Brisket Brown Sugar Rub

Raw brisket and ingredients for brown sugar rub

The Spruce / Claire Cohen

Prep: 8 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 8 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Yield: 1 2/3 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
35 Calories
1g Fat
8g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 35
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1358mg 59%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 20mg 2%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 114mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A little bit of prep work in the kitchen goes a long way toward boosting flavor, and this is certainly true when it comes to brisket. This is a good, sweet brown sugar brisket rub that requires little preparation time. It's a simple blend of brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, and salt, and one that can be made in less than 10 minutes. Of course, feel free to adjust the heat by using hot or mild chili powder, and make it more or less sweet based on your preferences—smoked paprika, anyone? 

To ensure you get the most flavor out of this rub, make sure to pat the brisket dry with paper towels before you rub this seasoning all over the entire surface of the meat. (Note: Be sure to use sea salt or kosher salt and not table salt for this recipe, or it will be too salty.)

This rub is one of our favorites for brisket, and we think it will become one of yours, too. And once you make that brisket, be sure to serve it with an array of sides, such as coleslaw, baked beans, green beans, roasted Brussels sprouts, or mac and cheese.


  • 120 milliliters (about 1/2 cup) brown sugar

  • 80 milliliters (about 1/3 cup) sea salt, or kosher salt

  • 80 milliliters (about 1/3 cup) paprika

  • 80 milliliters (about 1/3 cup) chili powder, hot or mild

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Mix ingredients together in a small bowl.

  3. Firmly pack rub evenly onto brisket 30 to 40 minutes before smoking the meat. Then, wrap it in plastic wrap or place in a large plastic bag and let sit at room temperature. Use as directed in your recipe.


  • Do not put your fingers, spoon, or other utensils back into the dry rub after touching the meat. Otherwise, you run the risk of contaminating the leftover rub.
  • Discard any remaining rub that has come into contact with raw meat. 
  • Double or triple the recipe if you want to smoke a few briskets. 
  • Brisket requires a low and slow approach to cooking to help tenderize its muscle fibers, which is why it's often smoked or braised.

How to Store

  • This rub can be stored in an airtight container for several days, but after a week or two, the brown sugar will start to crystallize. Because of that, this rub is not the best candidate for a make-ahead or gift-giving food project.