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Slow Cooker BBQ Brisket

Learn how to make the best dry rubbed BBQ beef brisket in the Crockpot! This Slow Cooker BBQ Brisket cooks all day to yield a juicy, fork-tender, and delicious piece of meat. Instant Pot instructions included.

sliced bbq brisket

Capture the essence of Texas BBQ beef brisket without leaving home. This slow cooker bbq beef brisket is the best way to make homemade brisket to cure those cravings. Before we dive into the recipe, let’s go over the basics.

Brisket comes from the muscular lower chest of the cow, so it has a lot of connective tissue. That said, there are only so many ways to cook it without it becoming tough and chewy. Cooking it low and slow is imperative, and slow cookers are the perfect equipment for the job.

While shopping for brisket, you’ll notice two different cuts: flat cut and point cut. The flat cut has less marbelization, so it’s easier to slice, while the point cut has more fat, so it tends to have more flavor. After bathing in a Crockpot of BBQ sauce all day, either cut will be melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

💗 Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s incredibly tender and tasty.
  • You’ll only need five spices for the dry bbq rub and no sugar.
  • There’s an option to make it in the Instant Pot.
  • It’s delicious piled high on a bun for bbq brisket sandwiches!
  • Keto, paleo, and Whole30!

🥩 Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Beef Brisket – Brisket is unlike any other cut, as it must be cooked low, slow, and all the way through. When prepared correctly, it’s tender enough to shred and stable enough to slice. No substitutions here.
  • Homemade BBQ Dry Rub – You’ll need smoked paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, salt, and black pepper. Feel free to adjust the spices to your liking.
  • Beef Broth – To keep the bottom from burning, you’ll need a liquid. Beef broth infuses more flavor, but you can use water in a pinch.
  • BBQ Sauce – Use your favorite or make it from scratch. For Paleo & Whole30 purposes, check out The New Primal sauces. The classic BBQ sauce and smoky BBQ sauce are great options.
brisket with bbq sauce and dry rub

🥣 How To Make Slow Cooker Shredded BBQ Brisket

1️⃣ Make BBQ dry rub.
First, mix paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl.

2️⃣ Prepare brisket for the slow cooker.
Place the brisket on a large cutting board and pat completely dry with paper towels. Trim away any excess fat with a sharp knife (optional).

3️⃣ Apply dry rub to beef.
Sprinkle the dry rub all over the brisket. Be sure to coat all sides.

4️⃣ Add broth, beef, and BBQ sauce to the slow cooker.
Add the beef broth to your slow cooker, and then the seasoned brisket.
Pour a half-cup of BBQ sauce over the top, and spread it out evenly with a spoon.

5️⃣ Slow cook beef.
Program your slow cooker to cook on LOW for 8 hours (or until the internal temperature reaches 175F).

6️⃣ Let beef rest.
Transfer the brisket from the slow cooker and place it on a clean cutting board. Leave it be for about 5 minutes.

7️⃣ Slice beef and return to slow cooker.
Thinly slice the brisket against the grain with a serrated knife. Then, place the slices back in the Crockpot with the juices and the rest of the BBQ sauce.

8️⃣ Finish in the slow cooker.
Continue to slow cook on LOW for 30 minutes for the brisket to absorb all of the delicious flavors.

♨️ Instant Pot Instructions

You also have the option to make shredded BBQ brisket in a pressure cooker in a fraction of the time. To pressure cook beef brisket:

1️⃣ Heat oil.
With the Instant Pot set to SAUTE, heat a tablespoon of oil.

2️⃣ Prepare brisket for the pressure cooker.
While the oil heats, cut the brisket into 2 to 3 pieces to fit in the Instant Pot.

3️⃣ Sear brisket.
Then, add the pieces to the Instant Pot and sear on all sides until browned. Remove from the pot.

4️⃣ Deglaze pot.
Add beef broth to the pot to deglaze, scraping up any browned bits, and then return the seared brisket to the pot. Pour half of the BBQ sauce over top of the brisket.

5️⃣ Pressure cook brisket.
Secure the lid and make sure the pressure valve is sealed. Then, manually set your Instant Pot to cook on HIGH for 20 minutes PER pound. It will take at least 15 minutes to preheat before the timer starts counting down. When the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally.

6️⃣ Serve.
Once the pressure valve drops, you can remove the brisket and transfer it to a clean cutting board. Slice or shred the beef and serve.

