Slow cooker BBQ brisket recipe

Firstly I’ll say that compared to my last recipe, this is a lot more relaxed. It’s my favourite kind of chuck-it-in-a-pot dish with lots that you can personalise; you can improvise and use whatever looks good in your cupboard, and nothing is too essential that if you realise you’ve run out it’s a disaster (well, other than the brisket). So if the technique of my cherry pie seemed a bit intense, don’t worry, most of my recipes will be more like this…

Ever since my fiance went to Texas last year, he’s been mentioning brisket (I’ve often called him my food muse and I think this may become a running theme), so I splashed out on some beautiful smoked brisket from Abel and Cole and then realised I had no idea how to cook brisket. I amalgamated elements from all the interesting recipes I could find online, opted for a slow cooker approach to help get that lovely melt-in-the-mouth texture, and then I threw in some extra things from my cupboards because… that’s what I always do.

You’ll see that I don’t really provide specific quantities for most of the ingredients – as I’ve said above, a recipe like this is pretty forgiving if you add “too much” or “too little” because it cooks for so long (though I’d always go for “too much” flavour if in doubt!), and you can adjust the proportions to a smell that entices you! (You could also use the flavourings and sauce for other dishes, or use different flavourings but the same timings for a different kind of brisket! I’m thinking Moroccan one time…)

Trust yourself and have some fun!



Note: The ingredients with *s are the “core” flavours and the rest is stuff I added spontaneously from the cupboard. Play around with any of it though – add more of the flavours you like, see whats in your cupboard that looks like it might taste good to add, and leave out the ones you don’t like/don’t have!

  • 1kg smoked beef brisket (though you could obviously do smaller or larger and just adjust accordingly)


  • paprika*
  • cumin*
  • dark sugar*
  • mustard powder*
  • thyme
  • garlic powder
  • cayenne pepper
  • garlic pepper
  • garlic salt
  • a random BBQ rub mix
  • salt and pepper*

BBQ sauce

(I didn’t measure any of this but estimated by eye and then by taste at the end)

  • 1 and 1/2 cups of ketchup*
  • 1/2 cup of water*
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar*
  • 1/2 red onion*
  • 1/2 white onion*
  • 2 garlic cloves*
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar*
  • splash of worcestershire sauce
  • squeeze of chipotle paste
  • squeeze of tomato puree
  • squeeze of garlic paste
  • garlic powder
  • squeeze of existing BBQ sauce
  • splash of pomegranite mollases
  • OXO cube

To serve: sides like mash and veg, rolls with toppings (cheese, coleslaw, onions etc)


Place all the rub ingredients in a small bowl and mix together. I sprinkled a bit of all of them in and then gave it a sniff, and if my favourite flavours (paprika and cumin) weren’t strong enough, I added some more! Then I rubbed this mix all over the brisket and left it to the side while I prepared the sauce. You could leave it to marinade but I don’t think it’s necessary.

Mix all the BBQ sauce ingredients in your slow cooker. If you want a smooth sauce, keep the onion halves and garlic cloves whole – they’ll impart flavour while cooking and then you can pick them out at the end. If you want a chunky sauce, chop them up finely before adding (you might also like to switch some ketchup for some chopped tomatoes to add extra texture).  Then squish in your brisket.

Then slow cook on low for at least 7 hours. (You could probably do this in an oven on a low heat – 150°C ? – for at least 4 hours, but you’ll need to be more wary of it drying out. Cover it with foil and add extra water or chopped tomatoes to the sauce, maybe check every now and again that it hasn’t reduced too much. I’d really recommend the slow-cooker if you have one because you can leave it much more happily. I have this one for under £25 and it does the job well!) You can tell when it’s done when a knife slides into it super easily – it’ll still hold together well but you’ll feel the resistance has gone.

Finally, turn on your oven to around 200°C. Then remove then brisket, place it aside on a baking tray, and pour the remaining sauce from the slow cooker into a saucepan (straining if you want it nice and smooth). At this point, if you haven’t already, taste your sauce and check if it’s sweet/smokey/sharp/tomatoey enough and add some extra flavours if you want to adjust. Then bring the sauce to a medium high heat and reduce it down for ten minutes or so (it’ll thicken even more when it cools so don’t worry if it seems like it’s not reducing enough). As soon as the oven has heated, pop in your brisket. After ten minutes, baste your brisket with some of the sauce, and then put it back in the oven for another ten minutes or so – this is to give it a nice rich caramelised outside but it’s not essential if you’re not fussed about that.


You can serve it however you like but there are two ways I can recommend:

  1. As in the picture above, slice some nice chunks of brisket and serve them with a good dollop of sauce, The Co-Operative mashed potato (really good mash!) and green beans.
  2. Pull apart the brisket with forks, mix it with some of the sauce, then use it to fill soft buns along with a range of toppings – it worked really well with grated smoked cheese, american cheese slices, fried onions and mushrooms, and coleslaw.


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