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Award Winning Brisket Rub Recipe | 8 Awesome Facts

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Award Winning Brisket Rub Recipe

Brisket is a barbecue staple, and cooking one properly is a great feeling. If you want to smoke a brisket at home, you may have some questions about how to get that amazing bark and taste. 

Award-winning Texas brisket rub recipe

There is a big difference between competition brisket rubs and restaurant brisket rubs. If you go to Franklin BBQ, the place that started the craft barbecue revolution, legendary pitmaster Aaron Franklin simply uses equal parts Kosher salt and coarse-ground black pepper. 

He is far from the only Texas pitmaster who uses this style of rub or a variation on it. La Barbecue owners LeAnn Mueller and Alison Clem recommend home cooks use a cup of coarse black pepper to half a cup of Kosher salt. 

Meathead Goldwyn of serves up a more complex rub to add more flavor and more bark. He subscribes to dry brining the brisket first by covering the brisket in salt and letting it sit in the refrigerator overnight. He then adds granulated white sugar, coarse black pepper, onion powder, mustard powder, garlic powder, and different blends of chili pepper powder. 

Should you put a rub on brisket overnight?

While you can put the rub on your brisket right before you put it in your smoker, the longer you let the rub rest on the brisket, the more the flavor will penetrate the meat.

 Brisket is a tough cut of meat, so letting a salty rub sit overnight can help dry brine the meat. Not only does this help add more flavor, but it also helps keep moisture in the brisket.

The other parts of the rub do not penetrate the meat like salt, so if you are making a homemade rub, consider dry brining overnight and then adding the rest of the spices and ingredients before cooking.

Do you put mustard on brisket before a rub?

One of the most common ways to help the dry rub stick to the brisket is by rubbing the brisket down with mustard. While some who dislike mustard might balk at the thought of using it, there is no hint of mustard flavor left after the brisket is smoked. Also, if you decide to be a bit more adventurous with your rub, the mustard can enhance the flavor of certain spices of the rub as well.

One possible drawback of using mustard is the possibility of a softer bark. One of the most iconic features of smoked brisket is the dark, flavorful bark that gives way to tender meat. The bark that forms on a brisket rubbed with mustard tends to be softer than if another binder was used or even if no binder was used at all. 

What is a good binder for brisket rub?

If you like the idea of a harder bark, olive oil might be a better binder to use for brisket. However, olive oil does not absorb as much smoke flavor as mustard does. 

How do you get the rub to stick to a brisket?

The best way to get your dry rub to stick to your brisket is moisture. That can be achieved by a binder, such as mustard, olive oil, water, or even mayonnaise. However, a binder is not a necessity. If you salt your brisket and let it sit for any length of time, the salt will draw moisture out which will help the rub stick. 

The aforementioned Franklin doesn’t apply any binder to his brisket, and people line up for hours to get slices of his brisket. So, if one of the most well-known and influential pitmasters doesn’t use a binder, maybe a binder isn’t the most needed ingredient in a brisket.

How long should dry rub be on brisket?

If you are looking to dry brine your brisket, ideally you want to let it sit in the fridge overnight, but you want at least an hour or two before putting it in the smoker. If you aren’t concerned about the effects of dry brining, you can put your rub on the brisket and put it on your smoker right away. Franklin does recommend letting the brisket come up to temperature for an hour before putting it in the smoker. 

Final Thoughts

The beauty of brisket, besides getting to eat tender beef, is that you can make it your own. You can go simple with the rub or as complex as you desire. If you want, you can let your rub sit on the brisket overnight, especially if you want to dry brine, or you can put that rub on right before it hits the smoke. If you find that you’re having problems getting your choice of rub to stick to the brisket, you can put a binder like mustard or olive oil on it next time to help. Different cooks have different techniques, but they can turn out amazing slices of brisket for us to enjoy.