Are you ready to indulge in a delicious, melt-in-your-mouth meal that practically cooks itself? Look no further than this slow cooker brisket recipe! With a combination of savory spices, BBQ sauce, and brown sugar, the result is a sweet and smoky brisket that will wow your taste buds.
Not only is the recipe packed with flavor, but it's also low maintenance, making it perfect for busy weeknights or weekends. Simply set it and forget it - the CrockPot does all the work for you
Brisket is known to be one of the toughest cuts of meat out there, but with a little patience and a trusty slow cooker, it can be turned into a fork-tender masterpiece.
The gentle braise in bbq sauce, onions, spices, and brown sugar takes this tough cut of meat and transforms it into tender, juicy perfection.
This crockpot brisket recipe requires some advanced planning, but don't let that intimidate you. Most of the time is hands-off, leaving you free to go about your day and come back to a mouthwatering meal. And let me tell you, the end result is so worth it.
The sweetness from the brown sugar, the smoky flavor from the paprika and cumin, and the touch of spice from the cayenne pepper create the perfect combination of flavors.
Don't miss out on this easy, tender, and delicious beef brisket in the slow cooker. It's perfect for a comforting family meal or for entertaining guests.
Ingredients for Making Brisket in the Slow Cooker
- Brisket: Brisket is the perfect cut of meat to slow cook. Look for a 3 to 5-pound brisket and trim off most of the fat before placing it in the slow cooker.
- Brown Sugar: I used dark brown sugar, but light brown sugar works too.
- Seasoning: Smoked paprika, salt, thyme, garlic powder, cumin, black pepper, and cayenne pepper are used to create a delicious rub for the beef brisket. Onion powder or chili powder could also be added to the rub.
- Onion: Slice one onion into thin rounds and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker. White or yellow onion is best here.
- BBQ Sauce: Use your favorite brand of barbecue sauce as this will greatly impact the final flavor and level of spice of the meat. Homemade BBQ sauce is great if you have it in the fridge.
Brisket: First Cut vs. Second Cut
Brisket is made up of two distinct parts: the first and second cuts.
Here's the deal: the first cut is very lean, while the second cut is loaded with fat marbling. So, if you're looking for that juicy, melt-in-your-mouth kind of brisket, you're definitely going to want to ask your butcher for an all-second cut.
But, let's say you're only faced with a whole brisket - don't panic! Just ask your butcher to separate the first and second cuts. You'll be able to see the difference right away. Trust me, the first cut will have a lot less fat marbling.
The key to cooking both parts is to cook them separately, allowing for a longer cook time on the second cut. (You can reduce the cooking time to 8 hours when making a first cut brisket in your slow cooker.) This will give you that perfect, tender texture for both cuts.
One of my favorite side dishes to serve with crock pot brisket is my homemade creamy mac and cheese with breadcrumbs. It's the perfect balance of rich and cheesy, and it pairs perfectly with the tender brisket. Other staples in my household are crockpot mashed potatoes and Instant Pot potato salad.
Cast iron cornbread is a great complement to this smoky and sweet crock pot brisket recipe. And if you're looking for something lighter to balance out the richness of the dish, my recipe for caramelized Brussels sprouts is a fantastic option.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the brisket in a slow cooker need to be in liquid?
No, the brisket does not need to be in liquid in the same way you would need to add liquid to a pressure cooker.
We do add a little bit of water to the BBQ sauce in this slow cooker beef brisket recipe, but this is primarily to help it to spread over the brisket. This combination, along with the moisture from the onions, will provide enough moisture for the brisket to cook properly.
Does meat have to be fully submerged in a slow cooker?
No, the brisket does not need to be fully submerged in liquid when cooked in a slow cooker. It should still be partially covered by the sauce and onion mixture so that it remains moist while cooking.
How long do I cook a brisket in a slow cooker?
The cooking time for slow cooker bbq brisket will depend on the size and cut of the brisket.
For an all-second cut brisket, 10 hours on low or 6 hours on high should be sufficient. If you are using a first cut for this beef brisket crock pot recipe, reduce the cooking time to 8 hours on low or 5 hours on high.
Tools Needed to Make
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- Slow Cooker: Use your favorite multi-cooker such as a Ninja PossibleCooker or Instant Pot Dutch Oven or a CrockPot.
Store leftover brisket in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Brisket can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Remove from the freezer and thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
To reheat, simply place it in a 300°F oven until warmed through. I especially like to reheat it in the juices or covered with beef broth - it keeps it nice and moist.
Step by Step
Once cooked, transfer the brisket to a cutting board and tent with foil. Allow to rest for 20 minutes, and then slice the brisket against the grain. You can also shred it if you like.
More CrockPot Recipes to Try
- Slow cooker short ribs are a sassy scene-stealing meal that everyone will love.
- Crockpot meatloaf is easy to make, family friendly, and wildly delicious. It is no surprise that it has become a year-around staple in my dinner repertoire.
- When I need a meal that is hearty, delicious, and fit for company, this Crockpot lasagna with ricotta is my go-to recipe.
- Our family never get tired of these slow cooker French dip sandwiches.
Slow Cooker Brisket
- 1 3 to 5 pound beef brisket
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon sea salt use 1 teaspoon per pound of meat
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 onion sliced
- ½ cup BBQ sauce plus more for serving if desired
- ¼ cup water
- Using a meat tenderizer or fork, lightly prick the brisket all over.
- In a small bowl, combine the sugar, smoked paprika, salt, thyme, garlic powder, ground cumin, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
- Sprinkle the seasoning mixture all over the brisket. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Arrange the onion in the bottom of the slow cooker and place the brisket on top.
- Stir together the BBQ sauce and water and pour it on top of the meat.
- Cover and cook for 10 hours on low or 6 hours on high.
- Transfer the brisket to a cutting board and tent with foil.
- Allow to rest for at least 20 minutes.
- Cut the meat across the grain or shred and serve with the sauce.