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Adding flavor to meat before cooking is a great way to enhance a meal. Some people do this with spice rubs and sauces, but if you don’t pay attention, those can burn and ruin a perfect barbecue chicken or pork roast quickly. One of the easiest ways to bump up the flavor of anything you’re cooking is by using a meat injector to infuse the meat with an array of thin sauces, juices, and seasonings.
The best way to describe a meat injector is that it’s a giant syringe filled with the marinade of your choice, and it allows you to distribute it evenly throughout the meat. A meat injector can be used on everything from chicken and pork butts to steaks and brisket. The best part about a meat injector is that it can really help to bring in more flavor to otherwise bland dishes, and it’s extremely helpful for those who consider themselves grill masters or amateur barbecue kings.
Here, the best meat injectors to easily add flavor to your dishes.
Best Overall: SpitJack Magnum Meat Injector Gun
What We Love: Accurate marinade delivery settings, easy cleanup, comes with storage case
What We Don’t Love: Bulky to hold, average home cook may not need all the needles
There are plenty of reasons why the SpitJack Magnum Meat Injector Gun takes the top spot. The pistol-style injector will penetrate up to 5.5 inches deep. Plus, the unit can hold 1.7 ounces of liquid, and the injector knob allows you to control how much liquid is actually getting into the meat in one shot.
Pleased reviewers say the injector works precisely and spreads marinade evenly throughout the meat (which means less liquid wasted). Some even say they were so impressed with the tool’s quality and performance that they bought another for a fellow meat lover in their life.
The kit comes with four needles, cleaning supplies, and a carrying case for easy cleanup and storage.
"Don’t let yourself be impressed by the looks of the injector; focus on the quality of the materials instead. Another thing to keep in mind is that they should at least have two needles: one with a single opening and one with two openings alongside the needle. From here on, everything is an add-on, like the carrying cases or cleaning brushes.” — Franco Moiso, Pitmaster and Owner, TheSundayGrill.com
Material: Nickel-plated brass and die-cast zinc, | Weight: 1.5 pounds | Capacity: 1.7 fluid ounces | Needle length: Up to 5.5 inches
Best Budget: J&B Goods Professional Automatic BBQ Meat Marinade Injector Gun Kit with Case
What We Love: Precise flow settings
What We Don’t Love: Handles are not non-slip
This J&B Goods meat injector can hold up to 2 ounces of liquid at a time, making it a good option for home cooks and those who enjoy entering into local BBQ competitions. The pistol-style injector has five flow settings and includes four stainless steel syringes. You get four needles that each have a unique quality, including one with 12 small holes for liquid to move throughout an area, and one needle that has two larger holes for marinades that have larger chunks of ingredients like herbs and spices.
The pistol grip helps to give more control of where you’re putting the liquid and helps to regulate the flow of liquid better. The actual injector and all of the accessories come in a small bag to keep everything together. Note that while the barrel is dishwasher-safe, the company strongly suggests the needles be washed by hand.
Material: Stainless steel | Weight: 1.4 pounds | Capacity: 2 fluid ounces | Needle length: 3, 4, and 6 inches
Best Mid-Range: UikieGo 2-Ounce Heavy duty 304 Stainless Steel Meat Marinade Injector
What We Love: Silicone needle covers make this kid-friendly, large-capacity barrel
What We Don’t Love: Injector may get scratched or bent in storage bag
The UikieGo meat injector can hold up to 2 ounces of liquid at a time. The syringe-style injector comes apart easily to be cleaned, and the package comes with cleaning brushes to get out any thick liquid. You get three different needles with the products: one 4-inch needle and two 6-inch needles, each of which have unique qualities.
When you’re done using a needle, be sure to cover it with the included silicone covers so you don’t poke yourself or lest the needles go through the storage bag. (A bonus: The covers help make these needles kid-safe!) This injector and its needles are dishwasher-safe.
