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

4 from 3 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
  • 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
  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


          Leave a Comment

          Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

          Recipe Rating


          This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.