This is the best Brisket Dry Rub and it’s only made with 5 simple spices! The smoky and savory spice blend creates a beautiful crust (“bark”) around the outside while infusing a symphony of mouthwatering flavors into every bite of brisket!
Brisket is a naturally beefy and flavorful cut of meat to serve for special weekend dinners and backyard barbecues. When it’s cooked low and slow, the meat fibers break down and the fat renders, giving you juicy, tender, and mouthwatering strips of beef to toss in BBQ sauce and serve with classic barbecue sides, like mac and cheese and German potato salad.
But do you want to know the secret to make your brisket dinner even better? Massage this easy Brisket Dry Rub onto the meat before you throw it on the smoker or grill!
All you need are 5 simple ingredients to put this dry rub for brisket together. A mix of smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and salt is stirred together, then massaged onto the slab of brisket. It’s a quick and easy spice blend that adds layers of savory, smoky, and delightfully salty flavors into this already impressive cut of beef.
What is a dry rub?
A dry rub, or spice rub, is a mixture of herbs, ground spices, salt, and sometimes sugar that’s massaged onto meat before smoking or grilling. Depending on the spices used, a dry rub can enhance the overall flavor profile of the dish with a range of salty, savory, smoky, and sweet flavors while creating a delicious crust around the surface.
What is brisket?
Beef brisket is cut from the lower chest region of the cow. It’s a large and relatively tough cut of meat, which makes it a great contender for low and slow cooking methods, like smoking, pit-style barbecue, or the crockpot (à la my Slow Cooker Corned Beef recipe). Once it’s ready, brisket is tender, juicy, and incredibly flavorful.
- Beef brisket – Brisket is typically cut into two portions: the “flat cut” and the “point cut.” The flat cut is the leanest option, while the point cut has more marbling and flavor. Both can be used and will benefit from this smoky brisket dry rub.
- Coarse black pepper – The larger granules add a more pungent peppery pop and an interesting crackled texture around the outside.
- Kosher salt – Just like the pepper, the larger crystals enhance the flavor and texture, and help the spice rub adhere to the meat. If you don’t have kosher salt, use sea salt or another coarse salt.
- Smoked paprika – For true Texas-style barbecue flavor, I highly recommend sticking with smoked paprika. However, regular or sweet paprika will work if that’s what you already have at home.
- Garlic and onion powder – This seasoning duo gives the dry rub a distinct savory element that compliments the beefy flavors perfectly.
How to make the best brisket rub
Stir all of the spices together in a small bowl. You can use the rub immediately, or keep it in an airtight jar in your pantry for later.
When it’s time to apply the dry rub, pat the brisket dry with paper towels and sprinkle the spice mix all over the surface. Use your hands to massage the spices into the meat.
Place the meat on the kitchen counter for about 30 minutes so it has time to come down to room temperature before cooking. This also gives the spices time to mingle with the meat, developing a more robust, mouthwatering flavor!
How to cook dry rubbed brisket
Smoking brisket low and slow is the way to go. You can smoke it over indirect heat on a charcoal grill or in a smoker. Either way, be patient and let it cook until the meat is tender and slices like butter!
When the brisket is done, let it rest before slicing it against the grain. Serve it as-is, with your favorite BBQ sauce, or with any of these 17+ Sauces For Brisket.
Or, if you’d prefer to cook indoors, why not try the sous vide technique? You can even finish the brisket in the oven to help it develop the delicate crust that smoked brisket is known for.
Tips and tricks
- Be sure to use the highest-quality dried herbs and spices available. For the richest flavor, try grinding fresh, whole spices yourself.
- Don’t be shy when applying the dry rub. The entire surface should be encrusted with a generous layer of spices.
- Don’t forget about the sides! Pair the smoked brisket with any of these 35+ Sides For Brisket to make your next backyard barbecue the talk of the neighborhood.
More ways to use brisket dry rub
While this dry rub recipe does an excellent job enhancing the flavor of beef brisket, you can also use it to season these proteins:
- Ribeye Steak
- Traeger Asparagus
- Flank Steak
- Chuck Roast
- Smoked Tri Tip
- Beef Short Ribs
- Roast Beef
- Prime Rib Roast
- Pork Belly
- Pork Chops
- Whole Roasted Chicken
- Chicken Legs
- Chicken Thighs
- Hamburger Meat
For a more intense, yet balanced flavor, you can customize the spice blend with any of these additions:
- Extra savory/smoky: Add cumin, chipotle powder, mustard powder, or turmeric to intensify the barbecue-like taste.
- Make it spicy: Give the spice rub a kick with chili powder, red pepper flakes, or cayenne.
- Make it sweet: Add brown sugar or coconut sugar to sweeten the rub and help create a more decadent, caramelized crust.
Frequently asked questions
As a general guideline, 1 to 2 tablespoons of dry rub per pound of meat is a good starting point. Use as much as it takes to coat the entire surface generously.
After massaging the brisket with the spice rub, let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. This gives the spices time to marry together and the salt time to tenderize the meat. For an even deeper flavor, you can apply the rub the night before and refrigerate the brisket overnight.
You can, but brisket naturally contains a good amount of fat, so rubbing it with oil before applying the dry rub isn’t always necessary.
Dry rubs are made with dry, granular spices that are applied directly to the meat’s surface. Wet rubs are made with both wet and dry ingredients (like oil, citrus, spices, and herbs) to create a paste-like marinade that tenderizes the meat and enhances its flavor.
The brisket dry rub will last for up to 6 months when stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, like your pantry or spice rack.
More dry rub and spice blend recipes
- Salmon Dry Rub
- Steak Dry Rub
- Prime Rib Rub
- Tri Tip Dry Rub
- Dry Rub for Chicken Wings
- Italian Seasoning
- Cajun Seasoning
- Everything Bagel Seasoning
- Taco Seasoning
Did you try this brisket seasoning recipe?
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Brisket Dry Rub
- ¼ cup coarse black pepper
- ¼ cup kosher salt
- 3 Tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- Stir all of the spices together in a small bowl. You can use the rub immediately, or keep it in an airtight jar in your pantry for later.
- When it’s time to apply the dry rub, pat the brisket dry with paper towels and sprinkle the spice mix all over the surface. Use your hands to massage the spices into the meat.
- As a general guideline, 1 to 2 tablespoons of dry rub per pound of meat is a good starting point. Use as much as it takes to coat the entire surface generously.
- Place the meat on the kitchen counter for about 30 minutes so it has time to come down to room temperature before cooking. This also gives the spices time to mingle with the meat, developing a more robust, mouthwatering flavor!