sliced brisket with onions and fresh herbs on a parchment lined baking sheet

BEEF BRISKET IN THE SLOW COOKER

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Tender, juicy and fall apart delicious, once you cook Beef Brisket in the Slow Cooker, you may never want to do it any other way again! It’s mostly hands off, super easy and makes the house smell irresistibly delicious as it slowly cooks up to perfection.

You don’t gotta tempt me with a slow cooker meal. I mean, don’t those words alone just sound magical? For busy and lazy people alike, the crock pot is one of the world’s best kitchen inventions. Any time I personally hear the words “crock pot” or “slow cooker” my mind automatically turns to comfort food. But not just any comfort food. Comfort food that is cooked to mere perfection without having to barely lift a finger. Say what?! Comfort food that makes you literally salivate with it’s aromas that have taken over your ENTIRE house as it slowly but surely cooks…. But who’s complaining?! Not I. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about then you seriously need to make this Beef Brisket in the Slow Cooker recipe, like ASAP.

side view of sliced brisket with onions and fresh herbs on a parchment lined baking sheet, sauce and herbs in the background, fork and knife on the tray

WHAT IS BRISKET?

Brisket is a cut of beef coming from the pectoral muscles or chest of the cow. Each cow has two, one on each side. Normally, there is both a leaner side (usually called the “flat” or “first cut”) as well as a tougher side with more fat and marbling (usually called the “point” or “second cut). In both cases, since the cow is exercising this muscle constantly by doing daily tasks such as walking or grazing, brisket is generally a pretty tough cut of meat with lots of connective tissue. Because of this, the best way for cooking beef brisket is a low and slow method. Think smoker, oven, BBQ or, you guessed it, slow cooker or crockpot.

For your reference, I used the point or second cut of the brisket for this Slow Cooker Brisket recipe. However, I believe it would be just as tasty (although not as fatty) with the flat or first cut. Be sure to let me know in the comments down below which cut of the brisket you choose to use!

SHOULD I SLICE OR SHRED BRISKET?

This tender crockpot brisket is good both ways! The best part about brisket is that even though it’s cooked to fall apart tender perfection, it still holds its shape while slicing. Depending on what you’re making it for, you can choose to serve it up shredded or “pulled.” Or, you can choose to slice it into thin or thick slices. Both versions are shown in the photos down below. When I’m making things like nachos, tacos, sandwiches or poutines, I like to shred the brisket (which you can easily do using two forks or your hands). But when I’m feeling more of a classic brisket dinner with creamy coleslaw and all the fixin’s, I go the sliced route. Either way, this Beef Brisket in the Slow Cooker is mouth-watering delicious and finger licking good!

hands pulling apart some brisket over a bowl with the rest. Sauces and coleslaw in the background
hand holding up a whole piece of brisket over a bowl with the rest, sauces, lime, herbs and coleslaw in the background

INGREDIENTS TO MAKE BEEF BRISKET IN THE SLOW COOKER

ingredients for beef brisket in the slow cooker - beef brisket, beef broth, onions, garlic, arrowroot powder, dry rub, whole grain mustard, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.

They say a good brisket is all about the dry rub! Which is why you only need a few additional ingredients to bring this bad boy together. Let’s get into them in a little bit more detail down below:

