This Whole30 Slow Cooker Brisket and Onions is as easy as 1-2-3. No, seriously! It’s really just a matter of following three easy steps.
The reward for all of your hard work? A giant platter of melt-in-your-mouth brisket covered in a savoury, umami-packed gravy with onions and garlic. Sounds like a pretty decent trade off, no?
Let me try to anticipate some questions you might have…
1. Can I make this Slow Cooker Brisket in my Instant Pot. If so, for how long?
Yes, you can definitely use your Instant Pot to make Slow Cooker Brisket. After all, every Instant Pot is equipped with a Slow Cook function. In this case, cook according to the same recipe listed below but do everything directly in the Instant Pot (just use the Sauté function for the first two steps.)
You can also cook brisket under high pressure, if so desired. The time really depends on the size of your brisket and how thick it is. Remember, a 4lbs brisket cut into 3 equal pieces around 1.5″ thick will cook quicker than a single, thick-cut 4lbs slab of meat because of the increased surface area.
I’d probably do an initial cooking time of 1.5 hours under high pressure and then see how the brisket is holding up. If it’s still too tough, I’d cook it an additional 15-20min at a time until I reach the desired consistency. For me, that’s falling apart and shreddable.
For the gravy, keep in mind that you’ll likely have to reduce the sauce after cooking if it’s still a bit on the watery side. Simply transfer brisket aside, switch to Sauté function and simmer the sauce until it reduces a bit and concentrates in flavour.
2. Can I make this Slow Cooker Brisket in my oven. If so, for how long?
Yup, you guessed it! You can also make this Slow Cooker Brisket the old-fashioned way. Simply follow all of the steps outlined in the recipe below and use a Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid.
As with the Instant Pot timing, it depends on the cut of the brisket you purchase. My guess is you’re looking at a minimum of 4 hours in a low-temperature oven.
For temperature, 300F will serve you well. The idea is to cook it low-and-slow so that the intramuscular fibres of the meat have a chance to break down.
Time is your friend here. Be patient and you will be rewarded!
3. Do I have to brown the brisket and sauté the onions?
I don’t like telling people what to do but the answer here is yes. For maximum flavour, brown both sides of the brisket in a hot pan before adding it to the slow cooker or whatever cooking vessel you’ll be using.
While you’re at it, you might as well deglaze the pan with some onions, garlic and beef stock. After all, you’ve already dirtied the pan and there’s so much flavour you’ll otherwise be missing out on.
Slow Cooker Brisket with Onions - Whole30, Paleo
- 1 3.5 lbs brisket trimmed
- 2 cups onions – sliced
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1.5 cups beef stock
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 2-3 tbsp avocado oil
- *Remove brisket from fridge at least 1 hour prior to cooking. Preheat a large cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven over med-high heat. Liberally season both sides of brisket with salt and pepper. Add 2-3 tbsp avocado oil to Dutch oven and brown brisket until a deep, caramelized crust has formed (approx. 6-7min per side). Transfer browned brisket to the insert of a slow cooker and set aside. **Note: if brisket is larger in size than the pan, slice in half and brown in batches.
- Add onions, garlic and a pinch of salt to the pan. Sauté for 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with ½ cup beef stock. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining beef stock and fish sauce and stir.
- Pour the stock and onions over the brisket in the slow cooker and tuck the bay leaves into the liquid. Cover with a lid and program the slow cooker for 7-8hrs hours on low or 4-5 hours on high. Taste gravy for seasoning and adjust as required.
- Cook 1-2 days ahead of time and keep brisket in juices until day of serving. When ready to serve, reheat directly in slow cooker. Carve brisket against the grain, transfer to serving platter and spoon gravy overtop.