Slow Cooker Beef Brisket with Barbecue Sauce (Video!)

This Slow Cooker Beef Brisket Recipe is wonderfully juicy, flavor exploding, melt-in-your-mouth and “better than any restaurant” according to my food critic husband!

Beef Brisket can be prepared many ways – there’s smoked beef brisket, oven beef brisket but I’m telling you this Slow Cooker Beef Brisket recipe is my favorite method for juicy, flavor exploding beef brisket!  And it’s SO EASY!  It’s the ultimate stress free company dinner because it can be made days in advance then reheated in the slow cooker for stress free entertaining (which is actually my preferred method)! 

Slow Cooker Brisket Video

Slow Cooker Beef Brisket with Barbecue Sauce

Slow Cooker Brisket Recipe

I have been giddily waiting to share this slow cooker bbq brisket recipe with you because it is Christmas worthy!!  I truly love this Beef Brisket Recipe more than my crazy popular Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches, Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs, Slow Cooker Carnitas, etc.  I know that is a bold statement, but this brisket is boldly delicious.

As Patrick and I stood around devouring this meat the second after I finished photographing, effusive oohs and ahhs was all that could be uttered until we couldn’t stuff our faces any more.

So if you have never made beef brisket or never made slow cooker beef brisket, prepare for your mind to be blown with this easy method for crazy tender, juicy beef brisket every single time. Trust me, the best way to cook brisket is the slow cooker!

shredded bbq brisket

What is Brisket?

Beef brisket boasts the richest natural flavor of any cut of meat and is my choice meat whenever I dine at any barbecue restaurant.  The flavor comes in part from the extra long cooking time required to break down the fibers of the meat as brisket comes from the front breastbone of the cow so there is a lot of connective tissue and muscle that supports much of the weight of the cow.

This means brisket holds its shape so you can either slice it OR shred it, unlike chuck roast and short ribs that shred easily when cooked for a long period of time.  Why this is important is that you don’t have to worry too much about overcooking your beef brisket because it will hold together to the point of being shreddable. 

When I cooked this beef brisket, it was sooooo tender but I was still able to slice it AND I was still able to easily shred it as well. This also means beef brisket is ideal for slow cooking and ideal for stress free entertaining.

shredding bbq beef brisket with two forks

Slow Cooker Brisket Ingredients

This slow cooker bbq brisket truly is spectacular! Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe:

  • Beef brisket: Trim the beef of any excess fat, rinse, and pat dry before using.
  • Beef bouillon: Adds a wonderful depth of flavor to the bbq brisket.
  • Worcestershire sauce: You just need 2 tablespoons, but it really makes a difference to the brisket.
  • Soy sauce: I recommend using reduced sodium soy sauce so you can control the amount of salt in this slow cooker brisket.
  • Special spice rub: My homemade spice rub combines paprika, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, and more. It’s incredibly flavorful!
  • Homemade bbq sauce: If you’re going to take the time to cook an expensive cut of meat like brisket, you really should make your own BBQ sauce to go with it. Trust me on this one! My homemade BBQ has received hundreds rave reviews on my BBQ Ribs post and will convert you forever!
spice rubbed beef brisket

Slow Cooker Beef Brisket Ingredient Substitutions

There are a few ingredient swaps you can make for the homemade bbq sauce, if needed.

  • If you can’t find blackberry preserves, I’ve had readers comment they have also used strawberry preserves, raspberry preserves, fig preserves and apple jam with success. 
  • You can use any brown sugar you have on hand – light, medium or dark. 
  • You can use granulated sugar or honey if that’s all you have on hand but, in this case, I would reduce the sugar by a tablespoon or two and add extra molasses in its place.  You can also use a blend of sweeteners.
barbecue sauce for beef brisket

How to Cook Brisket in a Slow Cooker

I love using my slow cooker during the holidays because not only does it free up the oven, but the results are wonderfully tender and every bit as delicious as oven results. 

Making and serving beef brisket on the same day can be difficult, however, unless you plan ahead because the brisket requires a good 8-10 hours of cooking time.  That is why I like to prepare my brisket the day before.

To do this, we first make our brisket by rubbing it in our custom spice mix that elevates this bbq beef brisket to restaurant quality.  The Spice Rub is an intoxicating blend of paprika, brown sugar, chili powder, chipotle powder, onion powder, garlic powder, dried thyme, salt and pepper.  The rub is not too spicy, not too sweet, but just plain flavorful.

Next, we oven sear the beef brisket by simply baking it at 425 for 30 minutes.  This  seals in the spices/juices, renders some of the fat and adds a depth and complexity of flavor that can’t be achieved any other way. 

