Injecting is a great way to pump added flavor and extra moisture deep inside large cuts of meat. Big chunks of meat like brisket can benefit from some extra fluid, and meat injectors are inexpensive and simple to use. I wanted to find out all I could about competition style brisket and how pitmasters use meat injectors to take their brisket to the next level. In this guide, I’ll show you all the best competition marinades on the market, homemade marinade recipes, and review several meat injectors.
Injecting brisket with marinade or beef broth will help prevent the meat from drying out by replacing lost fluids during the long cook. Brisket injection also adds enormous flavor, which is why it’s common practice in barbeque competitions. Meat injection syringes are simple to use and affordable.
This brisket injection marinade is the secret used in competitions and made by a World Barbecue champion.
Why Inject Brisket?
Brisket injection is used to inject flavor and moisture into the middle of large cuts of meat. Most seasonings and brines will only penetrate a few inches from the surface, however, liquid injection ensures flavor and moisture will reach the centre of the meat. You can inject brisket with a marinade, bone broth, apple cider vinegar, apple juice, butter or even beer.
Do I Need To Inject Brisket?
Meat injection is mostly used in barbecue competitions where pitmasters need to impress judges with one bite. Injecting brisket isn’t necessary if you get the fundamentals right, however, injecting is beneficial if you want a moist, flavorful ‘competition style’ brisket to impress your family and friends. Injecting is only one of the many variables. For a tender, juicy brisket, do the following:
- Keep the temperature of your smoker at a low heat (225°F)
- Wrap the brisket midway through the cook.
- Mop/baste/spritz regularly.
- Buy a brisket with marbling.
- Dry brine the brisket prior to smoking.
Does Injecting Brisket Really Work?
After several hours in the smoker, brisket will begin to dehydrate and lose moisture. However, if the brisket has been injected, the meat will have a fluid reserve to replace the lost fluid due to dehydration. The salt in the solution will also help the meat retain moisture. In terms of flavor, injecting marinade into the brisket is the only way to get flavor into the centre of the meat.
Have you tried injecting brisket? All you need is one of these Simple Meat Injectors.
What To Inject Brisket With Before Smoking
There are dozens of liquids that you can inject into your brisket. You can either buy pre-made competition brisket injections, make homemade injection recipes, or keep it simple by using melted butter, broth, apple juice, stock or beer.
The Most Common Brisket Injections
- Pre-made brisket injection solutions
- Homemade brisket injection recipes
- Bone Broth
- Beef Broth
- Salted water
- Apple Juice
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Salted butter
Homemade Brisket Injection Recipe
If you don’t want to buy pre-made injection products, but still want ‘competition style’ brisket injection, there are some great recipes available online. I follow a recipe from Myron Mixon, a five time barbecue World Champion, and judge from the television show BBQ Pitmasters. For a simple brisket injection, Myron Mixon uses Minor’s Au Jus Concentrate and Minor’s Beef Base and Stock mixed with water. You can by these products at Walmart or on Amazon.
- 1/2 quart water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons beef base
- 1 1/2 tablespoons au jus concentrate or one can of beef broth
1. Place water into a large stockpot and bring to the boil.
2. Add the au jus and beef base to the boiling water.
3. Stir ingredients until dissolved.
4. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
5. Pour the brisket injection into a large bottle or container.
6. Trim your brisket leaving 1/4 inch of fat on the fat cap.
7. Place the brisket in an aluminium pan or a deep baking tray.
8. Using a meat injector, draw the liquid into the needle and inject into 1-inch squares all over the brisket. Myron says to always inject with the grain of the meat.
9. Cover the brisket and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or leave overnight.
10. Remove the brisket from the pan, draining off any excess liquid.
11. Apply a dry rub to the brisket.
12. Smoke the brisket as normal.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 10Sodium: 1,333 mg
The Best Pre Made Brisket Injections
If you want to be guaranteed ‘next-level’ flavor and juiciness, a pre-made brisket marinade is the quickest way to go about it. There are a number of popular pre-made brisket injections on the market used by barbecue competitors. The most well known injection solutions used for brisket are Fab B and Butcher BBQ, however, there are now several good products on the market.
