I have been smoking meats for a while now, and was recently given a marinade injector. I searched through a few forums, and found a few people really like mixing apple juice with Jack Daniels for their marinade for pork butts.

When doing this, do I cook off the alcohol first? Or should I just inject it the night before without cooking off the alcohol?

  • 3
    Welcome to SA! I edited your question slightly to make it clear that you were injecting the booze into pork and not somewhere less wise. ;-)
    – FuzzyChef
    Oct 9, 2021 at 0:33
  • 2
    Alcohol doesn’t ‘cook off’ as much as most people think it does. See cooking.stackexchange.com/q/659/67
    – Joe
    Oct 10, 2021 at 0:52
  • Do you need to reduce the alcohol content? Consider how much you add and how many people it serves. You might decide you do need to, or you might decide you don't. E.g I'll put a little red wine in a sauce that my child will have a little of (little ^2 =trace quantity), but wouldn't rely on cooking down alcohol for a strict non-drinker (so I'd use something different). Plenty of room in between for a reduction, subsequently diluted with suitable flavours to get the volume back up
    – Chris H
    Oct 11, 2021 at 10:34
  • So for anyone that is curious, I just went for it as I was only adding what was essentially just 2 shots to a 6ish pound butt (the rest was apple juice and really finely ground spices) and it turned out great, and super juicy! <br> Next time I will cook it a little bit since I was hoping to get more sweetness, and I am thinking reducing both the water and the alcohol a little will make the marinade shine just a little bit more.
    – Flotolk
    Oct 11, 2021 at 15:04

2 Answers 2


It really depends on what sort of end result you're trying to get.

If you don't reduce the alcohol before injecting it, you're going to end up with boozy pork. If this is what you want, go for it.

Otherwise, reduce the alcohol, mix in the apple juice, and then inject that. You could also try flaming the alcohol, which won't cook off as much alcohol, but can create other interesting flavors.

  • I would suggest to reduce it too. Spirits in their pure form will cause flare-ups, unless this is being done with an indirect smoker. Even still, I second the notion that pure whiskey will impart a potent taste. Oct 11, 2021 at 18:24

Just inject.

The subsequent heating will cook off the alcohol. Maybe a few molecules remain so if you are a religion that cannot have those you should cook it first.

I here humbly suggest that you will be paying extra for the name "Jack Daniels" but you can use any whisky for cooking with comparable results. If you have it on hand and are not drinking it very fast it makes sense to use what you have got. If you go thru whiskey reasonably fast you could get some cheap stuff for cooking. I used to keep some on hand for slow cooked beans.

Which would be delicious using the bone from the pork butt!

  • 4
    I suspect the reason for the downvotes is that cooking off alcohol isn't anywhere near as easy as you assume. We've had a few questions on it before. I didn't add to the votes (and think those that downvoted should have said something). See Cooking away alcohol for starters, and my answer to Alcohol evaporation of beer in a cake for some oven-based further reading. BTW good idea on using cheaper stuff
    – Chris H
    Oct 11, 2021 at 10:26

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