Best Beef Brisket Recipe & The Perfect Side Dishes

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    best beef brisket

    Growing up in Kansas, I was surrounded by top-notch barbecue and the best cuts of beef you could ever want. Looking back, I took a lot of this for granted as a kid -- but I would only learn that once I left home to start working in bars and restaurants around the country.

    Living in small-town Northeast Kansas put my family within driving distance of Kansas City style barbecue anytime we went out to eat at a restaurant. But when my birthday came around each summer and I got to choose what we were eating for dinner, do you know what I asked for almost without fail?

    My Mom’s slow cooked beef brisket, simmered all day in a Kansas City BBQ sauce whose recipe had been handed down from my great grandmother. 

    Honestly, it was a wonder to me that my Mom could still read the hand-scrawled notes for this recipe on an unlined index card she kept high in the cupboards, away from small and curious hands. After I moved away from home around age 18, every birthday would bring back memories of this dish, the best beef brisket recipe I’d ever had.

    So is this the only great way to make beef brisket? Of course not. All four major U.S. barbecue regions have their own take on brisket, and many of them choose to grill or smoke it. But aside from my fond memories of my birthday dinners, I still love this recipe for its richly textured meat and robust, sticky flavor.

    So is this the only great way to make beef brisket? Of course not. All four major U.S. barbecue regions have their own take on brisket, and many of them choose to grill or smoke it. But aside from my fond memories of my birthday dinners, I still love this recipe for its richly textured meat and robust, sticky flavor.

    If you’d like to learn how to cook this easy preparation beef brisket recipe with KC style barbecue sauce, please read on! At the end, you’ll find some of my favorite side dishes to pair with this style of beef brisket.

    Ingredients

    For this recipe, you’re going to need a good portion of brisket from your local butcher, as well as a dry rub and a barbecue sauce.

    For the Dry Rub:

    • 4 lbs beef brisket
    • ¼ cup smoked paprika
    • ¼ cup raw (demerara) sugar
    • 1 ½ tbsp kosher salt
    • 1 ½ tbsp fresh ground black pepper
    • Zest of one lemon

    For the Kansas City Style BBQ sauce:

    • 3 cups ketchup
    • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
    • ½ cup dark brown sugar
    • ½ cup molasses
    • ¼ cup honey
    • 1 tbsp kosher salt
    • 1 tbsp chili powder
    • 1 tsp ground black pepper
    • 1 tsp allspice powder
    • 2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • Salt and chili powder, to taste

    Preparation & Cooking Instructions

    You’re definitely going to want to rub your brisket first, and leave it to sit for an hour or so while you’re preparing the barbecue sauce.

    For the Dry Rub:

    1. ​Set your brisket out to let it come up to room temperature.
    2. Measure out and combine the smoked paprika, raw sugar, kosher salt, and black pepper in a medium bowl.
    3. Zest a single lemon, making sure not to dig into the bitter white pith. Combine this zest with your other dry ingredients.
    4. Pat the brisket dry with a paper towel, then take a few minutes to massage your dry rub mixture into it, being sure to evenly coat every bit of beef.
    5. Cover your brisket, and set it aside in the refrigerator for at least an hour (though preferably up to 6).

    For the Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce:

    1. Grab a medium to large size pot, and add all of your BBQ sauce ingredients except the salt and paprika added to taste (those will come later).
    2. Over a low heat, stir to combine all of the ingredients into an even mixture.
    3. Increase to a high heat, and continue stirring at an even pace.
    4. Once the sauce comes to a boil, go ahead and reduce it to a simmer.
    5. Taste the sauce; does it have enough salt and spice for you? If not, go ahead and add a teaspoon at a time of kosher salt or a mild to hot chili powder.
    6. Simmer for at least 30 minutes -- though this sauce definitely benefits from simmering for up to 2 hours to concentrate its flavors!

    For the Slow Cooker Brisket:

    1. Heat a small amount of vegetable oil in a skillet large enough for your dry rubbed brisket.
    2. Once the pan is extra hot, sear each piece of brisket for 1 minute per side, then remove to a plate to rest. (This step helps seal in the juices, making for even tastier meat)
    3. Plug in your slow cooker and set it to “low”, then add the seared brisket.
    4. Cover your brisket with barbecue sauce, then add just enough water to thin the sauce into a soupy texture.
    5. Leave to cook for up to 8 hours; the longer you let it cook, the more juicy and tender it will be!

    As a final note, once the brisket is finished and you’re ready to serve it, be sure to cut against the grain of the meat! This keeps the now-tender texture intact, and keeps you from turning it into shredded beef.

    The Best Side Dishes for Beef Brisket

    Of course, no barbecue meal is complete without sides! Here are a few of my favorites to pair with this KC style beef brisket:

    White Bread and Pickles

    Keep it simple with this BBQ table staple: A loaf of Wonder Bread and some dill pickle slices turn any barbecued meat into a complete meal.

    Mayo Based Coleslaw

    There’s no replacing a sweet, creamy mayonnaise based coleslaw with beef brisket. Make it fresh while the brisket is finishing cooking, and you’ll keep the amazing crunchy texture that makes the two a match made in heaven.

    Roasted Corn

    A few ears of corn roasted on a grill (or in the oven) make a fine, sweet accompaniment to this beef brisket recipe. Slather them with butter and salt just before serving, and don’t forget the napkins!

    Baked Beans

    Even straight out of a can, the sweet and tangy flavor of baked beans makes for a natural partner to savory beef brisket. Add some fresh-cooked, finely diced bacon to make them something truly special for the table.

    Mac and Cheese 

    Whether you prefer it baked or stovetop style, macaroni and cheese is a midwest staple to serve alongside barbecue. The rich creaminess andchewy starches combine especially well with the sweet and tangy KC style BBQ sauce on our brisket.

    Final Thoughts on the Best Beef Brisket Recipe

    When I learned to make this awesome KC style slow cooker beef brisket on my own, it brought back memories of birthdays spent in our backyard, under the summer sun. I hope that by sharing it with you today, you can have a little taste of what it was like for me growing up in the Midwest -- slower, and maybe just a little bit sweeter.

    Thanks for reading today, and I wish you the best of luck in all of your barbecuing adventures!