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What is a marinade injector and is it something you need in your kitchen? First, it’s important to understand what a marinade is. It’s a liquid solution in which you soak food (particularly meats) prior to cooking. Why? It adds depth of flavor, plus tenderizes. It’s particularly good for high-heat cooking—like on the grill—to ensure the finished product retains plenty of moisture. Intrigued? A marinade injector is the easiest way to give your food that flavor and moisture boost. Here are the best marinade injectors for the job.
Made from 304 high-grade stainless steel, this meat injector is meant to go the distance. Despite heavy use, it won’t stain, rust, or retain flavors (great for those who can’t get enough garlic or experiment with lots of different spices!).
With its 2-ounce capacity, the main barrel holds plenty, so you won’t have to refill as often when cooking something large—like a Thanksgiving turkey or a pork butt. And because it comes with three marinating needles, it’s also very versatile. There’s a 6-inch needle with a solid tip and 12 holes along the length, another 6-inch needle with a wider tip for chunkier marinades (like those with mined onions or garlic in them), and a 3-inch long needle for thinner cuts of meat.
You’ll love the fact that cleaning is a cinch, too. The device disassembles in a flash and is dishwasher safe, so you know it’ll get a thorough clean between uses.
If you prefer to have a streamlined arsenal of cooking gadgets, try this two-in-one tool: a baster/marinade injector combo. It looks like your average turkey baster—the elongated tip with the bulb syringe at the top—but it comes with an attachable needle for injecting liquids into the meat rather than simply squeezing them atop the surface. For occasional use, there’s really not much to complain about. But you should know that you won’t have as much control as you would with a dedicated marinade injector. And, at 1.5 ounces, the capacity is also a bit smaller than some others on the list.
Though a simple marinade injector is enough for most amateur cooks, a marinade gun—often used by grill masters in competitions—will take your meal prep to the next level. Why? Marinade guns allow you to inject a very precise amount of marinade at a time but hold up to 50 milliliters to limit the amount of times you need to refill.
This gun is a favorite because it’s easy to operate. Think of it kind of like a caulk gun—you simply set the injection amount with the dial, then gently squeeze. It also comes in a comprehensive kit that includes just about everything you could possibly need: four marinating needles, three cleaning brushes, and a case for storage and easy transport. And, if on the off-chance you lose something, you can buy replacement parts rather than splurge on a whole new gun.
The marinating needles are great for large cuts of meat, since they can penetrate up to 5.5 inches deep. Still, you have options for smaller cuts, too, like the precision needle that has a slanted tip. Have something chunkier? There’s an oversized needle for that, too.
For a quality marinade injector, this home-cook-friendly kit is a bargain. While it is mostly plastic, there’s plenty to love: It holds a decent amount of marinade (about 1 ounce), features easy-to-read measurements, is ergonomically designed for simple one-hand maneuvering, and comes with two sturdy stainless steel injection needles.
The needles themselves are both 3 inches long but differ slightly in the sense that one is made for pure liquids while the other can accommodate marinades with some chunkier components. When not in use, both needles slide into two small holes in the main injection chamber for convenient, safe storage.
Like other models we love, this injector is dishwasher safe for easy and thorough cleaning.
When you’re cooking something as large as a Thanksgiving turkey, you’ll need a marinade injector that is big enough for the job, otherwise, you risk not fully penetrating the meat. This heavy-duty stainless steel injector is up for the task, since it comes with two extra-long 6-inch needles—a 12-hole version for thinner liquids and a single-hole version for thicker purees. Foresee needing a tool for smaller cuts of meat, too? No problem, since this device also comes with a more precise 3-inch needle for steaks or even kebabs.
With proper storage, this will be your go-to for years to come as it won't rust or corrode, plus it comes with five spare O-rings. And just in case, you can buy both replacement needles and rings, so you don’t have to replace the whole thing should you lose any parts.
This marinade injector is a solid option for novices, thanks to easy-to-read measurements that guide you as you dispense up to 2 ounces, making you feel more in control of the process. It also has an ergonomic handle that makes one-handed operation more smooth. There’s no excess here, either—the kit comes with just two needles, one for thick marinades and another for thinner liquids.
While it’s not stainless, it’s made of durable BPA-free plastic that should afford you a number of years of use. Though it’s not dishwasher safe, the whole thing comes apart easily, so you can soak it in warm, soapy water for a thorough clean.
When you’re cooking outdoors, having durable tools is an absolute necessity, and this heavy-duty 304 stainless steel marinade injector fits the bill. It holds up to high heat—like the temps you’ll get from grills. Plus, it holds up to 2 ounces of marinade (fewer refills!) and is resistant to dings, dents, rust, and corrosion. The set comes with everything you need for both larger and smaller cuts, including three needles: a 6-inch angled needle for chunkier marinades, a 6-inch 12-hole needle for thin liquids, and a 3-inch needle for fillets and precision injecting.
And when it comes to cleanup, convenience is the name of the game here. Each and every part is entirely dishwasher safe.
If you can’t pass up a marinade with plenty of flavor from minced garlic, onions, or veggies, you’ll need a marinade injector that can handle thicker liquids. Make sure whatever tool you choose comes with a needle with a wider construction that won’t clog like this one. The stainless steel injector comes with that thicker needle but also a smaller one for those times when you’re using a pure liquid marinade. The barrel is large enough for those thicker liquids, too, as it accommodates up to 2 ounces.
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This roundup was written by Brigitt Earley, who has written and edited hundreds of articles in the food space for various publications over the course of the last 10 years. Brigitt also attended the French Culinary Institute in NYC.
If you want the all-around best marinade injector, try the Grill Beast Stainless Steel Meat Injector Kit. It can hold 2 ounces of marinade, comes with three types of needles, and is made of high-grade stainless steel that doesn’t stain or rust. If you’re looking for something more affordable, consider the Ofargo Plastic Marinade Injector Kit. It’s a quality injector—perfect for the average home cook.