Butter-Based Poultry Injection Sauce

Butter-based injection ingredients on blue wood table

The Spruce / Claire Cohen

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 2 mins
Chill: 8 hrs
Total: 8 hrs 12 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Yield: 3/4 cup
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
1447 Calories
58g Fat
1g Carbs
216g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 1447
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 58g 74%
Saturated Fat 17g 87%
Cholesterol 829mg 276%
Sodium 866mg 38%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 216g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 108mg 8%
Iron 8mg 46%
Potassium 1813mg 39%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Although it's most common for home cooks to brine the turkey before roasting it, there are certain advantages when you directly inject the meat with a delicious marinade. Drier meats like turkey greatly benefit from this technique, as the injection sauce keeps the bird juicy and adds flavor deep within the meat. Our recipe for an easy injection sauce keeps it simple with ingredients you're likely to have in your pantry. Use an injection sauce whether you plan to roast, smoke, or deep-fry your poultry.

You should plan on using this injection marinade several hours before you start cooking. If you have the time, inject the bird the night before roasting. While you can brine your turkey, that process mostly adds salt rather than additional flavors—plus it also takes more time.

You will need a meat injector for this recipe. This large syringe is available at most kitchen stores, well-stocked supermarkets, or online. It can be unwieldy at first, so you may want to practice manipulating it a bit with water before you use your butter injection sauce. Some injection experts recommend placing the bird in a brining bag while injecting the marinade, as the pressurized liquid can splatter out through any opening in the bird, causing a big mess.

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Click Play to See This Butter-Based Poultry Injection Sauce Recipe Come Together

Ingredients

For the injection:

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground white pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Turkey:

  • 1 (15- to 20-pound) turkey

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small saucepan, add the chicken broth, butter, lemon juice, garlic powder, black pepper, and white pepper. Mix well until the butter is completely melted.

  3. Add salt and taste test. Add more salt if needed, but keep in mind the mixture needs a good but not overpowering flavor. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool until just warm for 8 minutes.

  4. Load the marinade into a meat injector and slowly and carefully inject it into various spots in the bird. The breast meat really benefits from this mixture—the best approach is to go for a dozen spots and add about 2 teaspoons per site, or less if you see the fluid oozing out.

  5. Massage around all of the injection sites to distribute the mixture throughout the bird. Cover the bird and let rest in the fridge for several hours (overnight if possible) before cooking. If you have any leftover mixture, use it as a baste while the turkey is in the oven. Otherwise, discard. If keeping the bird in the fridge overnight, keep the mix in a closed container and melt before using it as a baste.

  6. Roast the turkey in a 325 F oven for 15 to 20 minutes per pound of weight. Baste with the leftover mix. Check for doneness with a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the meat away from the bone until it reads a minimum of 165 F. Allow the bird to rest for 30 minutes before carving. Enjoy.

How Do You Properly Clean the Injector?

Some injectors come with brushes for cleaning. If yours doesn't, clean the parts in soapy water:

  • Fill a bowl or pan with hot, soapy water.
  • Insert the tip of the injector into the soapy water and pull back the plunger to fill the injector cylinder.
  • Push the plunger down to force the soapy water through the needle. Do this several times until it is thoroughly clean, aiming away from you into the kitchen sink.
  • Rinse with clear hot water, aiming away from you.
  • Clean any splatter of liquid with disinfectant as it can contain raw poultry bits.

Master the Injection Technique

Here are a few important tips to help you master this helpful technique:

  • The injection mix must be completely smooth and clear of any bits that could clog the meat injector. Fully melted butter and finely ground spices are key. Fresh herbs or lemon seeds from the juice can clog the needle. If you still want herby flavors, add herbs under the skin or use a poultry rub, and for a spicier version, use any spicy element in liquid form, like Tabasco or Sriracha.
  • If you brine your turkey and still want to inject it, omit the salt from the injection sauce and use low-sodium chicken broth. Otherwise, your bird may end up too salty.
  • Remember to discard any unused mix. Dipping the needle into the sauce once it has been inside the bird will transmit bacteria such as salmonella to the rest of the injection, increasing the risk of foodborne illness.