How to Cook a Brisket in a Crock-Pot

Using a slow-cooker may not be the most traditional way to cook a brisket, but it is one of the simplest methods, especially if you want it super tender. Brisket comes from the lower breast of a steer and is a tough cut of meat. Cooking brisket low and slow allows the connective tissues to slowly dissolve into the meat, resulting in meat that is extremely 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.

A sliced brisket on a black pan. (Image: maria_esau/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Season your brisket generously with salt and pepper, then cut the brisket in half, if necessary, so that it will fit inside of your slow cooker. Coat the insert of the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

Add the aromatics of your choice to the slow cooker, such as sliced onions, minced garlic and shallots, to add more flavor to the brisket.

Step 4

Place the brisket in the slow cooker and add enough liquid to come about halfway up the brisket. You can use water, chicken stock or beef stock to cook the brisket in the slow cooker. You can also combine stock with tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, wine, beer and even cola soda for a variety of flavorful combinations.

Step 5

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 is preferred to ensure a very tender brisket.

Step 6

Transfer the cooked brisket to a cutting board carefully, using large serving forks and let it rest for about 15 minutes. You can either use the forks to shred the brisket to serve it as pulled beef, or slice it thinly using a sharp chef's knife.

Things You'll Need

  • Non-stick cooking spray

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Olive oil or canola oil

  • Aromatics (onions, garlic)

  • Cooking liquid (water, stock, wine or beer)


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 get a chance to be almost entirely submerged in the cooking liquid.

Pour the remaining cooking liquid in a saucepan to simmer and reduce until slightly thickened. You can then use it as a sauce to pour over the brisket.

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