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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

What’s the Best Meat Injector for BBQ



A good meat injector adds moisture and flavor to your cuts.
A good meat injector adds moisture and flavor to your cuts.

It’s no secret that most anyone can grill a plain piece of meat on the grill and walk away with an edible meal. If you’re looking to really amp up the flavors of your barbecue to a mind-bogglingly awesome level, though, you’re going to want to get your hands on a meat injector.

Want to check out my absolute favorite meat injector? Read about it at Amazon.

Although you can always season and flavor your meat with a dry or wet rub, a meat injector literally injects flavor into the meat by permeating the lower levels, well beyond the outer surface where rubs reign supreme. This results in a deliciously succulent and flavorful piece of meat that can’t be achieved with just your regular meat seasoning tactics.

Most meat injectors roughly resemble needles that you’d see in a doctor’s office, albeit on a much larger scale. But, don’t be afraid! This kind of hypodermic injection isn’t scary once you realize what good it could do for your BBQ.

What are some good features of a meat injector?

The important features vary based on how much meat you might plan on injecting. However, one constant will be that great meat injectors are made from sturdy stainless steel that can easily penetrate the thickness of whatever cut you put it through.

All meat injectors will come with some type of needle apparatus that will inject flavorings into the meat. Stainless steel is especially great for this because it can easily penetrate thicker cuts without any trouble.

Likewise, choosing a stainless steel needle with several holes in the shaft, as opposed to one singular hole at the end, ensures you can introduce flavoring throughout the meat.

If you are serious about meat injecting, it might be time to consider a meat injector for your BBQ that has a large enough capacity to hold your broth, butter, and flavorings. Some home BBQ aficionados may be content with a 2 oz container for their flavoring, whereas competition BBQ cookers may need a gallon sized container with a hand pump mechanism to handle that kind of flavor injection.

What kind of meat injector should I use?

Never have dry turkey again!
Never have dry turkey again!

For smaller cuts of meat or meat that doesn’t require a lot of marinades, a standard meat injector will be perfect for your needs. A stainless steel hand-injected meat injector (say that three times fast!) with a long needle will usually suffice if you are a home cook that’s looking to venture into this new world.

If you’re starting from the very beginning, you may also want to consider a thinner needle to accommodate primarily liquid broths. If you anticipate needing to inject spices or seasonings, like garlic or rosemary, you may want to opt for a meat injector with a larger needle that can successfully introduce these spices deep into the meat.

Meat Injector Kit with Case -100% Food Safe - 304 SS Syringe -3 Marinade Injector Needles for BBQ Grill Smoker, Large 2 oz. Capacity, 3 Cleaning Brushes + Basting Brush + Magnetic Meat Smoking Guide

Check out the eChefs Professional Flavor Marinade Injector Kit at Amazon

The SpitJack Magnum Meat Injector Gun - Complete Kit with Case

For the seasoned BBQ expert (or someone who aspires to be one), you may be interested in an injector that operates by means of a squeeze handle rather than the basic hypodermic setup. If you plan on injecting a lot of meat, this feature will definitely save you a few hand cramps down the line. This injector mechanism more closely resembles the handle of a squeeze bottle, rather than the uncomfortable basic-style needle injector.

Check out The SpitJack Magnum Meat Injector Gun – Complete Kit at Amazon

Chop's FULL Power Meat Injector System!

If you are going to be entering BBQ competitions in the future, or foresee needing an injector that can handle industrial-sized jobs, there are also models equipped with a motorized or hand pump mechanism that can deliver a steady stream of marinade straight into your meat—without the painful effects that come along with hand-injecting larger cuts.

Check out the Barbeque Kansas City Chop’s FULL Power Injector System at Amazon

This type of meat injector is suitable for heavy duty kitchen BBQ Grills. It’s very easy-to-use and also to clean. It does not suffer from rusting, erosion or even leaking thus enhancing its durability.

OFG 304-Stainless Steel Meat Injector Syringe Kit with 3 Marinade Needles for BBQ Grill Smoker, 2-oz Large Capacity, Both Paper User Manual and E-Book Recipe

This injector kit comes with 3 marinade needles for BBQ Grill Smoker, 2-oz Large capacity and recipe E-Book. It can be used during Thanksgiving, Christmas or any other occasion to inject rum into strawberries, brine into the home-cured meat and even inject jelly into doughnuts. This a perfect meat injector that can reduce the time required to marinate any meat.

View on Amazon

Cave Tools is a perfect injector that can be used to pump anything into your meat to improve its flavor. It has three needles for different types of food which can make your marinations very easy as well as accommodating marinades of any consistency

Meat Injector - 304 Stainless Steel 2.3-oz BBQ Injection Kit Marinade Seasoning Window for Cooking Grill Smoker Barbecue - Syringe Injects Cajun Flavor in Chicken Turkey Beef - 3 Professional Needles

Its kit comes with a high-grade stainless steel meat marinade injector; this ensures the injector does not clog, break or even bend. Can be very useful when dealing with tough pieces of meat because it can penetrate them easily. This injector is easy to disassemble and can be cleaned conveniently. The kit has a fantastic instructions manual that can help in to understand its use.

Check out the Heavy duty 304 stainless Steel Meat Injector Kit at Amazon

What other features should I be looking for?

