Pressure Cooker Beef Brisket

Without a doubt, this is the 8 Minute Abs of the beef brisket world.  You’re likely aware that, if you’ve read any beef brisket recipes, a smoked brisket takes anywhere from 8 to 14 hours.  What if you could get the same tender, smokey meat in 90 minutes?  Read on…

Sliced Pressure Cooked Beef Brisket

Pressure Cooking and Smoking Beef Brisket

This recipe follows a general pattern from my Texas Two Step BBQ Ribs, where we cook the meat quickly so that it’s tender and moist, and then finish it with smoke.  This significantly reduces the amount of time needed.  Time where you’d be managing the temperature and smoke level.

Now don’t get me wrong, there was a time in my life where spending 8 hours outside cooking meat and drinking adult beverages sounded like an amazing day.  With two kids and a long list of other stuff to do, those days are long behind me.

So I’m always looking for ways to simplify what would be a delicious, but time consuming, recipe that doesn’t sacrifice quality or flavor.  That’s why I love pressure cooker recipes.  Combining pressure cooking with brief smoking has turned out to be a winner.

For this recipe, I’m using a 10qt Fagor Pressure Cooker.  It’s available here on Amazon.  If this is going to be an Instant Pot Beef Brisket, I’d suggest the 8qt vessel for a large piece of meat.  If you have a smaller Instant Pot, you will likely need to cut the brisket in half and stack up the pieces.

 

Make Your Own Beef Brisket Rub

The rub recipe below has one glaring omission.  Salt.  Similar to my BBQ Rib Rub Recipe, I’ve opted to salt the meat first and then rub second.  This lets you apply a liberal amount of this delicious beef rub (which is essential for creating a bark when smoking) without curing the meat to the point that it’s overly salty.

If you are on a low-sodium diet, this is a really important change because you want to be able to use liberal amounts of rub for the flavor.  It will also make it easier if you need to calculate exactly how much sodium was added to the rub.  With this No Salt Brisket Rub, you can control the salt independent of the rub.

Feel free to make necessary changes to the base rub recipe.  I’ve chosen herbs that pair well with beef – rosemary, parsley and thyme – but that’s all at your discretion.

Pressure Cooked Beef Brisket with a Sodium Free Beef Brisket Rub
Beef Brisket with a liberal coating of Beef Brisket Rub

If you have the time, let the salt and the rub have a few hours to work their way into the meat.  I salted the meat and let it rest in the fridge for about an hour before applying the rub.  Both took place early in the morning and then cooked them in the evening.

 

 

Pressure Cooking a Beef Brisket

After the salt and the rub have done their work, place the brisket on your pressure cooker’s basket and fill the bottom with about 2 cups of water.  What’s key here is that the brisket is not sitting directly on the bottom of the pressure cooker or Instant Pot.  This serves two purposes: it keeps the meat from scorching on the bottom of the vessel and it also keeps the texture consistent.

I’ve made the mistake before of putting meat with a sugary rub directly on the bottom of the pan (either for cooking or searing) and then spent days trying to clean the tarry black mess off of the stainless steel.

Beef Brisket in a Pressure Cooker

My pressure cooker included this convenient multi-purpose basket that’s a grater, a slicer, a steaming basket and maybe gets out grass stains too.  The only thing I’ve ever used it for, however, is turning it upside down for resting pressure cooked bone-in ham and other cuts of meat.

The brisket will cook at pressure for 30 minutes, which will raise the temperature to about 145 degrees.  While the brisket is in the pressure cooker, start getting your grill ready so that there is rolling smoke as soon as the pressure cooking is done.

Finish by Smoking the Brisket

With your grill/smoker at about 275 degrees and putting out a good amount of smoke, cook the brisket over indirect heat for about 1 hour until the meat hits 190 degrees.  Don’t get discouraged if you find your brisket is stuck around 160-170 degrees and isn’t moving.  This is known to seasoned barbecuers as “The Stall” and is covered extensively on BBQ sites.

