Slow Cooker Brisket Sandwiches

Tender, juicy, slow cooker brisket, served on soft, toasted rolls, with homemade BBQ sauce and pickled red onions; it doesn’t get much more Texas than that!

Smoky Slow Cooker Brisket Sandwiches with Pickled Red Onion
Smoky Slow Cooker Brisket Sandwiches with Pickled Red Onion

I was an Army brat growing up and spent most of my childhood near Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. If there’s a food truth that everyone can agree on it’s that, in Texas, beef rules. It’s teetering at the very top of the Texas food pyramid. And beef brisket is the ultimate in Texas beef. The king, if you will.

Slow smoked, juicy and tender, dappled with lucious fat…it’s “eat yourself horizontal” kind of food. Loosen your belt or wear your stretchy pants eating. Unfortunately, I don’t have a smoker, nor do I generally have the good 12-15 hours a smoked brisket needs to fulfill it’s delicious destiny. So I’ve created a “smoky” slow cooker version that comes pretty gosh darn close to what I grew up with. Have fun! Happy meating!

Sliced Slow Cooker Brisket
Sliced Slow Cooker Brisket

Looking for more slow cooker recipes?

Brisket Sandwiches with pickled red onions on toasted rolls.

“Smoky” Slow Cooker Brisket Sandwiches

Tender, juicy, slow cooker brisket, served on soft, toasted rolls, with homemade BBQ sauce and pickled red onions; it doesn't get much more Texas than that!
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Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 10 hours
Total Time: 10 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 12 servings


Spice Rub

  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp tsp dried thyme

Spicy Barbecue Sauce

  • 2 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp spice rub (from above)
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke (really makes a difference!)
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, pureed (more if you want it spicier, skip it if you want a milder sauce)

Pickled Red Onions

  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns (optional, but recommended)
  • 1 sprig of rosemary (also optional)
  • 1 sprig of thyme (again, optional, but I like the flavors)

The meat

  • 4 lb beef brisket first cut recommended


Pickled Red Onion

  • Place sliced red onions in large mason jar or any sealable, non-metallic container.
  • Combine vinegar, sugar, salt, and any or all of the optional flavorings in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil.
  • Pour the vinegar solution over the onions and allow to cool to room temperature.
  • Seal the container and place in the refrigerator. It will be ready to eat in just a few hours and will last up to six months! Just keep the container sealed and refrigerated. We’ll use these tangy treats in more recipes in the future.

Spice Rub

  • Just mix all the ingredients together and place them in a resealable jar. I like to make extra and keep it in a shaker jar (covered with plastic wrap) to shake over chicken, pork, fish, or even vegetables.

Barbecue Sauce

  • Combine all your sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cover, lower heat, and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Cool.

Making Your “Smoky” Brisket

  • Spray the inside of your slow cooker with non-stick spray. Season your brisket on all sides with salt, pepper, and a light sprinkling of the spice rub. Sear in a hot pan on all sides until browned. Let cool and then rub all surfaces with a generous amount of the spice mix again. Place fat side up in the slow cooker. If your brisket is too large, cut in half and get it in there!
  • Mix one cup of your BBQ sauce with water, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and orange juice. Pour all around your brisket. Cook on low for 9-10 hours, or until super tender.
  • Carefully remove brisket to a foil lined baking sheet, fat side down, and brush with some of your BBQ sauce. Place it under the broiler for 5-10 minutes, or until nicely caramelized. Turn the brisket fat side up, brush with more sauce, and broil again for 5-10 minutes.
  • Slice the beautiful brisket against the grain, or it can be shredded or chopped. Whatever your preference in meaty texture, there are no rules. Except slicing against the grain. That's a law or something. Or should be. Place on toasted rolls and top with your pickled red onions and more of your BBQ sauce. For extra FLAVOR and to stretch your BBQ sauce a bit more, add 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid to the rest of your sauce. Great flavor, more sauce!!Enjoy the meats!
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  1. Love the interactive check off list! Super excited to see that you, finally, started you food blog. I am looking forward to your recipes and learning your cooking secrets.

    All of my mother in laws recipes were taught with measuring the same way as you mom. I think I have done a pretty good job recreating some of them!

    Best of luck!!!

    1. Thanks for checking out my new blog! I’ve had so many people asking for recipes, I just needed time to get it all together!

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