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Turkey Marinade - Injection

Turkey Marinade: Inject the Turkey

Turkey marinade is traditionally injected into a turkey the day before it is to be cooked. To keep as much juice as possible inside the turkey, make as few punctures as possible.

Fill the injector with the marinade, stick the needle into the breast and inject some marinade - do not remove the needle, turn it toward another area of the breast and inject more marinade. Do this again, for all of the places on the breast that can be reached through that same puncture.

Then, refill the syringe and move to a different area on the turkey. Do this for all parts of the breast, back, wings, and legs covering the most area while making the fewest punctures.

This process places the turkey marinade inside the bird, under the skin, where it could not go if the turkey were just soaked in the marinade. Marinade penetrates the skin much less than brine.

If you waited until the day of cooking to marinade your turkey, you can cook it shortly after injecting it. But to maximize the flavor, it is best to do this a day in advance so the injected turkey marinade has a chance to disperse.

Turkey pieces may be injected or just soaked in a marinade.


Basic Turkey Marinade

There are many good turkey marinades that are sold in grocery stores along with the marinade injectors. But once people get serious about deep frying turkeys, they begin to add additional flavors to these marinades or they come up with their own recipes.

Because deep fried turkey originated in south Louisiana (it's a Cajun turkey after all), many of the marinades use Cajun spices. As the practice of deep-frying moved to other regions, lots of alternative marinades have been developed.

A problem with mixing spices for marinades can be that dry spices clog the needle on the injector. One solution to this is to process the marinade in a blender or food processor for a few minutes before loading the injector. Or, you can use liquid spice alternatives such as liquid garlic.

If you are using a marinade that needs to be cooked, don't inject the turkey with it until the marinade has cooled down to at least room temperature. Injecting a hot or warm marinade can lead to growth of bacteria.

Here are some marinade ideas to get you started.

How Simple Can You Get

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter - melted
1/2 cup Italian dressing
secret ingredient

Mix - cool - inject.

Liquid Cajun Marinade

With this recipe, using mostly liquid ingredients will prevent the injection needle from clogging.

4 oz liquid celery
4 oz liquid onion
4 oz liquid garlic
1 Tablespoon red pepper
2 Tablespoons of salt
2 Tablespoons Tabasco hot pepper sauce
secret ingredient

Mix - inject.

Emeril Lagasse Fried Turkey Marinade

This is a bit complex but the results are superb. It is based on Every Day Is a Party by Emeril Lagasse, with Marcelle Bienvenu and Felicia Willett, published by William Morrow, 1999.

First mix Emeril's Essence Creole Seasoning

2 1/2 Tablespoons sweet paprika
2 Tablespoons salt
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 Tablespoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon cayenne
1 Tablespoon dried thyme
1 Tablespoon dried oregano

This is just an "ingredient" in the marinade, I told you it was a bit complex.

Here is the marinade recipe:

Emeril's Marinade

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon liquid Zatarain's Concentrated Crab and Shrimp Boil
1/4 cup apple cider
3/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 Tablespoon salt
12 oz. beer
1/2 cup of Emeril's Creole Seasoning (above)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
pinch of ground cloves

In the above recipe it looks like just a tablespoon of Crab Boil would hardly be noticed. Don't use more unless you are sure you want to. The word concentrated is there for a reason. This marinade needs to go in a food processor or blender for 5 minutes so that it doesn't clog the injector. We actually have better luck putting it in a blender.

Emeril uses this as his injection marinade in a turkey that he dry brines for 24 hours in 1 cup of salt, 1 Tablespoon cayenne, and 1 Tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper.

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