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This Slow Cooker Barbecue Beef Brisket cooks up fall-apart tender with a super flavorful sauce! 

Slow Cooker Barbecue Beef Brisket

After making this incredible recipe a few weeks ago, my husband Jack and I had half a slab of beef brisket in our refrigerator, just waiting to be used. So what to make? This Slow Cooker Barbecue Beef Brisket!

Brisket is a cut of meat from the lower chest area of cattle and while it’s a very flavorful cut of beef – unless it’s cooked correctly , it can be very tough to eat. So a low-and-slow cooking method like braising – on the stovetop, in an oven, or in a slow cooker – is really the ideal way to cook a beef brisket so it comes out tender.

Our beef brisket recipe today is written for the slow cooker and it allows you to do all of the prep the night before.


Slow Cooker Barbecue Beef Brisket

We left the brisket whole and seared it before adding the beef to the slow cooker along with some sautéed onions and a bit of tomato paste. Then we created a fantastic braising liquid of bourbon, cola, beef stock, sugar, mustard, ketchup, balsamic vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke and a few dashes of hot sauce. (Trust me – all of those ingredients create one amazing braising liquid and it becomes an even more amazing barbecue sauce after it has cooked!)

Then – turn your slow cooker on in the morning and let it do its thing all day long. The brisket comes out fall-apart-tender and super flavorful! And it is amazing sliced up for sandwiches and perfect served along with our homemade coleslaw.


Our friends at Certified Angus Beef® brand are a great resource if you’d like more information about different cuts of beef, and how best to cook them.  You can read more here.  Disclosure: Certified Angus Beef® sponsored a trip for me to visit their headquarters in Wooster, Ohio earlier this year. We were not compensated for this post and simply wanted to share some additional resources for purchasing and cooking with beef with our readers. #ROASTINGSEASON

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Slow Cooker Barbecue Beef Brisket - A Family Feast

Slow Cooker Barbecue Beef Brisket

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 hours
  • Total Time: 10 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4


Note: This recipe was written for you to sear the meat the night before and store in the refrigerator with all of the other ingredients overnight. It was written this way for a busy working household where you do all the prep the night before and just place the bowl in the slow cooker the following morning and let it cook all day while you are out. When you return at the end of the day, dinner is ready. Or feel free to prepare everything in the morning and let it cook all day. Either way, it will need 8-10 hours on low or 5-7 hours on high. (Slow cookers vary. Our brisket was pull-apart tender in nine hours on low.)


  • 2 pounds beef brisket
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup bourbon
  • 1 cup non diet cola
  • ½ cup beef stock
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • Few dashes of your favorite hot sauce
  • Bulky rolls
  • Coleslaw (see our recipe here)


  1. Pat the beef dry and season on both sides with the salt and pepper.
  2. Heat both oils in a heavy bottomed pan or pot until smoking hot and carefully lay in the beef. Let it sear without touching for about four to five minutes, flip and repeat. Remove directly to the slow cooker pot.
  3. Reduce heat to medium high and add onions. Cook for one minute and add tomato paste. Stir constantly for another minute.
  4. Pull the pan off heat and add the bourbon then back on heat to deglaze pan. (This is to avoid a flare up) Let reduce by half then add cola, beef stock, sugar, mustard, ketchup, vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke and hot sauce. Stir to combine and remove from heat.
  5. Pour liquid over beef. At this point, you can refrigerate until morning or place in slow cooker and set for eight to ten hours on low or five to seven on high. While beef is cooking, or the night before, prepare the coleslaw (see recipe here).
  6. Once beef is fall apart tender, remove to a cutting board to rest. Pour the contents of the slow cooker into a sauce pan and reduce to a thick sauce, about 1 ½ cups.
  7. To serve, slice the beef against the grain, place coleslaw on the roll bottom and top with the sliced beef and spoon on some of the sauce you reduced. Serve with lots of napkins.

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Slow Cooker Barbecue Beef Brisket

Slow Cooker Barbecue Beef Brisket


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  • Michele wrote:

    Curious, with the sweets added to this, will the meat or sauce be sweet ? My husband and I lean more towards spicy is salty for meat, with flavor, of course… but not sweet

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Michele – There is a touch of sweetness to this sauce…you can definitely change up the seasonings to suit your tastes.

  • D wrote:

    Do you have to cover the brisket totally in liquid to slow cook or can half of it stick out dry?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi D – It’s fine if half sticks out of the liquid.

  • Trisha wrote:

    Trying it for the first time. I think I bought the wrong type of brisket. 🙁

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Trisha – This recipe should work for any cut of brisket!

  • Denise Ball wrote:

    Your food looks amazing!! Can’t wait 5o try the slow cooker beef brisket

    • Martha wrote:

      Hope you enjoy the recipe Denise!

  • Dee Frantz wrote:

    Martha, you have the most beautiful website your pictures are absolutely gorgeous. The food is wonderful I wish you and your husband great success I know you both work very hard thank you for wonderful recipes Blessings to you both. Dede

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you so much Dee! We greatly appreciate your kind comments!

  • SK wrote:

    Is there a recommended substitute for the bourbon, or would I just leave it out?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi SK – I’ve seen some vanilla extra and apple juice recommended as substitutes for bourbon – although we’ve never tried either in this recipe. You can also leave it out.

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