  • The Brisket: The star of the show and main event! When cooked properly (aka low and slow) brisket is super tender, moist, juicy and fall apart delicious. As mentioned above, there are normally two different cuts of brisket. One leaner (called the “flat” or “first cut”). And the other more fatty and marbled (called the “point” or “second cut”). For this Slow Cooker Beef Brisket recipe, I used the fattier and more marbled cut aka the point. However, I’m sure it would be just as delicious with the “flat” or “first cut”.
  • The Dry Rub: Arguably the most important part of a good brisket as that is where much of the flavour comes from. Not to worry, ya gal has obviously got you covered. This recipe for Beef Brisket in the Slow Cooker uses my special Brisket Dry Rub. It’s the perfect balance of smoky and sweet. Find my easy, DIY Brisket Dry Rub recipe HERE.
  • Beef Broth: Adds flavour and creates steam in the crockpot making our brisket come out extra moist and tender. Nothing goes to waste as we then use the broth to make a delicious sauce or gravy for the brisket. You can use bone broth (pictured), vegetable broth or chicken broth instead, if you prefer.
  • Onions: Adds texture and flavour to this Beef Brisket recipe. The onions caramelize and develop a perfect depth of flavour as they slow cook beneath the brisket soaking up all the juices. White or yellow onions work best in this recipe.
  • Garlic: Adds flavour to the brisket and gravy. Fresh garlic works best in this recipe.
  • Soy Sauce: Adds flavour, saltiness and a nice deep colour to this Slow Cooker Beef Brisket.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: Adds flavour and a light smokiness to the dish.
  • Whole Grain Mustard: I don’t know why it’s been ingrained (no pun intended) in my head that brisket and mustard are like a match made in Heaven. Well, cause they are, I guess! Adds texture and flavour to this Beef Brisket recipe. Feel free to use regular mustard or dijon mustard instead, if that’s all you have on hand.
  • Arrowroot Powder: Goes in at the end to thicken up the juices and broth to make a sauce/gravy for the Brisket. Any other thickener you have on hand, such as cornstarch or tapioca flour, will work just fine as well.
bowl of sliced brisket with fresh herbs, onions and lime, ramekin of horseradish in the bowl
HOW TO MAKE BEEF BRISKET IN THE SLOW COOKER (KEY TIPS)
sliced brisket with onions and fresh herbs on a parchment lined baking sheet, ramekin of horseradish on the side
  • Pat the brisket dry with paper towel before seasoning or cooking. This will remove any excess moisture allowing it to cook evenly and to perfection in the slow cooker.
  • Be generous with the seasonings (and I can’t emphasize this enough!). You reeeeally wanna get all up in there with your hands, making sure to press the dry rub into the brisket, hitting up every nook, cranny and crevice you can get it in. Remember, dry rub = flavour. And you’ll get A LOT of it if you make sure to properly season the brisket all the way around.
  • If time allows, marinate the brisket in the seasonings for 6-8 hours up to overnight. I like to throw everything in the crockpot the night before and put it in the fridge so all I have to do in the morning is plug it in! Don’t fret if you forgot or don’t have the time (life is busy, I get it!) as you’ll still end up with an incredibly flavourful piece of meat. However, as with most meats, marinating them in advance will allow the flavours to develop more resulting in more profound flavours.
  • Place the brisket fat side up in the crockpot. While it slow cooks, the fat will render (melt) and trickle down over the meat and into the sauce adding extra flavour, flavour, flavour! EXTRA TIP: You want the layer of onions and garlic to be at the bottom of the crock pot so the brisket itself doesn’t come into contact with the ceramic bowl.
  • Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Depending on your slow cooker and the size and weight of your beef brisket, it could take anywhere from 8-10 hours on low. The best way to tell if you’re good to go is to use a meat thermometer which will register 195°F – 205°F when done. The meat should be fork tender and fall apart delicious!
  • Broil the brisket in the oven on high after taking it out of the slow cooker. This will crisp up the skin giving you that dark, crusted outer layer that is full of flavour!
  • Let the brisket rest for at least 20 minutes before shredding or slicing. This will lock in and redistribute the juices keeping it moist, tender and flavourful throughout.
  • Use arrowroot powder (or another thickener such as cornstarch) to thicken up the sauce/juices at the bottom of the crockpot. You can do this directly in the crockpot if you do it as soon as you remove the brisket while the liquid is still hot and bubbling. However, if you don’t get to it right away, simply transfer the liquid, onions and garlic to a pot and mix in your arrowroot powder on low heat until you reach your desired thickness.
  • Don’t forget to serve this Slow Cooker Beef Brisket with the caramelized onions, garlic and thickened gravy at the bottom of the pot! It doesn’t get much better than that. Trust me!
hands holding a bowl of sliced brisket with onions, lime, fresh herbs, sauces and coleslaw in the background
FAQ
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
SHOULD YOU FLIP BRISKET WHEN SLOW COOKING?

No, it’s not necessary to flip brisket when slow cooking in a crockpot or slow cooker. The crock pot produces enough steam and heat to evenly cook the brisket all the way around (the liquid at the bottom helps ensure even cooking). The beauty of Beef Brisket in the Slow Cooker is that you can literally set it and forget it! YAY!

CAN YOU OVERCOOK BRISKET IN A SLOW COOKER?

Yes, it is in fact possible to overcook brisket in a slow cooker. While it is a tough cut of meat and slow cooking it over a long period of time is what makes it tender, cooking it for too long will result in mushy and unappetizing brisket. To avoid overcooking your brisket, ensure you have your slow cooker set to low and not high and use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. When the brisket is done it should register between 195°F and 200°F and easily shred with a fork.

