Shredded Beef Brisket in the Crock-Pot (BBQ Beef Sandwiches)

by Dorothy Reinhold on July 18, 2011

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This is a recipe of only a few words. When something is this easy and perfect, you don’t have to spend a lot of time bragging about it or touting its superiority.

It is what it is, and that’s pretty delicious!

However, it does have these things going for it:

  1. It’s cheap!
  2. The onion caramelizes and adds wonderful flavor. (Your kids will not be able to pick the onion out.)
  3. It is great on a hot day, when you don’t need to heat up the kitchen any more than it already is. (Or put the Crock-Pot in the garage and let it cook there.)
  4. It’s also a perfect make-ahead, since it stores well in the refrigerator or freezer, ready to pull out and reheat.
  5. Think about long soccer weekends in the fall. This is a dinner solution!

All you need is an onion, a piece of meat, a Crock-Pot and some time. Later, you need a bun and some barbecue sauce. That’s it!

Beef Brisket on

Boneless Flat-Cut Brisket. Even better at half price!

Onions in Crock-Pot on

Onions go into the Crock-Pot first.

Brisket in Crock-Pot on

Brisket goes in on top of onions. Lid on. Don’t peek!

Recipe: Shredded Beef Brisket in the Crock-Pot (BBQ Beef Sandwiches)


  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced into half moons
  • 1 piece boneless, flat cut beef brisket, visible fat trimmed off (1 1/2-2-ish pounds?)
  • Barbecue sauce


  1. Spray the inside of the crock with nonstick spray. Toss in the onion slices. Lay the beef on top of the onions. Set it on high and walk away for 6-8 hours; resist the urge to open the lid and check on it, because you will let out a lot of heat and it will take additional time to come back up to temperature.
  2. It might be done before that…I forgot about it until 8 hours. Test the beef to see if it shreds (use two forks and try to pull it apart. If it comes apart easily, it’s done. If you feel like you are fighting with it, let it cook another hour or longer; then test again.
  3. Let meat cool. When cool, completely shred with two forks or your hands (I prefer hand method) and add barbecue sauce, stirring until it is the consistency you like. Store in the refrigerator in a covered container.
  4. When ready to serve, reheat in the microwave, and portion onto toasted buns. Eat and enjoy!

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 6-7 hours
Culinary tradition: USA (General)
My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★

Shredded Beef Brisket in the Crock-Pot on

Want another easy Crock-Pot recipe?

BBQ Country-Style Pork Ribs in the Slow CookerTry this: BBQ Country-Style Pork Ribs in the Slow Cooker







{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Amanda July 23, 2018 at 2:25 pm

Simple but tasty, love the crock pot method!


Ali February 1, 2018 at 6:52 pm

Can I cook ahead and reheat in BBQ sauce in the crockpot or will that get too over done ???


Cynthia November 25, 2017 at 2:35 pm

Do you discard the onions?


Dorothy Reinhold November 26, 2017 at 9:12 am

Nope, you leave them in and eat them!


Shannon February 21, 2017 at 3:35 pm

I just made pulled Brisket using this recipe and Oh MY GOD it is amazing! So funny story I really wanted to make pulled BBQ and I heard that Brisket can be cheap and amazing and so when I went shopping I couldn’t find the Brisket until I looked up and found it in a completely different packaging. It was a small size and I was happy about that because I have a small and old slow cooker. Like from the 80’s or so that still works. It was my Late Mothers.
Now I found this bag of frozen diced onions and said, I could use these for something, and bang I found your easy to use recipe and I found a use for the onions!
I put them in the bottom still frozen and I rinsed off the meat and just draped it over the onions. It only took 5 1/2 hours on High!
It just cooked in it’s own juices. I’m gonna have it plain tonight, it’s just that good. Some Potatoes and Green Beans. Ugh I can’t wait!
Thank you so much!
I know have a dish to add to my family recipe book! When I have kids they are gonna love this!


Dorothy Reinhold February 21, 2017 at 4:00 pm

You just made my day! What you did is exactly right…find an inexpensive cut and cook it in the slow cooker. Onions are so versatile. You can use them cut fresh, or frozen like you had them, and it will turn out well either way. And by the way, the Crock-Pot I am using is from 1974, so don’t be afraid to use your old pot! I give a big thumbs-up to your dinner!


Liz March 9, 2016 at 6:05 pm

Another lovely recipe, Dorothy. Thank you.


Shelley October 4, 2015 at 7:16 pm

Can salt and pepper or other seasonings be added to the meat before cooking?


