When cooking beef brisket, we just usually rub it with spices or a marinade. Although the result seems to turn out great, there’s a better way to add flavor to this type of meat.
It turns out that because beef briskets are usually cooked low and slow, they tend to lose a lot of moisture, so you’d end up with dry meat. On top of that, the marinade or dry rub only gives flavor to the meat’s surface.
If you want tastier meat and with added moisture, injecting flavors is the way to go. How is that so? Well, this article will share with you everything you need to know. If you’re wondering what to inject your brisket with and how you can do it, read on…
Brisket Injection – What Is It?
To start, what is brisket injection anyway? Brisket injection is a process you can use to infuse flavor and seasoning deep below the beef’s surface. By doing this, the flavor is distributed better along with the moisture. This makes the beef juicier, more tender, and a lot more moisture.
Marinade vs. Injection
As mentioned above, marinade only tends to flavor the outer surface of the meat. So, it actually leaves a bigger portion without any flavor. And if you do want that flavor to seep in, you’d have to wait for hours.
On the other hand, injecting, regardless of whether it’s for brisket or other meat types, you get to bury the flavor deep into the meat’s core. This allows you to increase the flavor and moisture, and it definitely saves you a lot more time.
However, you can combine both methods if you’d want to, so you get that flavor on the surface and deep into the meat. But, you’d probably have to balance that flavor well.
Can I Use a Marinade as an Injection?
Yes, you can. But, there will be a few things you’d have to remember before injecting meat with marinade.
First of all, don’t use a marinade with high citrus or vinegar levels if you’re not going to grill the meat immediately. This will make the meat mushy, and it’s awful. So, if you plan to store the beef overnight, put in more water. At the same time, you don’t want to use a marinade with pineapple on it if you’re also not cooking the meat immediately. It will also have the same effect, and it’s not tasty.
To be safe, since you’re already injecting the meat, cook it immediately. You no longer have to let that sauce seep in thoroughly because it’s already deep within the core.
The Tools You Will Need
If you’re planning to inject your brisket, there are only three tools you’d need:
- Meat Injector
- Deep Pan or Cooking Tray
- Tall Glass or Mixing Bowl
Meat injector is undeniably the most important. For this, you have three choices:
- Plastic Injector: This is the cheapest option you have.
- Stainless Steel Injector: A bit more expensive than the plastic one but is easier to clean.
- Injector Gun: The most expensive of the three but comes with more features.
If you’re only injecting a brisket for home cooking, a stainless steel injector is what we highly recommend out of the three. It’s good quality, does the job well, and will not break the bank. However, it’s recommended to look for an injector that comes with a kit and already has different injector tips and some extra seals.
Injector guns are highly recommended for professional use or if you’re injecting a lot of briskets. This is because you get to specify how much liquid to dispense, so it’s definitely faster to use.
When choosing a meat injector, consider these three things as they would greatly affect the outcome of your meat.
- Needle size
- Amount of liquid the injector can hold
Needle sizes may vary, and you can use them depending on the type of liquid you want to inject. Buying a kit will already solve your problem when it comes to needle sizes because it would mostly be complete with what you need.
For the amount of liquid, two ounces should be the minimum amount the liquid injector can hold. The handgrip can also vary, so make sure you choose one where you’re most comfortable.
Deep Pan or Cooking Tray
This is where you’ll place the meat you’re going to inject with flavor. If you haven’t tried injecting before, it can actually get pretty messy, so you’d need a pan to collect excess liquid.
Tall Glass or Mixing Bowl
This is where you can place the liquid you’re putting into the injector so that it’s easier for you to draw liquid in. Choose a glass or a bowl that would make drawing the water easier so that you don’t damage the needle tip.
Which Part of the Brisket Should be Injected?
Apart from knowing the tools, it’s also best if you know which part of the brisket you should inject. This way, you get to really taste that good flavor.
Sometimes, people will tell you just to inject wherever you want, but it’s best to keep in mind to focus on the flat section of the brisket. This is the leanest part, which means it’s easy to dry out, so you’ll really need a lot of moisture in there.
The point or the deckle section, on the other hand, contains more of the fat, so the flavor is what you’ll prioritize here.
The Simple Steps of Injecting a Brisket
Now that you know what tools are needed and where to inject flavor into your brisket, here’s a step by step process on how to do it:
1. Prepare your injector.
There will be times when you’d need to interchange your needles, depending on the type of liquid you’ll use or the cut of meat you have. Generally, there are two types of needles:
- A needle with holes up to its shaft is designed for thin solutions like marinades. This evenly spreads the liquid throughout the meat.
