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For the most flavorful, tender smoked brisket, follow these brisket injection techniques from award-winning pitmaster Christie Vanover.
Why should I inject brisket?
Injecting your brisket is a way to insert marinade directly into the meat, allowing the flavors to fully penetrate.
What’s an injector?
A meat injector, also known as a marinade injector or flavor injector, is a kitchen tool used for injecting marinades directly into meat.
It’s basically an oversized needle attached to a syringe. You place the needle in a cup of marinade to draw the liquid into the syringe. Then you insert the needle into the meat to inject the flavor inside.
- OXO Flavor Injector: This injector comes with two needles. I prefer the smaller red-tipped needle.
- Ofargo Injector: This injector is less expensive and is a little less solid. My first one broke after several uses. But it’s a decent starter injector.
- SpitJack: If you’re really serious about BBQ, you may want to invest in the SpitJack. It’s commercial grade and has a grip that’s easier to handle.
What to inject brisket with
You can start simple and inject your brisket with beef consume or beef broth. Consume has a more concentrated beef flavor than broth, so that’s what I recommend.
If you want do what the competitors do, use a combination of dry beef marinade with water. Many of the marinades contain phosphates, which help with moisture retention, tenderness and flavor.
If using phosphates, mix your injection ingredients just before injecting the brisket so they maintain their moisture-making properties.
- 1/4 cup Big Poppa Smoker’s Cattle Prod
- 1/4 cup Blues Hog Beef Marinade Mix
- 16.9-ounce bottle of water
How much brisket injection is needed per brisket?
I use about two cups of brisket injection for every 18-20-pound brisket. The above recipe is the perfect amount. Don’t feel obligated to use the whole batch.
If the brisket is fully injected and just can’t hold anymore liquid, stop injecting and discard any leftover injection.
When to inject brisket
How to inject brisket
Just like giving a shot, pierce the brisket meat, and slowly push down on the plunger to inject broth into the meat. As you press the injection into the meat, pull the needle out, so you hit more surface area.
Inject the meat from the top side. Start in the top left corner and move the needle an inch to the right and inject again.
Once you finish a row across, move the needle down an inch and repeat until every square inch has been injected.
If excess liquid collects in the pan, carefully pour it out into the sink.
Should I inject with or against the grain
Some pitmasters swear by either method. If you inject with the grain, the thought is that the marinade will spread vertically with the grain of the meat.
If you go against the grain, the thought is that the injection will spread horizontally into the meat with the flow of the meat fibers.
Personally, I inject with the grain and then turn the brisket 90 degrees and then inject against the grain.
Once it’s injected, you can apply the dry rub.