Meanwhile, we whisk up our tantalizing homemade barbecue sauce that I first used in my Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs and my Crockpot  BBQ Chicken.  This Barbecue Sauce is a reader favorite and the “only barbecue sauce I will ever use,” according to many.  So while you can use your own bottled barbecue sauce, I highly recommend this version.  It is sweet and tangy and just right.

beef brisket in slow cooker insert

We add ½ cup of this barbecue sauce to our slow cooker along with 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire, 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce and 1 tablespoon beef bouillon. 

Squish in our oven seared beef brisket and let it cruise on low for 8-10 hours until brisket is very tender, flipping over half way through cooking. If your brisket feels tough, it just need more time cooking – so cook on…

After your beef brisket is cooked, this is when I remove the slow cooker ceramic insert and refrigerate it with the brisket and all the juices for 1-3 days. Not only does the flavor improve, it becomes even more tender and makes prep the next day a snap.  When ready to serve, simply skim off the hardened fat then cook on low for 1-2 hours until warmed through.

At this point, you can serve as is, or I like to remove the brisket to a foil lined baking sheet and smother all over with our homemade barbecue sauce and broil for 5-10 minutes, until slightly caramelized which enhances the savory meaty, complex “nutty” flavor.

Your now fork tender, flavorful, juicy, rich Slow Cooker Brisket is ready to be sliced across the grain or shredded and slathered in tangy barbecue sauce.   The brisket can be served as is or piled high on a bun for the Best Beef Brisket Sandwich of. your. life. 

Any way you serve it, this comforting, convenient, luxurious beef brisket will have you and all your guests “oohing” and “ahhhing” for more!

brushing bbq sauce onto piece of slow cooker brisket

Tips for Making Slow Cooker Brisket

  • Homemade bbq sauce really is best for this recipe, but if you’re short on time and energy, store-bought will work.
  • This slow cooker brisket needs to cook on low for a looong time. Don’t try cooking it on high, otherwise the bbq brisket won’t turn out as fork tender.
  • If your brisket isn’t tender, it just needs more time – so cook, even 30 minutes can make a difference.
  • Feel free to slice or shred this bbq beef brisket — it’s delicious either way!

Slow Cooker Brisket Variations

You can change the flavor of this slow cooker beef brisket simply by tweaking the homemade bbq sauce!

  • Make it sweeter: Add more brown sugar. 
  • Make it tangier: Add additional apple cider vinegar.
  • Make it smokier: Add additional liquid smoke, ½ teaspoon at a time.  
  • Make it spicier: Add additional chipotle chili powder for smokey heat or cayenne pepper for penetrating heat. 
overhead shot of bbq brisket slices

Can I Prep Slow Cooker Brisket in Advance?

Yes! I often will cook my brisket until tender, then remove the removable ceramic insert and refrigerate the brisket in the juices. The next day, I skim off all the hardened fat then cook on LOW in the slow cooker for 1-2 hours until warmed through and proceed with recipe.

How to Store Beef Brisket

This slow cooker brisket should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. It’ll last 4 to 5 days.

How to Reheat BBQ Brisket

Reheat this slow cooker beef brisket in the oven or in a skillet over medium heat. Avoid using the microwave on such a nice cut of beef.

How to Freeze BBQ Beef Brisket

Slow cooker bbq brisket freezes really well! To freeze:

  1. Prepare the brisket according to directions.
  2. Cool to room temperature.
  3. Add the meat to a large freezer bag OR portion into smaller size sandwich bags.
  4. Press bag(s) flat and squeeze out excess air to prevent freezer burn.
  5. Seal, label, and freeze for up to 3 months.
  6. To thaw, place in your fridge overnight.
close up shot of sliced slow cooker brisket coated in bbq sauce

What to Serve with Beef Brisket 

This bbq beef brisket pairs well with any number of comforting sides. Here are a few of my favorite beef brisket sides:

up close of easy brisket sandwich with coleslaw

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

Wonderfully juicy, flavor exploding, melt-in-your-mouth Slow Cooker Beef Brisket is my favorite meat dish EVER and "better than any restaurant” according to my food critic husband!   It's the ultimate easy company dinner because it can be made days in advance then reheated in the slow cooker for stress free entertaining!

