If you love nothing more than beef brisket, we’ll show you how to pep up this tender classic with a traditional Texas brisket rub recipe today.
The fire in this recipe comes in the form of the hot chili powder and cayenne pepper, both teaming up to deliver a kick like a mule.
The best part? You can dial the heat up or down in line with your tastes, so there’s no need at all to suffer with a rub that’s too feisty for your liking. As long as you make sure you leave at least some heat from the chilis, you’ll be bringing home an authentic Texan rub.
You’ll need to slather your meat all over with the rub. This helps the spices to stick onto the surface, and at the same time helps the flavor to penetrate even more deeply into the meat. If you find the rub fails to stick to the meat properly, you can try drizzling some olive oil all over the brisket. When you proceed to rub your meat, you should see it sticking on efficiently.
The recipe we’ll be walking you through today will generate enough rub for a 5-pound brisket. This may be more than you would rustle up for a single meal, but you can easily store any leftover rub for your next beef brisket.
If you want an authentic southwestern meal, slice your brisket super-thin and serve with some sides of potato salad, coleslaw, and baked beans.
So, before we give you the lowdown on making and applying a traditional brisket rub, some basics on beef brisket.
I. Beef Brisket 101
Beef brisket is a cut from the animal’s breast section.
A naturally tough cut of meat, brisket responds favorably to being braised or cooked in a slow cooker. Brisket also works well being cooked slow and low on a smoker.
You usually find brisket sold boneless. This is rare cut, so it will not fall apart and shred like beef short ribs, chuck, and other cuts of beef. Instead, brisket holds it shape admirably, and it slices very easily, even when slow cooked for hours on end.
Your butcher will typically offer 3 cuts of brisket:
- Flat or first cut brisket
- Whole packer brisket
- Second cut brisket
You will usually find that bigger cuts of brisket comes from older steers, so you can expect these to be tougher than small briskets.
The best brisket is wet and aged from 28 to 45 days in a vacuum bag. During this aging period, the enzymes inside the meat’s muscles start tenderizing.
Brisket works wonderfully when sliced into sandwiches, or equally when served alone with some mashed potatoes on the side.
If you have never tried cooking low and slow before, you might consider experimenting first with some pulled pork. If you overcook pork butt, it is much more forgiving than beef brisket.
Check out our guide to making great beef brisket in a smoker to get great brisket the easy way, and remember that your efforts will improve with time and practice. Even the best professional chefs had to start somewhere!
Now, before we break down this Texas beef brisket rub recipe, a few words on the difference between dry rubs and wet rubs.
II. Dry Brisket Rub vs Wet Brisket Rub
Dry rubs normally consist of the following:
- Brown sugar
- Granulated white sugar
- Dried spices and herbs to taste
Wet rubs, by contrast, consist of the following:
- Oil or water
- Molasses, honey, or liquid sugar
With a wet rub, you’ll get a thicker paste that sticks more easily to the meat than most dry rubs. On the downside, wet rubs are more likely to char on the grill, leading to dripping and more flare-ups. You can mitigate this to some extent with an infrared grill.
All that counts is establishing whether a dry or wet rub fts best with your needs.
III. How to Make a Traditional Texas Brisket Rub
Now for the easy part and making an authentic Texan-style rub for your brisket.
First, you’ll need a fairly extensive list of spices.
What You Need
- Beef brisket, trimmed to taste
- Paprika (5 tablespoons)
- Kosher salt (3 tablespoons)
- Garlic powder (2 tablespoons)
- Onion powder (2 tablespoons)
- Black pepper (1 tablespoon)
- Dried parsley (1 tablespoon)
- Ground cumin (2 teaspoons)
- Cayenne pepper (2 teaspoons)
- Ground coriander (1 teaspoon)
- Hot chili powder (1/4 teaspoon)
- Dried oregano (1 teaspoon)
- Brown sugar (1/2 cup, optional)
- 1 beef brisket, trimmed, optional
What To Do
- Gather up all the above ingredients
- Take a medium bowl and combine the salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley, black pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper, hot chili powder, coriander, oregano with a whisk. Add the brown sugar if you’re using this. Mix the ingredients thoroughly
- Pat your brisket on all sides with paper towels until it’s completely dry
- Use a spoon to drizzle the rub all over the surface of the meat. At the same time, press it in and use your fingertips to rub it so it sticks to the surface of your brisket
- Flip the meat over and repeat this procedure for all sides of the brisket
- Allow the beef brisket to sit for up to 24 hours. If the recipe calls for it, you can cook your brisket immediately
IV. Using Your Rub
This beef brisket rub also works well on other meats, such as:
If you choose to rub this Texan gem into poultry, make sure you work into both underneath and on top of the skin.
The rub also works surprisingly well with seafood.
V. Storing Your Rub
If you have any leftover rub, you can pop it into an airtight container then store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
Stored properly, your rub will last for months.
Avoid storing brisket rub in the refrigerator as prolonged exposure to condensation will impact both the flavor and the overall consistency.
VI. Handy Hints When Using Brisket Rub
To round out, some simple tips to help you get the very most out of rubbing brisket.
- Never put your fingers or any utensils back into the dry rub after you touch the meat. This can easily lead to cross-contamination
- Apply your beef brisket rub at least one hour before cooking. To get the best from your rub, though, work it in and allow it to seep in overnight, ideally for 24 hours. The more time it has to flavor the meat, the better
- If you add the optional sugar, this will cut through the heat without removing it from the equation. The sugar will also help a nice brown crust to form
If you arrived here today at Madiba with no idea about what beef brisket is or how to make the best Texas-style rub, you should be in no doubt now.
Ideal when cooked in a slow cooker, the only thing better than beef brisket is brisket with the best rub all over it.