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Loved how this came out! My friends at church were gushing over it

Slow Cooker Beef Brisket: A Journey into Comfort Food

Greetings, fellow food enthusiasts! Today, I’m thrilled to share with you a recipe that resonates deeply with comfort food lovers – the Slow Cooker Beef Brisket. The brisket, a cut from the lower chest of beef or veal, is known for its rich flavors and satisfying texture when cooked slowly. Originating from the culinary traditions of Eastern Europe, this dish has found a cherished place in American cuisine, particularly revered in the barbecue scenes of Texas. A slow cooker version allows for a more set-and-forget approach, making it a superb choice for a hearty family meal or an impressive centerpiece for casual entertaining. What’s more, this dish exemplifies the beauty of transformation as the connective tissues in the brisket melt into succulence over the low and slow cooking process. Let’s dive into this culinary journey that brings a delectably tender brisket to your table with minimal fuss.

This majestic Slow Cooker Beef Brisket is versatile and goes hand in hand with numerous accompaniments. For a classic pairing, try serving it alongside a creamy coleslaw or a fresh green salad to balance the richness. Roasted vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and parsnips can absorb the brisket’s flavorful juices, elevating the entire dining experience. For those who favor a touch of starch, a side of garlicky mashed potatoes or a warm loaf of crusty bread will not disappoint. And don’t forget the pickles and barbecue sauce for that extra kick!

Slow Cooker Beef Brisket Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4-5 pounds beef brisket, trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar or red wine (for a richer flavor)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Fresh thyme sprigs

Directions

Preparing the Brisket

  1. Begin by patting the brisket dry with paper towels. This helps the seasoning adhere better and promotes a good sear.
  2. In a small bowl, combine salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder to create a seasoning mix.
  3. Rub this seasoning mix all over the brisket, ensuring a generous coat on both sides.

Searing and Slow Cooking

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the brisket for about 3-4 minutes on each side until a golden crust forms, then transfer it to the slow cooker.
  2. In the same skillet, add the sliced onion and garlic, cooking until softened and fragrant – roughly 3 minutes.
  3. Pour in the beef broth to deglaze the skillet, scrapping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce. Allow the mixture to simmer for 2 minutes before pouring it over the brisket in the slow cooker.
  4. Toss in bay leaves and a few sprigs of fresh thyme on top of the brisket.
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Cooking and Serving

  1. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, until the brisket is fork-tender.
  2. Once done, let the brisket rest before slicing against the grain. Serve with the gravy created from the cooking juices, strained if desired for a smoother sauce.

Variations & Tips

Sweetness Adjustment

For those who enjoy a touch of sweetness, consider adding a bit of honey or maple syrup to the sauce. This can enhance the overall flavor profile and add a delightful caramelized note.

Spice it Up

If a kick is what you’re after, a dash of chipotle in adobo sauce or a sprinkle of chili flakes will add a pleasant heat. This variation can give the brisket a slight southwestern flair.

Thicken the Sauce

To thicken the sauce into a more gravy-like consistency, whisk a tablespoon of cornstarch with cold water and stir it into the juices. Cook on high heat in the slow cooker for an additional 15-20 minutes until the desired thickness is achieved.

Tips for Perfect Brisket

  • Choose the Right Cut: Look for a well-marbled brisket, as the fat content will help keep the meat moist during the long cooking process.
  • Patience is Key: Remember, the key to a superb brisket is patience. Slow and steady wins this race, infusing the meat with flavors and tenderness that can’t be rushed.
  • Rest Before Slicing: Allowing the brisket to rest before slicing helps the juices redistribute, making for a more tender and flavorful bite.

FAQs

Can I cook the brisket on high to save time?

While it’s possible to cook the brisket on high for a shorter period, the best results are achieved with low and slow cooking. Cooking on low allows the connective tissues to break down properly, resulting in a more tender and flavorful brisket.

Can I make this recipe in advance?

Absolutely! In fact, brisket often tastes even better the next day. Cook the brisket as directed, let it cool, and refrigerate. When ready to serve, gently reheat in the slow cooker or oven.

What can I do with leftovers?

Leftover brisket is incredibly versatile. Use it in sandwiches, tacos, or even as a topping for baked potatoes. It also freezes well, so you can enjoy it at a later time.

What if I don’t have a slow cooker?

If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can use a Dutch oven or an oven-safe pot with a lid. Follow the same steps, but cook in the oven at 275°F (135°C) for 4-5 hours, or until the brisket is fork-tender.

Can I use a different cut of meat?

While brisket is ideal for this recipe due to its fat content and texture, you can also use other cuts like chuck roast. Just keep in mind that cooking times may vary slightly.

Enjoy the journey of making this Slow Cooker Beef Brisket, and more importantly, savor the feast that awaits!