How to Season a Brisket (Just Like a Pitmaster)

Do you want a cook a brisket like a pro pitmaster? Well cooking a brisket is a skill, and just like any skill, it takes practice and patience.

I think that a good juicy brisket is a combo of 4 things;

1. Consistent temps.

2. Good quality meat

3. A proper resting period

4. Good seasoning

Pitmasters will test different temps, timing, and seasonings, but I have done the hard yards here! I’ve tried all different combinations of seasonings over the years. And the one I have below is my favorite! I always use this one and am keen to share it with my community!

The Ingredients You Will Need


Large rack

Brisket Rub
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Smoked Paprika
Regular Paprika
Mustard Powder
Brown Sugar

Measure out all the ingredients for your brisket and stir them to combine.

You can use them right away or keep them sealed in an airtight container for later use.

If stored properly, the spice mix will stay fresh at room temperature for up to 3-4 months.

The Step-By-Step Process of Seasoning Your Brisket

Here, we’ll walk you through the entire process.

Step 1: Trim your Brisket

I always remove the fat cap. I found that the fat doesn’t penetrate or protect the meat, so I remove it.

I then trim the fat and leave a layer 1/8″ to 1/4″.

You can use the trimmings to make some recipes, like burgers.

Step 2: Prepare the Rack & Make Your Rub

Grab your rack, ensure its large amount to fit your brisket, and create your brisket rub

Step 3: Season Your Brisket

Next, place your brisket on the rack and lay down a nice coating of the brisket rub you have made earlier.

Use your hands to gently spread it around. Toss off the excess before turning the meat around to continue seasoning the other side.

You only need enough rub to cover the meat not a thick layer.

You can follow this step right before cooking or letting it sit for up to 24 hours.

But, if you plan on browning your meat, we recommend seasoning it afterward as the sugar in the rub will burn.

Step 4: Wrap and Let It Sit

Then, grab an aluminum foil or plastic wrap to cover your rack.

Place it in the refrigerator and let it rest for around 30 minutes to 24 hours.

An hour before you cook, take out the pan from the fridge and leave it out to warm slightly.

Some of My Favorite Rub Variations

This rub is great on its own, but you can always add a few more ingredients to amp up the flavor.

Here are some of our favorite flavor variations:

Mexican: Add a little red chili powder, ground cumin, and coriander

Spicy BBQ: Amp up the spice level by adding crushed red pepper flakes or ground chipotle to your spice mix.

Citrus Herb: This herb spice mix is a winner. All you need are rosemary, thyme, and zested limes and lemons.

6 Hot Tips to Get a Great Brisket

Some people are intimidated by smoking a brisket however I think it only comes to 6 things!

1.Check the Quality of Your Meat

A good brisket always starts with a good cut of meat. I usually try to buy USDA prime from my local butcher however this can be more expensive.

If you do buy from the supermarket look for something this isn’t already trimmed.

2. Seasoning is Key:

As saw above in my picture I take seasoning seriously.

I think it adds to the final texture and flavor. I speak to many of my friends who are competition pitmasters and they all agree that seasoning is king!

Also Instead of choosing cheap iodized salt, get a nice, coarse salt.

Do not substitute the smoked paprika for a normal one, as the former has more punch and adds more flavor. Try using freshly ground pepper, as well. This also helps with the formation of the bark on the brisket.

Knowing how to season a brisket is half of the secret of getting it perfectly done.

You can try our seasoning mix or experiment with your own.

Hopefully, you can curate a signature rub that will leave all your dining guests drooling in delight.

You might be wondering how much salt and pepper you need for your brisket?

See my recipe above for the best brisket rub you have ever tasted!

3. Use a Good Quality Fuel

If you’re using a wood or pellet smoker, look for high-quality pellets or wood chunks that aren’t chemically treated.

If your using wood chips for brisket, make sure you know what flavor profile you like best.

4. Monitor Your Internal Temps

I like to get to an internal temperature of 203°F in my brisket before I pull it. You might find that around 160°F you will start to experience the stall.

I like to crank up the temperature of the smoker and when I start to see an internal temperature of 175°F I’ll bring the temperate of the smoker back down.

5. Manage Your Temps

To get to that elusive 203°F you NEED to be monitored the temperature of your smoker.

I will try a dual probe thermometer. It costs more, but if I am going to spend money on a brisket I might as well have the tools to make it the best it can be!!

Once you hit 203°F you can pull your brisket from the smoker. Then rest it!

6. Resting Your Brisket CRITICAL!

I know; your brisket will smell incredible but you must let it rest. May people ask why put brisket in a cooler? I do this as it acts as a stable environment for the brisket to slowly cool.

Letting your smoked beef brisket rest will allow the muscles to relax and juices to be redispersed throughout the brisket. I like to let mine rest until it reaches an internal temperature of 170°F. This can usually take around an hour, then you can serve it. Make sure you have your sides for brisket and drinks sorted.

We think brisket goes best with beer or wine, if you want to know the best wine with brisket you can see my pairings.

Looking for a No Salt Rub for Brisket?

Are you trying to reduce salt in your diet?

Then you may want to look for a low salt rub for your brisket.

Here is one of our favorite; no salt rub for brisket .

You still get all the delicious flavor but less sodium!!

Smoke On!

Now you have all my secrets to a perfect smoked brisket. I have done the work for you, know it’s your turn to start testing and experimenting.

I want to hear what flavor combination you come up with as well as what internal temperature you like to cook too?

Charlie 🙂

Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking and getting out in nature with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork)

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 adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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