Slow Cooked Barbecue Brisket

I wish I could tell you where my love of American barbecue comes from. I think barbecue sauce is the best thing in the world. I love nothing more than baby back ribs cooked to perfection smothered in barbecue sauce. The idea of doing a road trip around the barbecue joints in the Southern US is my idea of a foodie trip. But I have no idea why.

My family has always enjoyed firing up the barbecue (or open fire pit) at home. My mum is the barbecue mastermind – she loves tending to the fire in the open grilling pit that’s at my parent’s house. Most of the time, though, we cook seafood on the barbecue/fire. In fact, I made the stuffed squid two ways with the help of my mum over her open fire pit. I don’t have many memories of lots of red meat being cooked over the barbecue, mostly veggies and seafood, but I know there was red meat involved – enough of my friends would thoroughly enjoy my mum’s barbecued food, and some still talk about it to this day with fond memories.

But American barbecue is different. A lot of it is long and slow cooking, and it’s usually covered in a dry rub before then being finished off with a sauce of some kind. I know the reason I love barbecue sauce is due to it’s sweet and tangy combination, I just don’t know what draws me to American barbecue.

Basically, that’s my round-a-bout way of saying, “I love American barbecue, and look at this yummy food I made”.

Brisket requires slow cooking, due to the amount of connective tissue in the cut. It’s also a fairly cheap cut of meat, compared to other, more popular cuts. Having said that, just a simple google search will give you 100 different ways to cook brisket from around the world, including in Hong Kong. In Asia, brisket is most commonly found in soups and noodle dishes, namely Vietnamese pho.

Given the language barrier that can sometimes occur if trying to buy a particular cut of meat at the wet market, without a picture or the Cantonese name, I decided to look for brisket at Hong Kong’s ethical butcher shop Bones & Blades. I’ve never bought from them before, but have been there a couple of times with friends. I also know that they are happy to put your meat into your own container, so as to reduce waste when buying meat.

I wasn’t sure how the brisket would turn out, because it’s always a risk when attempting something you’ve not done before. It’s even more of a risk when different recipes call for different cook times in a slow cooker. Some recipes suggest 3 – 4 hours on high heat, others suggest 12 on a low heat. It just depends on where you look.

I decided a low heat for 8 hours would be the best bet, plus it worked in with when I wanted to eat it. Timing it right for me to enjoy is half the battle with slow cooking.

Anyway, I’ll stop this long-winded blabber now and get to the recipe.


800 grams beef brisket
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon celery salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon allspice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon liquid smoke

  1. Mix the spices together in a bowl. Add the olive oil, vinegar, and liquid smoke and whisk until combined.
  2. Rub the spice mix over the brisket, ensuring all parts of the meat are covered.
  3. Place the brisket in the slow cooker (spraying with non-cook spray prior to adding the beef if desired).
  4. Cook on low heat for 8 hours.
  5. When done, carefully remove from the slow cooker and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  6. Turn on the grill, or ‘broil’ function of your oven.
  7. Place the brisket into the oven and allow to cook until the spice mixture (“bark”) starts to blacken. Turn over and repeat the other side.
  8. Remove from the oven, and allow to rest (covered) for 20 minutes.
  9. Slice and enjoy however you like.

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