WHAT IS TRADITIONALLY SERVED WITH BRISKET?

First things first – do not forget to add arrowroot powder (or other thickener, such as cornstarch) to the juices and broth at the bottom of the crockpot after you remove the brisket to make a sauce or gravy. Why you ask?! Cause you want to serve it up with allllllll those delicious flavours including the caramelized onions and garlic cloves.

Additionally, to keep things on the traditional side, serve this brisket up with these tasty sides: creamy coleslaw or tangy coleslaw, cornbread or garlic bread, creamy corn or roasted veggies (broccoli or cauliflower work great!) and/or any kind of potato such as roasted or mashed.

Have leftovers? Try them in my delicious Beef Brisket Sandwiches!

bowl of sliced brisket with fresh herbs, onions and lime
sliced brisket with onions and fresh herbs on a parchment lined baking sheet

BEEF BRISKET IN THE SLOW COOKER

Yield: 8-10 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 25 minutes

Tender, juicy and fall apart delicious, once you cook Beef Brisket in the Slow Cooker, you may never want to do it any other way again! It's mostly hands off, super easy and makes the house smell irresistibly delicious as it slowly cooks up to perfection.

Ingredients

  • 1 3-4 pound Beef Brisket (Point or Flat)
  • 5 whole Garlic Cloves
  • 4 Onions, sliced
  • 2 cups Beef Broth
  • 1/2 cup (or more, if needed) Brisket Dry Rub
  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Whole Grain Mustard
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Arrowroot Powder (or Cornstarch)

Instructions

  1. Pat the brisket dry with paper towel and season GENEROUSLY with the dry rub, using as much of it as it takes to cover the entire thing, front, back and on all sides. Use your hands to rub the seasonings into the meat.
    hand with a paper towel patting down a raw whole brisket
    raw whole brisket on a parchment lined baking sheet
    dry rub on a raw whole brisket
    hand rubbing dry rub onto a whole raw brisket on a parchment lined baking sheet
    raw dry rubbed whole brisket on a parchment lined baking sheet
  2. In a bowl, mix the beef broth, soy sauce, mustard and worcestershire sauce until well combined.
    brown seasoned liquid in a bowl
  3. Spread the onions and garlic out into the bottom of the crockpot then place the brisket on top, fat side up. Pour the broth mixture over top. It won't fully submerge the meat...and that's okay but feel free to press it down a little with the back of a spatula. If time allows, mariate for 6-8 hours or up to overnight*
    raw sliced white onions and whole peeled garlic cloves in a crockpot
    whole seasoned raw brisket in a crockpot
  4. Cook on low heat for 8-10 hours (depending on your crockpot and size of your brisket). Start checking at the 8 hour mark and every 30 minutes thereafter...mine took exactly 8 hours. It's done when it's fork tender and an instant meat thermometer registers 195°F-205°F.
    caramelized onions and garlic in a crockpot with brisket and broth
    meat thermometer reading 205 degrees sticking out of a whole seasoned and cooked brisket on a cutting board
  5. Carefully transfer the brisket to a parchment lined baking sheet and broil in the oven on high, for 5-10 minutes or until the top crisps up nicely.
    cooked whole beef brisket on a parchment lined baking sheet
  6. Meanwhile, thicken the gravy. In a small bowl, mix the arrowroot powder with a few tablespoons of the liquid from the crockpot then stir it back in. As long as the liquid in the slow cooker is still bubbling and hot, it should thicken up slightly within a few minutes. If not, transfer the mixture to the stove and thicken it up over medium heat instead.
    hand with a bowl of orange liquid over a crockpot
  7. Let the brisket rest on a cutting board for at least 20 minutes before slicing or shredding. Seve with the caramelized onions and garlic and thickened juice from the crockpot.
    cooked whole beef brisket on a cutting board

Notes

I like to throw everything in the crockpot the night before and put it in the fridge so all I have to do in the morning is plug it in! Don't fret if you forgot or don't have the time as you'll still end up with an incredibly flavourful piece of meat. However, as with most meats, marinating them in advance will allow the flavours to develop more resulting in more profound flavours.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 554Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 192mgSodium: 668mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 54g

Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.

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HAVE LEFTOVERS? TRY THEM IN MY BEEF BRISKET SANDWICH RECIPE!

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