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The second step to creating the best Thanksgiving turkey is injecting. You took the time to brine your turkey, don’t skimp by skipping this step. This is your chance to add even more flavor. This turkey injection recipe can be as mild or spicy as you like.

If you want to kick things up a notch this Thanksgiving, by all means, go crazy with the cayenne pepper. Just don’t go TOO crazy or the turkey won’t be worth eating.

Butter Based Turkey Injection
Take your turkey over the top with this injection recipe.

How long before cooking do you inject a turkey?

It is strongly recommended that you inject your turkey several hours in advance. This will of course depend on the size of your turkey.

A whole turkey should be injected and then allowed to set for 12 hours. This allows the injection enough time to penetrate the meat. A turkey breast will need much less time.

Can you brine and inject a turkey?

Yes! In fact, we strongly recommend doing so. The key is to use a brine and injection with similar flavors. This is because the brine does add flavor to the turkey.

If you go with completely different flavors, it’s not going to work. Our brine recipe uses flavors that complement this injection recipe.

What do you inject in a turkey?

You want to add ingredients that add flavor and moisture. Butter is almost always used in an injection recipe. There is then a mixture of spices and herbs.

There are so many great flavors that work with turkey. Sage, onion, chives, thyme, garlic, cayenne, pepper, oregano, and lemon are just a few flavors that pair beautifully with turkey.

Turkey Injection Ingredients
Injection recipes use herbs, citrus, and other ingredients that compliment the turkey’s flavor.

What ingredients are used in a turkey injection recipe?

Turkey Injection Ingredients
Simple ingredients with big flavor.

As mentioned above, there are a lot of flavors that work with a turkey injection. For this recipe, we’ll be using:

  • Butter
  • Chicken broth
  • Lemon juice
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Ground pepper
  • Thyme
  • Ground sage
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Tabasco

How do you make a turkey injection?

Combining Ingredients
Combine all the ingredients to make the injection recipe.

This is so simple. You melt the butter, add the rest of the ingredients, mix well, and let cool. That’s it. You can then add the mixture to the injector. This Stainless Steel Injector Kit is what I recommend.

It’s now time to smoke your turkey!

Make sure to check how I smoke my turkey on my Weber Smoker for proper techniques, tips, and and cooking time, etc.

Injecting Turkey
You’re now ready to inject.
Turkey Injection

Turkey Injection Recipe

The second step to creating the best Thanksgiving turkey is injecting. The turkey injection recipe is your chance to add even more flavor.
4.15 from 168 votes
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Course: Marinade
Cuisine: American
Keyword: butter based turkey injection, turkey injection, turkey injection marinade
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 149kcal
Author: Mark Rogers


  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1/4 lemon juice
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp ground sage
  • 1/4 to 1 tsp of Cayenne Pepper (optional)
  • 1 to 1-1/2 tsp Tabasco (optional)


  • Melt the butter, add the rest of the ingredients, mix well, and let cool.


These amounts may be decreased as this is for a whole turkey. Feel free to adjust or alter amounts as needed.


Calories: 149kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 477mg | Potassium: 111mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 697IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg

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