How Much Salt and Pepper for Brisket (This Might Surprise You!)

Nothing will ruin your day faster than spending all day smoking a brisket, only to find it’s too salty to enjoy.

So how much salt and pepper is too much?

And what can you do if you find you have over-salted?

Well, the best way to prevent this salty disaster is to season correctly to start with. 

And if you find you have used too much seasoning, there are some ways to bring it back from the edge.

So, how much salt and pepper do you need for brisket?

You need 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and pepper for every pound of brisket.

Although if you have already seasoned your brisket and trying to fix it I have some great tips below.

How Much Salt and Pepper for Brisket Do You Need?

Use 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt for every pound of brisket.

The best way to avoid having over-seasoned brisket is to get the perfect balance from the start.

Most store-bought barbecue seasoning rubs are full of salt. Stick to a simple seasoning of kosher salt and ground black pepper.  

Kosher salt is better than table salt. Table salt is finer and easy to overdo.  It also has a metallic aftertaste and is much more overpowering in flavor. Stick to the coarse salt varieties.

Take care when using garlic powder or garlic salt too. Garlic can add to the salty flavor.

Using a Dry Salt Brine

Dry brining is an important part of the cooking process for brisket. It helps lock in the tender, juicy goodness and creates a beautiful bark on the outside.

But, using salt brine can contribute to the saltiness of the end product. So if you are going to use brine, keep this in mind when seasoning the brisket.

You can afford to cut back on the amount of salt in the seasoning.

After removing from the brine, drain the brisket off completely before seasoning.

Fixing a Salty Brisket

If the worst has happened and you find yourself with over-seasoned meat, don’t despair! 

There are a couple of things you can do to try and fix it.

Try a Few Slices First

Before getting too stressed, try a couple of slices.  Sometimes the seasoning can be heavier in some areas than others.

  You may have tried a piece that’s heavy on salted seasoning, especially on the crispy bark.

Chances are, the seasoning could balance out over the slices. It may not be as overwhelming as first thought.

Heat It

If you’ve already sliced the brisket, try heating it in a pan of beef broth.  This will dilute the seasoning without taking away from the beefy flavor.

Make sure the broth is free from salt though, or it’ll make the problem worse.

Vinegar-Based Sauce

Try mixing the shredded or chopped brisket in a vinegar-based sauce.  The acidity of the vinegar will neutralize the salty taste.

Store-bought sauces will work, but making your own is always better.

That way you can be sure of the ingredients, and know there will be enough vinegar to do the job. And cut back on the salt added!

An acidic ingredient like chopped tomatoes or citrus juice will also work similarly.

Roast It

Place the entire brisket in a roasting pan with water or beef broth.  

Heat the oven to 200°F and put the brisket in for 30 minutesRotate halfway through the cook.

This is a similar technique to the saucepan above and is a way to deal with the entire brisket piece.  The water will dilute the saltiness.

The downsize is the crunchy bark will soften, but the rest of the tender brisket will be edible.

Baste in Butter or Cream

Basting with butter works well if the roast is still intact.  Melt a few tablespoons and brush over the bark.

The buttery flavor will balance out the salt while maintaining a nice bark texture.

If the saltiness isn’t too bad you can resurrect it with the addition of a creamy ingredient. Things like white sauce, avocado, cream, or cheese are perfect.

Recipe – Beef Brisket Seasoned With Salt & Pepper


1/2 cup kosher salt

1 cup ground black pepper

1 brisket flat (5 to 8 pounds)


Preheat the smoker to 225°F. 

Mix the salt and pepper to make the seasoning rub.

Give the brisket a coat in a binder like mustard or oil. Then apply the rub to the brisket.

Place the brisket on the smoker. 

Cook the brisket until it reaches an internal temperature of 170°F  (4-5 hours).  Check with a thermometer, probe the brisket in the thickest part.

Wrap the brisket in aluminum foil or butcher paper and return it to the smoker.

Continue cooking until the brisket reaches an internal temperature of 190°F (1-2 hours).

Rest the brisket in a coolerResting Brisket In Cooler (Why Do it + How Long For), still wrapped, for 30-60 minutes.

Unwrap the brisket and slice the meat against the grain to serve.

Seasoning brisket can be a tricky balance of flavors.  If the worst has happened, don’t panic.

With a few tips and tricks, you can rescue your hard work and still have a delicious brisket to enjoy!

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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