If you’re into cooking, you’re into flavor. However, we often find ourselves being slaves to superficial seasonings alone — we paint thick ribbons of barbecue sauce on grilled fare, drown chicken breasts in segregated marinades of lemon and oil, and roll tenderloins through mounds of meticulously curated spice rubs. I can tell you that there’s nothing wrong with a polyurethane-like coating of KC Masterpiece, or a confection of spice on your grub. It’s fast and usually yields fine results. But flavoring a cut of meat’s inner-section can be a little bit more difficult.
Enter the meat injector, the plastic hypodermic device with which you shoot sauce and other seasonings into your food. It’s a common tool in both home and professional kitchen alike. Problem is, most are flimsy, easily clogged gadgets with small reservoirs that can barely puncture the skin of a cold Jell-O pudding let alone a 36-ounce porterhouse. The Home Tech Flavor Injector looks to shatter whatever injector expectations you once had. With its pressure bulb and tubing, three extremely sharp needles, and large glass reservoir, it could be mistaken for a medical device used to distribute a drip of sodium pentothal into the arm of a steely-eyed terrorist.
To use it, fill the 6-ounce plastic injector jar, thrust the three needles into your food (they’re shaped specifically to avoid clogs), and squeeze the inflation bulb three or four times to inject the liquid. Repeat the process, jabbing the contraption into different areas of your food to disperse the flavor evenly.
As I drove the needles into the soft flesh of a pork shoulder and squeezed the bulb to release a marinade I couldn’t help thinking two things: That I felt as if I was preparing to perform some sort of xenograft on this doomed swine, and that the process is pretty damn easy. The single-needle injectors I’ve used in the past frustrated me, as the hole in the needle often got clogged and prevented marinade from releasing. But thanks to a thin, mesh strainer above each needle to prevent any blockage, I was able to inject uninterrupted. The pressure bulb made it easy to disperse marinade, too, and there’s even a thumb button to stop pressure so that you don’t spill anything as you change the needles’ place. All in all, the whole contraption cut my injecting time in half.
Beyond the pork shoulder, I took inspiration from the images on the side of the Injector’s packaging and used the instrument to shoot vodka into a watermelon, seasoned oil into a piece of crusty ciabatta, and chocolate sauce into an angel food cake. All experiments worked and proved the injector is also quite versatile. And, as an added bonus, cleaning the reservoir was as simple as unscrewing the cap and dumping out any unused liquid.
The three needles are sharp. So sharp, in fact, I punctured my thumb just taking the contraption out of its packaging. I wish they came with guards over the points. And while most sauces and liquids injected without any problems, thicker sauces needed to be watered down so as not to clog the needles.
If you’re looking for another item to add to your kitchen-tool quiver, the Home Tech Flavor Injector is a strong choice. Not only can you add different levels of flavor to standard grill fare, but you can do the same to a variety of other foods, from fruit to flan. $23; hometechflavorinjector.com
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