Brisket comes from the chest of a steer and is a hardworking muscle. It needs to be smoked low and slow to stop it from becoming dry and tough (so the reheated brisket will remain good and will be ok as a leftover brisket). In addition, you can inject it which will keep the meat moist and, depending on what liquid you choose, will add extra flavor. In this article, we will be taking a look at how you inject beef brisket and give you some ideas of what you can inject it with.
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Why Inject and not Marinate?
If you marinate your beef brisket, the outside will get a great flavor, but it doesn’t penetrate the inside of the meat. The same goes for a dry rub. However, if you inject the brisket, the liquid will get inside and will keep it moist as well as make it more flavorsome. All you need to have to do is get an injecting tool and some simple ingredients.
You can both marinate and inject. Marinate the night before and put the brisket in the fridge. The following morning pat it dry and bring up to room temperature. Then you can inject the meat. However, the flavors will have to complement each other. In most cases, a dry rub is all that is needed when injecting.
What Can I Use as an Injection?
There are all sorts of ingredients that you can use as an injection. If you don’t want to add extra flavor, but want to keep your meat moist, simply inject water. However, if you do want more flavor, use beef broth, brine, apple juice, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, garlic, herbs, or any combination of them. Alcohol is a delicious addition to a brisket. Cognac, whiskey, or beer are all good choices. You may be tempted to add more salt but be careful. If you have added something like a broth, it will probably already have enough salt in it. Check to see if any of your ingredients are low in sodium. If so, you can then add more salt.
Some people inject their brisket with coca-cola, Dr. Pepper, or other soft drinks. Be careful not to go over the top with this as your brisket may end up tasting like cola or coffee.
If you don’t want to make your own injection, you can buy powder-based injections which you just mix with water.
You could use a marinade as an injection but be careful with some marinades. If a marinade has vinegar in it, don’t inject it hours before smoking as it will turn your meat to mush. The same goes for pineapple. Make sure you inject with these only a couple of hours before smoking.
Just remember that you want to enhance the flavor of your brisket, not overpower it, so don’t overdo any injection.
The Right Tools
Although an injector has a sharp point, the liquid comes out of tiny holes on the sides. You can get injectors in different sizes. If you are injecting simple liquids, then an injector with small holes will be sufficient. However, if you are injecting pastes like perhaps pesto or jerk seasoning or if you have a lot of herbs in your mixture, you will need larger holes.
The next thing to decide on is what sort of material your injector will be. We suggest stainless steel over plastic. For a start, it will last longer. Also, it doesn’t hold on to smells like plastic tends to do. Copper and aluminum are not good choices as they can react to certain foods such as spicy and acidic foods.
The size of the injector need not be any more than 2 ounces as you won’t need to inject more than that into each part of your brisket.
When it comes to the operating mechanism, there are 2 choices. The first is a plunger and the other is a spring-grip plier. Both work equally well so it’s just a matter of preference.
To fill your injector, you will need a tall glass, a mixing bowl, or a measuring cup. Be careful not to break the needle when inserting the liquid.
Which Part of the Brisket Should be Injected?
You can inject any part of the brisket that you want. However, the flat benefits the most. This part of the brisket is long and thin and there is a chance of it drying out if you don’t add extra moisture. However, there’s nothing wrong with also injecting the fat. Although that has enough moisture, the flavor is another reason for injecting and the fat could benefit from this.
How to Inject a Brisket
It’s not difficult to inject a brisket, but it can get a bit messy, so make sure you have paper towels handy.
- Fill your injector with the liquid you have prepared.
- Depress the plunger while withdrawing the needle.
- Inject along the direction of the grain. If you don’t you could end up with holes in your meat as well as streaks.
- To ensure that the liquid is evenly distributed in the brisket, inject every 1 – 2 inches in a grid pattern in the whole brisket.
- Mop up any excess liquid. This is when it’s handy to have paper towels to hand.
How Much Injection Should be Used?
Brisket is muscle and muscle contains a lot of water. In fact, 85% of muscle is water. Because of this, your brisket won’t be able to accept too much more liquid. For every pound of meat inject 1 liquid ounce. That will be sufficient and if you put in any more it will probably leak out.
How Long Before Smoking Should You Inject the Liquid?
The good thing about injecting is that it will give as much flavor and moisture if it is injected right before cooking, unlike a marinade which needs time to flavor the meat. It’s not necessary to inject the night before and refrigerate.
You probably have your favorites, but if you are new to injecting, let us give you a few ideas. The first has 2 cups of beef broth, 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, thyme, rosemary, garlic, pepper, and a bay leaf. There is probably no need to add salt, but this is a personal preference. You need to cook the ingredients together, giving time for the herbs to infuse. Then strain the liquid as you don’t want the herbs clogging up the injector. Refrigerate overnight and inject the following day.
With this recipe, the brisket tastes like well-seasoned beef and it isn’t too overpowering. In addition, because of the extra moisture, it ends up being tender and delicious.
Another recipe contains 2 cups of low sodium beef broth, 2 cups of water, a tablespoon of brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of ground garlic. It is better to use garlic cloves and grind them down as they will be stronger than pre-ground garlic. You will have to grind them finely as you don’t want them getting stuck in the holes in the injector. For this recipe, you need to warm up the water and beef broth. Then add the other ingredients, one by one. Leave to stand for a little while and then you’re ready to inject.
You may not think that coffee will enhance the flavor of beef, but surprisingly enough, it complements it. To make the perfect coffee injection you will need a 1-ounce packet of gravy mix, 2 cups of black coffee, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon of dry or paste mustard, and a ¼ cup of vegetable oil. First, you need to dissolve the gravy powder in the coffee. In another bowl whisk the oil with the mustard until the mustard has become incorporated. Then put the Worcestershire sauce into the oil mix and finally add the coffee mix. You’re now ready to inject.
Finally, we’ll take a look at a beefy brisket injection. For this, you need 2 tablespoons of beef gravy mix, 2 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce. You don’t need to add salt as the soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce have a lot of salt added. This injection takes a little longer to prepare as you have to boil the water and then add the beef gravy. Stir until the gravy granules have been absorbed. Then, little by little, add the other ingredients, stirring all the time. Then let the mixture cool down. 15 minutes should do it and then you’re ready to inject.
We hope that you have found this article informative. Injecting beef brisket is a great idea because it is a way to add extra moisture to your meat and to give it a flavor kick. We hope that you will be inspired to try one of our recipes (such as our should you cook a brisket fat up or down) or perhaps you might like to make up ones of your own to suit your taste. Enjoy your summer smoking brisket with the extra flavor given by liquid injection.