Holds a Master’s degree in Linguistics, loves traveling and learning new languages. Fluent in Spanish, is learning French and Czech at the moment. Enjoys exploring national cuisines every time he visits new countries.
Claims that grilling is the art that he has been learning all his life long and is not planning to stop. Has been grilling for as long as he can remember. Author of numerous online and offline grilling masterclasses runs his own BBQ accessories shop.
Last updated: July 17, 2021
LilGrill is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
All barbecue enthusiasts and pitmasters live for brisket barbecue with the proper bark formation. The rubs, the fat in the meat, the type of wood, the number of hours, temperature level, the refrigeration period are all factors that influence the quality of your brisket bark. In this article, we’ll see how the bark is formed on the brisket, the fundamental factors influencing the result, how to control these factors to have a lump of well-processed meat. Also, we’ll wrap things up by offering you some of the best brisket rub recipes for a perfect bark.
In everything you do, the brisket rub is the key to a perfect bark. It’s a blend of BBQ spices that you can pair perfectly with pork, fish, chicken, or beef.
How is bark formed?
Trusted SourceHow To Get Bark When Smoking MeatBark is formed when you caress perfectly seasoned meat with smoke, water vapor, and just the right amount of heat for hours on end until you are left with mouthwatering meat heaven. The rubs, the type of wood used, and the amount of fat on the meat all factor into the chemical equation that results in bark formation. It is something that all pitmasters and barbecue aficionados live for. The tasty treat that is a sign of expertly prepared, properly barbecued meat.
on your brisket when the right amount of heat, smoke, and water vapor is rubbed on seasoned brisket for a few hours. Then you are left with a big chunk of mouthwatering meat.
The whole process starts with the brisket rub, which is the mixture of spices applied to the brisket before it is barbecued. This mixture of spices can include soy sauce, brown sugar, salt, ground black pepper, chili powder, and your barbecue seasoning.
The spice, which is the rub, are mixed in a container. The rub is applied to the brisket a day before baking. Then, you have to put the prepared brisket with the rub on, all wrapped in a foil and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
The brisket is then cooked with the rub the next day for some hours. This is when you’ll see the bark all formed. The bark typically forms when the brisket is exposed to heat and oxygen.
The right color of a well-prepared brisket is usually dark or licorice color when exposed to smoke. Without smoke, you’ll have a dark red mahogany bark color.
Factors influencing the quality of brisket bark
Below are some of the factors which influence the quality of your brisket bark. In summary, these include the rub, the type of wood used in the smoker, the presence of not of fat in the meat, and the spices used.
The rub is the mixture of spice, prepared before the brisket is refrigerated for a day. This rub usually prepared dry, includes salt, paprika, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, ground black pepper, brown sugar, parsley, cumin, cayenne, ground mustard, and more. These spices are mixed well, and they are rubbed dry on all parts of the meat.
You can find already prepared rubs on the market if you’re too worried about not getting the final result yourself. According to most reviews by users who have tried it before, the John Henry’s Texas Brisket Rub offers the best taste and result, especially when you’re making a Texas-style brisket bark, which we’re going to show you. Some of the reasons we like it are that the rub doesn’t cake, and it has a salt base already.
The wood type
The type of wood determines the taste of the brisket. Oak is the most used hardwood for smoking brisket. It is milder I’m flavor, and it’s a good choice when you’re smoking at a temperature of around 250 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Charcoal is also a great alternative if what you have is a charcoal smoker.
The fat in the meat
Especially when you’re dealing with pork, most people like to trim the fat out, and some people want to leave it in. However, the fat determines the final texture of the meat. When you strip the meat of the fat, you end up with a brisket that is dry and hard in texture. So, for a tenderized texture, we’d advise that you leave in the fat and rub in the spices with it. Then refrigerate everything all together. This gives you a great tasting brisket in the end.
How to get a good bark on brisket
Having a good bark on your brisket begins a day before cooking or baking it in a grill or oven. A good bark starts from the ingredients involved, the smoking or baking time and temperature, and the smoking process.
When you think about what a brisket looks like, you know it looks red, dark, and savory. You want your rub to kind of mimic what that brisket is going to look like after you have it all patted down with the sauce.
Get the Ingredients mixed well and ensure no big clumps of anything anywhere like little brown sugar clumps.
When you add celery seed, it will make it bring out a little bit of the barbecue sauce flavor.
Best brisket rub recipes for a perfect bark
Below, we will show you two of the most popular brisket rub recipes you can try for your perfect bark. Check them out!
Beef brisket rub recipe
Homemade garlic salt
Ground black pepper
Paprika chili powder
A small container with a lid
Up to 300 Fahrenheit
The first thing we’re going to do is go ahead and get a container. You can mix in all the ingredients, excluding the soy sauce.
You can start with brown sugar and some garlic salt. Put some chili powder inside the container.
Then use some of your homemade barbecue seasonings. You could use some of your store-bought herbs, or you could make up your barbecue seasoning.
