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Use a Marinade Injector to Take Your Meat’s Flavor to the Next Level

Marinade injectors have long been a secret weapon in the high-stakes world of professional barbecuing. Learn what they are and how to use them with these easy tips and ideas.

4 min read

This method is pretty self-explanatory: instead of flavoring the surface of the meat, like with marinades and rubs, you inject flavor via a large, food-safe needle designed to penetrate muscle fibers, delivering flavor and tenderizing meat in a matter of minutes.

We’ve already used our Flavor Injector to make better turkeys; now we’re taking a (barbe)cue from the experts. Read below for some tips to bring more flavor to your next grilling session.

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Flavor Ideas by Type of Meat

In-house grilling experts Mack and Eric advise staying true to classic flavor combinations and remembering your goal while grilling—juicy, delicious meat! Use this temperature guide for grilling meat to make sure it's cooked to perfection, too.

  • Pork: Because pork is (generally) lean, your goal is to lock in moisture. Apple and pork are a natural match, so including apple juice or apple cider vinegar and stock in your mix is always a good bet. Here’s a favorite recipe(Opens in a new window) from Serious Eats.
  • Chicken/Turkey: Because the flavor is inherently mild, you can experiment with different flavor combinations like lemon juice, fresh herbs, minced garlic and even melted butter and beer.  
  • Beef:  You really want the protein to be the star here, so the brines and marinades should be more subdued. Think beef stock, butter and kosher salt.
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Flavor Injection Recipes

As a general rule of thumb, inject one ounce of brine or marinade per pound of meat. Here are two of our go-to “recipes”:

Marinade Recipe (Inspired by Amazing Ribs(Opens in a new window))

  • 1 part acid (citrus, vinegar, beer, wine) 3 parts oil + flavoring (garlic, mustard, herbs, spices, honey, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce... )
  • Good tip: Use the thicker needle for herb-y or garlic-y marinades but make sure the pieces are small enough to fit through the needle. When in doubt, a fine mesh strainer comes in super handy.

Brine Recipe

  • 2 cups of water/low-sodium stock + 1t sugar + 1T Kosher salt
  • Good tip: Make sure the salt fully dissolves before injecting.
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Tips for Using Your Meat Injector

  • Make it easy on yourself: we love mise en place here at OXO, but have you ever thought to mise en place while grilling? We put our marinades and brines into tall containers like our Squeeze & Pour Measuring Cup(Opens in a new window) or Prep Bowls(Opens in a new window) to draw the liquid into the Injector.
  • Make it smooth: use a little oil to lubricate the silicone seal before use, this makes using the Injector even easier.
  • Be mindful: when injecting white meat such as chicken breasts or pork chops, make sure to use a lighter-colored marinade or brine as the color will show through.
  • Be thorough: use the same injection hole multiple times at different angles to leave fewer marks.
  • Be patient: let the meat rest at least a half hour after injecting to let the flavor disperse before grilling.

Ready to get grilling? Try these delicious ideas for grilled fruit, our best tips for grilling for a big group, and new takes on classic barbecue dishes.

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