Pork Injection Marinade

Pork injection marinade being injected into a seasoned piece of pork

The Spruce Eats

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Yield: 1 3/4 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
844 Calories
58g Fat
5g Carbs
70g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 844
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 58g 74%
Saturated Fat 22g 108%
Cholesterol 263mg 88%
Sodium 422mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 70g
Vitamin C 10mg 52%
Calcium 95mg 7%
Iron 5mg 26%
Potassium 1060mg 23%
*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.)

Preparing pork butt, also known as Boston butt or shoulder, can sometimes yield dry and tough meat when it isn't done properly. Injecting the meat can help less-experienced cooks attain pork that's succulent and moist. Inject the marinade throughout the pork to ensure that every part of the meat is flavorful; penetrating many areas of the meat ensures an equal distribution of moisture and flavor.

Pork butt, which comes from the shoulders of the pig, makes the most amazing pulled pork, which you can use in sandwiches, tacos, nachos, on top of rice, or served with potatoes. By injecting your meat, you'll also save some time as overnight marinades or rubs are optional.

This easy recipe is a perfect mix of sweet and salty and pairs nicely with various spice rubs. Our mix makes enough to marinate an 8-pound pork butt. Scale the ingredients up or down for bigger or smaller cuts. For ultimate flavor, use extra spice rub in the marinade to season the outside of the pork. With this type of technique, you can spread delicious flavor throughout a piece of pork before placing it on the grill or in the smoker.

Before you start, be sure to have a proper meat syringe or injector, which can be found in kitchen supply stores or online. If making the marinade ahead of time to inject later, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week, but never save marinade that has been in contact with raw meat as it can be the source of foodborne illness.


Click Play to See This Flavorful Pork Injection Marinade Come Together

"An injection marinade guarantees the most flavorful, moist pork roast possible. The addition of a spice rub incorporating some of the same seasonings as the marinade enhances the flavor even more." —Diana Andrews

Pork injection marinade in a glass measuring cup and basted on a piece of pork
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 cup apple juice, or apple cider

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pork rub, plus more for seasoning the pork

  • 1 (8-pound) pork butt, or pork shoulder

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for pork injection marinade recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats

  2. Combine the apple juice or cider, apple cider vinegar, water, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, melted butter, and pork rub in a small mixing bowl. Season the pork on the outside using some extra dry rub.

    Pork rubbed with seasonings and marinade ingredients combined in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats

  3. Using a meat injection syringe, inject the mixture into several different spots in the pork roast. The more entrance points you can make, the better the flavor distribution will be.

    Pork injected with marinade using a syringe

    The Spruce Eats

  4. Grill or smoke the pork shoulder right away or store in the fridge until ready to use—from a few hours up to overnight. Enjoy.

    Finished pork with rub and marinade

    The Spruce Eats

For Best Results Using a Kitchen Syringe

Using a kitchen syringe is an easy and safe way of adding flavor to meats like beef, chicken, and lamb, in addition to pork. Using it, though, requires some guidance for best results:

  • Always stir the marinade really well before adding it to a meat injector.
  • Be sure that, if using spices, these are finely ground, as bigger pieces can clog the needle and unclogging and cleaning it can be difficult, especially if the piece of food is locked in place. For this same reason, don't use fresh herbs or butter that is not totally melted.
  • Inject the marinade in several points throughout the pork. Go deep in some places and shallow in others. Try finding a side of the cut that's tender and make this the preferred side for injecting.
  • Let the pork rest as you heat up the grill or the smoker. An injected meat can be cooked according to your preferred method, but always remember to check for doneness with a meat thermometer that reads at least 145 F, the minimum safe temperature for pork consumption.
  • To wash your syringe, make a mixture of warm water with a few drops of dish soap and use this liquid to clean the syringe by pulling it in the syringe and then plunging it back out. Always aim at your kitchen sink and clean up any splatter as it can contain raw meat particles. Once the syringe seems clean, use soapless water for a final rinse. Do not place in the dishwasher unless the manufacturer indicates it's safe to do so.