Comparing The Best Brisket Injection Solutions On The Market
|Marinade||Weight||Yield||Popularity||Price||Where To Buy|
|Butcher BBQ Brisket Injection||1 pound (16 oz.)||1 pound of product will do up to 8 briskets.||Winner of the BBQ World Food Championship||$19+||Amazon|
|Fab B||1 pound (16 oz.)||One pound of FAB is enough for about 3-5 briskets. Sixteen Ounces / Makes Two to Four Quarts||Popular product on the barbecue competition circuit since 1998. ||$26+||The Ingredient Store|
|Kosmos Q Orig Beef Brisket Injection||1 pound||Sufficient quantity for 6-8 Briskets||Amazon Choice||$27||Amazon|
|Meat Church Holy Cow Brisket Injection||1 pound||1/3 cup injection to 1 cup of water. 227 servings per container. 1/4 tablespoon equals 1 serving.||Meat Church is fast becoming one of the most respected names in barbecue.||$15||Meat Church|
How to Inject Brisket With Marinade
Take a meat injector and inject the meat every inch or two. You want to get an even spread of liquid, without over saturating the meat. When injecting, insert the needle with the grain, otherwise you will have patches of discolorization. Make sure you don’t go too heavy on the liquid, especially if you’re using a flavoured solution like a marinade or juice. The marinade should enhance the natural meat flavours, not overpower them.
The Best Meat Injectors For Brisket
There’s a wide variety of meat injectors available online, from cheap plastic syringes through to expensive metal pumps. As with most things, when it comes to meat injectors, you get what you pay for. The metal meat injectors are the most sturdy, however, they can be expensive. Plastic injectors are inexpensive, but can break easily and may only be good for a couple of uses. Stainless steel injectors are solid and affordable, however most still have plastic components which can break.
|Meat Injector||Description||Barrel Size||Needle Size||Popularity||Price||Where To Buy|
|Beast Injector||Made from |
grade stainless steel. Includes 3 needles
and lifetime warranty.
Weighs 9.3 oz. Dimensions 8 x 5.25 x 1.75 inches
|2 oz||Includes one 6″ angled needle, one 6″ needle with 12 holes, and one 3″ fine spray needle||Amazon Best |
Over 2k ratings.
|Ofargo||304-Stainless Steel. Includes 4 needles, spare silicone O-rings, needle cleaners, barrel brush, and ebook. |
Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.2 x 1.5 inches. Weighs 14 oz.
|2 oz||4 different needles |
(3x 6” plus
1x 3”) for
different applications. Made of #304
stainless steel, clog-resistant to both fluid and chunky marinades
|Amazon Choice. Over 600 ratings.||$30-|
|Ofargo Plastic Marinade Injector||Plastic barrel with stainless steel plunger and 2x stainless needles. Includes needle cleaning brush and ebook. |
Dimensions: 8.7 x 2.8 x 1.2 inches. Weighs 2.56 oz
|1 oz||2 types of needles||Amazon |
Over 4.5k ratings.
|Butcher BBQ Pistol Grip Gourmet Meat||Metal Handle 50cc Pistol |
Grip Syringe with 2
Different Needles a cleaning
Dimensions: 20.32 x 2.54 x 15.24 cm. Weighs 458 g
|1.69 oz||2 needles – side port hole and bottom port hole||Butcher BBQ products are produced |
by multiple World Barbecue Champion
or Butcher BBQ
How Do Meat Injectors Work?
Meat injectors have sharp needles with holes in the sides, and the liquid squirts out from the holes in the needle when it’s inserted into the brisket. Meat injectors work like a syringe, so as you insert the needle, you simply pump the fluid into the meat. When you are injecting brisket, it can get messy, so make sure you sit the meat in a baking dish or an aluminium pan. Also, consider wearing safety goggles or glasses when injecting because spray liquid in all directions and you may end up with marinade on your face or in your eyes.
How To Choose A Good Meat Injector
When you buy a meat injector, find one with a sharp needle so it can penetrate the meat easily. Barrel size is another consideration. The more liquid the barrel holds, the less time you’ll need to spend refilling the injector. There are cheap plastic injectors available but these are a waste of money and won’t last long. You’re better off spending a little more and get a stainless steel syringe. The Beast Injector is a popular choice on Amazon. This injector is stainless steel and comes with three different needles. Check the latest price here.
