Brisket Dry Rub


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This homemade brisket rub is the perfect combination of sweet and smoky flavor. It’s the perfect seasoning for smoked or oven-braised brisket!

Ingredients for brisket rub in a small plate.
Photo: Gayle McLeod

If you’ve ever been to Texas, odds are you’ve had a delicious, smoked beef brisket. Brisket, when cooked well, is juicy, tender and loaded with flavor. Of course, much of that flavor comes from the smoker or cooking method, but the perfect dry spice rub is also essential.

So, if you’re looking for the best brisket rub, you’ve come to the right place. My version is a bit unique as I prefer a brisket rub that favors smoky over spicy undertones. That means more paprika and less cayenne pepper. But if you’re one who likes a super spicy brisket, by all means increase the amount of cayenne in this recipe.

Most brisket rubs also use brown sugar, but brown sugar is simply processed white sugar plus molasses. So I swap in an equally sweet and delicious granulated maple sugar. In fact, I think I may actually prefer maple sugar now in all my rubs – the flavor is amazing. Keep reading for all the details!

Ingredients for brisket dry rub on a table.

Brisket Rub Ingredients 

  • Smokiness: The main ingredient that gives your brisket a smoky flavor is paprika. If you want to amp this up even more, choose smoked paprika rather than sweet paprika, it’s up to you.
  • Sweetness: I prefer to use granulated maple sugar in this recipe for the perfect sweet touch. But coconut sugar would also work great and impart slight caramel undertones. If you’re not concerned about using unrefined sugar, you can swap in brown sugar as well.
  • Warm Savoriness: A blend of garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper adds depth of flavor to the rest of this rub.
  • If you want it spicier… you can always add more cayenne pepper.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below

Stirring brisket rub on a plate.

How To Make Brisket Rub

Stir all the spices together. Add all the ingredients to a small bowl and stir until it’s well combined. 

Use immediately or store away. This recipe makes approximately ½ cup of brisket rub, which is perfect for making a 5 to 6-pound brisket. But you can always double or triple the recipe and store it in these glass spice jars. It’ll last for up to one year and will come in handy for any of the ideas below!

Mixed brisket rub on a plate.

Ways To Use Brisket Rub

This dry rub is perfect for brisket, but you could also use it for other cuts of beef, such as steak or tri-tip. It’ll add a deliciously smoky, spiced touch. Alternatively, you can use this for other types of meats such as pulled pork or baked chicken thighs. But that’s totally up to you! 

Brisket rub next to a raw brisket.

More Seasoning Recipes

I hope you enjoy this brisket rub on your next cut of meat! If you make it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this recipe in the comment section below. Your review will help other readers in the community. 

Brisket rub on a white plate.

Brisket Dry Rub

4.84 from 31 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Author: Lisa Bryan


This homemade brisket rub is the perfect combination of sweet and smoky and adds enormous flavor to smoked or oven-braised brisket! Watch the video to see how I make the rub and sprinkle it on my brisket.




  • Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.
    Brisket rub on a white plate.
  • Use immediately or store in an airtight container.
    Mixed brisket rub with a spoon.

Lisa’s Tips

  • This recipe makes approximately ½ cup of brisket rub.
  • I’m obsessed with using spices (both fresh and dry) in my healthy recipes. For a peek inside my spice drawer, make sure to watch my Spice Drawer Organization and Tips video.
  • If your local market doesn’t have granulated maple sugar, this is the brand I buy from Amazon.


Calories: 339kcal | Carbohydrates: 78g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 13996mg | Potassium: 1156mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 14189IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 198mg | Iron: 10mg
Course: Main Meal
Cuisine: American
Keyword: brisket dry rub, brisket rub
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe originally posted May 2017, but updated to include new photos and information for your benefit!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Hi… I concocted my own dry rub (first time) and it’s “close” to yours… I noted you said it can be used in an oven too… Since I don’t own a smoker, I am planning to put it in my kitchen oven. My question is should I bake it covered and in a sauce? I typically prepare brisket by searing both sides then placing lots of cut onions in the roasting pan with a tomato based sauce …. 350 for 1 1/2 hrs, slice…then cook day of serving for another hour, or so. Thoughts/comments? I am anxious to try this dry rub…

  2. How long do you smoke it and at what temp.? Also is it OK to let it stand longer with the rub before smoking. The recipe sounds incredible and I am going to use it on my next brisket!!

    1. Hi Jack – You can find the full instructions on how I cook brisket in my recipe called “Sweet And Smoky Brisket”!

  3. I’m thinking about using this rub on my next brisket, the only thing I might change is using Smoked paprika rather than plain paprika and I’m sure I can find Maple sugar. 

  4. As a former worker at a Cane sugar plant, raw sugar which are larger crystals of brown sugar are the sugar produced before it is refined into white sugar.

