Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket

A simple rub—salt, pepper, brown sugar, cumin, chipotle chiles, and paprika—imparted smoky, spicy flavor to our Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket. To allow the flavors to permeate, we lightly scored the fat on the brisket before rubbing. To minimize the moisture absorbed by the brisket (which traditionally isn’t cooked directly in liquid), we came up with an unorthodox solution: elevating the meat off the bottom of the slow cooker with an inverted loaf pan. The liquid exuded from the meat during cooking was drawn under the loaf pan by a vacuum effect, which meant that the slow cooker more closely mimicked how a real barbecue cooks. To bump up the flavor of this liquid, we sautéed onion, garlic, tomato paste, and chipotle chiles and added this to the slow cooker, under the loaf pan, to cook along with the brisket. Scoring the fat on the brisket at ½-inch intervals will allow the rub to penetrate the meat. Two disposable aluminum loaf pans stacked inside one another can substitute for the metal loaf pan.

Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket
Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket

PREP TIME

--

minutes

TOTAL TIME

120

minutes

SERVINGS

--

servings

PREP TIME

--

minutes

TOTAL TIME

120

minutes

SERVINGS

--

servings

Ingredients

  • INGREDIENTSSPICE RUB AND BRISKET

  • 1/2

    cup packed dark brown sugar

  • 2

    tablespoons minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce

  • 1

    tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1

    tablespoon paprika

  • 1

    teaspoon salt

  • 2

    teaspoons pepper

  • 1

    (4- to 5-pound) brisket roast, fat trimmed to 1/4 inch thick and scored lightly

  • AROMATICS AND SAUCE

  • 3

    tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1

    onion, chopped fine

  • 2

    tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1

    tablespoon chili powder

  • 1

    tablespoon minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce

  • 2

    garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2

    cup water

  • 1/4

    cup ketchup

  • 1

    tablespoon cider vinegar

  • 1/4

    teaspoon liquid smoke

Directions

1. RUB Combine sugar, chipotle, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper in bowl. Rub sugar mixture all over brisket. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour or refrigerate for up to 24 hours. 2. COOK Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook onion until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook until beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Stir in chili powder, chipotle, and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Following photos at left, mound onion mixture in center of slow cooker, arrange inverted metal loaf pan over onion mixture, and place brisket, fat-side up, on top of loaf pan. Add water to slow cooker, cover, and cook on high until fork inserted into brisket can be removed with no resistance, 7 to 8 hours (or cook on low for 10 to 12 hours). 3. REST Transfer brisket to 13- by 9-inch baking dish, cover with foil, and let rest 30 minutes. Carefully remove loaf pan from slow cooker. Pour onion mixture and accumulated juices into large bowl and skim fat. (You should have about 2 cups defatted juices; if you have less, supplement with water.) 4. SAUCE Transfer brisket to cutting board, slice thinly across grain, and return to baking dish. Pour 1 cup reserved defatted juices over sliced brisket. Whisk ketchup, vinegar, and liquid smoke into remaining juices. Season with salt and pepper. Serve, passing sauce at table. MAKE AHEAD In step 3, wrap brisket tightly in foil and refrigerate for up to 3 days. (Refrigerate juices separately in airtight container.) To serve, transfer foil-wrapped brisket to baking dish and heat in 350-degree oven and cook until brisket is heated through, about 1 hour. Reheat juices in microwave or saucepan set over medium heat. Continue with recipe as directed. A MAGIC TRICK THAT REALLY WORKS To minimize the moisture absorbed by the brisket, we place the mat on top of a loaf pan. The juices exuded by the meat are drawn under the pan by a vacuum effect, creating less moisture directly below the meat. 1. Pile onion mixture on the bottom of the slow cooker and top with an inverted loaf pan. 2. Keep the brisket dry by elevating in on top of the loaf pan. 3. Remove the loaf pan to release the juices, which make a flavorful base for barbecue sauce.

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