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Slow Cooker Crockpot BBQ Brisket

This Slow Cooker Crockpot BBQ Brisket recipe results in tender, melt-in-your-mouth goodness. As the meat bathes in its own succulent juices, it absorbs the bold flavors of the homemade spice rub, creating amazing flavor. A luscious drizzle of BBQ sauce adds the perfect finishing touch.

slow cooker Crockpot beef brisket with BBQ sauce on a plate with beans, broccoli, and coleslaw
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Why You Will Love This Recipe

  • Tenderization: Crockpots are excellent for tenderizing tough cuts of meat like brisket. The long, slow cooking process allows the collagen and connective tissues in the meat to break down, resulting in a tender and flavorful dish.
  • Convenience: Using a slow cooker is convenient, especially for busy individuals who may not have time to actively monitor a stovetop or oven. It allows for hands-free cooking, making it easier to prepare a delicious meal with minimal effort.
  • Flavor Infusion: Slow cooking in a Crockpot allows flavors to meld and intensify over time. This results in a rich and savory dish with deep, developed flavors, enhancing the taste of the brisket and any accompanying ingredients.
  • Feeding a Crowd: This is a popular choice for gatherings, parties, or events. It can be prepared in larger quantities to feed a crowd, and the slow-cooked flavors are often well-received by a diverse group of people.
seasoned brisket on a plate

How to Shop/Which Brisket to Buy

It’s typically recommended to go for the beef brisket flat. The two primary cuts of brisket are the flat and the point. The flat is leaner and often more suitable for slow cooking methods.

Take these things into consideration:

  • Beef Brisket Flat: Look for a beef brisket flat, also known as the “first cut” or “flat cut.” This cut is relatively lean. It’s also easier to slice against the grain for a more tender result.
  • Size: The size of the brisket should be suitable for your Crockpot. If the brisket is too large, you may need to trim it to fit or ask your butcher to do so.
  • Marbling: While the flat is leaner, a moderate amount of marbling (intramuscular fat) can contribute to tenderness and flavor during the slow cooking process. Marbling refers to the white flecks and streaks of fat that are interspersed within the lean muscle of meat.
  • Freshness: Choose meat with bright red color. Check the packaging date or ask your butcher for information on when it was cut.
  • Thickness: Aim for a relatively uniform thickness to ensure even cooking. If the brisket is uneven, you may need to adjust cooking times.

How to Season it

I love to use my Homemade BBQ Seasoning and Rub. You can use any of your favorite rubs. You should be really generous with the amount of rub and spices you use because brisket is a large and thick cut of meat. You want the spices to penetrate the meat and enhance the flavor.

homemade bbq rub in separate white bowls
beef stock/ broth in a glass bowl

Do You Have to Sear it First?

Searing the roast before adding it to the slow cooker is not strictly necessary, but it will significantly enhance the flavor and texture. I do the same in my Slow Cooker Crockpot Pot Roast recipe, Here’s why I do it:

  • Flavor: Searing it creates a flavorful crust on the meat’s surface which results in a deeper, richer taste. This is also the best way to get the spices and seasoning to adhere to the meat. With Crockpot cooking, when you add seasoned meat to the slow cooker with broth, a lot of spices can get lost.
  • Texture: Searing can enhance the texture by creating a caramelized surface, which can add complexity to the dish.

If you wish you can skip the searing step and still achieve a tasty brisket. This process will still tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavors from the cooking liquid and vegetables. I promise, searing just makes it next level better!

seared brisket in a cast iron skillet

Can You Add Vegetables

  • Root Vegetables: Carrots, potatoes (red and baby Yukon gold work best), parsnips, and turnips are excellent choices. They hold up well during the slow cooking process and become infused with the flavors of the meat and broth.
  • Onions: Whole pearl onions or large chunks of regular onions add a savory sweetness to the dish as they cook down. The onions are a great addition if you plan to make homemade gravy.
  • Celery: Stalks of celery can be added for an aromatic flavor and a bit of texture.
  • Garlic: Whole cloves or chopped garlic cloves contribute to the overall savory depth of the dish.
  • Mushrooms: These can be added for a richer, earthy flavor.
  • Herbs: Fresh or dried herbs like thyme, rosemary, or bay leaves can infuse the dish with aromatic flavors.

Because this is a dish that cooks for an extended period, if you choose to add vegetables, it’s important to add the vegetables to the brisket last and on top of the meat. If you allow potatoes and carrots to cook in the broth of the dish, they may become mushy over time.

Placing the veggies on top allows the steam from the slow cooker to cook and soften the vegetables.

beef broth in a white slow cooker
seared brisket and broth in a white Crockpot slow cooker

Cook Time/How Long to Cook

It typically takes around 8 to 10 hours on low heat or 4 to 6 hours on high heat. The exact cooking time can vary depending on the size of the brisket and the specific model of your slow cooker. I recommend you cook brisket on low heat for a longer period to ensure it becomes tender and flavorful.

Cooking it on High does work, but I’ve found Low yields the best results.

