Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Slow Cooker Beef Brisket

Wednesday, December 05, 2018
Master Chef Walter Potenza, GoLocalWorcester Food Expert

Serve 6

Inspired by the flavors of Argentinean steak and a piquant sauce called Chimichurri, this slow-cooked brisket cooks until its falling apart tender to become the showpiece of your holiday table. Using beer as the braising liquid immediately adds flavor to the meat.


3 garlic cloves

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon olive oil

1½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1½ teaspoons ground cumin

1½ teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more

4-5 pounds untrimmed flat-cut brisket, cut into 4” pieces

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

1 12-oz cans lager


Finely chop garlic in a food processor. Add brown sugar, mustard, oil, black pepper, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and 2 tablespoons salt and process until smooth. Rub all over brisket, working into crevices. Wrap in plastic; chill 1–2 days. Let meat sit out until its room temperature, about 1 hour. Scatter onions in a 4–6-quart slow cooker and add brisket, fat side up. Add beer and 1 cup water. Cover and cook until meat is very tender, 7–8 hours on low or 4–5 hours on high. Heat the broiler. Transfer brisket, onions, and any braising liquid to a large oven-proof skillet or roasting pan. Broil brisket, uncovered, until top is browned and crisp, 5–10 minutes.

Let brisket cool slightly. Remove from pan and shred or slice. Remove onions with a slotted spoon; mix into brisket. Taste and moisten with some cooking liquid and season with salt, if needed. Do ahead: Brisket can be braised 1 day ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Reheat, covered, at 325° for 1½ hours.

Chimichurri Sauce (Argentina)

Yield: Makes about 1 cup


1 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley

1/2 cup olive oil

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup (packed) fresh cilantro

2 garlic cloves, peeled

3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt


Puree all ingredients in processor. Transfer to bowl. This procedure can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.

What is a Brisket?

Beef brisket is a cut from the breast section of the animal. It is usually sold boneless. Because brisket is a tough cut of meat, its best when braised with a liquid, either in the oven, the slow cooker, or on the stove top. Two different cuts of brisket are available. Unless the recipe specifies one or the other, either may be used in recipes calling for boneless beef brisket: Beef Brisket Flat Half (also called thin cut, flat cut, first cut, or center cut): With its minimal fat, this cut is generally the pricier of the two. Beef Brisket Point half (also called front cut, point cut, thick cut, or nose cut): This cut is the less expensive of the two. It has more fat, and actually more flavor.


Buying Brisket

Look for beef brisket that has a good color and appears moist but not wet. Avoid packages with tears or liquid in the bottom of the tray. Plan on 3 to 4 ounces for each person you serve. Brisket comes in 3- to 3-1/2-pound sizes or larger. Unless you're serving a crowd, you'll probably have plenty of leftovers for sandwiches or future meals. Tip: Corned beef brisket is made from beef brisket that has been cured in seasoned brine. Often, fresh beef brisket is specified in a recipe to differentiate a regular beef brisket from a corned beef brisket. Be sure to use whichever style of brisket is called for in your recipe.

Master Chef Walter Potenza is the owner of Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, Chef Walters Cooking, School and Chef Walters Fine Foods. His fields of expertise include Italian Regional Cooking, Historical Cooking from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, Sephardic Jewish Italian Cooking, Terracotta Cooking, Diabetes and Celiac. Recipient of National and International accolades, awarded by the Italian Government as Ambassador of Italian Gastronomy in the World. Currently on ABC6 with Cooking Show “Eat Well." Check out the Chef's website and blog


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