One of the best turkeys I’ve ever had was prepared by my sister. It was Thanksgiving dinner circa 2007, and it was her turn to host that year. I put the dreaded turkey onto my plate, knowing in my heart it was going to be as dry as my uncle’s jokes.
I took a bite, and to my surprise, it was juicy and full of flavor. I even went back for seconds. I had to ask my sister what she had done differently and later found out her secret.
Injecting the turkey.
In this recipe, I’m going to show you a quick injection recipe that will boost the flavor of any turkey you make.
Why you should inject turkey
Injecting a flavored liquid helps prevent the turkey from drying out. Once you try this, you’ll never go back to dry, bland turkey again, and your guests will be begging for seconds (and thirds!).
Because turkey is very lean, especially in the breast, it tends to dry out quickly during the cooking process. It is one of those proteins that are very unforgiving, so by injecting, you can help counter that.
You can have a juicy bird with deep flavor using just a few simple ingredients that you probably already have at home.
Some recipes call for all sorts of ingredients that make it a little too complex in my opinion. If we stick with the basics, we can achieve great flavors without overdoing it.
Equipment you need
- Meat Injector – Doesn’t have to be fancy, you can get one like this off Amazon or if you take your barbecue really seriously you could invest in the SpitJack.
- A tray – No matter how carefully you inject your turkey, some of the liquid is going to leak out.
Do’s and don’ts of injection:
- Do inject the entire turkey
- Do experiment with different flavor combinations. (Cajun, lemon pepper, etc.)
- Do take it nice and slow; try not to push the marinade from the injector too fast, or it may come back at you!
- Don’t use coarse rubs or herbs that can clog your injector, opt to place herbs under the skin or on the outside.
- Don’t go too salt heavy especially if you have already brined or plan on adding more seasoning
How to inject a turkey
For best results, you would brine the turkey overnight first and then inject the turkey.
If you’re short on time and can’t brine, then injecting the turkey can go a long way making up for that though.
1. Make your injection liquid
Melt a stick of unsalted butter and combine with hot sauce, lemon juice, chicken broth, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder and whisk together.
Place your turkey on a tray to avoid creating a mess.
2. Inject the turkey
Once the ingredients are combined, fill your injector and press into the meat of the turkey, injecting the marinade.
You want to start at the top of the breast and inject in a few spots working your way from the top down. As you inject the marinade into the turkey you should see it plump up as it is getting filled.
3. Season and cook the turkey
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 cup chicken broth Room temperature or warmer. Cold broth will not mix well with the butter.
- 1 tbsp hot sauce
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- Melt a stick of unsalted butter and then combine hot sauce, lemon juice, chicken broth, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder and whisk together.
- Place turkey on a tray as it can get messy as some of the marinade will leak out.
- Fill your injector and then press into the meat of the turkey injecting the marinade starting at the top of the breast and inject in a few spots working your way from the top down.
- As you inject the marinade, you should see the turkey plump up.
- After you have injected the turkey, proceed to season the outside of the turkey and get to cooking!