How to Keep it From Drying Out

  • Add Liquid: Include liquids like broth, beer, or wine in the slow cooker to provide additional moisture. This helps prevent the brisket from drying out during the long cooking process.
  • Cook Low and Slow: Use the low setting on your slow cooker for an extended period. Low and slow cooking allows the collagen in the brisket to break down gradually, resulting in a tender and juicy final product.
  • Rest Before Slicing: After cooking, allow the brisket to rest for at least 15-20 minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring a moist result.
  • Slice Against the Grain: When serving, slice the brisket against the grain. This minimizes the length of the muscle fibers in each slice, making it more tender and helping retain moisture.
brisket in a white Crockpot slow cooker with broth

How to Tell When it’s Done Cooking

  • Fork Tenderness: Insert a fork or meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. If it easily slides in and out with little resistance, the brisket is likely done.
  • Internal Temperature: Checking the internal temperature provides a more precise measurement. The ideal internal temperature for a fully cooked brisket is around 195 to 205 degrees.
  • Meat Pulls Apart: When the brisket is ready, the meat should easily pull apart or shred with little effort. If you find the meat resisting, it may need more time to cook.
  • Visible Shrinkage: As the brisket cooks, it will naturally shrink. Look for signs of shrinkage around the edges and in between the muscle fibers. This can be an indication that the collagen has broken down, leading to a tender result.
  • Bark Formation: When using a spice rub, a flavorful crust or “bark” should form on the exterior. This will enhance both the taste and appearance of the finished brisket.

Allow the Meat to Rest

After cooking, allow the brisket to rest for at least 15-20 minutes. During this time, the residual heat continues to distribute throughout the meat, contributing to its tenderness.

slow cooker Crockpot beef brisket with BBQ sauce on a plate with beans, broccoli, and coleslaw

How to Make Gravy

I love to use the method from my Turkey Gravy With Drippings recipe. You can use the flavorful liquid from the cooked meat along with a few additional ingredients like butter, flour, and broth.

How to Store

I like to store leftovers with the leftover cooked broth from the pot. This will help keep the meat from drying out and will keep it juicy when you reheat it. Since this is a cut of meat with fat, you will notice congealed fat at the top or throughout the leftovers once refrigerated.

Feel free to remove this if you wish. If you reheat the dish with the fat it will melt and add flavor/juicy texture to the meat. It’s just a matter of preference.

It can be stored in the fridge tightly covered and sealed for 3-4 days.

How to Reheat

To reheat, you can use the microwave, stovetop, or oven (at 250 degrees until warm). Add a bit of moisture (broth or water) to prevent the meat from drying out during reheating.

slow cooker Crockpot beef brisket with BBQ sauce on a plate with beans and coleslaw

Freezer Tips

Store in airtight containers or freezer bags for up to 2-3 months. Thaw frozen leftovers in the refrigerator before reheating.

Pair With These Recipes

Slow Cooker Crockpot Pinto Beans
Slow Cooker Crockpot Candied Sweet Potatoes
Slow Cooker Crockpot Cheesy Potatoes
Slow Cooker Crockpot Collard Greens
Slow Cooker Crockpot Glazed Carrots
Slow Cooker Crockpot Mashed Potatoes
Slow Cooker Crockpot Mac and Cheese

Slow Cooker Crockpot BBQ Brisket

This Slow Cooker Crockpot BBQ Brisket recipe results in tender, melt-in-your-mouth goodness. As the meat bathes in its own succulent juices, it absorbs the bold flavors of the homemade spice rub, creating amazing flavor. A luscious drizzle of BBQ sauce adds the perfect finishing touch.
Save this recipe here.
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine American
Keyword Crockpot brisket, slow cooker BBQ brisket, slow cooker brisket
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Servings 5 servings
Calories 421kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Season all sides of the brisket with the spices.
  • Optional Searing: Place a skillet on medium-high heat on the stove and add the olive oil. Add the brisket to the pan and sear both sides of the meat. Let it sear without moving it for a few minutes until a golden-brown crust forms. Use tongs to turn the brisket and sear all sides evenly.
  • Add the broth to the bottom of the slow cooker (Mine is 7 quart).
  • Next, add the seasoned brisket.
  • Place the lid on the pot and slow cook. It typically takes around 8 to 10 hours on low heat or 4 to 6 hours on high heat. The exact cooking time can vary depending on the size of the brisket and the specific model of your slow cooker.
  • Allow the meat to rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing. Glaze with BBQ sauce if desired.

Notes

Use enough spices to fully coat the meat. Add additional spices if necessary.
I recommend you cook brisket on low heat for a longer period to ensure it becomes tender and flavorful.
Cooking it on High does work, but I’ve found Low yields the best results.

How to Tell When it’s Done Cooking

  • Fork Tenderness: Insert a fork or meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. If it easily slides in and out with little resistance, the brisket is likely done.
  • Internal Temperature: Checking the internal temperature provides a more precise measurement. The ideal internal temperature for a fully cooked brisket is around 195 to 205 degrees.
  • Meat Pulls Apart: When the brisket is ready, the meat should easily pull apart or shred with little effort. If you find the meat resisting, it may need more time to cook.
  • Visible Shrinkage: As the brisket cooks, it will naturally shrink. Look for signs of shrinkage around the edges and in between the muscle fibers. This can be an indication that the collagen has broken down, leading to a tender result.
  • Bark Formation: When using a spice rub, a flavorful crust or “bark” should form on the exterior. This will enhance both the taste and appearance of the finished brisket.
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Nutrition (displayed with net carbs)

Serving: 0.5pound | Calories: 421kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 64g | Fat: 13g
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Nutrition DataMacros are provided as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. This information is calculated using MyFitnessPal.com. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.
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