If I had to choose just two things to make in the slow cooker ever, it would be brisket and pulled pork. I’m a huge fan of these BBQ favorites and though I don’t have a smoker at home to make authentic versions, slow cooker variations are pretty good themselves. Especially now that I have fallen in love with liquid smoke.
Let me tell you, getting me to use liquid smoke has taken years of psyching myself up. Chalk it up to a bad experience as a child (Note: you should never use a whole bottle at once. Just don’t.) But I am totally in love with it now and not afraid to use it. Liquid smoke adds a lovely smokiness to dishes without the smoker.
Now, about this brisket. It’s got a nice sweet-smokiness to it, courtesy of the whisk-and-go sauce on it. It’s just six ingredients (plus water) whisked together. But since it’s homemade, you can totally control the flavor — if you want it sweeter or more molasses-y, go ahead! Just taste and add until you have the sauce you want. Super simple.
As for the brisket, you just season it with salt all over and then it’s ready for the slow cooker. Put it in, pour on the sauce and cook.
This sweet-smoky beef brisket is great on sandwiches (add a little cheddar!), nachos and wraps. But it’s also fab with BBQ classics like sweet potato fries and macaroni and cheese. Don’t forget the cornbread too.
Smoky Slow Cooker Beef Brisket
- 3 lb beef brisket
- kosher salt
- 6 oz can tomato paste plus 1 can water
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 2 tbsp liquid smoke
- 1 tbsp honey
- salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse and pat dry the brisket. Salt well all over with kosher salt. Place into the slow cooker.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the tomato paste, water, molasses, liquid smoke, honey, salt and pepper. Pour over the brisket.
- Set the slow cooker to high and cook for 4-5 hours until fall-apart tender. Or cook on low for 8-10 hours until fall-apart tender.
- Pull the brisket out and break apart with two forks into shreds. Return to the slow cooker and stir with the sauce. Serve. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. Her latest cookbook is The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook, published by Rockridge Press, which focuses on quick, easy, from-scratch cooking for busy people. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.