A sturdy meat injector will allow for countless flavor injections. If you will be using your meat injector more than once, steer clear of ones made from plastic, as they are not nearly as durable as they are marketed to be. This will also be helpful if you are injecting a tougher cut of meat, as plastic can sometimes have a hard time moving through muscle fibers.

Keep an eye out for a model that is both durable and dishwasher safe, so you can rest easy when it comes time to clean up.

All in all, when it’s time to bump up the flavor below the surface, investing in a quality meat injector for your BBQ is definitely a step in the right direction. Follow these suggestions and amaze your friends and family with the most succulent cuts you’ve ever cooked!

Frequently Asked Questions

What information should one have to choose the best meat injector that will serve his or her needs?

You should set out the kinds of meat cuts that you want to add flavor and juiciness. Are they large or small cuts of meat? This will assist you in determining the type of needles to be purchased along with the injector; most meat injectors come with more than one needle for various marinade consistencies. Mostly massive cuts of meat require sharp needles that will penetrate deep and efficiently deliver the marinade.

The type of material making up the injector that one prefers should also be the other piece of information that one should have. Some people will prefer a marinade injector with solid plastic, plastic plunger and heavy-duty metal. A large number of people will require more meat which requires more refills in the injector.

The other information that one should have is the number of people expected at a BBQ or a table. It will assist you to determine the capacity of a meat injector. Most meat injectors require refills be it the 2-ounce capacity injector or any other. Information on what additional accessories that one expects or want the meat injector to come with should also be possessed before a purchase. Some kits come with gloves that help one in picking and turning heavy pieces of meat while they are grilled, for example, the Chief chef meat injector.

What is the most cost-effective meat injector for a BBQ?

It is not possible to tell you what particular meat injector would be cost effective as far as BBQs are concerned, this is because marination needs and expectations vary from one person to the other. You may, for example, prefer an injector that is very easy to handle and is useful in injecting large chunks of meat with different seasonings but another person may prefer otherwise.

You may find one user wants an injector that comes with a variety of needles of different gauges, but another user wants one with a particular set of needles. Different needs and preferences present different prices regarding meat injector kits, the cost of the injector will depend on what type of nozzle that will satisfy your needs.

Which is the best meat injector for a BBQ competition?

It will depend on how fast one can operate or use a particular meat injector and the size of the meat in the competition. Large quantities of meat require a meat injector with the most significant capacity to avoid the need of continually refilling it with the marination juice. Small meat sizes may require an injector nozzle that can deliver the fluid with a lot of precision and avoid it from flowing out.

For large competitions that involve huge chunks of meat, I would recommend the chop’s power injector system that can hold up to ½ Gallon of one’s favorite injections fluid

Is it possible to customize your own meat injector?

Yes, it’s possible to customize your own injector. All you need to do is to identify your margination needs and the best designer who can develop an injector head that can do the tenderizing that you need. For me, Fomaco is the best engineering company that can engineer tenderizing heads according to your needs and preferences. Fomaco has come up with different needle heads for all types of tissues and will give you the best advice and various option to choose. You can also do a broad search and try to find any other designers who can make a meat injector of your preference.

What are the best marinade flavors for a BBQ?

The great Teriyaki flavor is an excellent marinade for both chicken and pork. The marinade can be used on beef because it brings up the best taste. You can try the lemon and Rosemary marinade since it’ll give your meat that lemon herb flavor. If you want a variety of best marinades you can try some of these; the classic Steak marinade, pineapple Marinade, Jamaican Jerk Marinade, the excellent lamb Marinade, and Brisket Marinade. By trying out all these marinades, you can be able to taste and feel for yourself, and you will decide which one works best for you or the meat type on which you intend to use it on.

What can one do to avoid or minimize the wastage of marinade during injection?

First, you will need to keep in mind the marination system, and the softness or toughness of the meat you intend to inject for the flavor. You will need to fill 2/3 of the tumbler because overfilling will only lead to a reduction in uniformity or marinade circulation within the meat and may spoil the meat.

If you do this the marinade will go into waste. The other thing that you will need to do is purchase sharp needles that can penetrate any size of meat and deliver the marinade effectively. Thick needles will only get the juice into the upper part of the meat, and sometimes the marinade comes out. www.wattagnet.com

What is the best way of cleaning an already used meat injector that helps prevent damage to the injector?

The best way of cleaning an injector is by pulling hot soapy water into the injector nozzle until the chamber is full. It’s a safe and secure cleaning method that ensures that you won’t damage the injector. After this, you will need to depress the plunger and get the water out. The other way of cleaning a meat injector is by disassembling the nozzle and soaking it into warm water with mild soap and let it soak for some minutes, and you can wash the different parts separately. After this, you can dry the pieces and reassemble the meat injector. This is the procedure that minimizes damage to an injector. Now it’s ready for use at whichever time you decide.

For delicious BBQ ideas, see our recipes section for advice on how to prepare the best smoked chicken, turkeys and more. You might also like this post on the best knives for cutting cooked chicken.

When it comes time to clean up, use these tips on the best way to clean porcelain coated cast iron grills…or how to clean stainless steel grates… and save yourself some time.

Image credit via Flickr Creative Commons: Ernesto A. and Andrea G.

Kitchen Professor author
About the Author: Bryce Heitman

Bryce is not a real professor, but he's real nerdy in the kitchen. He's been barbecuing, chopping, and generally blazing food for many decades. He thinks there's definitely a better spatula or utensil out there that hasn't been invented yet.

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