Injecting Pork Butt – A Competition Cooking Technique

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Want to keep meat you’re smoking or grilling from drying out?

While it isn’t talked about too much, there’s a super simple cooking technique that’ll keep the meat moist. It involves injecting liquid into the piece of meat you’re working with.

While this technique mainly helps BBQ pork from drying out but it’s also a great way to add this extra flavor to your meat as well as tenderize the meat.

Don’t worry if you’re not specifically working with a piece of pork butt. This technique can be applied to all kinds of different cuts of meat. It‘ll work great for smoked pork shoulder, brisket, turkey, pork roast, ham, and even roast beef.

my injecting beef tallow into roast beef to be smoked
Injecting beef tallow in the roast beef, its the same technique for pork butt

​What You’ll Need to to Inject Your Pork Butt

Let’s go through what you’ll need to have on hand to create your basic pork injection.

You’ll need to also have a meat injector to insert your special seasoning liquid into the pork butt, you can buy them all BBQ shops

Ingredients for The Seasoning Liquid

  • 1 stick or ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • ½ cup of spice rub

Ingredient for the Spice Rub (you can change these to suit your taste)

  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp garlic power
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 3 tbsp sweet paprika
  • ¼ cup ground black pepper (preferably freshly ground type)
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar 

4 Easy Steps to Injecting a Pork Butt

Below are my 4 simple steps to injecting a pork butt. It sounds more complicated than it is!

1. Seasoning Your Pork Butt

First things first, you’ve got to prep your pork butt. After you’ve cleaned the pork and trimmed off any excess fat, it’s time to make the seasoning liquid. 

Using the ingredients we’ve listed above, make the seasoning injection. Then combine everything in a saucepan and heat for 4 minutes over medium heat. Once it’s done, leave it to cool for a little while. We personally like to wait until it’s reached room temperature.

Next, inject the special seasoning liquid into the pork using your meat syringe. It’s okay if some of the liquid spills out. That’s normal. you can easily wipe up any of the excess or leftover liquid with a paper towel.

Once you’re done, pat the meat surface dry. We would also highly recommend brushing a thin layer of yellow mustard over the exterior. The mustard not only helps the meat caramelize more after being exposed to hours of smoke, but it also gives the spice rub something to stick onto. 

You’ll want to finish everything off by rubbing the rest of the spice mix that you made onto the meat’s exterior. After that, put the entire meat into a metal baking dish and wrap it with plastic wrap. Then just place it in the fridge and let it sit overnight.

If you have the time, always go with overnight marinades because they really ensure that all of that awesome flavor gets absorbed into the meat

injecting my pork butt with the seasoning,

2. Get Your Smoker to Temperature

Never smoke meat immediately upon taking it out of the fridge or freezer. You should always allow it to come up to room temperature

Preheat your smoker to 225℉.

We’d also recommend soaking your wood chips in some water so that they’ll last longer during the cooking time. If you’re going for something more than the typical ‘smoky flavor’, then you should definitely try to use cherry or applewood. It adds a sweet flavor that’s mild enough to perfectly match pork meat.

3. Smoke the Pork

Place your pork butt in the smoker fat side down. This helps to keep it moist.

Keep an eye on the meat during the entire duration of the cook. You’ll know when to take it off the heat once the pork’s internal temperature reaches 195℉, you may need to wrap the pork if it begins to stall.

We have a recommendation to ensure that the pork stays extra moist and juicy during the smoke. Spritz the pork with a solution of water and apple juice onto the pork every 30 minutes.

There’s also an extra little step you can implement to level up the texture and flavor game of your pork. Start off by removing the pork off the heat when its internal temperature is at approximately 165℉. Place it on a metal baking tray, and pour some of that water and apple juice solution into the base. (We recommend pouring enough so that the liquid’s about an inch in height.)

After that, you’ll want to seal the top of the tray with a layer of aluminum foil. Place the whole thing back in the smoker or grill and monitor the internal temperature until the meat thermometer reads 195℉.

4. Rest the Meat

You cannot immediately serve the meat just after you take it off the heat. The meat needs to rest for a bit first. Resting your meat allows the juice to redistribute

It’s best to make a makeshift tent out of aluminum foil and place the meat under it for around half an hour.

5. Serve The Pork Butt

 After it’s rested properly, you either serve it as is or shred it to serve as pulled pork.

Interesting Things You Can Inject Your Pork With

If you’re at a loss of what other injection marinades you can try, here are some of my favorites:

What is a Meat Injector (and How Does it Work?)

A meat injector is a relatively big syringe that is usually made out of metal. It’s always best to use a stainless steel one to ensure that it’s made out of food-grade material. It works by injecting a liquid marinade into the meat fibers of whatever meat you’re working with.

This ensures that every bite of the meat will be jam-packed full of flavor. This is because, unlike a normal marinade, it doesn’t only come in contact with the meat’s exterior.

Why Should You Inject Marinade into a Pork Butt?

Due to the amount of connective tissue in a pork butt you need to cook it for a long time. The low and slow method allows the connective tissue to break down into juicy gelatin. However, a long cook can also lead to dry meat. So injecting it just ensure it stays juicy and moist.

What Types of Liquid Can You Inject using an Injector?

There’s a whole variety of different types of liquid you could inject into the meat as a liquid marinade. Some of these include: coca-cola, beer, and all sorts of fruit juices.

Get Cooking!

 While normal dry rubs and wet marinades are great, injection marinades truly change the smoking and barbecue game.

If you’re struggling to keep your smoked meat moist during your cooks, then give the meat injector a try. Try whipping up your own homemade injection marinades, and feel free to share them with me!


Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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