The smoker’s great, but if you don’t have time, or don’t have a smoker, this Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket recipe is sure to hit your brisket itch!
Most people I know really enjoy beef brisket when they go to a barbecue restaurant. That smoky, rich flavor of a perfectly cooked brisket is hard to beat, and there’s a whole industry of trying to make incredible smoked beef brisket at home.
Not everyone has a smoker – they’re impractical if you don’t have enough outside space, and they also take a decent amount of work to get set up and smoking. So what do you do if you want BBQ beef brisket at home, but don’t have the smoker?
Simple – try this Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket recipe!
Our Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket is a super simple recipe that you can customize to your own taste. It doesn’t require many ingredients at all and very little prep work is needed. Our Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket is really brisket for anyone and everyone regardless of what culinary tools or talent you may or may not have!
Another huge benefit of this Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket recipe is that it is made with a relatively small piece of brisket: just 3 – 4 pounds, which is about what you can fit in a standard slow cooker. Since you are cooking in a humid cooking environment, there won’t be a ton of shrink, so a relatively lean piece of brisket flat will work perfectly.
Enough introduction, now let’s answer some questions you may have about our Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket recipe:
What size slow cooker should I use for this recipe?
We used our Crock-Pot 6-quart Programmable Slow Cooker and everything fit in the crock perfectly. You can use a smaller or larger slow cooker if you like, just adjust the size of the brisket you cook accordingly.
We like using a programmable slow cooker because it makes timing easy and keeps the brisket warm after cooking, but a manual slow cooker also works just fine!
What type of brisket should I order for this recipe?
If you are smoking a brisket, we recommend getting at least a 6 – 7 pound brisket with fat cover left on it to protect the brisket from drying too much while it cooks.
Since this is a Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket recipe, you can get a much smaller piece without fat on it! For this recipe, we recommend ordering a 3 – 4# brisket flat piece with the fat trimmed off.
I like smokey brisket – is this recipe smokey?
It’s impossible to recreate the natural flavor of hard wood smoke on brisket, but here are three ways you can bring smoked flavor to the brisket in your slow cooker:
- Use a rub with smoky ingredients like smoked peppers, smoked paprika, or a smoke flavor.
- Use whiskey as your cooking liquid to impart some of the charred barrel flavor to the brisket.
- As a last resort…you can put a few drops of liquid smoke into your cooking liquid. We don’t love the flavor of artificial smoke, but if you like it, by all means, go ahead and add it!
How else can I customize this Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket recipe?
Beyond adding ingredients to add a smoked flavor to our Slow Cooker BBQ Beef, you have a few other choices that you can make to affect how this recipe turns out:
- Pick a rub that you like. Use a sweeter one, a spicier one, or go crazy and use Asian Five Spice or some other “atypical” flavor if you like. The rub is the primary flavoring outside the beef itself, so pick something you enjoy eating.
- If you want to shred the beef , cook it longer to make sure it will shred – more like 10 – 12 hours. This recipe is intended to slice, but if you like shredded beef, just cook longer to help the beef shred!
- Add sauce or don’t add sauce, it’s totally up to you! We have a step at the end to caramelize the sauce on the brisket which helps recreate some of the smoker magic, but you can skip this as well.
Finally, you can serve this Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket however you like, but more on that later.
Can I make this recipe with a different cut than beef brisket?
Yes, this recipe also works with boneless beef chuck roast or boneless beef short ribs. These cuts are a bit more fatty than a brisket, so they’ll shred even better!
We do not recommend making this recipe with beef round roasts – they’re just too lean for this recipe.
How do you serve this Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket?
We think this Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket is perfect for sandwiches! Here’s how we like to make the sandwich:
- Simple white bread hamburger bun.
- BBQ sauce.
- Slices of brisket.
- Crispy coleslaw.
It’s simple, but delicious!
You can also serve the slices by themselves with just traditional BBQ side dishes like the ones we discuss below.
What do you serve this Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket with?
Texas BBQ has a great array of side dishes that are perfect with brisket. Here are some of our favorite side dishes to enjoy with Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket:
- Mac n’ Cheese
- Potato Salad
And, of course, you can serve this Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket as part of a BBQ platter with other bbq meats like pulled pork, pulled chicken, or ribs!
Do you have more beef brisket recipes?
Of course we do! Here are a few of our favorites:
- Incredible Texas Smoked Brisket Recipe
- Bourbon Braised Brisket Recipe
- Oven Roasted Beef Brisket Recipe
We hope you enjoyed reading about our Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket recipe, and more importantly, we hope you enjoy eating it! Let us know if you have any comments, feedback, or suggestions by leaving us a rating or comment below.
- 3 – 4 lb Leahy’s Angus Beef Brisket Flat Piece (Chuck Roast can be substituted as well)
- BBQ Rub
- 1.5 cup Water
- BBQ Sauce
Generously season your brisket on all sides with BBQ rub. Use your favorite rub, anything from a standard Kansas City BBQ rub, to traditional Texas salt and pepper, to something totally different like a Chinese Five Spice rub will work. If time permits, let the brisket sit for 30 minutes – 2 hours in the refrigerator, but if you don’t have time, it can go right into the slow cooker.
Pour the water into the slow cooker and then add in the brisket. You may need to trim a little or squeeze it in, but that’s fine. If it fits, it’ll cook!
Note – you can also use (cheap) whiskey for your cooking liquid if you’d like a little smokiness added to the flavor.
Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 – 10 hours, until the brisket is tender, about 190ºF internal temperature. If you want shredded brisket, cook longer, until it reaches 200 – 205ºF.
Note, you can also cook this recipe on the high setting for about 5 hours, if you are short on time.
Remove the brisket from the slow cooker and place on a sheet pan. Brush with your favorite BBQ sauce, and then place under a broiler on high for for 5 – 10 minutes, until the sauce caramelizes on the outside of the brisket. Once the sauce is caramelized, remove from oven.
Let the brisket rest for at least 15 minutes after removing from oven, then slice the brisket against the grain into thin slices. Serve the slices as sandwiches as suggested above, or with your favorite BBQ sides. Enjoy your Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket!
PS – here’s a guide on how to slice brisket if you’d like some help.