Make the Tastiest Meat of your Life with a Meat Injector

It’s only due to a budding interest in smoking and true barbecue that has led me to discover a new kitchen gadget: meat injectors.

They may look like something that belongs in the doctor’s office, but I promise they are an nifty little tool for your kitchen. In short, a meat injector, sometimes called a marinade or flavor injector, allows you to inject marinate right into your meat, marinating it from the inside-out before cooking to give the meat a big flavor boost.

Intrigued? Let’s take a closer look at how this works, and go over some of the best meat injectors available. Feel free to skip to the injectors—click the links in the table below to see the latest prices and reviews on Amazon.

ImageMeat InjectorMy RatingCapacityIncludedMaterialWarranty
The SpitJack Magnum Meat Injector Gun ReviewThe SpitJack Magnum Meat Injector GunA -2 oz.2 needlesnickel plated brass and die cast zinc
1 year
The Grill Beast Stainless Steel Meat Injector Kit ReviewThe Grill Beast Stainless Steel Meat Injector KitA -2 oz.3 needles, free ebook, 4 spare o-ringsstainless steel
Lifetime
Premiala Meat Injector ReviewPremiala Meat InjectorA2 oz.3 needles and free ebook, 4 spare o-rings
stainless steel
1 year, but can upgrade to Lifetime
Bayou Classic Stainless Steel Seasoning Injector ReviewBayou Classic Stainless Steel Seasoning InjectorB -2 oz.2 needles
stainless steel
-

How Meat Injection Works

How Meat Injection Works
Most home cooks are familiar with marinating meat before roasting or grilling. With traditional marinating (and with dry rubs), the meat sits in the marinate for some time to allow these flavors to sink into the meat. However, the flavor only just gets into the surface of the meat.

The next level, then, is brining your meat, where you allow the meat to sit for several days. In this case, the flavors do reach into the center of your meat, but it this takes time and refrigerator real estate.

If you don’t have the luxury of time and space (or if, like me, you rarely think far enough ahead when meal planning), a meat injector offers a short cut by allowing you to get those marinating flavors right into the center of the meat without having to sit for huge amounts of time. Meat injectors are also a convenient way to add moisture into cuts of meat that tend to dry out easily.

Use Notes

Most meat injectors look and operate like a large hypodermic needle—fill up the chamber with your juice, then plunge it into your meat and inject the marinate straight into the center of the meat.

It’s honestly a pretty simple process, but it does take a bit of practice and it’s not uncommon to squirt marinade all over the first few times you give it a try! This article has some nice tips on how to inject marinade like a pro.

Because meat injectors are small tools, you should handle them with care. Parts can easily get bent, screws can strip, etc.

This video shows how it works for making some delicious-sounding Garam Maple Chicken:

As a bonus, meat is not the only application for one of these kitchen tools. A good injector can also be used for baking and other things, like infusing fruit with liquor, for example (yes, please!). Just be sure to thoroughly clean your injector before each use (more on that below).

Buying Considerations

Meat injectors aren’t a very complex kitchen tool, but there are some variations and important factors to consider.

1. Material

Most meat injectors are made of stainless steel or another metal. Some are made of plastic. Either way, you’ll want one that’s a food-grade material so it’s not going to react with the marinades.

2. Ease of Cleaning

Meat injectors are simple to use, but you do have to take care with them. You’re dealing with raw meat, oils, and small crevices that can harbor bacteria. You need to be able to take the meat injector apart easily, and you might need some specialized brushes to get into the narrow spaces.

3. Size & Capacity

Meat injectors come in a variety of sizes, so consider what type of meat you typically work with. Are you regularly roasting whole suckling pigs, for example? Or are you more likely to be cooking pieces of chicken, steaks, and other smaller cuts of meat?

Related to the size, the capacity will determine how much liquid you’ll be able to inject at one time without having to refill the injector frequently while you’re working with it. The standard size is 2 oz., although larger, commercial use injectors do exist. 

4. Needle Width

Meat injectors also come with different needle sizes. A thin needle is easier to inject into meat, but it limits you to liquid-only marinades. Wider needles with a slanted opening enable you to inject chunkier marinades with herbs and even garlic (though these should be minced very fine).

5. Accessories

Some meat injectors come as kits that give you a variety of needles—different lengths or styles. This is a nice option if you regularly grill a wide variety of meats.

My Personal Favourite Marinade Recipe to get you Started!

This is my favourite marinade for steaks. A key element is the ginger, which acts as a tenderizer for the meat.

Best Steak Marinade (makes enough for 3-4 6 oz. steaks)

  • 1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped

Whisk all ingredients together. Let sit for at least 1 hour. Can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. If you’re working with a thinner meat injector, strain the marinade first so it’s only liquid. Otherwise, be sure to very finely chop the garlic and ginger so it can fit through a wider injector.

