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Mar 15, 2007 06:33 AM

Brisket: marinade vs rub (or both?)

I'm getting ready to make my usual Passover brisket, but was thinking of doing a wine/thyme marinade first. I've never done this. Usually I sprinkle paprika, black pepper, and garlic powder liberally on the meat, brown at high temp for awhile, turning once and sprinkling more of the same, then lower the temp, add vegetables, water, etc, and roast for hours. It works great.

My question is: if I do the marinade should I skip the seasonings, do them first, or do them after the marinating is over?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. I make a dry rub of kosher salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, cinnamon, allspice and a little brown sugar and sit overnight. Brown on both sides, remove, then brown lots of sliced onions add tomato paste and saute a couple minutes, deglaze with red wine (I use a good zinfindel) put the meat back in the pot and add more wine not completely covering the meat and put in the oven at 300 for about 3-4 hours. You need to get a good browning of the meat for a good gravy, which you won't get with a wet marinade.

    1. Since the marinade will flavor the meat, I don't think you need to rub it with additional seasonings. After the meat has been marinated, you can cook it in the marinade.

      1. I always cut small slits in the brisket and insert slivers of fresh garlic, then soak it in marinade. If I want a smoked flavor to my brisket I use Claude's Brisket Marinade. It comes out so tender and tastes like you have spent hours cooking it over a smoker. But I do not cook the meat in the marinade. I put it in the oven, add a bit of water with either beef bouillon or an au jus, cover tightly with foil and cook until tender. Then I take the foil off and let it brown. It gets a nice crispy type crust to it, and you can make gravy.

        1. there's two methods. the KC or NC brisket calls for a wet mop or a sauce based marinade. Texan brisket though, typically uses only a dry rub. I prefer dry rub which consist of kosher salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, brown sugar and chili powder. Rub the whole brisket, wrap in saran and refirgerate over night.

          I prefer to smoke the brisket with some apple wood, hickory or mesquite. 1hr per pound. once its done cooking, that dry rub will mix with the juices and fat renderings and makes a great gravy or use it to make some bbq sauce.

          1 Reply
          1. re: goodcookiedrift

            Just to note that *barbecued* brisket is not served at the Passover seder meal -- at least, not where I come from.

          2. Here's my rule of thumb, although it's a BBQ/grilling rule: marinate meats with little/no fat (flank steak, boneless/skinless chicken, top sirloin/london broil, venison). Use a dry rub with fatty meats...brisket, pork butt, skin-on chicken. The underlying concept that the fat combines with the rub to make a nice crust. A rub on a dry/lean cut will often just form an unappetizing shell unless you're basting like hell.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Hungry Celeste

              So a well trimmed brisket would fall under a marinate or a rub? Once you trim the external fat of a brisket, isn't it a lean and tough cut of meat?

              1. re: BigDeats

                you dont want to trim too much of the fat off your brisket. i do not like fat at all in meat, however you need it to help tenderize the meat and add flavor. as far as a rub or marinate goes. its all up to you. i know a marinate adds a lot more flavor to a brisket however if done right, so will a rub. just experiment and see how it goes. i myself would do both. marinate for about 12 to 15 hours (this is with a 15lb brisket i might add) then add a dry rub before putting it on the smoker. the smoke it un rapped for about 2 hours, then rap it in a heavy foil (loosely so that some smoke will be able to get to the meat) for another 10 hours. yes i said it... a total of 12 hours on the smoker. the smoke helps also in tinderizing the meat. you will be absolutely floored at how great your brisket will taste.