Infuse incredible flavor and moisture into your next turkey with this Garlic Butter Turkey Injection Marinade. It is easily one of our favorite marinades to use whenever we smoke, rotisserie, or bake a turkey in the oven. This is our most popular thanksgiving turkey injection.
What is a turkey injection marinade?
An injectable marinade is a thin, flavorful liquid drawn into a kitchen-safe meat injector and then inserted into several spots in the turkey before cooking.
Why you should use an injection for Turkey
A whole turkey contains quite a bit of mass. Because of this, they require the use of an injection marinade to keep certain areas on the bird drying out; and yes, I’m talking about the turkey breast meat folks. This marinade imparts a subtle garlic butter flavor and helps keep the meat moist during the cooking process.
Turkey Injection Tips
- First, make sure that there are no large clumps of spices or herbs in your marinade solution. This recipe does not contain any herbal elements, but you can certainly add some of your choosing to the marinade mixture. Just make sure that everything will fit through the needle.
- To avoid clogging, grind up any herbs with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder before adding them to the marinade.
- Or, you can mix up the marinade with fresh herbs the night before and store it in the fridge. Doing so will give the herbs a chance to infuse into the marinade. The next morning, strain the marinade before using it. This will get rid of the large clumps, and you’ll be left with liquid gold.
- If you plan to brine the turkey, do not use salt in the injection.
- Low sodium chicken broth (use no salt added if bringing turkey)
- Unsalted butter (or Olive Oil)
- juice of 1 lemon
- Garlic powder
- Salt (omit if brining turkey)
- Black pepper
- White pepper
How to Make Garlic Butter Turkey Injection Marinade
- Place broth and butter into a microwave-safe bowl. Set on high for 1 minute until the butter has liquified and the broth has warmed. Remove from microwave and combine broth and melted butter with lemon juice. Add remaining ingredients and stir through. Let stand for 10 minutes, and whisk through once more before using.
- Prepare the bird by patting it dry with paper towels. Load marinade into the meat injector, and slowly inject into multiple spots in the turkey. Be sure to really work the breast meat, as it tends to dry out during cooking.
How to use this Garlic Butter Turkey Injection Marinade
Draw some of the garlic butter injection marinade into the syringe, then inject a little at a time into the thigh, and drumstick areas. When injecting around the breast it is best to aim below the meat and above the rib cage. You don’t want lumps of seasonings in the middle of the breast meat. Inject into the top and side of the breast, the solution will distribute under and around the meat as the turkey cooks. Work the solution in from several different angles.
When injecting turkey there can be some flow back, especially if you are injecting too much solution. Blot it away, and continue working on the different regions of the turkey. Usually, this is applied about 30-60 minutes before the bird goes into the smoker, grill, or oven.
- There is nothing like food poisoning to ruin a holiday feast. If you have less than 1/2 cup of solution, go ahead and discard it.
- If you have a lot of the marinade left over, stick it in a pot and bring it to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for an additional 6-8 minutes. Boiling should kill off most of the bacteria encountered from the syringe to meat transfer.
- Once that mixture has cooled, pour the solution into a spray bottle, and use it as a barbecue spritz. If you are baking or cooking a rotisserie turkey, pour the boiled marinade into a bowl and use it as a baste after the first hour of cook time.
Garlic Butter Turkey Injection Recipe
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth warmed (use no salt added if bringing turkey)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder use less if desired
- 1/2 teaspoon salt omit if brining turkey
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- Place broth and butter into a microwave safe bowl. Set on high for 1 minute until butter has liquified and broth has warmed. Remove from microwave and combine broth and melted butter with lemon juice. Add remaining ingredients and stir through. Let stand for 10 minutes, and stir through once more before using.
- Prepare the bird by patting dry with paper towels. Load marinade into the meat injector, and slowly inject into multiple spots in the turkey. Be sure to really work the breast meat, as it tends to dry out during cooking.
- If there is leftover marinade that you plan to use as a baste, place it into a saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 6-8 minutes on medium, or low. Let it cool for 10 minutes, and use as needed.
- If you are not using the marinade as a baste, simply discard it. Do not save it in the refrigerator as it has come into contact with raw meat.
Not the Turkey Injection Marinade you were looking for? Try my list of the Best Turkey Injection Marinades.
Need an Injector for the Honey and White Wine Turkey Injection Marinade?
Ofargo Marinade Injector
The Ofargo Marinade Injector is a classic style syringe. The marinade is sucked up through the 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 on this injector is small, but it will handle most jobs for a single-family and is perfect for the injection of turkey and other poultry.
Try this Turkey Injection Brine with our Pellet Grill Smoked Turkey or our Smoked Whole Turkey Breast! Not ready to smoke a whole turkey? Start off small with these delicious Smoked Turkey Burgers.