This Traditional Texas Brisket Rub is a flavorful blend of spices designed to accentuate the brisket's natural flavors with smoky, savory, and slightly spicy notes. There is no sugar in this recipe; just a simple combination of spices that will help you achieve an authentic Texas taste.
I have lived in Texas most of my life, and one thing that I can confirm is that we Texans are serious about our brisket! And I'm thrilled to share my perfect blend of spices that will help you create the ultimate Texas brisket at home.
And don't forget to whip up a big Texas-sized chocolate cake for dessert!
What is Texas Brisket Rub?
Texas-style brisket rubs are crafted to enhance the natural taste of the meat, allowing its flavor to shine. These rubs typically combine savory, smoky, and mildly spicy elements that create a delightful crust and draw out the complexity of the brisket.
Some pitmasters opt for a simple salt and black pepper blend, like the Dalmatian rub favored by Aaron Franklin. But in my opinion, the best brisket rubs have a more flavorful approach, like what they use at Pecan Lodge. This recipe boosts the flavor while still maintaining simplicity.
See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the full list of ingredients, including measurements.
Kosher salt: Kosher salt enhances the natural taste of the brisket and aids in moisture retention during the cooking process. Coarse kosher salt makes the best crust texture.
Smoked paprika: Smoked paprika is a type of chili powder made from red peppers. It is smoked during the drying process and contributes both a smoky and slightly sweet flavor. If you do not want your rub to have a smoky flavor then you can substitute regular paprika.
Garlic powder: Garlic powder adds depth of flavor and complements the other spices, providing a subtle garlic undertone to the finished brisket.
Black pepper: Black pepper contributes a pleasant, mild heat and a pungent flavor to the beef rub. It adds complexity and balances the other spices while providing a subtle kick. Freshly ground pepper on a coarse grind is ideal.
Chili powder: Chili powder introduces a touch of heat and a rich flavor. It adds depth to the overall taste.
Ground cumin: Ground cumin brings warm and earthy undertones. It adds a distinctive smokiness and complements the flavors of the smoked paprika and chili powder.
Cayenne Pepper: Cayenne pepper gives the mix a little heat. If you like spicy flavors you can increase the amount of cayenne.
What's Not in Traditional Texas Brisket Rub?
Brown Sugar: Smoky and savory flavors define Texas barbecue, so you won't find sugar in my mix. In addition to a difference in flavor, excluding sugar allows the robust bark to form without the risk of sugar burning.
Yellow Mustard: In Texas-style barbecue, the simple rub is applied directly to the meat, skipping the use of mustard. This allows the spices to create a thicker and more flavorful crust. It also lets the natural flavors of the brisket take center stage, without any competing flavors overpowering the meat.
Liquid Smoke: Texas barbecue takes pride in using real wood smoke for flavoring, rather than relying on liquid smoke as a substitute.
How to Use Brisket Rub
- Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl, ensuring that they are thoroughly mixed.
- You can use the spice rub immediately or store it for future use for up to 6 months.
- Generously apply the rub, evenly coating the outside of the brisket.
- This recipe is suitable for approximately 8 pounds of meat, but you can adjust the quantity according to your specific needs.
- Smoke the brisket at 225°F (107°C). Brisket is naturally a tougher piece of meat and cooking with low heat helps break down the connective tissues, resulting in juicy, tender meat.
- Cook until the internal temperature reaches around 190°F (88°C). The temperature will continue to rise once it is removed from the heat and will end up between 195-203°F (90-95°C), which is the sweet spot for tender brisket.
- Once the brisket reaches the target temperature, remove it from the smoker and tightly wrap it in a blanket or aluminum foil.
- Place the wrapped brisket in a cooler or insulated container and let it rest for an hour.
- This resting period allows the juices to redistribute and enhances the overall tenderness of the meat.
- After the resting period, carefully unwrap the brisket and slice it against the grain.
- Serve with Texas barbecue sauce.
Smoking Times Per Pound
When cooking brisket, a general rule of thumb is to smoke it at 225°F (107°C) for 90 minutes per pound. Of course, the exact time will vary depending on the consistency of that temperature and the thickness of your meat. But here is a guide for how long to plan for, whether you have something as small as 3 pounds or as large as 15!
|Pounds of Brisket||Estimated Smoking Time|
|3 pounds||4.5 - 5.5 hours|
|5 pounds||7.5 - 9 hours|
|8 pounds||12 - 14 hours|
|10 pounds||15 - 18 hours|
|12 pounds||18 - 21 hours|
|15 pounds||22.5 - 27 hours|
Once the brisket reaches an internal temperature of around 160-170°F (71-77°C), it is a good time to consider wrapping it with butcher paper. Wrapping helps to retain moisture, prevent excessive browning, and accelerate the cooking process.
After you have wrapped the brisket, return it to the smoker seam-side-down and continue with the cooking process until it reaches 190°F (88°C).
The best way to monitor the internal temperature of your meat is with a wireless temperature probe. You can insert the probe into the meat and the alarm will go off when it reaches your target temperature. So simple!
If you have extra rub or want to make it in advance you can store it in an airtight container or resealable bag.
Keep it in a cool, dry place such as a pantry or cupboard. Properly stored, the homemade rub can maintain its quality for up to 6 months.
No, using mustard is not necessary for the rub to penetrate the meat. The spices in the rub will naturally adhere to the surface of the brisket, allowing the flavors to infuse into the meat during the cooking process.
The amount of rub mixture to use for one brisket can vary depending on personal preference and the size of the brisket. As a general guideline, you can use approximately 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of rub per pound of brisket.
Absolutely! The blend of spices in this simple brisket rub recipe can enhance other types of meat as well. It is great for ribs, pork shoulder, chicken, and even steak.
Start with coarse salt and pepper so that your rub has a nice gritty texture. Make sure you use plenty of the rub to evenly coat the meat. For best results, smoke the brisket with the fat cap face-down, keeping the temperature consistent at 225°F (107°C).
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Traditional Texas Brisket Rub RecipeRecipe by:
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- Mix all of the spices in a small bowl.3 tablespoons kosher salt, 2 tablespoons smoked paprika, 2 tablespoons garlic powder, 2 tablespoons black pepper, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- Store the rub mixture in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 6 months.