Brisket and a homemade simple, tomato-based sauce slow cooker together in this tender beef recipe. Make this brisket in your slow cooker or Instant Pot.
If this recipe looks similar it’s because I pretty much took my slow cooker holiday brisket recipe and converted the sauce to be healthier, sans the bouillon granules. Removing this and using garlic salt inadvertently makes this recipe paleo and whole30 compliant.
Brisket, A Tough Cut Of Beef
Brisket is a popular cut of beef for braising or slow cooking for a reason. Beef brisket is a cut of meat from the breast of a cow. It’s a tough cut of meat to cook with but the great thing about the slow cooker or pressure cooker (Instant Pot) is that even the toughest cuts will be cooked to melt-in-your-mouth tender. I purchase my brisket with the fat already trimmed. Please note that depending on the size & shape of brisket, you may have to cut it into pieces to get it to fit into the appliance.
To Sear Or Not To Sear
That is the question. For the Instant Pot, it’s an included instruction. For the slow cooker, searing your meat before adding it to the slow cooker is listed as optional. I chose to pan sear my brisket beforehand. I will always leave this as a recommended but optional step. I have made plenty of briskets and roasts in the slow cooker without searing them beforehand and they came out just fine.
Other brisket and roast recipes you might enjoy:
Make This Ahead of Time
Slow cooker or Instant Pot brisket can not only be made the day ahead of time and reheated, some might argue that it’s actually better that way. After it cools, I put the entire slow cooker or Instant Pot base right in the refrigerator. The next day, you will be able to easily remove the fat that has hardened. This is also a good time to slice against the grain if you’re going to do so because the meat is easier to cut cold. To reheat, add the brisket back into the slow cooker or Instant Pot and reheat on the warm setting. If you’re using a Crock-Pot brand of slow cooker, did you know that the base is oven safe? Yup, you can pop the entire base in the oven for temperatures up to 400 degrees.
Serving The Brisket
Brisket is a cut of beef that is traditionally served by slicing against the grain. It can also be shredded too. If I’m eating the brisket the day I cook it, the meat is usually so tender that it falls apart I take it out the slow cooker. When that happens, I just shred it down. When I make the brisket a day ahead & cool it overnight in the frig, I usually slice the brisket against the grain. The meat is cold & firm which makes it’s easy to cut. Same taste regardless of how you serve it.
- 3–4 pounds beef brisket
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp oil (optional)
- 28 ounces crushed or diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup dried onion flakes
- 1/2 tsp parsley
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
Optional step: add oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season brisket with salt & pepper. Add seasoned brisket to heated skillet and pan-sear a few minutes on each side.
- Lay brisket in the slow cooker. If you didn’t sear the meat, then season it with the salt & pepper now.
- In a medium size, bowl mix together sauce ingredients. Pour sauce on top and under the brisket.
- Cook HIGH 4-5 hours or LOW 8-10.
- Season brisket generously with salt & pepper. Turn the on the pressure cooker to saute. Once hot, add oil and the brisket and sear a few minutes on both sides until browned. Remove brisket and set aside.
- In a medium size bowl, mix together sauce ingredients. Pour mixture into the pressure cooker and deglaze by scraping off any browned bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Add brisket back into the Instant Pot, fat side up.
- Select manual setting. Adjust to high pressure & and set time for 25 minutes per pound of meat. Naturally for about 10 minutes, then quick release for remaining pressure.
- Remove brisket from the Instant Pot. Either cut against the grain or shred the meat.