Meat Injector Reviews

Get the idea? So let’s take a look at some of the more popular meat injector options.

1. The SpitJack Magnum Meat Injector Gun

The SpitJack is one of the most recommended meat injectors on BBQ forums and discussions. It is solidly built in the USA and has a 1 year warranty. This is one of the pricier options, though.

The SpitJack Magnum Meat Injector Gun Review

The SpitJack Magnum Meat Injector Gun – Photo from Amazon.com

Serious BBQers tend to love this injector because of the unique gun style release. It makes it very easy to operate with one hand while holding the meat with your other hand.

One of the nicest features on this unit is the ability to adjust how much liquid it holds. The total capacity is 2 oz., but you can adjust it down to whatever amount you want. It gives you full control over the process.

Other specifications:

  • 5” penetration length
  • 2 needles: one with angled tip for slightly chunky marinates, one with holes on side for liquid only marinades
  • made of nickel plated brass and die cast zinc
  • 2 oz. capacity

The basic injector linked above comes with 2 different needle sizes. I think you might feel constrained without more options. If that’s the case, for a bigger investment, SpitJack makes a complete kit that includes a total of 4 different needles, a carrying case, and a cleaning brush.

2. The Grill Beast Stainless Steel Meat Injector Kit

The Grill Beast is the next most commonly recommended meat injector out there. It is made of food grade stainless steel and looks more like an actual hypodermic needle, with 3 finger rings for ease of use.

The Grill Beast Stainless Steel Meat Injector Kit Review

The Grill Beast Stainless Steel Meat Injector Kit – Photo from Amazon.com

This is a great value meat injector. It comes with 3 different needles—a 6” one with angled tip for chunky marinades, a 6” one with holes in the tube for liquid marinades, and a 3” needle for precision work. One reviewer did note that the rings at the top of the unit feel a bit flimsy and are obviously not made of the same material as the barrel.

In my opinion, the biggest value in the Grill Beast is the fact that it comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and lifetime warranty. As I mentioned, fine tools like this can be issue-prone. But if there’s any issue with the item out of the box or when you use it as directed, you have no need to worry. Owners report that the customer service is responsive and very helpful.

Other specifications:

  • comes with free e-Book with tips and recipes
  • 2 oz. capacity
  • Comes with 4 spare o-rings

3. Premiala Meat Injector

This is a very similar meat injector to the Grill Beast. It is also made of food-grade stainless steel, with the 3 finger ring design.

The Premiala comes with 3 different needles—a 6” one with angled tip for chunky marinades, a 6” one with holes in the tube for liquid marinades, and a 3” needle for smaller cuts of meat.

Premiala Meat Injector Review

Premiala Meat Injector – Photo from Amazon.com

The Premiala comes with a 1 year warranty, which you can upgrade to a lifetime warranty if you sign up for their free VIP program. I find that an odd attempt to get you to opt into their mailing list, but I think it’s worth it given the nature of the product. Their customer service does appear to be excellent as well.

Some customers had issues with the needles fitting into the unit properly, but the company seems quick to respond to any issues.

Other specifications:

  • comes with free e-Book with tips and recipes
  • 2 oz. capacity
  • Comes with 4 spare o-rings
  • Ships in a flip-top box with foam cutouts that can be used for storage

4. Bayou Classic Stainless Steel Seasoning Injector

The Bayou Classic is similar in design to the Premiala and Grill Beast injectors: stainless steel, plunger 3 ring design.

Bayou Classic Stainless Steel Seasoning Injector Review

Bayou Classic Stainless Steel Seasoning Injector – Photo from Amazon.com

This is more of an entry-level product. It only includes 2 needles, one for chunky marinades and one for liquid marinades. It does not include spare o-rings, though the size is standard so replacements wouldn’t be hard to find.

Many users have a fine time with this item, but it seems to suffer from manufacturing inconsistencies. Many report having issues with corrosion or rust, and others have had issues with the plunger being too stiff or too loose. Given that there is no warranty, this is a problem.

Other specifications:

  • 2 oz. capacity
  • 6” needle length

Making the Plunge

Meat injectors are a simple tool to make flavorful, moist, drool-worthy BBQ and grilled meats. Sometimes the simplest things really can have a huge impact.

There are so many options on the market that it may seem like any meat injector will do the job, but it’s important to do your homework. If you’re doing a lot of grilling and anticipate heavy use, the comfortable design of the SpitJack Magnum will probably be most comfortable, although I’d recommend upgrading to the complete kit if you’re willing to spend a bit more!

For the average home cook (like me!), I think the Premiala Meat Injector is a fine choice. Be sure to opt in to their “VIP membership” to upgrade your unit to lifetime warranty—this seems to be a valuable feature with these temperamental little tools.

Do you have experience with meat injectors? Tell us about it!

Leave a Reply

shares