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A good hot brisket, I believe, is a meal that everyone can enjoy at any time of the year – as side pieces of meat, the main dish at a Christmas party, or for a filling BBQ meal! There are many ways to serve brisket, one of which is a new technique to fill your brisket with a marinade that makes the meat tender and juicy.
Brisket injection is particularly helpful when your brisket has been undercooked and lacks the savory flavor it usually has
If you have never heard of brisket injection before, this article might help you understand how to prepare the most delicious homemade brisket recipe.
What Exactly Is Brisket Injection?
Injecting a brisket is exactly what it sounds like – you use a meat injector to fill your smoked brisket with a marinade (that you make separately).
First, you need to prepare the sauce, and then using a syringe, you insert the flavor so that it seeps deep all over the meat where the outer seasonings and salt will not.
If you have had beef brisket or any kind before, you will notice that red meat is hard to chew, as the brisket is the part that has a lot of muscles and is hardly used. So it requires a lot of cooking time for marinating and carryover cooking.
A beef brisket injection with marinade can help your dish come out more appetizing, soft, and delicious!
Why Do You Need to Inject a Brisket?
There are many reasons why beef brisket injection is necessary. They particularly have to do with the cut of beef that the brisket is!
Better Moisture-Retention and Flavor
Since it is tough and sometimes can even take over 16 hours to cook, it feels impossible to imagine soft briskets, but trust me, with an injection, it is possible!
Brisket requires hours of cooking in the oven, and then some time to rest and let the meat quick properly. This causes the meat to dry out and sometimes even lose flavor, especially if it is meat like beef. Hence, injections are mainly for retaining the flavor and moisture of umami that we all love in meat.
Another reason you should do it is that not only will it make your dish more flavorful, but it is also a super-easy process and is worth at least one try!
Marinating the meat traditionally is hectic and can get messy, as you would require to keep the whole brisket in a refrigerator, submerged in the liquid. It takes a lot of time and you will have difficulty serving the brisket, even when you take it out.
By simply injecting the brisket, you save yourself a lot of time and cleaning!
How to Inject Brisket?
Some chefs may go the extra mile to make a delicious marinade for their brisket injection recipe, but if you are doing it for the first time, this is my go-to homemade brisket injection method.
To make the marinade first, for at least 8 to 10 pounds of trimmed beef brisket, you will need the following items.
- 1½ cups of a liquid base like meat or vegetable soup/beef stock
- 2 tsp of a sauce of your liking (juices, barbecue, hot sauce, syrups)
- 2 tsp of soy sauce
- 1 tsp of brown sugar
- ½ tsp garlic, onion, and ground black pepper
- Herbs (if you want a tinge of flavor)
- Syringe/Meat Injector
Remember that all ingredients you choose should be soluble or small enough such that there is no clogging in the syringe.
Now, if the particles are not powdery enough, grind them until they are. Once you have made the selection, go through the following steps to make the best brisket injection marinade for beginners.
Step 1: Start by cooking the liquid base over a saucepan on low-medium heat, always stirring the mixture to get rid of extra lumps or particles. You do not need a lot of marinade liquid since the injection solution depends on the size of the meat – just 1 ounce for each pound.
Step 2: While continuing to stir the beef broth, add in the sauces, spices, and herbs that you want to add and let them dissolve till the ingredients blend completely. Make sure to add all of them in equal proportions to avoid any flavor imbalance in the injection liquid.
Step 3: Cover the saucepan and let the marinade cook for at least 5 minutes before you use the solution.
If you do not have a saucepan, you can simply add all the ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisk them together until they are completely fused. Then, let them sit for 10 minutes at room temperature.
Step 4: Next, use the marinade you have prepared to fill the meat injector or the syringe you have chosen and take an amount that is full until the plunger is pulled back completely.
Make sure that you let the liquid cool down before you insert the needle into the meat as doing the opposite can cause problems with the resting of the brisket.
Step 5: Help the brisket onto a cooking tray. Using the injector, fill the brisket completely from its center so that the flavor of the brisket seeps into the meat completely. Make sure that you let the liquid deep into the brisket until the fluid leaks out – this is your indicator to stop.
