Wally's dad and the Brisket Rub

My first contact with Wally's dad was with this brisket rub question. There are a lot of ideas out there about how long to leave a rub on before you start cooking. But, who is to really say what is right, wrong, unacceptable, or correct?

Not me. (We all know that it comes down to what you like, don't we?)

As you may already know, it depends quite a lot on several factors, such as: type of meat, size, quality, strength of the acid (if any is used), amount of salt in the rub, whether it has already been marinated, and so on. Some of the same considerations when using a marinade should also apply when using a brisket rub, too.

Wally's dad had already started a brisket marinating before he decided to ask a question about the rub. That's a pretty good sign of confidence from a newby in itself. But, as you will see from reading his emails, you'll find that Wally's dad usually does enough research to practically answer his own questions.

Here is his brisket rub question:

Hi Hipshot! (Hope you don't mind me usingyour nickname - no disrespect intended.)

I'm new to smoked brisket but want to give it a shot, so I've been gleaning as much info as I can. I have a brisket marinating right now - not sure if it's necessary, but I thought it might help keep the brisket from drying out during the long, slow cook/smoke. Could I ask a question?

How soon in advance would you suggest me putting the rub on the brisket?

I've seen where some guys do it as much as 2 days in advance, while others do it right before putting the brisket on the smoker. Both methods seem to make some sense to me and here's why:

For the "way in advance" method, I would think the rub has more time to work on the brisket and add flavor which sounds good. However, if the rub has salt in it (as mine does), wouldn't the salt tend to suck the moisture out of the brisket?

That's why the "right before you smoke" method seems to make sense. That way, the salt doesn't get much of a chance to suck the moisture from the brisket, and it can flavor the meat as it smokes/cooks.

Therefore, I wonder if I could ask you for your thoughts on how soon to apply the rub to the brisket. Thank-you very much, Sir!

Very gratefully,Mickey

And my response:

Hey Mickey, thank you for the question. Glad to hear you're getting into brisket smoking!

From what you've told me, Mickey, it sounds like you're ready to rub it and start smoking.

Since you are marinating it now, you've already got some good flavor penetration going on. Besides... if you have a brisket of any size at all, it will smoke for several hours. And that's plenty of time for the rub to add its taste.

You also mentioned having salt in your rub. There's another reason to rub it and smoke it (as you also pointed out). Probably the only time I would leave a rub on for very long would be if no marinade was used and no salt was in the rub (the way I do steak sometimes).

Mickey, you have done an excellent job of gathering your information. You seem to already know enough about it to answer your own question. About the only thing I know to do is tell you what I think. I vote for the "right before you smoke" method.
Rub it, smoke it, and enjoy.

All the Best
"Get another drink and try again." (hipshot)

Just wait 'til you hear how it turned out.
No... hold on a minute.

Before that... you really need to know what happened with the brisket rub next .


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