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Don’t mess with Texas-style BBQ brisket

Depending on where you’re from, you may have grown up eating a regional variety of barbecue. North Carolina, Kansas City, Memphis. There are almost too many styles to name.

We wanted to develop a barbecue recipe that would be the perfect addition to any summer cookout menu and our minds immediately went down south – to Texas, that is. We turned to Austin’s one and only Franklin Barbecue for inspiration.

In Texas, barbecue is all about the meat. As far as smoking goes, low and slow is the name of the game. Texas barbecue smokes for hours over the low heat of a wood or charcoal fire, leaving you with a deep smoky flavor that can only be truly replicated with a lot of smoke and even more patience.

In order to achieve a similar taste for our Slow Cooker Texas-Style BBQ Brisket, we added smoked paprika to our dry rub. The paprika helps add a smoky flavor to the slow cooked meat, without the smoke.

First, cover your brisket with the dry rub and refrigerate the meat in a resealable bag overnight. After the meat sits, sear the brisket for 2-3 minutes on each side. Arrange onions on the bottom of the slow cooker crock (the onions provide a little moisture), then put your brisket on top of the onions, fat side up. Cook on HIGH for 4 to 4 ½ hours or on LOW for 6 ½ to 7 hours until the meat is tender.

Let rest and cut into thick slices. We wanted to serve a hand-held version of this Texas-style BBQ brisket, slapping it in between two thick slices of bread – making it perfect for backyard parties.

While some Texas barbecue joints don’t even serve their meat with barbecue sauce, we wanted something to top our sandwiches. The thick red sauce is tangy and sweet, complementing the smoky meat perfectly. Top your sandwiches high (everything’s bigger is Texas after all), grab an extra side of homemade barbecue sauce and channel the great state of Texas.

Texas-Style BBQ Brisket

Yield: Serves 12
Author: Hamilton Beach Test Kitchen


Dry Rub

  • 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon coarse black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 to 3 1/2 pounds beef brisket
  • 1 large onion, cut in small wedges

BBQ Sauce

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar


  1. In a small bowl, combine all dry rub seasonings. Reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons of the mixture for the BBQ sauce. Rub both sides of brisket with dry rub.
  2. Place brisket in a large resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate overnight.
  3. In a large skillet over medium-high, heat oil. Sear brisket 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
  4. Arrange onion wedges in bottom of a slow cooker crock. Place brisket on top of onion.
  5. Cover slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 4 to 4 1/2 hours or LOW for 6 1/2 to 7 hours. Brisket should be tender, but not falling apart.
  6. Remove brisket to cutting board. Let stand 10 minutes, then cut in 1/4-inch thick slices.
  7. For BBQ Sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium-high, melt butter. Add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is tender, about 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and reserved 1 1/2 tablespoons dry rub mixture and whisk until well blended. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with brisket.

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  1. Tried his recipe this weekend and it did not go well. The brisket was as tough as shoe leather. We cooked it on LOW for 6.5 hrs.

  2. I think I’ll try this despite the bad review. Even though I live in TX, I’ve only ever cooked a brisket in the oven. I prefer to let the experts smoke them.
    Anyway, just wanted to say that real TX brisket purists don’t use BBQ sauce! Brisket is served with white bread and pickles, just piled on a plate all separately.

  3. I made this today and IT WAS PHENOMENAL! I told my boyfriend, “if this doesn’t make you want to marry me, I don’t know what will!” (Jokingly, of course). Let me say this again IT WAS SO GOOD! I made another bbq sauce version to spoon over. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  4. We had this tonight we are in Australia it is by far the best brisket recipe I have come across. Cooking it in the slow cooker affect the taste at all and that BBQ sauce is divine and will now be my go to BBQ sauce

  5. Melissa, we’re so glad you enjoyed the slow cooker brisket. It is one of our favorite summer recipes!

  6. Hi Sarah. I just popped the brisket in the crockpot, sitting on the onions. I am curious as to how it will turn out without adding any broth. It won’t be tough? Thanks so much!

  7. The brisket will release a lot of moisture as it cooks. However, if you prefer more liquid, you could always add a little bit of beef broth.

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