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When seasoning a brisket, using the right rub and technique will enhance the brisket’s beefy flavor and create a delicious crust.

whole packer brisket seasoned in pan.

What type of dry rub is best?

If you want to get into an argument with someone that’s almost as controversial as politics, talk to them about the best brisket rub.

My Award-Winning Brisket Rub

Personally, I like a hint of sweetness and heat to my brisket rub. And plenty of barbecue judges on the competition circuit do too.

My Brisket Rub has earned me multiple first place brisket wins. It includes a balance of salt, pepper, garlic with a light touch of chiles, cumin and sweetness. 

Texas Brisket Rub

In Texas, they don’t mess with their beef. The go-to rub is simply a blend of kosher salt and 16-mesh ground black pepper.

For Texas-style smoked brisket, combine these two in equal amounts in a shaker that has a lid to allow course grains to evenly flow through it.


In the world of barbecue, you’ll often hear people use the term SPG. This simply means salt, pepper, garlic.

This is also a very popular brisket rub. It starts with the Texas brisket rub foundation and adds granulated garlic or garlic powder. I use the Spiceology SPG on so many different proteins.

Sweet Brisket Rub

When people start to add sugar to their brisket rub, that’s when the Texans chime in to let you know that you’re doing it wrong.

But hey, if you like a little sweetness with your beef, go for it. This is your brisket, after all.

For a good sweet brisket rub, combine 1 part kosher salt, 1 part 16-mesh ground black pepper, 1/2 part sugar in the raw or pourable brown sugar and 1/4 part granulated garlic.

  • Christie Vanover’s Brisket Rub: My award-winning rub was designed especially for beef brisket. It contains salt, pepper, garlic and a variety of chiles for added depth of flavor.
  • SPG: SPG is a blend of kosher salt course-ground black pepper and granulated garlic.
  • Blues Hog Bold & Beefy: This rub is an amped up SPG. It contains sugar for a touch of sweetness and yeast extract for more richness.
  • MSG: Check the ingredients in your rubs, if they don’t contain MSG, you may want to add some to your brisket. It adds an extra layer of umami and savoriness. Use it very sparingly. You just need a light dusting.

How much rub should I use per pound

The amount of rub you’ll need will depend on the size of your brisket. I don’t actually measure my rub before I apply it. I cover it until I can’t see the grain.

But a good rule of thumb is to plan to use about 1/2 to 3/4 tablespoon of rub per pound of untrimmed, raw brisket. If you’re cooking a 12-pound brisket, use 6-8 tablespoons (1/3-1/2 cup) of rub.

When to season brisket

If you have the time, I recommend trimming, injecting and seasoning your brisket the night before you plan to smoke it.

By letting the rub rest on the brisket for 6-12 hours you are essentially dry brining it. A dry brine will enhance the flavor and moisture of the brisket.

How to apply brisket rub

When applying your brisket, place your brisket in a large aluminum pan, Drip EZ tub or on a sheet pan or cutting board.

Pat your brisket dry with paper towels. Then, start by sprinkling the rub on the bottom side, which is where the layer of fat is. Hold your bottle or shaker up about 6-12 inches above the brisket and shake it in an even layer.

You want to cover your brisket to a point where you can barely see the whiteness of the fat.

Let that rub rest for 15-30 minutes. It will start to glisten.

Next, flip the brisket over and apply the same rub to the top and sides. Use the same technique. Keep adding it until you can barely see the meat.

How to store seasoned brisket overnight

Once your brisket is seasoned, it’s important to keep it refrigerated until you’re ready to smoke it. First, it needs to be kept cold for food safety. Secondly, keeping the brisket cold will help ensure a thicker smoke ring.

If you’re going to keep it cool in the refrigerator, cover the brisket with plastic wrap.

If you don’t have room in your refrigerator, you can also keep it cold over night in a cooler or Cambro. Layer the bottom with ice and set the pan on top. There’s no need to cover it in cooler, since there is no circulating fan.

More FAQs about Brisket

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christie vanover standing against wood wall.

Hey BBQ Family

I’m Christie, the head cook and award-winning competitive pitmaster for Team Girls Can Grill. I have won multiple grand championships and top 10 category finishes. I’m an expert grill reviewer for BBQ Guys, and I have appeared on the Food Network and Ninja Woodfire Grill infomercials. I established this website in 2015 to share my BBQ tips and recipes.

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