Instant Pot Brisket Recipe

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This Instant Pot Brisket Recipe makes tender beef brisket that’s full of smoky, rich flavor that rivals the low and slow BBQ pit taste we all love. It’s easy to make in the Instant Pot and won’t disappoint.

beef brisket buns

You really don’t need a low and slow BBQ pit to make amazing brisket at home. In fact, all you need is an Instant Pot and about a quarter of the time needed to cook it on the barbecue or in the oven. The meat turns out super tender and moist. I almost can’t wait to pile it up on a bun with BBQ sauce.

Why You’ll Love It

  • Beef Brisket can be used in so many different dishes. You can slice it just like a beef roast, served with any side dish you like. You can pile it up on a brioche bun to make those delicious brisket buns pictured above. You can chop it up and serve it on a bed of French Fries for the best poutine you’ve ever tasted, or you can add it to a salad for a tasty low-carb lunch. The possibilities are endless.
  • Cooking a brisket in the Instant Pot cuts down the cooking time considerably. You still get the tender, melt-in-your-mouth meat you expect but with a fraction of the cooking time.

Raquel says: 5 stars Superb! So easy to make in the instant pot!

Anaiah says: 5 stars I love cooking with my instant pot and this recipe was so easy to make!

A forkful of cooked brisket from the Instant Pot

Which Cut of Brisket to Buy

Brisket comes in two different cuts, if you’re lucky enough to have a butcher nearby where you can find both. You can either choose the flat cut or the point cut. Flat cuts are typically leaner and trimmed of fat, whereas there is a good layer of fat or fat cap on the point cut.

The point cut is my favorite cut because I believe that all that fat leads to great flavor. More fat means juicier, scrumptious meat. Even if you choose to remove a lot of the fat before eating it, it’s nice to have the option of leaving it on for cooking.

On a brisket, the fat is concentrated in a thick layer at the top. The fat renders when the meat is cooked, sinking into the meat to add flavor. When you serve it, you can either leave the remaining fat on or trim it off. The choice is up to you. If you don’t like cooking all that fat, stick with a piece that is more trimmed.

brisket in the instant pot

What Size Brisket to Buy

If you have a butcher, you can usually ask for whatever size brisket you need. It’s usually available in the meat section of your grocery in a 2- to 4-pound size. But they can come up to 12 or 14 pounds.

For 2-4 people, a 2-pound brisket is just right. It won’t leave a lot of left overs though, so we always go for a 3-pound brisket for 2 people. Then we can make more meals from it.

It’s possible to cook up to a 4-pound brisket in a 6 qt Instant Pot. Any larger than that and it doesn’t fit well in the pot. You could go up to a 6-pound brisket if you have an 8-quart Instant Pot.

» You might also like Instant Pot Flank Steak.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Beef brisket – 3 pound point cut beef brisket. See above for more information on what cut and size of brisket to look for.
  • Cooking oil
  • Beef broth – Beef broth is the liquid of choice because it helps add flavor along with helping to build pressure. You could use vegetable broth or water as well.
  • BBQ sauce – You can use your favorite store bought sauce or try this homemade version.
  • Onion – Yellow or white onion, sliced.
  • Wet spice rub – Olive oil, liquid smoke, paprika, salt, ground black pepper, chili powder, and onion powder.

Equipment Needed

Instant Pot Duo Plus
  • Instant Pot – I use a 6-quart Instant Pot Duo Plus to make all of my recipes, but you can use any size or brand of electric pressure cooker. If you’re using an 8-quart pot, you will need to adjust the amount of liquid accordingly, as it requires more water to build steam.
  • Whisk – A whisk or wooden spoon will help you get the brown bits off the bottom of the pot before pressure cooking.
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp carving knife

Tips For This Instant Pot Brisket Recipe

  • It’s best, if you can, to allow the brisket to marinate for at least 30 minutes to lock in the flavor. You can marinate it for up to 24-hours, if you have the time.
  • Searing the brisket on all sides gives the meat a nice browned and flavorful crust. If at all possible don’t skip this step. It adds so much flavor.
  • Because of the spices in the rub it could begin to burn on the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  • When deglazing the pot be very careful adding liquid. It will steam up immediately and can burn your arm if you’re not careful.
  • Always slice it the brisket against the grain.

How To Cook Brisket in the Instant Pot

Not all of us have the option of cooking brisket on a pit fire or smoker. I don’t have any backyard space, thus no grill or smoker outside to cook on. That’s why I’ve had to adapt my cooking method and perfect brisket to the Instant Pot.

Instant Pot Brisket can turn out really tender and moist, just like it would on a smoker. The main difference is that the smoky flavor that sinks into the meat as it cooks on a smoker isn’t possible in an Instant Pot. Two things will help lock in that smoky BBQ flavor. One is to use a wet rub with liquid smoke and the other is to sear the meat on both sides before putting it in the Instant Pot.

Step 1: Apply a Wet Rub

apply a wet rib

It’s easy to make a homemade wet rub for this brisket. The wet rub allows the seasoning to infiltrate the meat and make a delicious browned crust on the meat when you sear it.

The ingredients for the rub are:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Generously slather on the wet rub to coat the brisket. It’s best if you can allow the brisket to marinate for at least 30 minutes to lock in the flavor. You can marinate it for up to 24-hours, if you have the time.

Step 2: Sear the Brisket

Searing the brisket on all sides. This will give the meat a nice browned and flavorful crust.

I sear the brisket directly in the Instant Pot on sauté mode in olive oil. Once it’s browned, about 3 minutes per side, remove it from the pot and turn off the machine.

Be aware that the rub will begin to burn on the bottom of the Instant Pot if you take too long with this step. It should just take about 6 minutes. If the rub is starting to burn on the bottom, remove the brisket and add more oil to the pot.