Slow Cooker Beef Brisket

Wonderfully juicy, flavor exploding, melt-in-your-mouth Slow Cooker Beef Brisket is “better than any restaurant” according to my food critic husband! It’s the ultimate easy company dinner because it can be made days in advance then reheated in the slow cooker for stress free entertaining (which is actually my preferred method)! 
Servings: 8 -10 people
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours

Ingredients

Slow cooker

Spice Rub

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tsp EACH garlic powder, salt
  • 1 tsp EACH onion powder, chipotle powder, pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional for more heat

Barbecue Sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with sides/jelly roll pan with parchment paper or foil for easy clean up. Set aside.
  • Spray 6 quart (or larger) slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Trim brisket of excess fat and rinse and pat dry. If your brisket is extra long then slice it in half so it will fit in your slow cooker.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together Spice Rub ingredients. Remove 1 tablespoon Spice Rub and add to a medium bowl to use in your barbecue sauce. Rub all remaining Spice Rub evenly all over the meat then place brisket on prepared baking sheet. (You can let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or refrigerate up to 24 hours if desired). Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 425 degrees F to sear meat.
  • Meanwhile, add all of the Barbecue Sauce ingredients to the 1 tablespoon reserved Spice Rub and whisk to combine. Remove ½ cup barbecue sauce and add to slow cooker along with 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire, 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce and 1 tablespoon beef bouillon. Whisk to combine (the bouillon will not be completely dissolved but will dissolve during cooking).
  • Using tongs (so you don’t burn yourself) carefully transfer brisket to slow cooker. It will be large so you will have to squish it in. Not all of it will be under the liquid.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours until brisket is very tender, flipping over half way through cooking. If your brisket is tough, it just needs to cook longer.
  • Remove brisket to a foil lined baking sheet. Brush with barbecue sauce and broil 5-10 minutes, until slightly caramelized. Meanwhile, microwave or simmer remaining barbecue sauce until warmed through.
  • Brush brisket again with barbecue sauce and slice across the grain or chop if desired. Serve with remaining barbecue sauce plain or they make delicious sandwiches. (See side dish suggestions below recipe.)
  • MAKE AHEAD: I often will cook my brisket until tender then remove the removable ceramic insert and refrigerate the brisket in the juices. The next day, I skip off all the hardened fat then cook on LOW in the slow cooker for 1-2 hours until warmed through and proceed with recipe.

Video

Notes

Don’t miss the “how to make” recipe video at the top of the post!
*Liquid smoke can be found next to the barbecue sauce in most grocery stores. It adds a wonderfully smoky flavor.

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©Carlsbad Cravings Original

This post first appeared on The Slow Roasted Italian website where I am  a contributor.

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Reader Interactions

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188 Comments

  1. Laura says

    Hi,

    I am making this for Christmas and will be making it on Christmas Eve, can this be reheated in the slowcooker on Christmas Day? If so how longs best to cook it for for reheating?

    • Jen says

      Yes! Per step 10: I often will cook my brisket until tender then remove the removable ceramic insert and refrigerate the brisket in the juices. The next day, I skip off all the hardened fat then cook on LOW in the slow cooker for 1-2 hours until warmed through and proceed with recipe.

  2. Kinu says

    Hi First of all thank you for sharing this recipe it’s look delicious .I have a question can I use Pomegranate molasses ?Kindly clear this confusion.

    • Jen says

      Hi Kinu, despite it’s name, pomegranate molasses isn’t related to molasses and shouldn’t be substituted in this recipe. Best!

  3. Sophie says

    Hello, can i make this recipe in instant pot instead crockpot?

  4. Shannon says

    This brisket is amaaaaaazing!!! I have challenges finding recipes the whole family will enjoy. I have one son who is an adventurous eater and loves everything with tons of flavour. My husband likes things a little more safe/bland and my youngest son falls somewhere in between. EVERYBODY in my household loved this recipe! Thank you for sharing it with us. On a side note, would you happen to have the nutritional information for this recipe? I’m trying to shed some of the weight I gained during Covid, but I really don’t want to miss out on this delicious recipe the next time I make it for the family. Any insight would be helpful.

  5. Carla says

    Question for beef brisket recipe. I can’t find beef can I use corned beef brisket?

    • Jen says

      Hi Carla, unfortunately corned beef is brined with intense pickling seasonings so it’s not a good option for this recipe.

  6. Jmcooks says

    Made the brisket for the second time. Family loved it, and the bbq sauce is delicious! Could you use this recipe on other meats like a pork roast or a Chuck roast?

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much, so pleased it was a hit! Yes, you can absolutely use this recipe on other meats-yum!

  7. Rachel says

    Can I substitute something else for the seedless blackberry preserves? That is next to impossible to find where I live. I’m sure it’s in some quaint little gift shop but I don’t feel like spending an entire day running around to find it.

    • Jen says

      Hi Rachel, readers have had success with all sorts of flavors! I would stick with raspberry for the closest match.

      • Rachel says

        Thank you. Also, broil on High? Low? Where should the rack be placed?

        • Jen says

          Sorry for not clarifying, my oven only has one setting! Broil on High (around 550 degrees) about 8 inches away from the broiler.

  8. Amanda says

    This was so delicious! Loved the bbq sauce, was definitely worth making homemade over grabbing a bottle. I don’t know what I’d do without this site, love all your recipes.

    • Jen says

      Thanks for making my day Amanda! I’m so pleased you loved the brisket and are loving all of my recipes!

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