If you must inject large quantities of meat, pumping briskets manually will be difficult. There are a few automatic injectors on the market and they will make your life a lot easier. Butcher BBQ not only produce some of the best brisket rubs and marinades, they also make one of the best meat injectors.
How Long Before Smoking Do You Inject Brisket?
Inject the brisket at least few hours prior to smoking, but for best results, inject the brisket and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. This will allow the flavor to work it’s way into the meat and give the salt a chance to brine the inner layers of the brisket. Once you’re ready to smoke, dry the meat with a paper towel, apply the beef rub and then place it in the smoker.
Injecting vs Brining Brisket
Brining can either be done by using a wet brine or a dry brine. Both methods are effective, but dry brining is more suitable for brisket. A wet brine involves soaking the meat in a brine liquid for a period. This method works best for poultry and pork, but brisket will end up like corned beef if it’s left to soak in liquid for several days. Dry brining is much easier, and involves simply rubbing kosher salt or sea salt onto the outer layer of the meat, then left to rest in the fridge the night before smoking. The dry brine will salt the meat, add flavor, and help the brisket retain moisture during the long cook. However, the dry brine applied to the outer layer of the meat cannot reach the middle of the brisket. This is why injecting is so effective. An injector will pump a salty liquid deep into the brisket, adding flavor and moisture.
Other Tips For A Juicy Brisket
Injecting fluid into brisket is a good way to get some extra moisture inside the brisket to prevent it from drying out over the long cook. However, injecting is only one of several techniques used to ensure the meat tender and juicy.
Foiling your brisket in foil halfway through the cook will help the meat retain moisture. Wrapping the brisket in foil or butcher paper will prevent the meat from drying out by creating steam. If the brisket has been mopped/spritzed, then the meat will almost braise in the foil.
Temperature is the most important factor if you want a juicy brisket. You want to hold your smoker in the 225°F range for the entire cook. If the temperature spikes, then all the moisture in the brisket will escape.
Spritzing the brisket is an important technique for smoking brisket. Brisket is smoked unwrapped for the first part of the cook. In the unwrapped phase, it’s important to keep the meat moist by mopping/spritzing. This should be done every hour to help replace lost moisture.
Resting the brisket is one of the most important ways to ensure you get a tender, juicy brisket. If you slice the meat too early, all the juices will spill out. Keep the brisket in its wrapping, then wrap it again in a towel and place in a dry cooler. It can sit there for up to four hours.
More Brisket Articles:
My Favorite Meat Smoking Tools
Thanks for checking out this article. I hope you learned a few things. Here are some of my favorite tools I use when smoking brisket that may be useful to you. These are affiliate links, so if you decide to purchase any of these products, I’ll earn a commission. But in all honesty, these are the tools I recommend to my family and friends who are just starting out.
Meat Thermometer: There are dozens of fancy thermometers on the market, but I still use my trusty TP20. For around $50, I have a high-quality meat thermometer with two probes, and can track the temperature of my smoker with one probe, and my meat with the other probe. The ThermoPro TP20 is an Amazon Best Seller because it’s the easiest thermometer to operate, is durable, highly accurate, and comes with pre-programmed meat settings.
Instant Read Thermometer: Arguably, the second most important tool you need is a fast and accurate instant-read thermometer. These tools play an important role in the latter stages of the cook when the meat needs regular checking in multiple areas. I use the ThermoPro TP19 because it can do everything a ThermaPen can do, but for a fraction of the cost. You can check out the TP19 on Amazon here.
Butcher Paper: Wrapping brisket in butcher paper has become a huge trend in barbeque thanks to Aaron Franklin. Wrapping your brisket in paper will give you a nice brisket bark. However, you can’t just use any old paper, it has to be unwaxed, food grade paper. You can find it on Amazon here.
Advanced Thermometer and Automatic Temperature Controller: Once you’re ready to take things seriously, the FireBoard 2 Drive is a six-channel Bluetooth/Wi-Fi thermometer that can monitor up to 6 pieces of meat, control and graph your cook sessions on your smartphone, and attaches to an an automatic blower that will convert your charcoal smoker to a set-and-forget. This is one of the most advanced meat thermometers on the market. You can check it out on the FireBooard website here.