This easy recipe for brisket in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker results in a tender & juicy BBQ beef brisket everyone is sure to love! Enjoy it as a roast for dinner or in an array of leftover brisket recipes.
I think of one thing these days when I hear the word brisket – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
If you haven’t watched that show yet, do yourself a favor and get to it!
It’s one of the funniest series’ out there and will totally leave you with a smile on your face after every episode.
I’m not sure how this Instant Pot beef brisket compares to Miriam’s in taste (not so sure hers has a BBQ undertone to the recipe) but I can promise you this brisket recipe is not only delicious, but also quicker and easier than hers (which took hours in the oven according to the show).
The Instant Pot (or any pressure cooker) makes quick work of this big, tough piece of beef and the result is tender, juicy, fall-apart beef brisket in a fraction of the time.
Quite similar to my Instant Pot venison roast which is another favorite!
WHAT IS BEEF BRISKET?
Brisket is a large cut of beef from the breast/pectoral area of the cow. A full cut can range from 8-16 pounds on average.
Because of its size, brisket is usually separated into two cuts creating a “flat cut” and a “point cut”. The cut used in these pictures is a flat cut.
Both cuts can be used to make brisket in the Instant Pot but you’ll find more fat and less meat on point cuts versus flat cuts.
Because of the fatty layer to the point cut (also referred to as the “deckle”), it’s often ground and sold as burger meat or something similar.
Because brisket comes from an area of the cow that gets heavy use, it’s more muscular in nature (with more connective tissue) and therefore a tougher cut of meat.
It’s also, however, a very economical cut of meat for the same reason.
Cuts like brisket lend themselves to long cooking times in order to break down that connective tissue.
Low temperature, slow cooking methods are the most common whether it’s smoked, braised (like this veal brisket recipe or, like this recipe, cooked in a pressure cooker.
HOW TO MAKE BRISKET IN AN INSTANT POT
Using an electric pressure cooker like the Instant Pot makes quick work of brisket and the result is tender beef that falls apart easily after just 90 minutes of high pressure cooking.
You can also see a video step by step of making my brisket Instant Pot recipe for more info.
STEP 1: DRY RUB
To start, combine the dry rub spices in a small bowl and rub them all over both sides of the brisket:
- chili powder
- garlic powder
- ground mustard
The spice combination is bit on the BBQ side and while I wouldn’t call this brisket recipe a traditional Texas BBQ approach, it has undertones of BBQ flavor.
Feel free to change up the dry rub spices to your preference.
For a traditional Texas approach, try this Texas brisket rub recipe. You can use that instead and follow the same steps to cooking the brisket in the Instant Pot below.
STEP 2: SAUTÉ ONIONS & GARLIC
Using the sauté function on the Instant Pot, cook the onions and garlic with some avocado oil (or other high heat oil) until they’re softened.
This will provide a flavorful bed for the brisket to sit upon while it pressure cooks.
STEP 3: ADD BRISKET, BROTH & BBQ SAUCE
Cut the brisket in half if necessary so that you can arrange it in a single layer as best as possible on top of the cooked onions and garlic.
Pour the beef broth on the side (so that you don’t wash the dry rub off the brisket) into the pot and then the BBQ sauce on top.
STEP 4: PRESSURE COOK
Close the lid, turn the valve to the “sealing” position and cook on the “Meat/Stew” mode on high pressure for 90 minutes.
Once the 90 minutes are through, allow the Instant Pot to naturally release for 10 minutes.
Then, turn the valve to “venting” and quick release the remaining pressure.
Carefully open the lid and transfer the pressure cooker beef brisket to a cutting board.
STEP 5: REDUCE SAUCE
This is an optional step, you could definitely slice or shred the brisket at this point and spoon the sauce from the pot over top as is.
If you want a slightly thicker sauce, however, turn the Instant Pot to Sauté mode once again and cook the sauce, stirring frequently for 5-10 minutes until reduced a bit.
Tip: For an even thicker sauce – mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cold water until dissolved. Pour into the Instant Pot while on sauté mode and stir until thickened.
SERVING INSTANT POT BEEF BRISKET
To serve, there are two options.
- Slice the brisket and place on a serving platter. Spoon the reduced/thickened sauce over top and garnish with fresh herbs of choice.
- Shred the brisket using two forks. Return the shredded brisket to the Instant Pot with the sauce. Toss to coat all the meat in the sauce. Serve as desired. This is how I like to serve braised leg of lamb too.
