When cooked to perfection, brisket is a delicious cut of beef that almost everyone loves. One of the most popular ways to cook a brisket, especially in the South, is to smoke it slowly on a grill. Applying a rub before smoking makes it extra tasty.
While most recipes recommend coating brisket with a wet or dry rub before putting it on the grill, a question you may have is when to apply the brisket rub. In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of using a brisket rub overnight.
Brisket Rub Overnight
You can apply the rub to a brisket right before cooking or up to 24 hours prior. Usually, marinating it overnight is best because it gives the flavors a chance to soak in. If using sugar, it might be better to wait until the meat browns to prevent burning.
What exactly is brisket?
Brisket comes from the breast or lower chest on the underside of the cow. It consists of two cuts, the flat and the point. The flat cut is lean while the point cut is fatty.
Because this meat is tough, it is best when cooked slowly for a long period of time. Common ways of cooking brisket are braising, roasting, and smoking on a grill or smoker.
People throughout the world eat brisket in different ways. In Hong Kong, it is served with noodles in soup. The British cook it in a casserole dish with gravy. Germans braise it in dark beer and cook it with vegetables and herbs. In the United States, brisket is especially popular with Texans and Jews of Eastern European origin.
How brisket made its way to Texas
There are a few reasons why smoked brisket became the meat of choice for Texas barbecue. Texas has a lot of room for raising cattle and thus became a center of the beef industry. Native Americans in southern Texas had been smoking their meats, and Jewish immigrants from Europe brought brisket with them to the state.
Jews in Europe had been eating brisket since the 1700s. According to Jewish dietary law, the hindquarter of the cow is not permitted unless the sciatic nerve is removed. This limited the cuts they had to choose from. Brisket was also easier to afford. Because it was tough and took so long to cook, it was less desirable than other cuts.
When Jewish immigrants came to the United States, they brought their food traditions with them. Many ended up in Texas, the largest beef state in the country. By the early 1900s, smoked brisket was on Texas Jewish deli menus and in grocery stores. From there it made its way to Texas barbecue joints.
Brisket became common in Texas because Texas ranchers, like Jewish immigrants, could not afford expensive cuts of beef. It found its way to Texas barbecue menus with the publishing of the Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications for Beef in 1958.
Before the publishing of these specifications, Texas meat markets smoked the entire front of the animal and sold it as beef. In the 1970s, boneless briskets became standard.
While both Jews and Texans love brisket, they prepare it in different ways. Jews roast or braise it with onions, root vegetables, broth, and ketchup or soy sauce. They serve it as the main course at Passover seders and other holiday meals.
Texas pitmasters smoke brisket at a low temperature for a long time. Before smoking it, they coat it with a Dalmatian rub made from coarse salt and pepper. Some add other ingredients, but purists insist on this simple recipe.
Can brisket rub overnight be done?
You can apply the rub right before cooking or up to 24 hours in advance. We recommend applying it at least an hour in advance to give the flavors a chance to seep in. Leaving it on overnight is our preferred method.
If you decide to prep the brisket early, wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator.
Is brisket rub overnight recommended?
There are different opinions on this question. Some people suggest that salty rubs might dry out the meat if left on too long. Others say that the salt acts as a dry brine and traps in moisture. Rubs with sugar should be added after the meat browns to prevent burning.
For most rubs, the longer you leave them on (up to 24 hours) the better. Brining brisket the night before smoking gives it more time to soak into the meat and adds flavor.
How to apply brisket rub overnight
Seasoning brisket overnight with a dry rub is easy. The first step is to gather your ingredients and mix them together. Next, apply the first coat of rub by massaging it into the meat on all sides. Give it a few minutes to soak in, and apply a second coating.
Be generous with your rub. Brisket is a large piece of meat and tastes best when seasoned well. Try to get as much of the rub as you can to stick on the meat. You will need about 1 tablespoon of rub per pound of meat. Cover it, and return it to the refrigerator for six to twelve hours or overnight. Take it out about an hour before cooking.
What is the best rub for brisket?
You can choose to make your own rub or buy a prepared one from the store. You can make homemade rubs from various combinations of ingredients. They can be wet or dry and salty, spicy, or sweet.
Dry rubs include dry ingredients like sugar, salt, spices, and herbs. Wet rubs contain liquids, such as water or oil. Wet rubs stick well to the meat but can char and drip on your grill.
Some people swear by one or the other, but we think both wet and dry rubs are great choices. Brining your brisket with a dry rub is a bit tricky, but once you get the hang of it, the results are outstanding.
Common ingredients found in recipes for homemade rubs include salt, pepper, brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and dry mustard. To make it hotter, you can add red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, or chili powder.
For a simple and easy brisket rub with six ingredients, combine kosher salt with freshly ground pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and ground coriander. This combination will bring out great flavor in your smoked brisket.
If you like your brisket sweet, a sweet brown sugar rub might be for you. Mix a half cup of brown sugar with a third cup of salt, a third cup of paprika, and a third cup of chili powder, and rub it on the brisket.
A Chipotle rub is a great choice if you like Mexican food. Combine dried Chipotle peppers, black pepper, dried oregano, coriander, cumin, onion powder, orange peel, and a bay leaf.
One of the things we love about brisket rubs is that you can experiment by adding your favorite spices and create your own signature recipe. If you end up with leftover rub, you can store it in an airtight container in a cool spot. It should keep for up to six months and can serve as a seasoning for other meat, fish, or veggies.
If you decide to go the store-bought route, you will find many delicious choices. A prepared rub is a great option for when you are short on time. Some store-bought rubs are Kosmos Dry Rub, Texas Brothers Bar B Que Dry Rub, The Most Powerful Stuff, Oakridge Black Ops, Slap Yo Daddy Beef Moola, and Plowboys Bovine Bold.
Once the brisket has marinated, it is time to put it on the grill. Add some wood chips to the coals and close the lid. Cook it at a low temperature, about 200 or 225 F, until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 190 F. Add coal and woodchips as needed. This will take several hours, but it will be well worth the wait.
The Bottom Line
There are many choices when it comes to brisket rubs and when to apply them. To get the optimal amount of flavor, we recommend marinating brisket overnight. This will ensure that the flavors have time to absorb fully for an unforgettable and delicious barbecue meal.
Hi there! I’m Darren Wayland, your BBQHost. My love of great barbecue inspired me to curate this site as a resource for all my like-minded fellow pitmasters out there. When I’m not researching and learning all I can about the latest tips and techniques, you can find me at the grill—that is, if you can spot me at all through the clouds of sweet-smelling smoke. And since you asked, yes, that probably is barbecue sauce on my face. Welcome to the party!