Dorothy Reinhold October 6, 2015 at 7:50 pm

You can certainly add salt, pepper or other seasonings to the meat before cooking. I was trying to keep it super simple, hence the bbq sauce addition. To my taste, BBQ sauce has plenty of salt, pepper, sugar and other seasonings, so I didn’t want to add any more in the beginning. As always, though, suit yourself and your own taste buds. That’s what matters most! Hope you enjoy.


Vicki Bauer March 18, 2015 at 4:36 pm

Have I got a recipe for you!

This recipe was given to my mom by my 7th grade school teacher in 1955 (or maybe earlier because they were friends before I entered 7th grade).

Belle was from the Deep South, deeper than central Florida where I grew up. I know each state has a different BBQ style. I’m guessing this one is from South Carolina.

. . . . . . . . . . . Belle’s Barbecue Beef . . . . . . . . . .
pressure cook 3-4 lb chuck roast til it falls apart — let cool — remove fat and shred meat

1 block butter or oleo (I omit this — beef has enough fat)
3 tbsp. vinegar
1 cup chili sauce (I use a bottle of chili sauce & rinse bottle with the next ingredient: water)
1 cup water
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. dry mustard
2 tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1-2 large onions, chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper
1-3 garlic buttons, crushed

Cook slowly, stirring often ‘til thickened. Add shredded beef and simmer at least 30 min. Serve on buns (of your choice) that have been buttered on both halves and lightly browned under broiler.

I’ve been making this recipe for my family for 50 years. No complaints yet, and it great to have on hand when you’re expecting company but aren’t sure when they might arrive.

I even like the BBQ beef straight from the refrigerator! One or two bites is a great source of protein to tide me over until the next meal.


Dorothy Reinhold March 18, 2015 at 5:02 pm

This sauce looks great! Do you know how much cooked shredded beef it would flavor? Just looking for a guesstimate.


Kim November 17, 2013 at 5:23 am

I have used this recipe for years, and it is a hit every time I serve it. Sometimes I add just a bit of diced garlic if I have it on hand. For the perfect fall supper, I serve with roasted butternut squash/root vegetables and a green salad. Young and old alike seem to love this!


Dorothy Reinhold November 17, 2013 at 5:36 am

I love your idea to serve with squash and salad. I will try that next time!


Dee Brown January 20, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Was wondering if I can cook brisket from frozen or should I defrost first?


Dorothy January 21, 2013 at 12:04 pm

I haven’t stuck it in there frozen, but I believe you can. You will probably need to add a little cooking time to accommodate. Just add 30 minutes to start with, check and add additional time as needed.


candice December 10, 2012 at 6:47 am

How many will 1 1/2-2lb feed?


Dorothy December 10, 2012 at 6:14 pm

At least 4…maybe more, depending on appetites and what other things you serve with it.


Barbara @ Barbara Bakes August 1, 2012 at 10:06 am

Saw this features on Slower Cookers and I love how simple but fantastic it sounds.


Dorothy August 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Thank you, Barbara!


Allison eison February 12, 2012 at 9:18 am

Yum! This sounds like the perfect was to make beef! Happy on your mark get set…..! Wanna get together on Friday night for dinner and cooking?


Elizabeth Davis November 28, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Should any liquid be put with it?


Dorothy November 28, 2012 at 10:29 pm

No, don’t add any liquid while it cooks. It will be moist, and after you shred it, you will add some barbecue sauce as directed in the recipe. It will all turn out dandy!


Chelan December 6, 2013 at 2:01 pm

How long should I let it sit in the pot if on “LOW” setting? I wont be home in time – should it cook for a total of 8 hrs? more? less?


Dorothy Reinhold December 7, 2013 at 5:42 am

Mine needed nearly 8 hours to cook on HIGH, as I say in the recipe. The general rule of thumb with slow cookers is twice the amount of time on LOW, so if you want to cook it on LOW, it might be somewhere in the neighborhood of 12-16 hours. Slow cookers differ in their heating abilities and temperatures, so that is why I advise checking on the meat and seeing if you can shred it easily with 2 forks. When you can do that without fighting with it, it is done. Go cook, and you’ll do fine! Come back and tell me how it went for you!

Rena December 19, 2013 at 6:28 am

This meat is awesome! What would you suggest for leftovers if you’re not wanting BBQ beef sandwiches again? Would this be good in a salad?


Dorothy Reinhold December 19, 2013 at 7:28 am

1. I would make some mashed potatoes and put some meat atop them!
2. I would make a sort of grains salad out of it — this time of year, how about some cooked farro or spelt, some shaved brussels sprouts, and some of this meat? It can be a room temperature salad. What do you think?


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