Do You Brine and Inject a Turkey (Techniques For a Juicy Turkey)

Are you wondering if brining or injecting your turkey is better? Cooks are arguing about this, but we all agree that no one wants dry turkey.

We need to brine or inject because of the turkey’s shape and the fact that the breasts and thighs need to reach different temperatures. It is hard to cook one part without overcooking the other.

Brining Turkey

Brining is a process of soaking the turkey in a saltwater solution before cooking. The protein absorbs some of the liquid, which helps to keep it moist during the cooking process.

The Advantages

Helps to keep the most moist and seasons it

The brined meat is more tender

It helps the white meat to stay more moist while the dark meat finishes cooking.

Disadvantages

It’s hard to get the skin as crispy when you brine it. A good workaround is allowing the turkey to dry in the fridge for 4-5 hours before cooking. You should also pat the turkey dry before you do this.

if you want to make gravy you might find that drippings are more salty.

It can take up a lot of space in your fridge. We all know that fridge space around Thanksgiving and Christmas at expensive real estate. You can put the turkey in a clean cooler and use ice to keep it cool; just remember to monitor the temperature

It takes a lot of time, you need to allow at least 24 hours for a whole turkey.

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Injecting Turkey

With this method, you use a syringe, called an injector, to inject flavoured liquid deep into the turkey’s muscle. There are many combinations of injection methods, including broth, butter, juice, beer, maple syrup, and wine. You need to think about what you use, as you don’t want something that will clog the syringe.

To fill your syringe, push in the plunger and put the needle into the sauce you have made. Then pull back on the plunger to pull in the sauce/ Then put the injector in the deepest part of the drumstick, breast, and thing to disperse the mixture through the turkey.

The Advantages

The skin comes out crisper because the moist is in the muscle not on the surface

You can mix up the flavor of the turkey by using different combinations, such as lemon juice, liquors, and fat.

Adding fat like butter, olive, or duck fat deeper into the meat can increase the succulence of the meat.

Works faster than brining, you can do this right before cooking and save space in your fridge.

Disadvantages

The injector will leave makes on the turkey, but I don’t think anyone cares about this; it is all about the taste.

It is difficult to get an even distribution of the liquid, so some parts might have a lot of liquid, and others could be dry.

You can’t use any solid ingredients such as spices, as they will clog up the needle.

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So What Should You Choose?

I have cooked moist and tender turkeys using both methods, but I prefer brining. There are even people who do both. I think this is a great idea, as you get more flavor and moisture. It’s worth testing both ways and seeing what you prefer.

What Do You Need to Inject a Turkey With Brine? 

A meat injector is the best tool for brine injection marinades. You can purchase one online or at your local BBQ store.

It acts just like a syringe that pierces through the layer of fat and into the meat. 

What Role Does Salt Play When Brining a Turkey?

When meat is brined and exposed to salt, it penetrates on a cellular level, right into the muscle fibers and protein structure. The salt molecules permeate the meat in the same way by extracting moisture. This also stops the muscle contractions, adding new flavor profiles and tenderizing the meat.

Our Favorite Turkey Recipes

Smoked Turkey Breast

Whole Smoked Turkey in a Gas Smoker

Smoked Turkey Neck

Smoked Turkey Wings

Smoked Turkey Legs

Best Way to Reheat Smoked Turkey Legs

Smoked Turkey Tails

Smoke On!

Charlie

Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

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 recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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