For the sliced brisket approach, I’d recommend some easy sides like Candied Carrots, Roasted Pesto Potatoes (or, Roasted Peri Peri Potatoes to continue the spice theme), Roasted Radishes or some Stuffed Heirloom Tomatoes.
If choosing the shredded Instant Pot brisket and tossing with the sauce, try serving it on top of Creamy Cauliflower Pumpkin Mash, Roasted Parsnip Puree, Roasted Garlic Greek Yogurt Smashed Potatoes or, Goat Cheese and Spinach Mashed Sweet Potatoes.
WHAT IF MY BRISKET IS BIGGER OR SMALLER?
I used a 3.75 pound brisket in this recipe and cooked it for 90 minutes on high pressure.
If your brisket is only 2-3 pounds, I would recommend shortening cooking time to 75-80 minutes.
If your brisket is closer to 5-6 pounds, increase cooking time to 100-110 minutes.
Cooking it longer makes it easier to shred. Shorter cooking times, allow for a more “sliceable” brisket.
Adjust the cooking times for how you plan to serve the cooked brisket.
WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVER BRISKET
Personally, I prefer the second serving suggestion and love having leftover shredded brisket to use in easy spinoff recipes.
HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER COOKED BRISKET
Place any leftovers in an air-tight container and make sure to spoon any remaining sauce over top of the meat to keep it moist.
The brisket can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week or two stored like this.
If you prefer to freeze the leftovers, keep brisket and sauce separate.
Wrap the brisket in plastic wrap or place in a plastic sealable bag and then place in an air-tight container to prevent freezer burn.
The sauce can be stored in a separate air-tight container in the freezer. Thaw both in the refrigerator before reheating.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BRISKET AND CORNED BEEF?
This is a good question because it can get a little confusing since corned beef is technically beef brisket!
Beef brisket like this one used here is fresh, uncured meat.
Corned beef, however, has been cured, brined and oftentimes pre-spiced or at minimum, the pickling spices are provided to you with the meat when you purchase it from the store.
WHY I LOVE THE INSTANT POT FOR MAKING BRISKET
Don’t get me wrong, cooking brisket in the Instant Pot, is sure to offend some. Most likely, die hard Texans who are likely devoted to their smokers.
And if that’s your thing, here’s a great smoked beef brisket recipe to check out.
I get it and I’m not saying Instant Pot brisket (or any pressure cooker brisket) is better than smoked brisket.
It’s not, but it’s also much quicker and just as delicious. In a different way of course.
The Instant Pot is great for cooking brisket because:
- It reduces a process that normally takes all day (smoking) or at least multiple hours (traditional braising) down to an hour and half cooking time.
- It’s not necessary to brown or sear the meat beforehand.
- And my favorite, the meat and the sauce cook together at the same time.
So, no, it’s not smoked BBQ Texas brisket but it’s a lovely middle ground of braised, savory meat with a hint of BBQ.
Looking to make brisket in the slow cooker instead? I love Krista’s beer braised slow cooker brisket recipe, so check that one out!
More recipes like this Instant Pot brisket:
Instant Pot Brisket
- 3.5-4 pound beef brisket
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 tablespoon ground mustard
- Combine spices in a small bowl. Rub over the entire surface of the brisket. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in the Instant Pot on Sauté mode.
- Once hot, add the onions and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly softened, stirring frequently to not allow garlic to burn.
- Turn off Sauté mode.
- Place the brisket on top of the onion mixture in the Instant Pot. You may need to cut it in half to fit properly.
- Pour the beef broth and BBQ sauce into the pot.
- Close the lid on the Instant Pot, turn the valve to the "sealing" position.
- Set the Instant Pot for 90 minutes on "Meat/Stew" mode (or pressure cook high if your Instant Pot doesn’t have that setting).
- Once done cooking, let the Instant Pot naturally release for 10 minutes then turn the valve to "venting" and quick release the rest of the pressure.
- Remove the lid and use tongs to remove the brisket from the pot to a cutting board.
- Slice or shred the brisket depending on preference.
- Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté mode and cook, reducing the sauce left in the pot for 5 minutes or so until slightly thickened. Whisk consistently as it cooks.
- Add the brisket back to the pot with the sauce to coat or, plate the brisket and spoon the sauce on top before serving.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.