Step 3: Pressure Cook the Brisket

uncooked brisket in the instant pot

There will be some browned bits on the bottom of the pot from searing the brisket. Adding beef broth to the pot will help you loosen the browned bit, and all that flavor, from the pot. Just a note of caution, if sauté mode is still on, and the pot is very hot, you need to be very careful adding liquid to the pot. It will steam up immediately and can burn your arm if you’re not careful.

To avoid the safety issue, I always turn off sauté mode and let the pot cool slightly before adding the broth. Add the broth, deglaze the pot, by scrape the bits up with a spatula. This adds great flavor to the meat, so don’t skip the step of whisking up the browned bits. It also prevents the “BURN” notice that might come from browned bits remaining on the pot when you set the pressure.

Add the BBQ sauce (I use this homemade bourbon BBQ sauce), liquid smoke, and the diced onions to the pot. Then set the brisket back into the pot, nestling it in among the sauce.

cooked brisket

Close the Instant Pot and set it to pressure cook on high (or manual, depending on which IP version you have). Set the timer to 75 minutes. This is the perfect amount of time for a 3 pound piece of meat. For a 4-6 pound brisket, set the time to 80 minutes. For a smaller piece, from 1-3 pounds, set the time for 60 minutes.

After the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally. This will take 10-15 minutes. If after 15 minutes, there is still pressure, you can release it manually.

When you open up the pot, you’ll be greeted with a heavenly piece of meat that is fall apart tender and ready to be devoured.

instant pot brisket

Step 4: Complete the Dish

Take the brisket carefully out of the pot so that it doesn’t fall apart. Slice it against the grain into 1/2″ thick slices to serve.

You can also use the sauce from the pot as a gravy. Just be aware that the sauce is likely to be quite fatty, especially if your piece of brisket had a fat cap.

You’ll want to strain off the fat from the sauce before thickening it. I usually find that once I skim the fat, it takes about 5 minutes on sauté mode to thicken the sauce into a nice gravy.

Questions About the Recipe

How long does it take to cook brisket in an Instant Pot?

Cooking times may vary depending on the size and thickness of the brisket, but generally, it takes about 70 to 80 minutes of pressure cooking for a well-cooked and tender brisket. Keep in mind that additional time is needed for the Instant Pot to come to pressure and release pressure after cooking.

Do I need to sear the brisket before pressure cooking in the Instant Pot?

While it’s not mandatory, searing the brisket before pressure cooking can enhance the flavor and appearance of the final dish. Searing helps to develop a flavorful crust on the meat and can contribute to a richer taste. If you’re short on time, you can skip this step, but if you have the extra few minutes, it’s worth considering.

What are the best spices or rubs to use for seasoning Instant Pot brisket?

Seasoning is crucial for a flavorful brisket. A classic rub might include a combination of kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika. You can also experiment with your favorite spices, such as cumin, chili powder, or brown sugar, to tailor the flavor to your liking. It’s a good idea to let the brisket marinate in the spices for a few hours or overnight for maximum flavor absorption.

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Instant Pot Brisket Recipe

Instant Pot BBQ Brisket

This Instant Pot Brisket recipe makes tender beef brisket that's full of smoky, rich flavor that rivals the low and slow BBQ pit taste we all love.

Note: Made in a 6-qt Instant Pot

4.89 from 62 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Pressurizing Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 722 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • 3 pounds (1 kg) beef brisket
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) cooking oil
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) beef broth
  • 3/4 cup (215 g) BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 onion sliced

For the rub

  • 2 tablespoon (30 ml) olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) liquid smoke
  • 2 teaspoons (4 g) paprika
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) onion powder

Instructions
 

  • Take the brisket out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Pat dry and lay flat. Cut binding strings and trim down the fat cap, if there is any.
  • Mix the rub ingredients together in a bowl. Rub evenly on all sides of the meat.
  • Turn on the saute mode on the Instant Pot. Add the cooking oil. When the pot is hot, add the brisket and brown on both sides, around 4 minutes per side. After 8 minutes turn off the Instant Pot. Remove the brisket to a plate.
  • Add the beef broth to the pot and whisk to remove the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the BBQ sauce and liquid smoke. Whisk to combine.
  • Return the brisket to the pot. Scatter the onions on top.
  • Close the lid and set the vent to sealing. Set to 75 minutes on high pressure. Once the time is up, allow a natural pressure release for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the meat from the pot. Strain any excess oil from the top of the sauce. Turn on the saute mode and allow the sauce to thicken, whisking occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
  • If desired, brown the top of the brisket under the broiler for 5 minutes. Slice and serve with the sauce.

Notes

  • It’s best, if you can, to allow the brisket to marinate for at least 30 minutes to lock in the flavor. You can marinate it for up to 24-hours, if you have the time.
  • Searing the brisket on all sides gives the meat a nice browned and flavorful crust. If at all possible don’t skip this step. It adds so much flavor.
  • Because of the spices in the rub it could begin to burn on the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  • When deglazing the pot be very careful adding liquid. It will steam up immediately and can burn your arm if you’re not careful.
  • Always slice it the brisket against the grain.

Nutrition

Calories: 722kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 71gFat: 36gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 211mgSodium: 1465mgPotassium: 1291mgFiber: 1gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 273IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 42mgIron: 7mg
Keyword BBQ, Beef
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8 thoughts on “Instant Pot Brisket Recipe

  1. Janet F. says:

    5 stars
    Easy AND fabulous! A real crowd pleaser! Not sure why cooking times are so long. I cook smaller pieces & find that it’s tender enough at only 20 minutes! for a super-quick, chunky 3 lb, cut-up brisket.

4.89 from 62 votes (56 ratings without comment)

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