The Benefits of Flavor Injections when Smoking Meat
The tried and true, absolute best way to get sick flavor on your meat creation is rubbing it with a mix of spices. Right? It’s a good way to add a blast of flavor, but the best? Not really. Injecting pork, beef, or poultry with a marinade is definitely better but in the barbecue game nothing is the best. Just tell any pit master or back yard barbecue bro and that something is the best and prepare for an argument. Nothing is the best, let’s just say that there are more efficient ways of adding flavor. The benefits of flavor injections when smoking meat are many.
Injection vs. Rub
Rubbing a shoulder, ribs, or brisket is how everyone starts out. Gallons of ink and hours of footage are recorded every year about the best rubs, when to rub, how to rub, and how to make your own rub. Rubs are good and they bring smoked meat to a new level, but they are inefficient. Rub only coats the outside of the meat, the surface area, and that isn’t much. The inside of the cut is left unseasoned and that becomes obvious when the cook is done and the cutting begins. Pounds of smoked, yet unseasoned meat are piled up. This isn’t the end of the world of course and many will say that the meat should speak for itself, which is true, but others want tons of flavor on top of all that smoke. The other drawback is when applying the rub so much is wasted. Getting a good coating of flavor means spilling plenty on the cutting board. Steps to mitigate the loss are available, but you’re going to lose some no matter how careful you are.
Injection vs. Brine
There are a lot of similarities between brininig and injecting meat. Both are liquid forms that will get flavor into the middle of a hunk of meat. Brines have a much higher salt content and will give the meat a better flavor. They open the proteins and absorb more moisture, making the meat juicier after cooking which is always preferred. Brining takes a lot longer than injections and they are limited in the flavor profiles you can bring. Injecting a marinade only takes a few minutes and the amount of flavor is endless. Another drawback is that brining isn’t great for beef or lamb and they are usually better for poultry and pork
Benefits of Flavor Injections
The main benefit is, of course, flavor and lots of it. Injecting the flavor directly into the meat allows it to spread to every bite. No more fighting for the outer pieces that have all the spice. There are endless marinades for sale and recipes available to match every taste so don’t worry about finding a good one. Try them all. Another benefit is helping to keep the meat juicy, moist, and delicious. Additional moisture in any BBQ scenario is always necessary and injecting will allow you to miss the occasional spritz with apple juice during the cook. Before your next BBQ get a meat injector and surf the flavor wave.
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