Whether you're celebrating Hanukkah or just trying to put a delicious meal on the dinner table, slow cooker brisket is a great option. Cooking brisket in a Crock Pot helps the meat stay tender and juicy while minimizing effort.
What Is Brisket?
Brisket comes from the lower breast of a steer and is a tough cut of meat, according to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. You can make tender brisket in the oven or in a smoker, but cooking brisket in a slow cooker has its perks.
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Cooking brisket low and slow allows the connective tissues to slowly dissolve into the meat, resulting in meat that is exceptionally tender and easily pulls apart with a fork.
In a slow cooker, brisket is cooked in a liquid of any kind, including chicken stock, red wine and beer, adding juicy flavor to your brisket.
How to Make Slow Cooker Brisket
Things You'll Need
Non-stick cooking spray
Salt and pepper
Large frying pan (for searing)
Olive oil (or another cooking oil)
Aromatics (such as onions and garlic)
Cooking liquid (water, stock, wine or beer)
1. Season Your Meat
Season your brisket generously by rubbing it with salt and pepper.
2. Prepare the Brisket
If necessary cut the brisket in half so it will fit inside your slow cooker. Coat the insert of the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.
3. Sear the Sides
Coat a large skillet with olive oil or canola oil and place over medium-high heat. Sear the brisket in the hot oil on all sides, until it's well-browned. Use metal tongs to turn the brisket in the pan.
4. Add Some Aromatics
Add any aromatics of your choice to the slow cooker, such as sliced onions or minced garlic and shallots to add more flavor to the brisket.
5. Pour in the Liquid
Place the brisket in the slow cooker and add enough liquid to come about halfway up the brisket.
The liquid creates steam, which helps cooks your slow cooker brisket and lock in moisture, according to the University of Minnesota Extension. You can use water, chicken stock or beef stock.
You can also combine the stock with tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, wine, beer and even cola soda to create a variety of flavorful combinations.
6. Cover and Cook
Cover the slow cooker and cook the brisket on low heat for 6 to 8 hours, or on high heat for about 5 hours. The low-heat method will give you a more tender brisket.
7. Cut and Serve
Transfer the cooked brisket to a cutting board carefully, using large serving forks.
Always let slow cooker brisket rest for about 15 minutes before serving. You can either use forks to shred the brisket and serve it pulled, or slice it thinly using a sharp chef's knife.
Other Slow Cooker Brisket Cooking Tips
If your slow cooker can't fit the brisket in a single layer, it is OK to lay one piece on top of the other. However, you will need to switch them about halfway through so that both brisket pieces can be submerged in the cooking liquid.
Create your own sauce by pouring the remaining cooking liquid in a saucepan, bringing it to a simmer and reducing until slightly thickened. Pour it over your brisket before serving.
Check the internal temperature of your beef brisket before serving. The minimum safe temperature for beef is 145 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.