Homemade Brisket Rub Recipe

Want to know what's in your rub? Try our homemade brisket rub and you'll never go back to store-bought rub again.
homemade brisket rub

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There is nothing more rewarding than a perfectly smoked brisket with beautiful bark.

When it comes to flavor, texture, and appearance a lot of it has to do with the rub. There are a lot of pre-made rubs on the market, but why not make your own with a few simple ingredients? 

I will show you how to make a homemade rub, and also explore the use of a binder, the differences between fine and coarse rubs, and how to put it all together for your next brisket cook.

Binder or no binder? 

There are so many debates on the topic of whether you should use a binder. I personally use olive or avocado oil to help the rub stick to the meat but I don’t think it’s absolutely essential. 

For the most part brisket and most other proteins are wet enough on the outside to make any rub you use adhere. Mustard is a very popular choice and works well without giving off too much of its flavor in the final cook but the bark tends to be a little softer in my experience.

uncooked beef brisket seasoned with salt pepper garlic on a metal tray
Feel free to experiment and see what works best for you.

I’ve also seen people use beef tallow as a binder and even mayonnaise. I’m not too sure about the latter but use whatever you think will help you get an edge on your next cook. 

Should I use a fine or coarse rub? 

One of the qualities of a good rub is not just how it flavors the brisket but also what it does for the bark. I am a believer that a coarser rub helps you achieve better bark.

I use Kosher salt because of its grain size and 18-mesh black pepper. I also use granulated garlic because it is not as fine as garlic powder. 

brisket rub on a spoon

Additionally, using a coarser rub helps you to see how much you are putting onto the brisket. Using finer seasoning can be tricky because the meat tends to absorb it quickly and sometimes it’s hard to keep track of how much you have seasoned. 

Salt and pepper 

Now any good rub has to start with salt and pepper. There is no question that both are essential and, if you live in Texas, they may be the only 2 ingredients you ever use when seasoning beef.  

A lot of barbecue purists will argue that all brisket needs is salt, pepper, and smoke. Let the beef shine and do its thing. While I do think salt and pepper are a good start, there are other seasonings I like to add. After all, variety is the spice of life right? 

How to make the best brisket rub

Start with a base of 50/50 salt and pepper and then combine the other ingredients into the mix.

The granulated garlic and onion powder will give you some savory notes, while the smoked paprika will assist with the color and then the chili powder gives a touch of heat. 

rub ingredients in a white bowl  before mixing
This rub is well-balanced and very simple to make.

I just combine everything in a mason jar or an old shaker bottle and will store it for a few weeks. 

This recipe makes enough for one to two briskets. The amount of rub you use per brisket will depend on the size, with many people going for around 1 tablespoon for every pound of brisket.

Keep in mind that this rub can be a great base for you to start your own rub journey.

Feel free to experiment with flavors that you like. If you want it spicier, just adjust the levels of chili powder or add a little cayenne to the mix. If you want a touch of sweetness to pair with the savory elements, add a sprinkle of brown sugar. 

Your rub, your rules. 

Give ours a try, and let us know what you think! 

Recipes that can use this rub

Don’t feel restricted by the name either. Our brisket rub works with any beef dish, and even some non-beef dishes.

smoked chuck roast
We got a great bark on this smoked chuck roast using our brisket rub
homemade brisket rub

Homemade Brisket Rub

A course brisket rub with savory notes from onion and garlic, rich color from paprika and a little spice from chili.
5 from 16 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiment / Sauce
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2 briskets
Calories: 54kcal
Author: Jordan Hanger

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp black pepper course grind
  • 1 tbsp garlic granulated
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp chili powder

Instructions

  • Place all the ingredients in a lidded jar and give it a good shake until combined.

Nutrition

Calories: 54kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 7049mg | Potassium: 289mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 2943IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximation only. If you’re worried you could always add a side of kale.

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