How Much Rub On Brisket Is Too Much (Amount to Use + Proper Application)

Using the right amount of rub on your brisket is key, it can be the difference between a juicy brisket or a failure. See below right amount of rub to use, when to apply it and the proper technique to use during application. 

What is Considered Too Much Rub On Brisket?

An estimation of about 1 tablespoon of rub for every pound of brisket is recommended. You need to use a binder, mustard is one of the best binders for brisket, it ensures that the rub sticks to the meat.

Why Use a Rub?

The spice rub complements the natural flavor of the brisket, it also helps in contributing to the crunchy exterior coating of the bark which is one of the trademarks of a perfect brisket. 

Some pitmasters prefer to keep things simple by making a “Dalmatian rub”. A dalamatian rub is a blend of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

However, other popular ingredients are paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dry mustard, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and coriander.

See my brisket rub recipe here.

Difference Between Dry And Wet Rubs 

Dry rubs tend to consist of salt, spices, and sometimes sugar.  Pitmasters often apply a layer of mustard or olive oil to the brisket before adding a dry rub. This is done to ‘bind’ the oil with the rub which allows it to stick.

On the other hand, a wet rub contains some form of liquid such as oil or water. This helps it stick to the meat without the use of a binder.

It is worth noting that wet rubs may drip off the meat during the initial stages of the smoke, increasing the risk of flare-ups. 

How Much Rub Should Be Used For Brisket?

The general guideline is 1 tablespoon of rub for every pound of brisket. If the spices stick to the brisket without falling onto the workstation, the meat should have enough rub on it. 

Looking for a Low Sodium Rub?

Looking to reduce the salt in your rub?

See my no salt brisket rub here.

A Seasoning Approach: The Two-Layer Method

The Two-Layer Approach is a common way to ensure your brisket is properly seasoned, this method involves applying a generous coating of the spice rub to the entire surface of the brisket first.

Then, you should wait a couple of minutes for the seasoning to infuse into the meat. Lastly, add a second layer of rub to cover the entire surface again. 

After doing this, you can either fire up the smoker straight away or refrigerate the brisket overnight. 

Is Sprinkling Enough Or Do I Rub It In? 

It is recommended to massage the rub into the meat rather than just sprinkling it on. Take advantage of the natural grain of the meat to make your seasonings stick.

You can use a kneading-type motion to get it in there. This can prevent any seasonings from falling off and can work wonders for the flavor of your cooked brisket.

Approach For Application — The Two-Handed Method

The two-handed method can be an amazing way to prevent the spread of bacteria and minimize contamination. This is done as one hand scoops and sprinkles the rub while the other massages it into the meat.

The rubbing hand should be kept clear of the bowl or bag which holds the rub if you want to save leftovers for future use. 

How Can I Use Leftover Spice Rub?

Any spice rub that has come into contact with raw meat will have to be discarded. This includes seasonings that have fallen onto the workstation while seasoning. 

That said, if the yield of the rub is too high for your brisket, you can save it for later use. You can place the leftovers in an airtight container and store them in a cool, dry place.

It should last for up to 6 months if kept in this manner.

Will Applying Brisket Rub the Night Before Yield A Tastier Brisket?

There is no need to apply the rub the night before, it just needs a few hours on the brisket. The only benefit to applying brisket rub the night before is to save time on the day of the cooking process.

The Effects of Different Amounts Of Rub 

Different amounts of rub can have a different effect on the taste of your meat depending on the thickness and type of cut. Less rub would allow a fine cut or high-quality steak to retain its natural, premium flavor. 

However, big cuts such as briskets and roasts can benefit from a hefty portion of rub.

The key to achieving the perfect brisket is testing how much rub you like on your brisket!

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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