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World’s Greatest Brisket Rub – With Surprise Ingredients!

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DIY Brisket Rub – Ready in 5 minutes

Covers one 3-4 pound brisket

When taking on the task of creating the world’s greatest brisket rub, I had to consider the two most important parts thereof: the heat and the smoke in the combination of spices. I also considered ingredients that would bring depth without totally masking the natural meat taste of a well-cooked brisket. Some people use espresso powder to increase said depth. But when you’re working with the Pitmaster and The Cook … nothing gets done like the rest of the world. We strive for unique perfection, boldly going to realms of flavor to which no one has gone before…and on that note…

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Ingredients – 1 heaping tablespoon of each:

  • Cocoa powder (specifically, Hershey’s Special Dark 100% cacao Dutched cocoa powder)
  • Ground cumin
  • Granulated garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Smoked Spanish paprika
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Mustard powder
  • Pink Himalayan salt
  • Dark brown sugar (preferably, Muscovado for its higher molasses content and deeper caramelization when the heat strikes)

NOTE:  I know it seems that there isn’t very much of any one recipe, but I promise you there’s enough to cover the brisket with some left over – unless you choose to use it all in an effort to leave no part of the meat uncovered.. The cocoa powder and peppers, you could even use by themselves as a rub for a pan-seared steak finished off in the oven. But I chose the spices for this recipe based on each one’s lending a to a smoky, deep flavor profile – each one of these packs a strong punch singly. But together? An entirely different story…

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  1. Pull out a 3-3 ½ lb brisket. Use your discretion as to whether you prefer the flat (best for oven roasting) or the point (great for the grill or the pit). This rub will work wonderfully for either cooking method!
  2. Blend all ingredients in mortar and pestle (for best results) or a spice grinder.
  3. Place the brisket on the cutting board and cover liberally with 2 tablespoons of yellow mustard and 1 tablespoon of melted bacon grease. Some refer to this as bacon fat. In North Carolina, we call it grease. Don’t worry, it all rubs the same way, nice and smoothly. Almost like you’re giving the brisket a massage before a high-heat sauna. Okay, back from dreamland…
  4. Use all of the spice rub to cover the brisket. To keep from having your rub clump, lay some down on your cutting board and allow the brisket to sit on it. Think of flouring your countertop for making biscuits. Same concept referenced here… you don’t want your brisket to stick to anything before it gets to the heat.
  5. Gently spray all surfaces of the rub covered brisket with a neutral oil, such as olive or avocado, to ensure a crust from the heat. Purists like to refer to this as “bark”. My Texas brethren hipped me to this step.
  6. When the cooks bake brisket in oven, use a pan with a rack and suspend the brisket over liquid. My preferred mixture is a cup of water and then 2 cups of liquid of your choice. Mine, happens to be bourbon. Some choose juices such as apple or grape. DO NOT, EVER, use only water! Make sure to cover the entire pan with aluminum foil to seal in your moisture. 5 to 6 hours on 250 degrees should give you tender slices of brisket ambrosia.
  7. For the grill kings and pit masters, place the coals/wood on one side of your cooking area, leaving space for the brisket on the other side. This is a popular method known as indirect heat. Bring your heat to a level of about 250 degrees. Underneath the grilling bars, place a disposable aluminum pan with the water mixture (see above liquid recipe used by the cooks). Once you have the heat, place your brisket on the side where the pan of liquid sits underneath. Let the good times roll, but every couple of hours, make sure that you look in on the brisket to make sure it’s not burning. If you keep a spray bottle of juice, mist the brisket a little when you check it. Don’t spray, just mist a little. You don’t want the rub to wash away before it crusts over and seals in your flavor. After about 6 hours, your brisket will slice like butter. You should have a crispy bark and a pretty smoke ring for your efforts.
  8. ENJOY!


PRO TIP: if you’re using the point cut, which contains more fat, you can save time trimming the fat by scoring it crosshatch with your knife before you apply anything to the meat. This will render the fat more efficiently and will also get the rub in deeper, causing more intense flavor.

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