I always wanted to make a brisket and my dear friend Aida was kind enough to share with me her easy crockpot brisket recipe. This is a wonderful make-ahead recipe you can make over the course of three days and your guests will think you slaved all day in the kitchen. This recipe was given to her by her mother-in-law and over time, she has made it her own with a few adaptations. She’s now the official brisket chef in the extended family.
Brisket is a traditional holiday staple in Ashkenazic Jewish cuisine dating at least as far back as the 1700s. Ashkenazi Jewish refugees from Europe introduced brisket to America. Every family has their own recipe – some sweet and sour, others packed with vegetables and some with unusual ingredients like coffee or Coca-Cola. One thing they all agree on is cooking the brisket low and slow to break down the meat and make it fork tender. Brisket is known for being a tougher and inexpensive cut of beef that feeds a lot of guests. Americans coast to coast have embraced brisket and enjoy it year round. It’s the traditional main entree during the Jewish holidays, perfect for any large gathering and I can’t think of any BBQ place that doesn’t have brisket on the menu.
HOW TO MAKE IT
DAY 1 Start with a 3-4 pound brisket and don’t trim the fat. The grocery store has already trimmed the brisket for you and any fat remaining will render down and flavor the meat during the cooking process. Rub into the meat Diamond kosher salt, black pepper and generous amount of Grill Mates Applewood rub. Sometimes my friend will use a mix of equal parts of Montreal Steak and Applewood seasonings. That sounds delicious too!
Note: You can use any rub you like , just be mindful of the sodium quantity on the label. General rule for salting meat is 1 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound of meat. Calculate roughly 1/2 pound of uncooked brisket meat per person. My brisket was 3.64 pounds so I can easily serve 6-8 guests taking into account my sides and my guests. If your guests are hearty eaters or if you want leftovers, purchase a larger brisket.
Heat a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat, add a Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to the skillet when the skillet is hot and sear the meat on all sides. This will lock in the juices and give the meat a beautiful color. When you place the meat down, don’t move it or pierce it. Leave it alone to develop the sear on the bottom. Sear the large surfaces first, then sear the sides. This could take 20-30 minutes.
Note: For even cooking, the brisket should not be cold. Remove from the refrigerator 30-45 minutes before searing.
Transfer the brisket to a Pyrex baking dish and add 1/2 cup of water or low sodium beef broth to the skillet. Scrape any brown bits from the skillet and pour the liquid over the brisket. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
DAY 2 Place the brisket fatty side up in the crock pot and pour the juices over it. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until desired doneness. If you prefer a more tender brisket, cook longer.
Allow the brisket to cool at room temperature so the juices reconstitute into the meat. If the fat didn’t fully render into the meat, trim it off with a sharpe knife. This will vary based on the brisket you purchased. Slice the brisket against the grain in 1/4 inch slices. Transfer the meat into a Pyrex baking dish.
Filter the juices and remove any particles by pouring the juices through a fine mesh sieve. Look at the amount of juice the brisket rendered. Pour the juices over the sliced brisket, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate again overnight.
DAY 3 Remove and discard the white fat that solidified at the top. The juices will appear gelatinous. This is perfect!
Leave the brisket out at least 30 minutes before roasting in the oven so it comes to room temperature. Preheat oven 350°F and place the oven rack in the middle. Roast for 30-35 minutes, tightly covered, until hot. If you wish to keep it warm in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 200°F.
Note: If your dish doesn’t have a lid, cover with a layer of parchment paper followed by a layer of foil. Parchment paper will prevent any aluminum leaching concerns.
Transfer the tender meat onto a serving platter and loosely tent with foil to retain heat while you make a gravy. Transfer the juices to a skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Sprinkle garlic and onion powder across the skillet and whisk together. Taste and reseason with a little kosher salt and black pepper, if needed.
In a Pyrex measuring cup, make a slurry by whisking together a Tablespoon of cornstarch with some of the meat juices. Pour the slurry back into the skillet and whisk vigorously until the gravy has thickened and is lump free.
Note: My friend doesn’t make a gravy. They enjoy their brisket with egg noodles that have partially cooked in the delicious beef broth and absorbed those flavors. She also serves a vegetable side and bread.
Since my family is a meat-and-potato family, I served this tender brisket with Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes and Brown Butter Radishes & Pearl Onions. A delicious and easy meal!
Thank you Aida for sharing your family’s delicious recipe and tradition with me and The Tiny Fairy readers!
Applewood Crockpot Brisket
An easy and delicious crockpot brisket recipe your family and friends will love. Easy to make over a few days and the crockpot does all the work. Ideal for large gatherings and holiday celebrations.
- 1 3-4 lb beef brisket
- kosher salt prefer Diamond brand
- black pepper
- McCormick's Grill Makes Applewood Seasoning substitute with your favorite rub
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup water or low sodium beef broth
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- garlic powder
- onion powder
DAY 1 – SEASON & SEAR THE BRISKET
Your brisket should come trimmed from the butcher or grocery store. Don't trim the remaining fat on the brisket as it will render into the meat. Season with kosher salt, fresh black pepper and generously season with McCormick's Grill Mates Applewood Seasoning.
General cooking rule: 1 teaspoon of salt per pound of meat
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Sear the brisket on all sides. Transfer brisket to a Pyrex dish.
Add 1/2 cup of water or low sodium beef broth to the skillet and deglaze the skillet. Pour the liquid over the brisket. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
DAY 2 – SLOW COOK IN THE CROCKPOT
Transfer the brisket to the crockpot, fat cap side up, and pour the liquid over the brisket. Cook on low 6-8 hours or until desired doneness.
Allow to cool at room temperature. With a sharpe knife, trim the fat that didn't fully render into the meat. This will vary depending on the brisket cut you purchased.
Slice the brisket against the grain in 1/4 inch slices. Transfer to a Pyrex dish.
Filter the juices through a fine mesh sieve to remove any particles and pour the juices over the sliced meat. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
DAY 3 – WARM THROUGH & SERVE
Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before roasting in the oven.
Preheat oven to 350°F and place oven rack in the center position. Roast the brisket covered for 30 – 35 minutes or until hot.
If your dish doesn't have a lid, cover tightly with a layer of parchment paper topped with a layer of aluminum foil.
Transfer the brisket to a serving platter and loosely tent with foil to keep warm while you make the gravy.
Transfer the juices to a skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle garlic and onion powder across the top of the skillet. Whisk together, taste and reseason with kosher salt and pepper, if needed.
Make a slurry by whisking together 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch with some of the brisket juices in a Pyrex measuring cup. Pour the slurry back into the skillet and whisk until the sauce thickens.
Pour some gravy over the brisket. Serve extra gravy on the side. Enjoy!
Estimate 1/2 pound per person when purchasing a brisket. Depending on the serving sizes and sides served with the brisket, your brisket may yield more or less servings. If you want leftovers, get a brisket 2 pounds larger.