne and end up with a turkey too hot to eat. Go with subtle and mild flavors or use strong flavors in small amounts. Remember you want to enhance the flavor of your turkey not cover it up. A good injection marinade is going to match all the flavors being used on the turkey. For instance, if you are using a rub on the surface fo the turkey, use that same rub in the injection. 

Brined turkeys can be injected as long as there is not salt in the injection. Brining adds all the salt that a turkey will need. Using additional salt in the injection will oversalt the meat and make it undesirable.