Infuse incredible flavor and moisture into your next turkey with this Garlic Butter Turkey Injection Marinade. It is easily one of our favorites when we smoke, rotisserie, or bake a turkey in the grill or oven. This marinade imparts a delectable buttery flavor with a kick of garlicky goodness. Your holiday turkey will be a hit!
What is a turkey injection marinade?
A turkey injection marinade is a think flavorful liquid drawn into a kitchen-safe meat injector and inserted into several spots in a raw turkey before cooking. Home cooks and pitmasters use it to add flavor and moisten the bird during cooking.
Why you should use an injection for Turkey
When cooking a whole turkey, it’s important to remember that it contains a lot of mass. Certain areas of the bird, like turkey breast, are more prone to drying out during cooking. To prevent this from happening, use an injection marinade that will help keep the meat moist and flavorful.
Turkey Injection Tips
- First, ensure no large clumps of spices or dried herbs in your marinade solution. This recipe contains no herbal ingredients, but you can add some to the marinade mixture. Just make sure the herbs will fit through the needle.
- Grind the dried herbs with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder before adding them to the marinade.
- Or, you can mix the marinade solution with fresh herbs the night before and store it in the fridge. Doing so will infuse the marinade with herb flavor. The next morning, strain the marinade through a sieve before using it. You’ll end up with liquid gold.
- Do not use salt in the injection marinade if you plan to brine the turkey.
- Low sodium chicken broth (use sodium-free broth if you have brined the turkey)
- Unsalted butter (or Olive Oil)
- juice of 1 lemon
- Garlic powder
- Salt (omit if the turkey is brined)
- 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 work the breast meat, as it tends to dry during cooking. Blot away any spillage.
- Apply seasonings or dry brine, cover tightly, and store overnight in the refrigerator. If you’re running short on time, using this injection marinade 30-45 minutes before cooking is fine..
How to use this Garlic Butter Turkey Injection Marinade
- Draw some marinade into the syringe, then inject a little at a time into the thigh and drumstick areas.
- Aim below the meat and above the rib cage when injecting the breast meat. You don’t want clumps 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 inject too much solution. Blot it away with paper towels, and continue working on the different regions of the turkey. Usually, this is applied 30 minutes to several hours before the bird goes into the smoker, grill, or oven.
- There is nothing like food poisoning to ruin a holiday feast. It can put a damper on the festivities. If you have less than 1/2 cup of solution left over, discard it.
- If you have a lot of leftover marinade, 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 will eliminate any bacteria 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 baking or cooking a rotisserie turkey, pour the boiled marinade into a bowl and use it as a baste after the first hour.
Garlic Butter Turkey Injection
- 1/2 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
- 1/2 tsp dried herb of choice, ground fine optional
- 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?
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.