  5. If you look at the ingredient list on brown sugar, it usually States “sugar and molasses”. C&H dark brown sugar just lists brown sugar as the only ingredient, indicating that the molasses was never extracted from the sugar. That is the only brown sugar I buy…

  6. How long do you leave the dry rub on in the fridge before putting it in the smoker I did not see that part I’m sorry

    1. Hi Tammie – I let it the meat sit with the rub for about 30 minutes, as it comes to room temperature from the fridge.

    1. Hi Carolyn – yes, maple sugar is a dry, granulated form of maple syrup. You could always use brown sugar if you don’t have maple sugar.

  7. This was my first attempt at smoking brisket and it turned out incredible!! Our guests called back the next day to thank us again for such a great dinner. Thanks for this OMG recipe 5 stars

    1. Hi Pat and Greg- Wow, that’s amazing! Looks like you found a winning recipe, especially to make for guests :)

  8. Brown sugar is not supposed to be made with added molasses, it’s just sugar before the bleaching process. Shop around to find the real thing.

  9. I know this post is over two years old, so I don’t know if anyone is still watching this page. This rub looks good, but my only concern is because of the high sugar content, how well it would be suited to long smoking sessions of 12+ hours. Has anyone tried doing this rub on a whole packer’s cut brisket cooked low and slow? Have there been any problems with the sugars becoming burnt/charred? I’d like to try it, but it’s rare that i do briskets because of the amount of time and effort they take to get them just right, so I want something that I know will work well for a long cook like that.

    1. Its all about 200 degrees & low n slow! Brine in apple cider juice & sea salt for 24-48 hrs. Smoke it for 6-8 hrs. Wrap it loosely on a pan with foil. Put in oven for 1-2hrs. Let the meat rest! Its like lasagna! Patience is a virtue!

  10. Used this recipe for smoking my first brisket. I couldn’t find maple sugar at my market; I was in a pinch and used brown sugar. Smoked with 2/3 pecan, 1/3 apple wood chips and it came out fantastic. Sweet, smokey, little kick from the cumin and cayenne pepper. I’m looking forward to using maple sugar next time. Thank you, Lisa!5 stars

    1. Hi Bill – So glad you loved this dry rub! The maple sugar definitely gives it a nice flavor, so can’t wait for you to use it next time :)

  11. Do I need to let it sit in the fridge with the rub on it for a few hours or overnight or can I apply it just before smoking it? 

    1. I always prefer to let the rub sit for a little bit, but depending on your timing you can just rub and smoke as well.

      1. Hi Lisa two questions. Another site warned about using hi salt rubs and letting the brisket sit over night as it could cause the brisket to start curing. I haven’t heard that before, and they also didn’t say what constituted at constituted “high salt.” Do you typically let your brisket sit in the fridge overnight? I’m thinking about reducing the salt and adding the rest in the morning before putting it on the smoker. Also, my wife and I are trying to reduce sugar from our diet as much as possible – have you eve tried this without the maple sugar? Thoughts?

      2. Hi John – I’m not familiar with high salt either. Usually I’m too impatient to let my brisket sit in the fridge overnight, but I know others who do. I think it’s just personal preference. And I haven’t tried the rub without sugar. If anything it would just impart more savory rather than sweet undertones, but I’m sure it’s fine. :)

  12. Great rub!  I used course ground pepper and substituted brown sugar for maple since my grocery store didn’t have it and I needed it that day.  I like trying different rubs and this one has easily become one of my favorites.  8.5 lb brisket in a pellet smoker at 225 deg 9 hrs. Final temp 203 deg5 stars

    1. Hi Tré – I’m glad you loved this dry rub! It has such great flavor and is also one of my favorites to use :)

  13. I am about to make this recipe, I have no maple sugar, but I have all the rest, and I think I will put some cayenne pepper also

  14. I am going to smoke my first brisket on the weekend. I’m going to use your rub for sure. I have a small brisket. 4.5 pounds. How long do you think I should smoke and then continue with the wrapped brisket. Don’t let it rest in a cooler at the end. Any tips are appreciated. Thanks 

    1. Hi Greg – I cook my brisket in the oven as I don’t have a smoker, so unfortunately not much help to you with smoker related questions. :)

  15. I must be a salt and pepper person as this rub is once again too hot ? for my tastes.  I left out the red pepper but am now scraping it off of my brisket and will stick with salt and pepper from here on out.  2 stars

    1. Too hot? A teaspoon of cayenne and tablespoon of black pepper. Sounds like operator error. 
      Chef Barnett

  16. Awesome rub! Have used it on two briskets now. Definitely the the favorite. It’s so good the kids prefer not adding any type of barbecue sauce. Can’t wait to try it on other things.5 stars

    1. Wonderful! I’m happy you and your family love the brisket rub Danni! And yes, it’s really quite versatile and great on a variety of meats. :)

  17. This rub recipe is awesome! I used brown sugar instead and it turned out great! I also use this on chicken and pork when I grill. I get many compliments!5 stars

