Pressure Cooker BBQ Brisket

So I finally did it. I bought a pressure cooker. After seeing so many Instant Pot recipes floating around the web, I decided it was time for me to get on board. I went with the Breville Fast Pro Slow after reading a review here on Serious Eats. I pretty much trust everything that J. Kenji López-Alt says…he’s a food God. Serious Eats is often my first go to for recipes and kitchen tool advice.

I decided on brisket for my first pressure cooker recipe. I looked around the web for something simple to start with and found one here on the Bearded Hiker’s blog. I love the simplicity of the recipe and the spice rub is a win. The recipe says to “marinate” the brisket with the rub for 8 – 12 hours. I only did it for 4 hours because that is all the time I had. I will definately plan ahead next time to give it more time with the rub.

As I was pressing all the right buttons on my pressure cooker’s fancy digital display, I really couldn’t believe that a perfectly cooked brisket was going to be the result in such a short time. Thankfully, my doubts were unfounded. It was perfect! I will definitely be making this over the summer when I need something easy to feed a crowd. I could have fit 2 briskets in my pressure cooker and had enough for at least 12 people. This brisket would be great served as is with sides or turned into sliders, tacos, or sandwiches like I did.

So tender and flavorful!

The BBQ sauce is pretty important here so pick a good one or make your favorite homemade version. I used Rufus Teague’s on the brisket which is one of our favorites and is made with clean ingredients. Stay away from anything with high fructose corn syrup or sugar listed as the first ingredient.

The sandwiches that I made with this brisket were sooo good. A big hit with the whole family. I bought two types of bread – ciabatta and hamburger buns. They were both great, it just depends weather you like a soft bun or crusty bread with your sandwich. I made a simple slaw with ranch dressing – BBQ and ranch dressing are a match made in heaven. Use your favorite ranch, or make one from scratch if you are feeling ambitious. I’m not a fan of the bottled stuff or the packet loaded with MSG but I love this one made with buttermilk and mayo.

Simply OrganicRanch Dressing Mix
Cilantro Ranch Slaw

Also…do yourself a favor and find some good bread and butter pickles. I bought some at Whole Foods that were so good. The sandwich would not have been the same without them. And if you have time, quick pickled red onion would be the bomb. I didn’t think about it until after so these were made with raw red onion.

A few notes on Brisket…

Brisket is a pretty lean cut of beef. It does have a large “fat cap” if it is left untrimmed. The fat is great for cooking low and slow but for pressure cooking you want to trim most of it off. I bought a flat cut and the fat cap was already trimmed off. You can ask your butcher to do that for you.

I bought a 3 lb roast and it made 7 sandwiches. Dinner for the 4 of us with glorious left overs for lunch the next day. I also ended up with too much spice rub so I put it in a zip lock bag for another use.

When you slice your brisket, make sure to go across the grain and use a good sharp slicing knife. My brisket was so tender, some of it fell apart into shreds while slicing.

Image result for images of flat cut brisket
This flat cut brisket has had the fat cap trimmed already.

Pressure Cooker BBQ Brisket

Course: Main DishCuisine: Barbecue

8 – 10

Prep time


Cooking time





A fall apart tender brisket loaded with flavor – perfect for sandwiches or tacos.
Recipe adapted from The Bearded Hiker


  • 3.5 tablespoons smoked paprika

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 2 tablespoons salt

  • 2 teaspoons black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 3 – 5 lb brisket, fat cap trimmed to 1/8″

  • BBQ sauce of your choice


  • Mix all of the rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Season the brisket generously on all sides with the rub, pressing it in with your fingers until it is completely coated. Unless you have an extra large brisket, you will have left over rub to save for another use. Wrap the brisket tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8-12 hours.
  • When you are ready to cook the brisket, cut it in half to fit in your pressure cooker properly. Add 1 cup of water to the pot and place the trivet in the bottom. Place 1 piece of meat, fat facing up, on the trivet then place the second piece on top of it with the fat facing up.

    Pressure cook on hight for 75 minutes using natural pressure release.
  • Carefully remove the brisket when finished cooking and place on to a baking sheet lined with heavy duty foil. Brush with your favorite BBQ sauce and put it under the broiler on high to caramelize a bit – don’t walk away! Turn over and do the same to the other side. You can do this twice for extra caramelization if you want.
    Another option is to put your BBQ sauce on and put it on the grill for a few minutes.

    Let rest for about 10 minutes then slice carefully against the grain.

For the Sandwich:

Make the Ranch Slaw by combining 3 cups of shredded cabbage, 1 cup of shredded carrots, 3 chopped green onions, a handful of chopped cilantro, and about 1/2 cup of your favorite ranch dressing.

Lightly toast some hamburger buns or ciabatta rolls. Spread some mayo on one side, add the sliced brisket topped with extra BBQ sauce, add some of the ranch slaw, top with red onion and pickles.

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