Here's what's going to make this dish a future family classic: The sweet and tangy sauce laced with tender onions and just the right amount of spices, fall-apart brisket that will make the house smell incredible, and easy cooking that means you get to reap the benefits of this home-cooked meal even when your to-do list is a mile long. Serve this with rice, couscous, or a thick chunk of bread on the side to mop the extra sauce and you will not be sorry.
Start the Sauce on the Stovetop
Made with caramelized onions and a mess of spices, this sauce is nothing short of amazing. It's layered with sweetness from a mix of brown sugar, tomato paste, and onions, and balanced with the tang of apple cider vinegar.
Starting the onions on the stovetop gives them a chance to caramelize, brown, and take on a deeper flavor. Then the spices and tomato paste are mixed in to bloom. Once the pan is deglazed with broth, the flavors begin to meld together before even hitting the slow cooker so you know that a few hours later, you'll have a meaty masterpiece just waiting to hit the dinner plate.
Sweet & Tangy Slow Cooker Brisket
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the meat
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for the meat
1 cup low-sodium beef broth
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown and char in some spots, about 8 minutes.
Add the tomato paste, garlic, paprika, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, smoked paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and tomato paste, and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of the broth, using a wooden spoon to scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the vinegar and sugar and stir to combine and dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a 6-quart or larger slow cooker.
Pat the brisket dry with paper towels. Generously season both sides with salt and pepper. Place the brisket in the slow cooker fat-side down.
Cover and cook on the LOW setting for 6 to 8 hours. The brisket is done when it easily shreds when pulled, but it shouldn't be falling apart.
Transfer the brisket to a clean cutting board. If desired, use a spoon to scrape the fat cap off. Now you can slice and serve the brisket immediately with the sauce.
- Make ahead: The brisket can be cooked up to 3 days in advance. Store the brisket and onions covered with the sauce, in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Storage: Leftovers keep well for up to 1 week. Store the beef covered in sauce to keep the meat moist.