Instead of rubbing your turkey with butter, herbs, and spices, try injecting the flavor right into the meat. Injecting turkey is a method that flavors meat from the inside, tenderizing it while slowly spreading the flavors through the bird. Injection marinades can be used with traditional turkey marinades, turkey rubs, and even turkey brines.
With an injector, basically a large syringe with a thick needle, you inject small doses of the marinade into the meat. Anything can go into your marinade, as long as it's small enough to get through the needle. If you really want herbs, try blending the sauce at high speed to guarantee a smooth liquid. Make many injections in several different places, and try to aim for the meat without piercing it. This method brings an immense amount of moisture and flavor, so you don't have to worry about dry or bland turkey.
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This is a great injection for any kind of poultry. A simple mix of butter, lemon, garlic, pepper, and salt delivers moisture and flavor to the white meat and enhances the texture and taste of the dark meat. Remember to use injection marinades several hours before you start cooking. The earlier the meat is injected before baking, the better the flavor will be in the end.
If you're choosing to brine the bird and then inject it, do not add salt to the injection mixture because you end up with too much.
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If you're choosing to deep-fry your turkey or chicken, by injecting the flavors inside the meat, you won't have to worry about the hot oil washing them off. Use lemon, onion powder, garlic powder, crab boil, olive oil, butter, Cajun seasoning, Tabasco, and cayenne to create a spicy injection for an alternative Southern-inspired Thanksgiving.
Distribute the injection evenly on all of the bird so you don't get large pockets of the mixture. Wipe off any drips or excess moisture before deep frying.
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Blend a traditional Cajun flavor with dark beer and honey for a well-balanced taste. There's apple cider in there, too! This simple injection will light up your taste buds thanks to the sweet and savory flavors.
Since this injection marinade contains honey, you need to warm it up to use it, but be careful that it isn't too hot before putting it in the injector. You don't want hot liquids leaking under pressure from your syringe.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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This one is mild in heat, but rich in herby flavors, featuring red wine, Italian seasoning, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Make sure that the herbs you use are well ground so that they will fit through your injection needle, and stir the syringe in between injections so it doesn't settle.
Use other types of wine for dryer flavors, or replace wine with liquor to create your own version.
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Grind dry bay leaf, thyme, and sage at high speed. Combine with garlic and onion powder, pepper, salt, and oil. Add water and Worcestershire sauce. This injection requires 20 minutes of cooking time and 15 minutes of cooling down before putting it inside the injector.
For a variation, use fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, and oregano. Once the injection is cool, blend at high speed with the fresh herbs. Strain into a mesh colander to ensure the fibrous leftovers of the herbs don't pass into the injector.
Food Safety for Poultry
To keep your kitchen compliant with food-safety regulations, remember to:
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water before and after handling poultry. Also, wash in between if you need to reach for other ingredients or open the fridge door.
- Wash cutting boards, utensils, and knives immediately after they've been in contact with raw or frozen poultry.
- Clean thoroughly any surface that might have been in contact with raw poultry drippings. Use antibacterial disposable wipes to clean them.
- Don't rinse raw or frozen chicken. The splashing water will contaminate other parts of your kitchen and rinsing it doesn't eliminate potential bacteria.
- Cook your poultry to safe temperatures and for the adequate length of time. Follow these standards for handling and cooking poultry. Always aim for 165 F as the interior temperature of your turkey.
- Don't save unused injection marinade. The needle has been in contact with raw poultry and those juices easily travel upward to your unused marinade. Discard immediately after using.
- Your cooked leftover poultry must be in the refrigerator two hours after cooking. You can safely eat it within 72 hours. If you don't consume it, discard to avoid food poisoning.