Should I Inject My Turkey Before Smoking It? [What to Know]

Smoking a turkey can be challenging, but deciding on how to prepare your turkey before smoking it can be just as tricky as there are many options, including injecting the turkey. But should you inject your turkey before smoking it? 

Injecting your turkey before smoking can increase the flavor of the turkey and keep the meat moist throughout the smoking process. However, you should not inject the turkey if you are brining or basting the turkey, as this can make the turkey too salty. Only inject it if you are using a dry rub. 

Should I Inject My Turkey Before Smoking It

Is injecting your turkey worth it? When should you inject your turkey before smoking it? What to use when injecting a turkey? 

This article will go through everything you should know about injecting your turkey before smoking it!

Should You Inject A Turkey Before Smoking It?

Smoked turkeys are a popular dish around the world. They are used in many different dishes, as smoked turkey is a versatile meat that tastes delicious with many other foods. 

For this reason, numerous people are starting to smoke their own turkeys at home so they can have access to this tasty meat.

If you are new to smoking turkeys or want to try a different method of preparing your turkey for smoking, and you might have heard about injecting the turkey, but should you inject your turkey before smoking it? 

Whether you should inject your turkey or not depends on what other preparation methods you will use on your turkey before smoking it. 

If you are brining your turkey or plan on basting it throughout the smoking process, there is no need to inject it. 

If you inject your turkey that has been brined or basted, you might over-flavor it, making it too salty to the point where it will be unpleasant to eat. 

However, if you are preparing your turkey with a dry spice rub, then injecting your turkey could be a good idea. 

So, if it depends on how you want to prepare your turkey, is it worth injecting your turkey in the first place?

Is Injecting A Turkey Before Smoking Worth It? 

As there are only a few occasions where you should inject your turkey, many new smokers wonder if injecting their turkeys is worth it or not. 

If you are only preparing your turkey with a dry spice rub, injecting it before you smoke it is a good idea and worth it. 

If you are only using a dry rub for your turkey, keeping the turkey moist and juicy throughout the smoking process can be challenging until you eat it. 

By injecting the turkey with a marinade before you smoke it, you ensure that your final product will be both juicy and full of flavor. This makes for a more enjoyable dining experience overall. 

When To Inject A Tukey Before Smoking It

If you plan to inject your turkey during your preparations before smoking it, you might wonder when you should inject it. 

Once your turkey is fully defrosted, you can inject it with the marinade of your choice for up to 36 hours before cooking.

However, you need to let the turkey rest for at least 12 hours in your refrigerator after injecting it before you smoke it. This will allow the flavors in the injected liquid to penetrate the meat of the turkey, allowing the flavor to spread throughout the meat evenly. 

Let the turkey sit in the marinade for at least 12 hours before continuing with any additional preparations.

How To Inject A Turkey Before Smoking It

When making a smoked turkey, the dry spice rub you apply to the outside of your turkey will ensure the outside is flavorful. Unfortunately, this dry rub sometimes doesn’t penetrate the meat of the turkey, making the turkey meat bland. 

This is where injecting the turkey comes in. The injection process helps flavor the meat of the turkey, allowing every inch of the turkey to have a lovely flavor, but how do you inject a turkey to ensure it’s as flavorful as possible? 

You will need a flavor injector to add your flavor mixture to the turkey. 

You can find one of these at your local butcher shop. It is essentially a syringe with a needle attached and several tiny holes at the end of the needle, which allows for injecting the liquid evenly into the meat.

Fill the syringe up, then oil the needle with the cooking oil of your choice and stick the needle into the turkey meat of the turkey. Focus most of the injections on the breasts and then inject the rest throughout the turkey. 

What To Inject Into Your Turkey

Now that we have covered the when and the how of injecting your turkey before you smoke it, we will cover what you should inject into your turkey. Below is an easy recipe you can make for the injection liquid for your turkey. 

This recipe will take 15 minutes to complete and will ensure your turkey is packed with flavor and moisture, so you and your family will love your smoked turkey. 

Ingredients You Will Need

Before making the liquid for the injections, you will need to grab some easy-to-find ingredients. 

Here is what you need to make this recipe for a 12-pound turkey:

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1 tsp ground-dried sage 
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2tbsp fresh lemon juice 

Method To Create The Injection 

When you have the ingredients listed above, you can begin making the injection by following these steps:

Step 1 – Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave. 

Step 2 – Whisk the chicken broth, lemon juice, melted butter, and spices until mixed well in a medium-sized bowl. 

Step 3 – Use the flavor injector to suck up the mixture and inject it into your turkey. Allow the turkey to marinate in the fridge for 12 hours, and then prepare it as you usually would with your dry rub. 

Final Word

Injecting your turkey is a good idea if you are only preparing it with a dry spice rub before smoking it, as the injection will add moisture to the meat, keeping it juicy throughout the smoking process. 

Injecting your turkey is easy and won’t take long, and the liquid for the injection is easy to prepare. 

You will need to allow the turkey to rest in the fridge for at least 12 hours after injecting it to allow the flavors to disperse throughout the meat. Good luck smoking your next turkey!

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