How to Inject Meat with Marinade? Everything You Need to Know!

October 25, 2023
Written by Kristy J. Norton

Want to take your barbecues to the next level? Injecting your favorite meat cut might be the answer!

Although it’s not always necessary, injecting meat with marinade before smoking can make the difference between meat being dry and bland or moist and luscious. In my experience, injecting your meat improves the meat’s intense flavor and texture.

I started injecting my meat cuts years ago, and I haven’t turned back since. This process never fails to improve the overall moisture and flavor of my barbecues, and I’m certain it will do the same for yours. Continue reading to learn how to inject your meat with marinade.

inject meat with marinade

How to Inject Meat?

Injecting marinade into your favorite meats is straightforward as long as you know what to do. Here is my detailed step-by-step instruction on how to fill your meat with marinade.

Step 1: Prepare the Injector

First, it’s crucial to choose the appropriate needle to use on the marinade injector because marinades can vary in thickness depending on their ingredients.

If you select a needle that is too wide, you won’t be able to apply enough pressure to drive the marinade into the deeper layers of the meat’s flesh. In contrast, if you choose a smaller needle that is too narrow, you’ll have trouble squeezing the marinade out.

You must pay attention to both the holes on the side of the injector’s needle as well as the size of the hole at the tip. For larger slices of meat, needles with holes along the sides are ideal because you can easily add marinade to the meat’s various layers.

For thinner pieces of meat, you won’t require a needle with side holes; a needle with a hole at the tip will suffice. However, keep in mind the thickness of the marinade when using needles with a hole at the tip.

If your marinade is thick, choose a thicker needle with a wide opening. But if your marinade is smooth and thin, you can get away with a thin needle.

Before you start applying the marinade, remember to properly clean your marinade injector. This entails cleaning any food or marinade remnants off the needle and cleaning the liquid chamber in case there is any leftover marinade or brine solution.

Step 2: Prepare the Marinade

Prepare your marinade in a plastic container. The plastic container also doubles as a storage container in case you have excess liquid.

Bear in mind that you’ll need 2 or 3 cups of marinade for large meats. I typically use a marinade containing ¼ cup of salt, ¼ pound of garlic powder, ½ cup of Worcestershire sauce, a cup of water, ½ cup of olive oil, and ½ cup of soy sauce.

Although individual recipes will have their own variations, many of them will have these basic elements at their core. Remember that the main attraction is your meat. Keep it from being overshadowed.

Any herbs or additional ingredients you use should be ground up before being added to the marinade. You should aim for a fine powder or paste-like consistency.

Freshly Prepared Marinade on the Glass Jar

Make sure you stir the marinade properly before extracting it from the needle so that the ingredients are properly incorporated.

Now, dip the needle of the marinade injector into the marinade and pull the plunger all the way back to extract it. Keep extracting the marinade until the marinade injector is filled up. Note that you may need to adjust the way you extract the marinade if the needle has many holes.

You’ll want all the needle’s holes submerged in the marinade for quick and easy extraction. If you’re looking for the best meat injector available, I recommend Ofargo’s. In my experience, the stainless steel construction makes it very durable and easy to clean.

Step 3: Inject the Marinade

If the meat has a bone, make sure you squeeze the marinade inside and around it. Even though you can inject the meat from the top surface of the meat, it’s better to inject the meat from the side and aim for the muscles.

This is important so you don’t spill excess liquid because the muscles will absorb the marinade and appear plumper as a result.

To inject the meat, simply press down on the plunger of the marinade injector. To avoid losing too much injection solution, apply steady, even pressure while ensuring the needle is buried deep into the flesh. Make sure all the holes in the needle’s shaft are submerged in the meat. Remember to rotate the meat and inject from both sides.

The Benefits of Injecting Your Meat

Injecting liquid into your meat gives it more flavor and tenderness. In contrast to conventional techniques for applying marinades like rubbing, injecting allows the flavor to permeate the meat deeply.

Injecting the meat before cooking also adds more moisture to the meat, which is crucial when smoking or grilling since moisture is easily lost throughout the cooking process.

You can even save time by injecting your meat right before smoking or grilling it.

How Long Should I Wait Before Grilling?

I will advise giving the meat an hour to rest after injection, even though some pit masters prefer to cook the meat right away. Try both approaches and decide which is more effective for you.

Make sure you don’t wait too long because the salt from the marinade will start tenderizing the meat’s muscles and breaking them down, leaving a mushy mess.

Injecting Spicy Marinade on the Raw Meat

Meat Types That You Can Inject

Almost any type of meat can be injected with marinade. The meats that can benefit the most from injection solutions are those that are prone to becoming dry quickly. Examples of meat that dries quickly include:

  • Pork loin
  • Pork chops
  • Pork shoulders
  • Beef roast
  • Lamb leg

Additionally, injecting liquid is also recommended when smoking or grilling larger meat cuts, such as:

  • Whole hogs
  • Whole turkey
  • Whole chicken
  • Beef Brisket
  • Ham
  • Pork shoulder

What is a Marinade Injector?

A marinade injector is basically a large syringe that is used to inject marinade into different types of meat.

Marinading meat by immersing it in a marinade solution doesn’t always allow the marinade’s flavor penetrate through the entire meat. However, if you inject the meat with marinade, the flavors will permeate the whole layers of the meat.

How to Clean a Marinade Injector?

Small kitchen appliances are often challenging to clean. Luckily, a meat injector is not that complex to clean up. The first thing you need to do is submerge the tip of the meat injector in a bowl filled with warm, soapy water. Next, pull back the plunger to fill it with soapy water, then empty the plunger.

Fill the plunger and empty it as many times as necessary. The ultimate goal is to ensure the marinade injector is clean. The total cleaning time will vary depending on the type of marinade you use.

That said, cleaning should take just a few minutes. You can also disassemble the marinade injector and manually clean every component. This will leave your meat syringe looking pristine.

Chef Injecting Marinade into Raw Meat


That’s all you need to know about injecting meat with marinade. By mastering this part of barbecuing, you can really personalize your cooking and impress your guests with delicious flavors.

Hopefully, you can now inject your meat with your own marinade recipe and elevate the tastiness of your meat. Remember to pay attention to the injector you use. A high-quality stainless steel tool will make a world of difference.

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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