Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket
Delicious melt-in-your-mouth bbq beef brisket isn’t hard to make! This slow cooker brisket recipe is easy to make and produces perfect results. Use the meat to make chopped brisket sandwiches or serve with your favorite sides!
BBQ beef brisket is what Texas is all about!
I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve called up our friends and asked if they want to jump in the car and go grab a brisket sandwich with a blueberry cobbler from our favorite bbq shop in town. A chopped brisket sandwich piled high with tender beef, sliced onions, pickled jalapeños, and a bowl of slaw on the side. If you’re a regular like I am, you cross your fingers that by the time you get to the front of the line, they’ll have the burnt end (or tip) ready to chop up for you! I love the extra crunchy bark!
All this to say that homemade bbq beef brisket is a must because then, I’m guaranteed to get the burnt tip every time – or you know, at least half of it!
What is brisket?
Brisket is a tough cut of meat that comes from the breast or chest section of the cow. The best method of cooking brisket is low and slow so the collagen fibers and connective tissue break down and liquify. You can’t eat brisket rare, so it shouldn’t be pink in the center when you’re done cooking it through.
Can you shred bbq beef brisket?
Yes, if you wanted to, you could shred brisket. You’ll want to remove any fat left on the brisket and shred the beef using two forks. You could chop up the fat and add it back in if you like that.
However, if you’re looking to make bbq brisket sandwiches, I suggest chopping the brisket into small pieces rather than shredding it! It is much easier to eat a sandwich that way!
Slow cooker bbq beef brisket starts with a rub
Brisket can be marinated for as little as 1 hour and up to 24 hours in advance. I find that the flavor is extra delicious when you marinate so I let it go for as long as I can! The dry rub is simple ingredients. You’ll need:
- Seasonings: You’ll need smoked paprika, garlic powder, kosher salt, dried parsley, ground cumin, ground coriander, oregano, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. The cayenne is optional if you prefer to keep things not spicy!
- Brown sugar: brown sugar helps flavor the meat and the sugar will caramelize when we place it in the oven to form that ‘bark.’
- Oil: we’re using a tablespoon to help combine the dry ingredients and help them adhere to the brisket.
- Vinegar: a small amount of apple cider vinegar is used to lend flavor to the rub.
How to make slow cooker bbq beef brisket:
- Start by rubbing the brisket with the paste. Pat the brisket dry. Combine the ingredients in a bowl and, when combined, rub the paste all over the brisket on both sides. Cover the brisket with plastic wrap and allow for it to marinate for 1 hour and up to 24 hours in advance.
- Prepare the slow cooker ingredients. Combine homemade bbq sauce, beef stock, and soy sauce in a measuring cup and set aside. Grab a large onion and cut it down the center. Place cut sides down into the slow cooker. The onion will act as a trivet for the brisket. Add the brisket to the slow cooker with the fat side up. Pour the prepared sauce over the brisket. Cover the slow cooker and let it cook on low heat for 6-8 hours, you want to stop slow cooking when the brisket reaches an internal temperature of 175ºF. It will rise another 10 degrees in the oven.
- Form that bark. Once you’ve slow cooked the brisket, remove it to a baking sheet lined with foil and a wire baking rack. We’re going to use a fat separator to remove the fat from the sauce. Then, baste the brisket with the skimmed sauce and bake in the oven until the outside forms a deep crust.
- Allow it to rest. Once browned, remove the brisket from the oven and cover with foil. The temperature will continue to rise another 10 degrees, so it’s important to remove the brisket when it reaches 185ºF. This allows the brisket to rest and redistribute the juices. Once rested, slice the meat and serve!
What’s the best way to slice brisket?
To ensure you get a tender mouthful of meat, I suggest slicing brisket against the grain.
What to serve with homemade beef brisket:
I have a ton of recipes that would pair beautifully with my homemade beef brisket recipe. I would suggest my southern smoky beans, homemade coleslaw, macaroni salad and potato salad (coming soon.)
If you’re serving this as a chopped brisket sandwich, I suggest piling the meat high on brioche buns, with sweet sliced onions, pickled onions. Also, you want to dip or drizzle the sandwich in homemade bbq sauce, it makes it so amazing!
Other beef recipes you’ll love:
- Pressure cooked Barbacoa beef
- Rancher’s Texas Chili (chili con carne)
- Instant pot Korean Beef Bowls
- Restaurant-style beef shawarma
- Slow cooker Cuban Shredded Beef
- Ridiculously Tender Beef Tips with Mushroom Gravy
Other sandwiches to try:
- Homemade sloppy Joes
- Pickle-brined crispy chicken sandwich
- Slow cooker French dip sandwich
- Vietnamese Chicken Sandwich (Banh Mi)
- Kofta Pita Sandwich
- 4 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon EACH: smoked paprika AND oil
- 2 teaspoons EACH: kosher salt, garlic powder, AND apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon EACH: black pepper AND onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley AND ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander, oregano, AND chili powder
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 cup bbq sauce
- ¼ cup low sodium beef stock (or water)
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1 large onion, cut in half
- 2-3 pounds brisket (trim a bit of the fat, if you’d like)
- PREP: Mix the ingredients for the rub paste in a small bowl and massage all over the brisket. Allow the brisket to marinate with the rub for 1-24 hours in advance if you want more flavor!
- SLOW COOKER: Combine the bbq sauce, stock, and soy sauce in bowl. Place 2 onion halves in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the brisket in the slow cooker fat side up, pour the sauce over the brisket and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours (6-7 hours for 2 pound, 8 hours for 3 lbs) on the low setting. It's best to test the meat using a thermometer, you want to stop cooking when it reaches an internal temperature fo 175ºF.
- BROIL: Place a rack in the oven in the upper third. Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Line a baking sheet with foil or a wire rack is even better if you have one that’s broiler safe. Remove the brisket to the foil-lined baking pan. Pour the sauce through a fat separator, discard the fat, and use the sauce to baste the brisket. Place the brisket under the broiler and keep a close eye on it. When the brisket deepens in color and a ‘bark’ forms, remove from the oven.
- REST: Cover the brisket with foil and allow for the juices to redistribute for 15-20 minutes, the internal temperature will also rise another 10 degrees as the brisket rests. Slice against the grain and serve!