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Homemade Beef Brisket Dry Rub

After many tasty attempts, I’ve perfected the best homemade beef brisket rub for your meats in the slow cooker or on the grill! This combination includes the sweetness of brown sugar with hints of smoky flavors and cinnamon. Use it to make fall-apart tender brisket or your favorite meat!

Variety of spices and seasonings mixed together in clear mason jar

Dry Rub vs. Wet Rub

Dry and wet rubs can be simply explained as a combination of seasonings, either with or without added liquid. Both rubs contain multiple herbs, spices, and salt or sugar, and are best when coarsely ground since this helps the maximum amount of seasoning to stick to the meat!

A wet rub contains an added liquid – such as oil or vinegar – and is usually a paste-like consistency. This is great for adding extra moisture to meat and for use in slow cooking. A wet rub is typically not the best choice for faster cooking on high heat since it can burn or not fully saturate the meat.

Dry rubs can work with both slow cooking and grilling. The seasoning and extra salt or sugar create a crust-like consistency that is great for searing on high heat. A dry rub is very versatile because even in the slow cooker, the spices saturate the meat over an extended period of time.

In this recipe, the dry rub will essentially become a wet rub due to the moisture that is released as the meat cooks.

Ingredients Needed

  • Brown sugar – Brown sugar is a staple for sweet and savory meat rubs. The extra sugar creates a nice outer layer that adds extra texture to brisket. You can use light or dark brown sugar.
  • Chili powder – Chili powder contains a blend of dried ground chiles and various other spices.
  • Smoked paprika – Note that this is different than regular paprika. Smoked paprika is made from peppers dehydrated with a smoked method, then ground later. The flavor difference is noticeable!
  • Kosher salt – Kosher salt adds extra coarse texture to a dry rub which enables it to stick to the meat. The salt also helps tenderize meat.
  • Garlic powder and onion powder – A great pair to use in any seasoning blend!
  • Dried thyme—Thyme brings an earthy note, and the dried variety (not ground) is perfect for adding texture to a dry rub.
  • Chipotle chili powder – This brings a bit of spicy heat! 
  • Ground cinnamon – Cinnamon adds a level of overall richness to the dry rub.
9 small bowls with spices and seasonings

How to Make Beef Brisket Dry Rub

Making the dry rub is super simple!

  1. Measure the spices. 
  2. Mix together well with a fork (to break up any larger clumps), and store in an airtight container.

Recipe Variations 

  • You can add more chipotle chili powder to increase the heat. Crushed red pepper flakes are another spicy option! 
  • For a less smoky flavor, use regular or sweet paprika instead of smoked paprika.
  • Try using smoked sea salt instead of kosher salt to increase the smoky flavor.

How To Use Beef Brisket Rub 

This beef brisket rub is not just for brisket! It’s also delicious on grilled steaks like ribeyes or strip steaks, creating a nice crusty layer of seasoning!

To use the dry rub on a classic beef brisket, I recommend using ¼ cup of the rub mix per 4-pound brisket. Once you have mixed the spices, rub them into all sides of the brisket with your hands to ensure that the mix really creates a nice outer layer. Wrap the brisket with foil to keep the seasonings intact and cook using your preferred method.

Slow Cooker Memphis Rubbed Brisket

Since most briskets will cook all day in the slow cooker or oven, you do not need to apply the dry rub ahead of time. However, it certainly won’t hurt if you do want to get the meat prepped and ready to go!

Use this dry rub in my Slow Cooker Beer Glazed Brisket or with Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs. Don’t forget a side of Slow Cooker Baked Beans and coleslaw!

Variety of spices and seasonings mixed together in clear mason jar

Storage Instructions

When you make homemade spices, rubs, and seasonings, always be sure that your storage containers are completely clean and dry and have a good airtight lid. This helps preserve maximum flavor and freshness.

Mix up your dry rub and store it in a cool area of your kitchen or pantry in a sealed container. As long as it is stored properly, the rub should be fresh for up to 3 months! 

Variety of spices and seasonings mixed together in clear mason jar

Hint: With a nice jar and label, this would also be a great homemade gift for the BBQ connoisseurs in your life!

Variety of spices and seasonings mixed together in clear mason jar

Homemade Beef Brisket Dry Rub

Jennifer Draper
After many tasty attempts, I’ve perfected the best homemade beef brisket rub for your meats in the slow cooker or on the grill! This combination includes the sweetness of brown sugar with hints of smoky flavors and cinnamon. Use it to make fall-apart tender brisket or your favorite meat!
4.69 from 16 votes
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Seasoning Blend
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 48 kcal

Equipment

  • measuring cups and spoons
  • storage container

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Measure spices
  • Mix well together with a fork (to break up larger clumps), and store in an airtight container

Notes

  • Store in a clean, dry container for up to 3 months.
  • To ensure this rub is gluten-free, be sure to check the labels on individual spices.
  • Use ¼ cup dry rub per 4 pounds of brisket.
  • To make it spicier, increase the chipotle chili powder or add some crushed red pepper.
  • This dry rub recipe can be used on any meat you choose!

Nutrition

Calories: 48kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 1gFat: 0.4gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 610mgPotassium: 85mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 1033IUVitamin C: 0.3mgCalcium: 26mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @slowcookergourmet or tag #slowcookergourmet!
Important nutritional disclaimer

Beef Brisket Rub FAQs

  • How long should a dry rub sit on brisket? The dry rub can be applied up to 12 hours before cooking. With the combined cooking time, the spices should intensify and fully flavor the meat. I don’t recommend prepping the meat with dry rub much earlier than that since the salt could have a dehydrating effect.
  • Should a binder be used with this dry rub? You do not have to use a binder with this dry rub since the meat should have enough moisture for the spices to stick. If you like, lightly spray the meat with olive oil or apple cider vinegar, depending on the meat choice.
  • Is a coarse or fine rub better? A coarse rub tends to grip the meat better and provides a nice added texture to the outer layer!
  • Do I need to apply mustard before I use a dry rub on a brisket? There is no need to apply mustard or oil to the meat before rubbing it with the seasoning. Just ensure that you carefully place the meat in the slow cooker or oven. I like to use a layer of foil to keep the seasonings packed onto the meat.
  • Is this beef brisket dry rub gluten-free? To be sure the mix is gluten-free, check the labels on individual spices.

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30 Comments

  1. Has anyone tried this recipe with brown sugar substitute? I’m on a keto diet and would love this rub but with the substitute.

  2. Hi Firstly I want to say I really like your recipes and your site.
    Thank you.
    For this Brisket recipe how important is it to use the aluminum foil?
    Is there an alternative?

  3. Very excited to make this Sunday for The Super Bowl! If serving with kaiser rolls as sandwiches, would you recommend any condiments or just spoon the juices from the meat into the sandwich?!

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