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Smoke and Spice Pork Injection

Elevate your BBQ game with our smoke and spice pork injection marinade! Infuse smoky flavor with a spicy kick for the ultimate juicy, tender meat.

smoked-pork-roast

Few things can compare to the taste of a perfectly smoked pork roast. Pork butts, or shoulders, are excellent cuts for low and slow cooking, but there is always a chance that the meat will dry out, particularly for inexperienced backyard cooks. However, there is a solution: this smoke and spice pork injection marinade.

Why you should use an injection marinade on pork

A pork injection marinade will help keep the meat moist on the inside while imparting a bit of extra flavor and maintaining an equal balance of moisture throughout cooking.

The key to a good injection marinade is to start with the same rub you’ll be using on the pork roast. Make sure that ingredients in the rub are not too bulky, and grind them down if needed. Bulky herbs and spices could impede the injection process by stopping up the needle.

Smoke and Spice Pork Injection Ingredients

  • Apple juice
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Dry rub (sweet rub for pork)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Smoked paprika
  • Cayenne 
  • Liquid smoke (optional)
  • Butter
smoked-and-spice-injection-marinade-for-pork

Making Smoke and Spice Pork Injection

  • Simmer all pork injection ingredients, except butter, in a small saucepan over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Stir through.
  • Remove mixture from heat, stir in butter, and let the marinade cool completely before using.
  • Draw some of the solution into the syringe. Inject the pork roast and slowly release the marinade. Blot with paper towels as needed. Repeat the process every 2″ around the roast.
  • Wrap pork roast in plastic wrap and place into your refrigerator for 2-8 hours.
  • If preparing ahead of time, store marinade in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Discard any remaining marinade that has come into contact with raw meat.

Pitmaster Tips

  • Acids: There are two forms of acid in this pork injection recipe: apple cider vinegar and apple juice. Sub the apple juice with apple cider or white grape juice, and the vinegar with red wine vinegar.
  • Rub: If the rub you are using has a lot of dried herbs, run it through a spice grinder or mortar and pestle before making the injection marinade. This step will prevent the needle from clogging up.
  • Liquid smoke: Some backyard cooks are strongly opposed to using liquid smoke. It is an optional ingredient for this pork injection recipe. The smoky flavor is quite subtle and recommended for pulled pork prepared in a crockpot. You can omit this ingredient if using a smoker to make pulled pork
  • Make-Ahead: Do you have a cookout planned? Mix up this smoke and spice pork injection marinade and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use. Set it out for 30 minutes at room temperature before using. If the mixture has separated, give it a good shake (with the lid on, of course!) before filling the syringe.
  • Food safety: After the injector touches both the marinade and meat, discard any leftover marinade because it could be contaminated with bacteria and cause foodborne illness.
  • The Injector: You’ll need a good quality meat injector for the job. There are many on the market. See under the recipe card below for my recommendations.
smoked-and-spice-injection-marinade-for-pork

Smoke and Spice Pork Injection

Elevate your pork game with our Smoke & Spice injection marinade! Infuse smoky flavor with a spicy kick for the ultimate juicy, tender meat.
4.58 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Marinades/Brines
Cuisine: American BBQ
Keyword: pork injection
Prep Time: 6 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1.25 Cups
Calories: 118kcal
Author: Derrick Riches

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup apple juice sub with apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rub mixture used on meat
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne adjust to your liking
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke optional
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Instructions

  • Simmer all marinade ingredients, except butter, in a small saucepan over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Stir through.
  • Remove mixture from heat, stir in butter, and let the marinade cool completely before using.
  • Draw some of the solution into the syringe. Inject the pork roast and slowly release the marinade. Blot with paper towels as needed. Repeat the process every 2″ around the roast.
  • Wrap pork roast in plastic wrap and place into your refrigerator for 2-8 hours.
  • If preparing ahead of time, store marinade in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Discard any remaining marinade that has come into contact with raw meat.

Notes

Things to think about with this recipe:
Acid: There are two forms of acid in this recipe. The lemon juice and apple juice. If you don’t have any of them on hand, replace with 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, OR replace the lemon juice with 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar. I like to use apple juice, as it produces a light fruit base, without overpowering the marinade.
Rub: If the rub you are using has a lot of dried herbs or larger ingredients. Grind the needed amounts down before adding to the injection marinade. This way the injector doesn’t get all clogged up.

Nutrition

Calories: 118kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 289mg | Potassium: 468mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 1240IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 2mg

Meat Injectors

Below I have listed three models that have different designs. If you are injecting several pork roasts at a time, then you want something with a pump action, versus the regular syringe style. When buying a meat injector, look for something easy to use, that fits comfortably in your hand, and can handle the volume you need.

Ofargo Marinade Injector

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.

Oklahoma Joe's Trigger Meat Injector

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

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.

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