Step 6: Keep injecting the brisket with a difference of at least 1-2 inches between every point Once you feel like you have covered every necessary injection point possible, you can use the sauce that is left, for garnishing. If it’s a full packer brisket, make sure that the thicker sides also get enough of the injection.
Step 7: After 1-2 hours of injecting the brisket, you can put it in the smoker for slow cooking. Letting it sit for at least an hour before cooking allows the meat injection to spread to every part of the brisket and not let it sit concentrated which gives improper flavoring.
When I was first injecting brisket, there were some massive mistakes that I made. If you want to avoid those, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Pick Flavors for Brisket Injection Marinade Wisely
This goes without saying, but meat is a flavor that does not go with just any condiment. So adding a drink like milk to the meat won’t have the same flavor effect, as using alcohol or special Worcestershire sauce.
Getting creative and experimenting is the way to go, but make sure to choose flavors that traditionally complement the piece of meat. Following are a few liquids you can try that also go well with brisket.
- Meat stock/broth
- Vegetable oil
- Sauce like BBQ Sauce / Hot Sauce / Worcestershire Sauce
- Juices like apple and pineapple (in particular)
- Brown sugar
Whatever flavors you pick, just make sure that your syringe is not blocked in any way, and keep the salt content to 0.5% – 2% of the recipe as you will be marinating everywhere, and the flavor can get too salty. This is particularly for when you are not using sweet items anywhere in the injection juice.
Never use liquid smoke for cooking the brisket or flavoring, as it can make the brisket extremely bitter! If you are in a rush, there is also no problem with going for readymade versions like barbecue brisket injections like Butcher BBQ Brisket Injection which are easily available in online and offline stores.
Your Outer Brisket Rub Should Go With The Injection
Whatever you choose for refining the outside layer of the brisket, make sure it goes well with the brisket marinade recipe. Hence, it is better to save some of the sauce to pour it over your meat.
A lot of chefs simply like to inject briskets with the broth of the beef to make the process easier and shorter, which is something you can try when you are lacking time. This also makes it easier to pair herbs and spices with the rub. However, for a tastier brisket, following the classic beef brisket injection recipe is the way to go.
Additionally, you can also let the brisket smoke for at least an hour, take it out, and then rub it down with a butter stick or melted butter before putting it back in. This helps with the formation of smoke rings for a better presentation of the brisket.
Blend All Ingredients Perfectly
You should avoid clogging the syringe at all times. So make sure that your ingredients are well-grounded and dissolved into the marinade. Even pastes are not acceptable, as a marinade should be completely liquid!
If your marinade is simmering instead of boiling when you cook it, you will know that the sauce is not liquid enough for injection. You can even let the marinade sit for a bit until your brisket rests to make sure all ingredients are blended well.
Do Not Let Brisket Sit Long With Acidic Injections
Acidic bases like apple or pineapple juice and vinegar don’t do well with food when kept for too long. They have high acidity and make the meat soft, so letting them sit inside the brisket for more than 2-3 hours will make the whole brisket soggy. Hence, if you are using an acidic injection, make sure to consume your brisket on time.
Can You Inject Smoked Briskets?
The marinade can be injected into the brisket before or after it has been cooked. So it is possible to inject the brisket after it has been smoked at home to make it taste even better.
Should You Inject Your Brisket?
Injecting brisket is a good way to let the flavor penetrate deep into the meat, which a simple roasting will not be able to reach. Normal salt and seasoning will only cover the exterior, but injecting it with marinade will allow the flavor to seep in deep.
How Do Professionals Smoke Brisket?
Professionals usually smoke brisket at a 250˚ degree Fahrenheit temperature and allow the meat to cook for at least one hour for every pound of meat. The time increases with the size. Hence, if you have 9 pounds of brisket, you would need to smoke it for 9 hours.
What Does Apple Juice Do To Brisket?
Sugary ingredients like apple juice can help caramelize the exterior of brisket for a sweet-savory flavor. They also improve the color and texture of the meat, giving it a golden-brown color.
Getting the perfect brisket is difficult but not impossible. As a food enthusiast, I encourage the curation of new methods that will help you discover new flavors from all around the world! After all, there is no such thing as the best recipe, and cooking is a practice of trial and error.
Now that you know an easy way to make good injected brisket, all you have to do is get the meat injector and take your homemade brisket to the next level!