    1. Wonderful! I’m happy you loved the dry rub Ryan. And I agree, it’s great on so many different meats as well. Enjoy!

  18. I always like to search the net for ideas about cooking, creating, etc…

    I’ve been making a similar rub for years with the exception of using brown sugar and white pepper.
    Now, I’m sourcing the maple sugar and going for a whole new spin. I’ve found dehydrated honey and considering a go with that as well! Nuff said about my style… Great recipe! And works really well on chicken and pork!5 stars

    1. Wow, all these additions sound amazing! Thank you so much for the kind comment and I’m happy you loved the dry rub! :)

  19. I tried this last week followed by a nice and slow 19 hour smoke. This spice blend is probably some of the best rub I have used and reminds me of Texas. I used brown sugar instead of maple sugar. I also added some ground mustard to the blend. Fantastic recipe!5 stars

    1. Thanks for the kind comment, Cory! I’m glad you loved the flavor of the brisket. :)

  20. Tried it, really enjoyed the flavor, got a lot of compliments, first time smoking a beef briaket. I didn’t have maple sugar, used brown sugar instead and it turned out great, also I brined it i first, next time I will try the maple sugar and not brine it but it was really good, thank you for sharing!?5 stars

  21. Never heard of maple sugar, so I just used regular sugar, fixing to put my brisket on the smoker, hope it comes out good. Thanks for the recipe

  22. Making this rub tomorrow for my 1st cooked brisket but I don’t have maple sugar so I’m using brown sugar. I’m hoping it’ll taste as good. I’ve never heard of maple sugar.

  23. Looking forward to trying your rub.  I’m buyinf all the spices on Amazon today.  Do you use the same rub for chicken?

    1. Hi David – That’s excellent! Yes, this dry rub would be delicious on all meats. Enjoy! :)

      1. Smoked a second cut with this rub, used hickory and cherry blend of wood, ran it about 8 hours at 235 degrees, came out awesome! Tks for sharing5 stars

  24. Very very good! Used other premade rubs. This is one of the best and homemade! MSG works very well. Thanks for sharing. 5 stars

    1. Hi Russell – Thank you for the kind comment! I’m so happy you enjoyed the brisket dry rub as much as I do! :)

  25. Amazing! Used this for our Super Bowl party brisket and it was a huge success. I used brown sugar (no maple sugar available) and … DELICIOUS!

  26. hi Lisa your recipe sound delicious. but had a couple off questions for you . what’s the difference between maple sugar and brown sugar? and can I sub the maple sugar with brown sugar

    1. Hi Carlos – maple sugar is dried maple syrup and brown sugar is just white sugar with molasses added to it. Yes, you can sub the maple sugar for brown sugar.

  27. Excellent brisket rub. Like it says, I prefer a tad more spicy, so I doubled up the cayenne. I also like that it isn’t as crazy salty as most brisket rubs.5 stars

    1. Wonderful! So glad you enjoyed it Tom and were able to kick it up a notch with a little more cayenne.

  28. Hi Lisa
     I’m going to do my first 2 briskets. Each weighs 7.5 lbs. After looking at many recipes, I’ve decided on yours.  It sounds good and I’m looking forward to trying. I’m smoking the briskets on a PB 440d pellet grill set on 225. Doing this on 8-19/18. I will edit how it turned out on Monday.  

  29. I’m doubling this recipe except for the cumin. And I’m curious about your Cayenne if you use 30000 or 90000 i.u.?

  30. What kind of paprika do you recommend? Your description made me think of smoked paprika, but I’m not sure if that’s what you use or just plain paprika. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you, and thank you for the recipe!

  31. Lisa,
           Just dry rubbed a small brisket with your recipe and smells great on the smoker. Love king forward to dinner tonight.
    J. Suggs5 stars

  32. Hey, Lisa. Pretty pictures. 
    I can appreciate your words. I can taste your photo.
    I am pondering my first brisket. I have an exquisite rub I use for burgers.
    And I have smoked some ribs & probably fifty pounds of pork. Still a rookie by many standards

    My rub is similar to yours – plus a few things more including coriander & ginger. Yes, brown sugar for me works.
    I do use lots of maple syrup and honey in other things. I have read that turbinado BS is better. 
    That is where I am headed.

    Your fine words have inspired me to stay true to my meat taste that I have perfected.
    New Grilla – how bad can it be…..5 stars

    1. It sounds like you’re good to go with your tried-and-true rub and a few alterations. Hope your first brisket turns out fab! :)

  33. Hi – this sounds so delicious!! Can I use this rub to cook a brisket in my slow cooker instead of oven or smoker? Can I apply it the night before and let it sit overnight? Thanks!

    1. Yes, absolutely you could use a slow cooker or smoker. And yes as well on applying it the night before. :) Hope you enjoy it!

    1. You’ll definitely have to give it a try. And it’s so nice to be able to control the level of sweet or spicy.

  34. It doesn’t get much more beautiful in the kitchen than a bowl of perfect spices. This rub sound SO good. And I love brisket. Perfect!

    1. We so often reach for maple syrup, but maple sugar is such a great natural sweetener. :)

  35. I love making my own seasoning mixtures and this is a really nice group of spices. Love the maple sugar!