🧑‍🍳 Recipe Tips & Variations

  • Check for doneness – If slow cooker bbq brisket is undercooked even in the slightest, it won’t be tender. Use a kitchen thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches at least 175F.
  • Drain excess liquid – Before returning the meat to the Crockpot after slicing, drain the liquid for a thicker BBQ sauce.
  • Broil to form “bark”: After shredding, spread it out on a foil-lined baking sheet and broiler for a few minutes to develop a deep caramelized crust.
  • Cook on HIGH – If you’re in a rush, you can cook the brisket on high, but no promises it will be as succulent as slow-cooked brisket! It’s worth it to save this recipe when you have a full day to cook.
  • Line pot with onion – Cut 2 to 3 medium onions into wedges and place them in the bottom of the slow cooker to infuse flavor into the meat.
  • Liquid smoke – Add 1/8 teaspoon of liquid smoke instead of smoked paprika. That may not seem like much, but a little goes a long way.
  • Enhance the umami – Mix Worcestershire sauce with the broth for a pronounced umami flavor.
  • Paleo & Whole30 – This recipe is inherently compliant if you use an approved store-bought sauce or make BBQ sauce from scratch. Add coconut aminos to the broth for more flavor.
bbq brisket sandwich with pickles

🍽️ Serving Suggestions

Check out the list below for recipes inspired by classic Southern BBQ sides.

🧊 Storing & Freezing

Storing: Let cool and then store the slices in a shallow airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Freezing: Let cool, and then wrap slices in a couple of layers of plastic wrap. Place in a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months.

❔FAQ

How long can you leave brisket in the slow cooker?

With the Crockpot on LOW, you can leave brisket in from 6 to 8 hours (or until it reaches 175 degrees). It can overcook and turn mushy if it’s left in the slow cooker too long.

Do you flip brisket in a slow cooker?

You don’t necessarily have to, but flipping it at least once ensures all sides were exposed to the same heat.

Why is my brisket tough in a slow cooker?

The connective tissue throughout the meat can become tough and chewy if the brisket is undercooked or cooked at a high temperature too quickly. The key is cooking it on low heat for 6 to 8 hours (175F).

Is brisket good for shredding?

Yes! As long as it’s cooked low and slow, brisket will essentially fall apart when it’s ready.

More Slow Cooker Recipes

Slow Cooker Mississippi Pot Roast
Slow Cooker Butter Chicken
Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
Crockpot Pizza Dip

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bbq brisket with pickles

Slow Cooker Shredded BBQ Brisket

Learn how to make juicy, flavorful dry rubbed BBQ beef brisket in the slow cooker! Instant Pot instructions included.
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 195kcal

Equipment

  • 1 slow cooker

Ingredients

  • 2-3 pounds brisket
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspooons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • 1 cup bbq sauce

Instructions

Slow Cooker

  • Mix paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl.
  • Place the brisket on a large cutting board and pat completely dry with paper towels. Trim away any excess fat with a sharp knife (optional).
  • Sprinkle the dry rub all over the brisket. Be sure to coat all sides.
  • Add the beef broth to the slow cooker, and then the seasoned brisket. Pour a half-cup of BBQ sauce over the top, and spread it out evenly with a spoon
  • Program your slow cooker to cook on LOW for 8 hours (or until the internal temperature reaches 175F).
  • Transfer the brisket from the slow cooker and place it on a clean cutting board. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
  • Thinly slice the brisket against the grain with a serrated knife. Then, place the slices back into the slow cooker with all of the juices and the other half of the BBQ sauce.
  • Continue to slow cook on LOW for 30 minutes in order for the brisket to absorb all of the delicious flavors.

Notes

Instant Pot BBQ Brisket

  1. With the Instant Pot set to SAUTE, heat 1 tablespoon of oil.
  2. While the oil heats, cut the brisket into 2 to 3 pieces, so they fit in the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  3. Then, add the pieces to the Instant Pot and sear on all sides until browned. Remove from the pot.
  4. Add beef broth to the pot to deglaze, scraping up any browned bits, and then return the seared brisket to the pot. Pour half of the BBQ sauce over top.
  5. Secure the lid and set the pressure valve to sealed. Then, manually set the Instant Pot to cook on HIGH for 20 minutes PER pound. It will take at least 15 minutes to preheat before the timer starts counting down. When the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally.
  6. Once the pressure valve drops, you can remove the brisket and transfer it to a clean cutting board. Slice or shred the beef and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 195kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 496mg | Potassium: 398mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 380IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 2mg

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