Next, put the black pepper and cover the lid. Shake everything up so the ingredients can mix up.
Open the lid and start breaking up some of the big lumps that you have in your seasoning. Try to smooth this season out the best way possible.
Anytime you’re dealing with brown sugar, it causes a lump-up. So, please give it a good blend till it’s all mixed up.
Now that you’re done with your ingredients bring out your beef brisket. The size is yours to choose from. Just lay the meat on your kitchen counter and rub the soy sauce on it all around.
Next, take the container containing the ingredients which you mixed up and spread them all over the beef brisket evenly. You can let the rub be on the brisket for up to 24 hours in a fridge.
Then, turn on your charcoal grill, the oven, the smoker, your gas grill or your pellet grill. What we recommend is the smoker because of the smokey taste it adds to the meat. Weber remains the most famous name in the grilling industry, especially when it comes to vertical smokers. The Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker 22″ especially is excellent for making your brisket bark. It has two grates, which means you can prepare two steaks on it at the same time.
Next, cook the meat at a very low temperature, around 300 Fahrenheit, for up to four hours to tenderize the meat.
Texas Style Brisket Rub
Ground black pepper
One big and one small container
An oven or grill
The base for this style of brisket rub is paprika and salt in equal parts. You can make each to be about five tablespoons. Pour them into a container.
Add salt. You can use regular grain salt to give it a nice crispy layer.
Next, you can add equal parts of two to three tablespoons of chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, and ground black pepper.
You can add a little bit of brown sugar to the container. If you’re watching your carbs, you may want to skip the brown sugar ingredient or anything sugar. But if you like a sweeter barbecue, go ahead and add some brown sugar. You only need a tablespoon.
Next comes the spicy part. Get your ground mustard and cayenne in a separate cup. These can be a tablespoon each. That’s quite a bit of spice for some people, which may not be enough for others. So, you can adjust where you see fit. If you’re southern and you like hot and spicy things, go ahead and try a tablespoon. And then, when you’re doing it, you can taste it and see if it tastes right. Pour the tablespoon of cayenne and mustard into the main container.
Next, in the main container, add a tablespoon of celery seed, a tablespoon of cumin, and a tablespoon of parsley.
Asides from the taste, these are going to make a beautiful and colorful bark. Take your little whisk and mix them all.
Then comes the fun and messy part. Take the brisket out. You can have it in a flat tray and put it there on the kitchen countertop.
Note: When you cook, you need to have the fat on top for a while and let that fat drip down into the tray. And then, you will flip it and cook the fat on the bottom. So, you don’t need to worry about trimming the fat off just yet, especially if you’re more worried about carbs than fat.
If you’re trying to cut your fat level, go ahead and trim off as much of that fat as you possibly can and then bake it that way. But if you lose that fat, it’s going to end up tough, and nobody wants a tough brisket.
So, sprinkle the ingredients over the top of the brisket and then rub it in. Get the rub on the edges; get it on the front and the back.
Apply the rub all over the brisket and in the fat because once that fat melts, it’s going to drip down into the creases of the meat, and you want all those flavors to dig right inside that meat.
And then you can take the meat and flip it up. Pour the rest of the rub and rub it all over while still in the tray.
Next, you can cover the meat with some foil and put it into the refrigerator. Let the brisket sit in those sauces or spices for up to 24 hours, after which you can bake it.
The next day, after the rub might have gone into the mix, turn on your oven, charcoal grill, gas grill, or your pellet grill.
Cook the meat at a very low temperature, around 300 Fahrenheit, for up to four hours, to tenderize the meat.
Note: The unique thing about the Texas style of brisket rub is that you can prepare it to your taste. If you don’t like it to be too salty, bring the salt down. If you want it peppery, bring the pepper up. You can make it suit what you like to eat, and that’s an essential part. If you don’t adjust and tweak all of the recipes, you’re not going to like them. But if you like the general idea, then you can come up with something that you’re going to want to eat.
The rub is the most essential part of making a delicious brisket barbeque with the perfect bark on it.
First, you have to get the spices all over the rub and let it sit in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Then we’re going to put it in the oven or grill the next day. Bake the meat at a low temperature for a few hours so you can have the perfect brisket bark formed on it. Remember, a brisket with the bark on it doesn’t just have to look pleasing to the eye. It must be mouthwatering in flavor. It must be tender and soft, and this depends on how it is processed.
A good bark starts from the right mix and blends of spices, how everything is rubbed on the meat, the time you leave it in the refrigerator, and the temperature and duration at which you bake it in the oven or grill.
How To Get Bark When Smoking Meat
Bark is formed when you caress perfectly seasoned meat with smoke, water vapor, and just the right amount of heat for hours on end until you are left with mouthwatering meat heaven. The rubs, the type of wood used, and the amount of fat on the meat all factor into the chemical equation that results in bark formation. It is something that all pitmasters and barbecue aficionados live for. The tasty treat that is a sign of expertly prepared, properly barbecued meat.