Material: Stainless steel and zinc alloy | Weight: 0.9 pounds | Capacity: 2 fluid ounces | Needle length: 4 and 6 inches
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Best for BBQ Enthusiasts: Chop's Power Meat Injector System 1/2 Gallon
What We Love: Can quickly inject a lot of liquid into multiple pieces of meat; easy to clean
What We Don’t Love: Canister is bulky and can be heavy once filled with liquid
The Chop’s Power Meat Injector System holds a half-gallon of liquid to infuse into meat. The system is powered by a hand pump that forces liquid into the four needles and into the meat. This meat injector is best for those who are often standing next to a smoker or grill waiting for the barbecue to get done.
It’s also a good one for those who are testing out their luck on the amateur competition BBQ circuit, because you can inject a lot of flavor into multiple pieces of meat faster than with just one syringe.
“If your marinade is a little bit thicker, use the needle with a single opening at the end. For liquids, use the one with the two openings. … If you are adding solid ingredients to a liquid, like fresh garlic or onions, grind them to a powder-like consistency so they can pass easily through the needle.” — Franco Moiso, Pitmaster and Owner, TheSundayGrill.com
Material: Plastic basin and steel needles | Weight: 2.2 pounds | Capacity: 64 fluid ounces | Needle length: 2 inches (4 inches available separately)
Best for Beginners: King Kooker Deluxe Heavy Duty Marinade Injector
What We Love: Easy to use, measurement lines are easy to read
What We Don’t Love: Plastic—so may not last as long as stainless steel counterparts
Those who have never used a meat injector but have wanted to give it a try should consider the King Kooker injector. The simple syringe style can hold up to one ounce of liquid at a time and is great for smaller cuts of meat like chicken thighs or small roasts. The injector comes apart easily and can be washed in hot, soapy water.
“There are two common types of injectors: You have the gun-like injector and the syringe injector. They both do the same thing, though taste or usage won’t change. The gun-like injectors have a mechanism that makes inserting the marinade a little easier.” — Franco Moiso, Pitmaster and Owner, TheSundayGrill.com
Material: Plastic, stainless steel | Weight: 5.5 ounces | Capacity: 1 fluid ounce | Needle length: ~3 inches
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The best overall meat injector is the SpitJack Magnum Meat Injector Gun (view at Amazon), which is a reliable model that can be used over and over again without the fear of clogged needles or injecting too much liquid at one time. If you’re looking for a more economical meat injector, go with the UikieGo Stainless Steel Meat Marinade Injector (view at Amazon), which can hold up to 2 ounces of liquid at a time.
What to Look for When Buying Meat Injectors
Quality of Materials
Look for meat injectors that are made with stainless steel, or at least have stainless steel needles.
Look for injectors that come with at least two needles, one that can be used with thin liquids and one that has a wider opening for thicker liquids or those with spices or herbs mixed in.
Ease of Cleaning
Try to find a unit that can be disassembled easily or can be washed as one piece without the risk of leaving bits of marinade behind.
How do you use a meat injector?
According to Franco Moiso, pitmaster and owner of TheSundayGrill.com: “With your assembled injector, submerge the openings on the tip of the needle in the marinade. Slowly start pulling back the plunger until you have filled the barrel. Insert the needle horizontally in your meat, trying to avoid the bones. Once you have found your spots, start introducing the marinade. It’s going to get messy, liquid will start coming out. This is completely fine.
If your marinade is a little bit thicker, use the needle with a single opening at the end. For liquids, use the one with two openings.”
What's the difference between marinating and injecting meat?
Marinating meat will only flavor the surface of the meat, or at the very most a few millimeters below the surface. Injecting meat will allow a marinade or liquid to be spread throughout the meat, causing it to be more flavorful.
How do I clean a meat injector?
There are a few ways to do this, according to Moiso. "Start with a bowl of warm water with soap, insert your needle and start pulling back the plunger to fill it up and then throw it away. Repeat until fully clean. You can also disassemble the injector and clean the parts by hand. I recommend using a bottle brush to get inside the cylinder. This is the one I use the most, as I feel it gets cleaner,” he says.
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This article was written by Megan duBois, a kitchen and lifestyle expert for Simply Recipes. Throughout her career, she has tested an endless amount of products from TikTok-famous gadgets to chef-approved knife sets. To choose the best products for this article, she consulted product reviews, interviewed an expert, and considered each egg cookers’ design, functionality, and price to make wise choices for the consumer.
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