Beef brisket is a tough cut of meat that becomes magically tender when cooked correctly. The best way to cook the brisket is at a low temperature over a long period of time, which softens the collagen in the beef rendering it fork tender.
Slow Cooker Whiskey Braised Brisket
The slow cooker provides an excellent way to braise meats because it has a naturally moist cooking environment, low temperatures, and long cooking times. This beef brisket differs from other recipes, because the whiskey barbecue sauce lends it deep flavors. Enjoy the beef with the braising liquid spooned over mashed potatoes with some steamed veggies on the side.
Serves 8 to 10
- 1 (4 to 6) pound beef brisket
- Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup whiskey
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- Season the brisket liberally with salt and pepper and place it in the slow cooker.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the onions and cook until they are soft, about four minutes.
- Stir in the whiskey, using the side of the spoon to scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, and liquid smoke. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce simmers.
- Pour the sauce over the brisket and turn the brisket to coat it completely. Cover the slow cooker and set it on low. Cook until the brisket is tender and cooked through, about ten hours.
- Remove the brisket from the slow cooker and put it on a cutting board. Pour the sauce from the slow cooker into a heatproof bowl.
- Trim the fat from the brisket and discard it. Cut the beef into quarter inch pieces and return them to the slow cooker.
- Skim excess fat away from the barbecue sauce and discard it. Pour the barbecue sauce over the brisket and stir to combine. Set the slow cooker on low to keep the brisket warm until you're ready to serve it.
You can vary this basic recipe in several ways.
- To make maple-whiskey brisket, leave out the brown sugar and the ketchup. Instead, add 1/2 cup of pure maple syrup to the recipe. Replace the vinegar with apple cider vinegar.
- Make a beer braised brisket by replacing the onion with red onion, and replacing the whiskey with an equal amount of dark beer, such as Guinness Stout. Then, replace the vinegar with red wine vinegar.
- To make a root beer braised brisket, replace the whiskey and soy sauce with 1/2 cup of root beer. Add 1/2 teaspoon of Sriracha to the sauce as it simmers to bring a balanced heat to the sauce.
- Instead of cutting the brisket into quarter inch pieces, use two forks to pull it and serve the brisket as a pulled beef sandwich on rolls with coleslaw on the side.
Feed a Crowd
Cooking beef brisket in the slow cooker makes a great way to feed a crowd due to the large size of a cut. While the brisket cooks or rests, you can enjoy your guests instead of working in the kitchen to make their meal.