Saturday, July 10, 2010

Slow Cooker Brisket

When most people think of making dinner during the summer months, they think of grilling. I will eat (and love) pretty much anything from the grill, but here’s a confession: I hate grilling at home. I hate waiting for the charcoal to heat up, guessing whether it’s hot enough or too hot, dealing with the mess of charcoal after dinner. I especially hate cleaning the grill. So does my husband—and, much as I’d like to, I can’t blame him for disliking the very things I myself despise. I might have different feelings about this if we could afford a gas grill, but I don’t expect I’ll know this for quite some time, since we’re on a budget.

Of course, no one wants to turn on the oven and heat up the house during those hot months when the air conditioner, if you’re lucky enough to have one, works so hard to keep you comfortable. So if you’re not going to grill, are you reduced to zapping frozen meals all summer long? I think not.

My friends, may I introduce your summertime best friend: the slow cooker (aka the crock pot.)

The slow cooker is more traditionally associated with fall and winter meals—soups, stews, and the like—but it’s an excellent alternative to your oven during the summer months. Yes, the slow cooker uses heat to cook food, just like your oven does—but no, it will not heat up your kitchen in the same way. It’s smaller, for one thing, and it uses much less energy. Most slow cookers heat up only to somewhere between 180 and 300 degrees. Best of all, since the slow cooker runs off a low wattage, it’s safe to leave it plugged in all day while you go about your summertime business. And when you come home in the evening, tired from the day’s adventures, your house will smell terrific and dinner will be ready.

What’s for dinner, you ask? Here’s one of my favorite super-easy slow cooker recipes for summer. 


Slow-Cooker Brisket


1 to 2 lbs. brisket
1 18-oz. bottle barbecue sauce (or use about 2 cups of your favorite homemade sauce)
½ cup water


Cut the brisket into several chunks, about 2 inches across. (I leave the fat intact during the cooking process, but feel free to trim it off if you prefer.) Pile these chunks into the slow cooker. Add the barbecue sauce and water, but don't stir. Put the lid on the slow cooker, turn heat to high, and allow to cook for 4 to 6 hours. If you're starting early in the day, set heat to low and cook for 8 to 10 hours.

When you're ready to serve, stir the brisket and watch it fall apart into many small, delicious pieces. If it doesn't fall apart, just let it go for another 30 minutes or so and check it again. Then pile brisket on hamburger or sandwich buns. Top each sandwich with thin slices of red onion and some cool, crispy lettuce. Serve these sandwiches with cole slaw or corn on the cob.

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One Response to “Slow Cooker Brisket”

  1. 1

    Chef Dennis — July 11, 2010 @ 3:10 pm

    nothing better than a good brisket…slow cooked so it just falls apart! I can taste it now….sigh

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