Texas Original Big Bad Brisket Rub

by Anthony Saragusa |

Makes |  About half a cup    Prep Time |  10 Minutes 

3 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper 
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons mustard powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons chili or ancho powder
1 teaspoon chipotle or cayenne powder

About the black pepper. Lately I've been grinding my black pepper then sifting it. I use the coarse stuff and put the fine stuff in a pepper shaker. 
Chile Powders. I'm looking for complexity with two different flavors and two different levels of heat. American chili powders and ancho powders do not have a lot of heat, but good flavor. In fact, ancho is usually in a lot of American chili powders. Go with ancho if you can find it. It has a nice raisiny character. With chipotle or cayenne I'm after a kiss of heat. Chipotle has better flavor though...

  1. Mix the ingredients together in a bowl. Store the rub in a tightly sealed bottle in a dark place. It will slowly start to decline in quality but should be find up to a year later. Taste it first. 
  2. About the salt. Most foods, especially meats, need a bit of salt and this rub has no salt. Salt magnifies flavors and helps proteins retain moisture.  How much salt? About the same amount you would apply at the table. How much is that? Shoot for about 1/2 teaspoon per pound of meat and apply it heavier on thick spots. When possible, I like to apply the salt the day before, but even an hour or two is enough to get it moving inward.
  3. You can apply the rub in advance, some people like to apply it the night before.  Apply the rub just before cooking if you wish. Moisture and oils will mix with the spices and herbs, heat will work its magic on them, and all will be wonderful. I like to put down a thin layer of oil before the rub because many of the flavors in the rub are oil soluble. Spread the rub generously on beef brisket, not so thick on other, thinner cuts. 
  4. Also, be aware that the drippings from a salted meat for use in a gravy or jus will probably not need salting, so be sure to taste before you add salt. Remember, you can always add salt, but you can't take it away. 


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