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Barbecue-Style Brisket

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 195 minutes
Servings: 6

Serve the barbecue brisket alongside homemade or good-quality purchased potato salad or mashed potatoes. Leftover brisket is perfect piled high on large seeded buns.


  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 1/2 to 4 lb. beef brisket, trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste


Brown the brisket
On a large plate, stir together the flour, salt and black pepper. Coat the brisket evenly with the flour mixture, shaking off the excess; reserve the remaining flour mixture. In a large fry pan over high heat, warm the oil. Add the brisket, fattier side down, and cook until browned on the bottom, about 7 minutes. Turn the brisket over and brown the second side, about 7 minutes more. Transfer the brisket, fat side up, to the slow cooker.

Sauté the vegetables
Pour off all but about 1 Tbs. fat from the fry pan and return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic and cayenne and sauté until the onions begin to turn translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the reserved flour mixture and cook for 1 minute more. Pour in the broth and vinegar. Raise the heat to high, bring to a boil and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits on the pan bottom. Add the sugar and tomato paste and stir until evenly blended. Pour over the brisket.

Cook the brisket
Cover and cook on the high-heat setting for 3 to 4 hours or the low-heat setting for 6 to 8 hours. The meat should be very tender when pierced with a fork. Transfer the brisket to a cutting board. Cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, skim off the excess fat from the surface of the sauce. Slice the meat across the grain. Spoon the sauce over the meat and serve. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Slow Cooker, by Norman Kolpas (Oxmoor House, 2007).