How to slow cook a beef brisket

Updated April 17, 2017

Beef brisket makes for a delicious, satisfying meal. This article will show you how to slow cook a beef brisket.

There are two types of brisket: the first cut, which is a bit larger and typically used for most briskets, and the second cut (or "tip cut"), which is a little smaller. The second cut is recommended for braised beef brisket. It has better marbling, so there is more flavour, and it isn't as dry. Make sure you don't purchase a tip cut that has been prepped for making corned beef. Get it straight from the butcher, just to ensure nothing has been done to prep it in any way.

Prep your veggies and meat. Cut up your onion, celery and carrots coarsely. There is no need for fancy blade work with this recipe, as you typically don't serve the vegetables with the brisket. Crush about four or five cloves of garlic. No need to chop these, either. Set the veggies aside. Salt and pepper both sides of the meat liberally, then dredge both sides in flour and shake off the excess.

Sear the meat and cook the veggies. Pour about 2 or 3 tbsp into the pot and heat at medium high. Once the oil is shimmering, gently place the meat in the oil. Let the meat sear for 2 or 3 minutes, until a dark, brown crust is present. Repeat this on all sides, adding a little oil if needed. Once it is well seared, remove the meat from the pan, put it on a plate and cover with foil until needed. Lower the heat to medium. Add a little more oil and the veggies. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and let the veggies sauté for 5 or 6 minutes until the onions are slightly translucent. Add 2 tbsp of the tomato paste to the middle of the pan and let the paste cook down, undisturbed, for another 3 or 4 minutes. Deglaze with the wine, stirring the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen up any brown bits for flavour. Bring the liquid up to barely a boil. Add the sage.

Add the meat. Take the meat from the plate and gently place back in the pot. The veggies and liquid should rise to about half way up the meat. Lower the flame to low and cover the pot tightly with a lid. The meat will be fully cooked and ready to eat in just an hour or so. However, let the brisket cook for 4 or 5 hours. The longer the meat stays in the pot, the more complex the flavours from the aromatics will become and the more tender the meat will be.

Once it is fully cooked, remove the brisket from the pot and serve at the table, family style. When slicing the brisket, always slice against the grain of the meat. Otherwise, the pieces will be stringy and chewy. Strain the liquid in the pot for a delicious gravy and serve with a potato gratin and sautéed brussel sprouts.


When searing the brisket, place the meat in the pan going away from your face to avoid oil burns.

Things You'll Need

  • 680 g (1 1/2 lb) beef brisket (second cut)
  • Large Spanish onion
  • Two carrots
  • Three stalks of celery
  • Tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • 355 ml (1 1/2 cups) dry red wine
  • Olive oil
  • Large, heavy bottom pot
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