If you’ve never before made your own beef brisket rub, now is the perfect time to start. Instead of playing it by ear, why not try a recipe that’s already been time-tested by the experts? We’re here to give you the full lowdown on the Pecan Lodge brisket rub recipe.
Pecan Lodge Brisket Rub Recipe
Justin and Diane Fourton, the owners of Pecan Lodge in Dallas, Texas, have been serving up delicious barbecue for over a decade. In interviews, they’ve revealed that their recipe for brisket rub consists of Lawry’s seasoned salt, granulated garlic, chili powder, black pepper, dry mustard, and paprika.
What is Pecan Lodge?
Pecan Lodge is a notorious eatery that can be found deep in the heart of barbecue country—that is, Texas. More specifically, the restaurant is located in Deep Ellum, an East Dallas neighborhood that’s known for its entertainment scene.
Those of us who truly love great barbecue may not need any more entertainment than Pecan Lodge itself. The establishment is named after a ranch that was owned by the owner’s grandfather, and many family recipes are still in heavy rotation to this day.
At Pecan Lodge, the fires are stoked with mesquite, hickory and oak, which contributes to the distinctive flavor of their barbecue. But the real secret to the joint’s success lies with the recipes—particularly the one for their famous seasoning rub.
Pecan Lodge Brisket Rub Recipe
Justin Fourton, who co-owns Pecan Lodge with his wife, Diane, has been featured on at least one episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. During the segment, he shared information about the ingredients that he uses in his brisket rub recipe, but the measurements were a bit hard to follow.
Many pitmasters tend to “eyeball” their ingredients, going by sight and instinct rather than exact measurements. That said, we’ve estimated the basic proportions as follows:
- 4 parts Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
- 2 parts granulated garlic
- 2 parts chili powder
- 2 parts black pepper
- 1 part dry mustard
- 1 part paprika
If you follow these measurements, you should be able to turn out delicious smoked beef brisket that resembles the mouthwatering fare at Pecan Lodge—at least in terms of flavor.
About The Ingredients
Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
This kitchen staple has been around since 1938. In addition to salt, the blend includes paprika (which gives the mixture its signature reddish color), turmeric, celery salt, and garlic. Lawry’s has about 35 percent less sodium than regular table salt, so it’s a good option if you’re monitoring your salt intake.
This ingredient can be used to jazz up everything from popcorn to egg dishes to grilled steak, which is why it’s so popular with home chefs. However, some purists shy away from seasoning blends, preferring instead to measure out everything separately.
Should you choose to use regular salt instead of Lawry’s in the above recipe, you’ll need to adjust the ingredient list accordingly. Here’s a revised recipe that you can use instead. The results might be slightly different, but it’s difficult to turn out the exact same results every time anyway, particularly when it comes to smoked meats.
- 8 parts kosher salt
- 4 parts garlic powder
- 4 parts chili powder
- 4 parts black pepper
- 2 parts dry mustard
- 1 part granulated sugar
- 1 part paprika
- Pinch of turmeric
- Pinch of onion powder
According to an interview with Eater.com, Fourton uses granulated garlic in his spice rub recipe. While this ingredient has much in common with garlic powder, the two aren’t interchangeable.
Granulated garlic and garlic powder are both processed forms of garlic. The cloves are dehydrated and then reduced to granules, in the case of granulated garlic. For garlic powder, the cloves are pulverized further, giving them the texture of all-purpose flour.
Garlic is an aromatic ingredient, but it also contributes a pungent flavor. It provides a nice complement to beef, which is why it’s often included in brisket rub recipes.
Pitmasters add chili powder to a rub recipe when they want a burst of spicy heat. This ingredient shouldn’t be confused with chile powder, which is made almost exclusively of ground dried chiles. Chili powder is actually a blend of spices that may vary, depending on the brand.
When you buy commercially prepared chili powder, you’re likely getting a mixture of cumin, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Although the ingredient contains some heat, it’s nowhere near as intense as pure chile powder.
Check the label of your chili powder to make sure that salt isn’t one of the primary ingredients. If there’s too much salt in the blend, it may throw off your blend, making the finished brisket taste too salty.
Freshly ground black pepper is a staple in most barbecue seasoning rub recipes. In fact, some pitmasters prefer to use only salt and pepper on their brisket—a simple blend known as “Dalmatian rub.”
When black peppercorns are freshly ground, they contribute a herbaceous, woody flavor to the brisket rub. They deliver a measure of heat as well, but it’s relatively mellow compared to the spice from the chili powder.
Mustard brings its own brand of heat to the party, particularly when it’s used in its dry form. We recommend adding a layer of prepared mustard to the brisket as a binding agent for the spice rub, but ground mustard will provide more flavor.
Paprika is made from ground pepper pods. There are a few different varieties, and each one has its own flavor profile that’s dependent on the type of peppers that were used.
The “regular” version is usually labeled as just “paprika,” or sometimes “sweet paprika.” The peppers aren’t hot, and the resulting spice is very mild as a result. It’s often used as a garnish for foods that need a burst of color, like deviled eggs.
“Hot paprika,” or Hungarian paprika, is very spicy, and is a key ingredient in dishes such as paprikash and goulash. If the recipe calls for regular paprika, we don’t recommend substituting this one.
Finally, we have “smoked paprika,” which is sometimes labeled “Spanish paprika.” To make this ingredient, the peppers are smoked over an oak fire before being ground into a powder. The result makes a fine addition to spice rubs, particularly for smoked meats.
The Bottom Line
Many chefs guard their recipes carefully, but we’re fortunate that Justin Fourton has decided to share his ingredient list with the general public. Feel free to customize our recommended proportions as you see fit, depending on taste. No two barbecues are ever exactly alike, not even for businesses as well-established as Pecan Lodge.
Best of luck, and happy grilling!