Beef Brisket after it has been pressure cooked and smoked

Optionally, you can apply more rub to the meat before going in the smoke.  Remember that since this is a salt-free rib, there’s no risk of it being too salty.  You’ll only give the smoke more spices to form a  delicious bark.

When it’s done, let the meat rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing against the grain.

 

Pressure Cooked and Smoked Beef Brisket after being sliced

5 from 2 votes
Pressure Cooker Beef Brisket
Pressure Cooked and Smoked Beef Brisket
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 30 mins
Total Time
1 hr 50 mins
 
Achieve super tender, and smokey, beef brisket in only 90 minutes with my Texas Two Step method
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Tony Bailey
Ingredients
  • 2.5 Pounds of Beef Brisket
  • Kosher Salt for salting the meat
  • 1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Mustard Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Chili Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Dry Herb Mix such as Rosemary, Thyme and Parsley
Instructions
  1. Rinse and pat the brisket dry and apply a layer of salt to the outside. Optionally let the meat rest for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator for the salt to absorb
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a food processor and run for 30 seconds to mix
  3. Apply a liberal layer of the rub to the all sides of the brisket
  4. On a raised surface in your pressure cooker, cook at full pressure for 30 minutes and quick release
  5. While pressure cooking, prepare your grill or smoker to about 275 degrees. If using a smoker box, allow sufficient time for the smoke to get rolling. (If using wood chips or chunks, soak them for at least 15 minutes before putting on the grill)
  6. Smoke for 1 hour at 275 degrees, or until you hit 190 degrees of internal temperatue
  7. Allow the brisket to rest for 10 minutes before slicing against the grain


Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot Beef Brisket

Make Beef Brisket in a fraction of the time in your Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot.  Finish in a Smoker for that delicious bark and crust

8 Comments

  1. Ellen Duncan

    Amazing!!! You would think this was cooked 12 hours in a smoker it’s so tender.

  2. I am wondering if this will work the other way. We have had our brisket on for 3 hours already on the grill and it’s not cooking at the rate we predicted. So we are thinking of putting it in the pressure cooker to finish it …. I’m hoping it still works great, but we will see.

    • Tony Bailey

      Sounds like you have hit The Stall. You’ll likely be able to get it to the temperature you want, but I suspect you’ll lose any bark that might have formed because the PC is such a moist environment. Do let me know how it turns out! I’m very curious how this works out in reverse as well.

    • We didn’t end up putting it in the pressure cooker. We left it for 7 hours and it came to temp. The flavour was amazing but the tenderness left a lot to be desired. I did however put my leftovers in the instant pot for 8 minutes on high pressure and it helped huge on the texture, but unfortunately took away a bit from the original flavor. BBQ sauce reduced it and everyone was happy.

      • Tony Bailey

        Thanks for following up. Check out our No Sauce Pulled Pork recipe if you get a chance. Turns a pork shoulder into pulled pork in about an hour and can stand on its own without sauce.

  3. Dalene Rosas

    Basically the same thing happened to me but using an oven braising method, although the temp was ok, the tenderness was not, very tough so I am planning to put in the PC to see if that will help, just not sure how long? Wish the previous person would have posted results, will attempt, hopefully I don’t ruin this expensive piece of meat! And I hope to post results if I can find my way back to your site again! I can’t wait to try your ribs! Thanks for your recipes, awesome can’t wait to see your next new recipe, keep’em coming!

    • Tony Bailey

      Depending on how you’ll end up serving this, you can get the meat to fall apart in your fingers if you cut it up beforehand. This would be best if you’re planning more of a shredded meat. If you plan for slices, then clearly this isn’t ideal. The PC will be great for tenderizing either way. If your brisket is 4 pounds or more, you’ll want at least 45 minutes of cooking. A natural release, versus a quick release, also promotes a more tender final product. Thanks so much for checking out the blog!

  4. Pete Morelli

    Have you done a pork butt like this? I imagine you might have to tie it up to prevent it falling apart.

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