Why Spices Need To Be Finely Ground For Injection Marinades

Soaking meat in a marinade is so passé — injecting marinades, now that's a different story. Rather than let a fear of needles stand in the way of enjoying juicy, barbecued briskets and rotisserie-style birds, take a leap of faith and give this method a try. Suitable for any and every cut of meat, many swear by injecting meat. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about the process, particularly when it comes to what goes into the marinade. Trust us when we say, finely ground spices are non-negotiable.

Essentially, the purpose of a marinade is threefold. By allowing the protein to rest in a seasoned liquid prior to cooking, Chicken.ca explains that this maintains moisture, tenderizes the meat, and adds flavor. That said, ChefsTemp shares that what's especially unique about injecting a marinade is that the solution is able to more fully penetrate the protein (and within a fraction of the time), unlike traditional marinades that sit on the surface.

Though recipes may vary, marinades often consist of oil, acid, and seasoning. Injectable marinades, on the other hand, may vary. According to Napoleon, you could infuse meats with stock, melted butter, or wine, but you could also concoct a more complex mixture from scratch. Working with a broth base, the sky's the limit. Add a drizzle of vinegar, splash of maple syrup, or spoonful of soy sauce. Just remember that if you add spices, always finely grind them.

Finer spices make for better marinade distribution

When injecting marinade into a piece of meat, Smoked BBQ Source notes that a sauce-filled syringe should be plunged deep within the meat, steadily releasing the mixture at different angles for the best distribution. Naturally, for the best widespread flavor, marinades should be dispersed at a slow and steady rate — this isn't the time for a syringe to become clogged.

Cooking with whole spices is a no-brainer as they can add layers of flavor and increase a dish's overall complexity. But, contrary to a standard marinade that can make good use of coarser spices, MasterClass underlines the importance of choosing finely ground spices and herbs, as they won't clog the syringe. Why is this such a big deal? A blocked injector will only lead to uneven seasoning and, worse yet, a messy outcome.

Despite the fact that you can purchase injectors with wider openings to accommodate thicker marinades, it's better not to take any risks when preparing your protein. But, should you lack the tools to finely grind spices and herbs yourself, Barbecue Bible recommends simply straining whole spices from a marinade before adding them to the syringe.