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Slow-Cooker Brisket Sandwiches with Quick Pickles

  • 1 h
  • 6 h
Carolyn Malcoun
“Make your BBQ or cookout easy with this slow-cooker beef brisket recipe. Rauchbier, a smoky German beer, gives this fork-tender brisket real pit-barbecue flavor, but you can use any beer that suits your taste, or even substitute beef broth, to achieve mouthwatering results. While the brisket is cooking, whip up the quick pickle recipe and stir together a garlic mayo to top off the sandwiches.”


    • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
    • 3¼ pounds brisket (see Tip), trimmed
    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 16-ounce bottle rauchbier (smoked beer) or 2 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
    • ½ cup white vinegar
    • ½ cup cider vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon pickling spice
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 2 pickling or mini cucumbers, sliced
    • 1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced into rings
    • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • ½ cup low-fat mayonnaise
    • 8 whole-wheat buns


  • 1 To prepare brisket: Combine paprika, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and pepper in a small bowl. Rub all over brisket. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the brisket and brown on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker.
  • 2 Add beer (or broth) to the pan along with any remaining spice blend from your cutting board; increase heat to high. Cook for 5 minutes, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Pour over the brisket. Cover and cook on High for 6 hours or Low for 9 hours.
  • 3 To prepare pickles: Meanwhile, combine white vinegar, cider vinegar and brown sugar in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 1 minute. Add pickling spice and 1 teaspoon salt. Pour into a large, heatproof glass bowl and add cucumbers and onion. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, for at least 1 hour or until ready to serve.
  • 4 To prepare garlic mayo: Mash garlic and ½ teaspoon salt into a paste in a mortar and pestle or with the back of a spoon on a cutting board. Combine the garlic mixture with mayonnaise in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • 5 When the brisket is done, transfer to a clean cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • 6 Pull the brisket apart into shreds with 2 forks and then coarsely chop the shredded meat. Combine the chopped brisket with the liquid in the slow cooker.
  • 7 To serve, drain the pickled vegetables. Spread each bun with 1 tablespoon garlic mayo and top with about ¾ cup brisket and ½ cup pickles.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the pickles (Step 3) and garlic mayo (Step 4) for up to 2 days.
  • Equipment: 6-quart slow cooker
  • We like to use “flat, first-cut brisket” because it's leaner than the fattier “point cut” brisket. If the briskets aren't labeled that way, ask the butcher to help you select the right cut. For these brisket sandwiches you'll need about 3 pounds after trimming.
  • For easy cleanup, try a slow-cooker liner. These heat-resistant, disposable liners fit neatly inside the insert and help prevent food from sticking to the bottom and sides of your slow cooker.
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