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 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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
- Prepare the brisket according to directions.
- Cool to room temperature.
- Add the meat to a large freezer bag OR portion into smaller size sandwich bags.
- Press bag(s) flat and squeeze out excess air to prevent freezer burn.
- Seal, label, and freeze for up to 3 months.
- To thaw, place in your fridge overnight.
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:
- Million Dollar Macaroni and Cheese
- Best Baked Beans
- Corn Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing
- Award Winning Sweet Moist Cornbread
- Kicked Up Classy Creamy Potato Salad
- Company Mashed Potatoes
- Baked Parmesan Fingerling Potato Fries
- Cheesy Pull Apart Pesto Bread
- Slow Cooker Creamed Corn
- Perfect Fruit Salad with Honey Citrus Dressing
- Creamy Bacon Pea Pasta Salad with Lemon Parmesan Dressing
- Greek Pasta Salad with Sun-Dried Tomato Feta Pesto
- Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Ranch
Looking for Slow Cooker Beef Recipes?
- Balsamic Slow Cooker Roast Beef
- BBQ Brisket Sandwiches
- Beef Barley Soup
- Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches
- Chioptle Beef Barbacoa
- Slow Cooker Beef Stew
- Italian Beef Sandwiches
- Beef Tips and Gravy
- All of my slow cooker recipes!
Want to try this Beef Brisket Slow Cooker Recipe?
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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com
Slow Cooker Beef Brisket
- 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
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper optional for more heat
- 1 ½ cups ketchup
- ⅓ cup molasses
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup seedless blackberry preserves
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon reserved Spice Rub from above
- 1 tablespoon mesquite liquid smoke optional but recommended*
- 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.
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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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