You have probably come across recipes calling for meat injection. It's supposed to make what you're cooking more tender, juicy, and flavorful.
Injecting meat before cooking is not a new technique. Essentially, it is marinating the meat from the inside. By infusing the meat with spices, broth, juice, or simply water & salt, you help the flavor go deeper than only seasoning it on the outside. For cooking larger cuts on a slow cooker, it will add moisture and prevent drying.
What tools do I need? To do this, you will need two things: a liquid (marinade) of your choice, and a meat injector. There are loads of pre-made marinades on the market (usually in powdered form), and even the most basic meat injector will do the job.
What type of meat can I inject? You can find recipes that use the technique on virtually anything that's at least as large as a steak. Generally, the benefits will be more apparent on cuts like beef brisket, pork butt, and even whole turkeys.
What should I inject each meat with? This depends on what you're looking for. A simple water/salt brine will help the meat stay moist and juicy. But you can go crazy - use other liquids as a base (apple juice, chicken or beef stock, etc), and add any spice or herb blend you want. Experimenting with what works best with each type of meat is half the fun!
One good idea is to add a couple of tablespoons of the rub that you'll also use on the outside, that way you'll be helping that flavor reach deeper into the meat.
There are also injections you can get pre-mixed. We've got a few, made with specific types of meat in mind, for guaranteed maximum flavor. Check 'em out on our store!
How It's Done
You've got your tools, and you have your marinade ready - let's get down to business.
First, you want to make sure you're doing this in a safe place. Not all of the liquid will stay inside your meat, so you might wanna do this in your kitchen sink, or in a large enough pan.
Next, check that the injector is squeaky clean. Since we often add things like herbs and spices to our marinade. While we suggest you strain as much of the solid stuff out, it's important to clean after each cook to ensure the needle doesn't get clogged over time.
Load up some of your marinade in the chamber, and get the meat ready. What you want to do is start at the thickest part. Inject at a 45º angle, going about 2-3 inches deep (depending on how thick the cut is). Push the injector as you pull the needle out.
Repeat, leaving 1-2 inches of space between the injections.
Once you're done, dry any excess liquid off with a paper towel. Season, and cook as you normally would!
Finally, as with all cooking utensils, don't forget to wash the meat injector thoroughly. Filling it with just water and pushing it out of the needle will get rid of any larger spice particles that may be stuck to the inside. Once dry, it's ready for action the next time you want to use this technique!