Last Updated on March 21, 2023
This simple turkey injection recipe is so easy and it takes just a few minutes to prepare. It will keep your bird juicy and give it a rich deepness of flavor. Once you taste it you’ll wonder why it took you this long to try injecting a turkey.
A well-cooked turkey is one of my all time favorite meals. When a turkey is juicy and full of flavor it brings back so many memories of family gatherings with everyone gathered together while my dad carved the bird. It feels like home.
But an over-cooked turkey is just painful. It takes hours of preparation and effort to cook that turkey. Cutting into the breast and finding it as dry as a bone is like a slap in the face.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was an easy way to guarantee a deliciously juicy bird every time??
Well, hold on to your socks because I’m going to show you how to inject a turkey with a marinade that will produce the best turkey you’ve ever had.
Why Inject A Turkey?
Injecting turkey with a marinade prevents the meat from drying out and infuses it with more flavor. Instead of a dry, bland bird you’ll have a turkey that’s juicy and packed with flavor.
Turkey meat is very low in fat. Because it’s so lean (especially the breast) it’s easy to overcook it and be stuck with a turkey as dry as the one Clark Griswold made in National Lampoon’s Christmas (my favorite holiday movie ever).
If you’ve never seen it, here’s a short clip of the famous turkey carving scene…
How To Inject A Turkey
If you’ve never tried to inject a turkey before, don’t sweat it. It’s not rocket science.
But you do need the right equipment. If you don’t already have a turkey injector, I’m adding a link to the one I use below. There’s a few things I like about this injector:
- It’s stainless steel, which means it’s easy to clean and more solid than cheapo plastic injectors. It just feels solid in your hand
- The window allows you to see the marinade inside the syringe so you don’t have to guess how much is left
- It comes with 3 different needles to accommodate different types of marinade, from pure liquid to chunky seasonings
To get started just draw some of the marinade into the syringe and inject a little bit at a time in multiple places. I like to start with the front of the breast and work back. Be sure to get some in the thigh and drumstick areas as well.
Go slowly and press gently on the injector. If you force the marinade in too quickly it can shoot back out at you. As you inject the marinade, you’ll see the turkey inflate a little.
As you watch it plump up, think about how amazing it will be to bite into that juicy turkey!
Tips, Tricks, And Variations
I don’t like to overcomplicate things, and this is a very basic turkey injector recipe with just 4 simple ingredients. That said, there are many variations you can try to give all sorts of flavor to your bird.
If you want to add some kick to it, sprinkle in some cayenne pepper, chili powder, or Cajun seasoning. Experiment with various fresh herbs like chives, rosemary, sage, and thyme. Or swap out half the butter and replace it with chicken broth or lemon juice. There are so many possibilities!
If you do use fresh herbs, make sure you chop them very finely and use an injector with a big enough opening so it doesn’t get clogged.
Be generous and inject the marinade throughout the breast, thigh, and drumstick area.
Discard any leftover marinade. It already came into contact with the syringe which was in the raw turkey, so the marinade is contaminated. Don’t be cheap and try to save it or you’ll risk food poisoning. Not worth it.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- 4 garlic cloves pressed or finely minced
- Combine the butter, garlic, parsley, and olive oil in a small pot and heat on medium low, stirring regularly until the butter is completely melted and the everything is combined.
- Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.
- Load the marinade into the turkey injector and begin injecting it into the bird. Start at the top of the breast and work your way down, injecting in multiple spots.
- Go slowly and press gently on the injector. If you force the marinade in too quickly it can shoot back out at you.
- As you inject the marinade, you'll see the turkey inflate and plump up.
- When you're finished, add whatever rubs or seasonings you want to the bird and it's ready to cook!
If you have leftover marinade, discard it. Since it came into contact with raw turkey it's not safe to save and reuse.
This is a very basic recipe with just 4 ingredients, but you can try any number of variations by mixing your favorite herbs and spices.
This marinade also goes well with chicken!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 179Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 123mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g