One of the best-kept secrets to making phenomenal low and slow pork on the grill or a smoker is to use a pork injection marinade. Large cuts of meat can dry out, and it can be challenging to add flavor into the center of the roast with a surface marinade or rub. An internal marinade, like this basic pork injection marinade, is inserted right into the center of the meat, adding moisture, flavor, and even tenderizing power.
A trick pitmasters have used for decades; the injection solution remains key to smoking up a fantastic pulled pork barbecue. This quick and basic pork injection marinade will add a little oomph to pork butts, whole shoulders, and pork loin roasts. Get yourself a good meat injector and take your pork game to a whole new level.
Pork Injection Tips:
-If using a rub that contains bulky herbs or spices, make sure to grind them down with a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder. Large pieces tend to clog up the injector.
-There will be a little leakage when you inject the liquid into the meat. Take it slow and inject it into multiple spots. If some of the marinade spills out, blot it away with clean paper towels and proceed.
-Choose flavors similar to the rub. You can certainly just use a little rub to make up your marinade, however, if you’re choosing an individual recipe, pick one that doesn’t clash with the other herbs and spices you’re using.
-If you choose to inject your pork butt early, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Acidic liquids can react with aluminum foil and cause an unpleasant flavor. While you can inject the pork right before it goes on the smoker (or grill) we do recommend doing it at least an hour before you start cooking. You should also try to match the temperature of the injection to the internal temperature of the meat. A matching temperature will stay in place better. Use a meat thermometer to check.
-Odds are you are using this injection for a Pork Butt, the most popular cut of pork for barbecue. If you are, avoid injecting near the bone. If you hit bone with the meat syringe, pull back about half an inch and inject it there. Also, avoid injecting into areas of excess fat.
Need more inspiration? Here are some of our best pork injection recipes.
Basic Pork Injection Marinade
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons spice rub (the same that you’ll be using on the roast)
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Make sure that the Pork Rub is well pulverized. Large chunks of herbs can become stuck in the injector. If possible, grind them down further in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Let stand for 10-15 minutes, and stir. Salt should be well dissolved. Whisk the ingredients together right before you start injecting.
- Fill the syringe and inject the solution into multiple parts of the pork roast. Cook meat as directed.
- Discard any marinade that has come into contact with raw meat.
- Make injection marinade ahead of time and store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days after preparation. Double or triple the recipe if you are planning on smoking additional pork roasts.
Use this pork butt injection recipe as the perfect starting point to making great BBQ Pulled Pork.
See the Best Pork Injection Marinade Recipes for more ideas!
Need an Injector for the Basic Pork Butt Injection Recipe?
Ofargo Marinade Injector
The Ofargo Marinade Injector is a classic-style syringe. The marinade is sucked up through the injection needle and then pushed back into the meat. The needle on this model is large enough that it shouldn’t clog. Still, make sure that your marinade is near water thin. It is an inexpensive unit that you can purchase for around $10. It is dishwasher safe and durable enough to last for several years. The volume of this injector is small, but it will handle most jobs for a single-family.
Oklahoma Joe’s Trigger Meat Injector
The Oklahoma Joe’s Trigger Meat Injector is more of a marinade pump than a syringe. Dip the hose end into a container with your marinade, and the trigger mechanism pumps the solution into the meat on both strokes. This will make for faster injecting and is excellent for those that are doing more than a single, small roast. At around $30, you pay a little more, but it can handle a lot more injecting. It will save your hands if you have a lot to do.
Chop’s Power Injection System
Do you need to inject a dozen whole pork shoulders? Then this is the system you need. The tank holds a gallon of injection solution. Pump up the pressure and start injecting. It is the system used by caterers and BBQ competition cooks. Easy on the hands, it will allow you to inject at lightning speed. Of course, it costs around $160, so this is really for those who make money on barbecue.