Years ago, many adventurous home cooks who like to wrestle with whole turkeys moved beyond brining them in a spiced-saltwater solution and turned to the flavor-injection method. Turkey injector kits are sold in many barbecue-supply stores, sporting-goods and hardware stores, and online.
In this method, a big "syringe" is filled with seasoned marinade (or beer, wine, sherry, olive oil or whatever). Then the attached big-gauge needle is inserted into the turkey carcass at multiple sites and in various directions. The plunger is pushed with each insertion, spreading the liquid throughout. The injected turkey is refrigerated overnight, then smoked, deep-fried or oven-roasted the next day. The result is a juicer, more flavorful turkey.
In a smaller, far-less-hassle scenario, the French's company (of ballpark mustard fame) has introduced its new line of Flavor Infuser marinades. The theory is the same as above, but less ambitious and much easier for the weekend griller who's cooking, say, chicken breasts, pork loin, steak or fish.
Here's how: Remove the cap from the infuser, stick the plastic "needle" into the meat at several sites, remove slowly while simultaneously squeezing the plastic tube - slowly. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before grilling.
Flavor Infusers sell for about $3 each at supermarkets and come in four flavors - Sweet & Tangy Teriyaki, Classic Steakhouse, Zesty Italian and Caribbean Jerk.
While we waited for the charcoal in our Weber grill to burn down, we injected two chicken breasts (pictured), a filet of salmon, a thick porkchop and a market steak with the four flavors. The liquids certainly plumped up the meats. We found some marinade streaks when we cut into them later, but overall the infusers delivered what they promised - more juice, more flavor.
Caution: Because of the risk of cross-contamination on the injector tips, French's urges consumers not to reuse the plastic infusers. If you don't use a whole tube of liquid (which infuses up to four pounds), toss it.
For more information: www.frenchs.com.