- A needle with a wider opening is best for solutions with solid ingredients like garlic and other spices. This way, you can inject the liquid into your meat without any blockage.
Once you’ve decided on the needle, make sure that the injector is clean so you can continuously plunge the solution into the meat without any problems.
2. Prepare your brisket.
First and foremost, you can’t start injecting without a brisket. So, prepare your brisket as you normally would. Trim it and remove some fat on the sides, depending on how you like it. After that, place the brisket on a deep pan or tray.
3. Prepare the injection liquid.
Next, prepare the liquid you’re going to use (below, we’re going to share some injection recipes you can try) in a tall glass or mixing bowl. After that, fill the syringe by simply putting the injector into the glass and pulling the plunger.
Since the tip of the injection normally has holes, make sure that it’s completely submerged in the liquid to avoid spraying. This is why it’s important to use a deep bowl or glass.
4. Decide on the direction.
Next, decide on the direction where you’ll inject your beef. Experts recommend injecting with the meat’s grain so you don’t add punctures and other noticeable holes on your brisket. Otters do say that it doesn’t really matter, but you just need to make sure you inject evenly throughout the beef. The direction doesn’t really affect the brisket’s taste, but if you value appearance, then this is probably something you need to think about.
5. Start injecting liquid into the brisket.
If you’ve already decided on the direction, simply inject the needle into the brisket. Press the plunger if you’re already going to pull the injection out. Repeat until you think you’ve already evenly spread the flavor into the beef.
Remember, it’s important to get as much juice as possible. This is one of those meats that can quickly dry out, so it needs a lot of moisture. A lot of people would recommend that you just keep injecting until no more juices can get in.
6. Cleanup and start cooking!
Once done, don’t forget to clean everything up. If there’s excess liquid collected, you can soak your beef in it. This adds more flavor to your beef, and you don’t end up throwing those nice flavors down the drain.
And you’re done! You just need to clean that injector if you need to, or you can start cooking immediately.
What Goes Into Brisket Injection Fluid?
We’ve already mentioned how marinades can be used to inject into your brisket. But there are a lot of injection recipes out there that you can try. Among the most common ingredients used are:
- Brown Sugar
- Apple Juice
- Garlic and Herb
Here are some of the best injection liquid recipes that you can try:
Recipe#1: Beef Brisket Brine Injection
- Beef base
- Worcestershire sauce
- Soy sauce
This is commonly used by BBQ champs and is best used in beef briskets. If you don’t want a lot of salt, then perhaps you can adjust the amount of water you put. The accent is a really nice salt alternative and can give a savory taste.
Recipe #2: Beef or Venison Brine Injection
- Kosher Salt
- Worcestershire sauce
- Water (beef stock with less salt as an alternative)
- Herbs and Spices
Recipe #3: Pork Brine Injection
- Kosher salt
- Rice Vinegar
- Apple Juice (low sodium pork, chicken, or beef stock)
You can go a lot of ways if you want that liquid to taste or what thickness it would be, but it should not, in any way, overpower the flavor of your meat. Aim for only 1-2% salt content to tenderize the meat without that salty flavor.
There are also commercial injection fluids you can buy, so you don’t have to go through a lot of experimenting.
How Much Injection Should be Used?
Beef briskets are mostly made up of 75% water. So, there’s not much space to add more liquid. The best way to go is to fill up the beef brisket evenly until you fill up all the space. Or you can also use the standard rule, which is 1 ounce of liquid injection for every 1 pound of meat.
There will be cases when the liquid ends up on the surface of the briskets because it’s already filled. So, get a towel ready and pat the surface dry, so it’s also easier for you to dry rub the surface if you need to.
How Long Before Cooking or Smoking Should I Inject the Brisket?
There’s no exact answer as to how long before cooking or smoking you should inject the brisket. Some would say to let it sit overnight or just an hour before cooking. Since the flavor is already deep inside the meat, flavorwise, the meat already tastes a lot better, even if you cook it after just an hour.
You should, however, be careful when the liquid you’re using is high on vinegar or citrus. Letting your meat sit overnight with this liquid will tenderize your meat and will ultimately ruin it. So, if you’re using this kind of liquid, cook the meat after an hour or a few hours.
Injecting brisket is probably not the most common way to add flavor to it, but if you want to get that juicier, more tender, and tastier meat, it’s definitely something to try. The best part is, you don’t have to wait that long to start cooking because the flavor is already deep into the meat’s core.
Don’t feel intimidated because you’d only definitely need three things to get started: an injector, your meat, a cooking tray, and a tall glass. There are already injection liquid recipes you can try above, or you can buy yourself a commercial one.