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Southwestern Pulled Brisket

September 12, 2010

By Kath Dedon


This recipe for Southwestern Pulled Brisket may be the best thing that’s ever come out of my slow cooker! I used Thundering Hooves grass fed beef and adapted a recipe I found on Smitten Kitchen. It was mouth-wateringly juicy with just the right amount of spice. This is perfect for Fall entertaining!

Deb’s recipe called for a 3-pound brisket, but mine was only 1 pound. I didn’t really alter the amount of the other ingredients, although I did use a bit less water. (Deb called for 1½ cups and I used 1 cup.) So I’d say you can use a brisket that is anywhere from 1 to 3 pounds without altering the recipe in any other way.

This reheats beautifully; if you’re entertaining, you can definitely make it the day before and reheat it for your party.

Since I already had some leftover hamburger buns, I used the Southwestern Pulled Brisket for sandwiches. The sauce is so tasty; a few thin slices of onion are all that is needed to complete the sandwiches.

The brisket would also make an excellent taco filling, which is how Deb used it. As a taco filling, it would stretch even further if you’re feeding a crowd. Just heat up some corn tortillas, put out a few of your favorite taco condiments (maybe some grated cheese, cilantro, and pickled jalapenos?) and let people put together their own tacos.

I can think of lots of ways to serve this fabulous brisket. It would be great served over mashed potatoes or polenta! I know I’ll be making this recipe again before too long!



Southwestern Pulled Brisket

(Adapted from a recipe on


(print the recipe)


Serves 4 (simply choose a larger brisket for more servings)


1 pound beef brisket


Freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

About 1 cup sliced onions

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup water

1 (14½ ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juice

1-2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (Use just 1 or 2 chiles from the can—the rest can be kept refrigerated for quite a while. I used 1 chile; for a 3 pound brisket, I might use 2)

1 bay leaf

¼ cup honey



1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Salt and pepper the brisket.

3. Add the oil to the skillet and when it’s hot, put the brisket in the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes, until it’s nicely browned on the first side. Then turn it over to brown it on the other side for about 5 minutes.



4. Put the brisket in the slow cooker.

5. Put the garlic, onion slices, chili powder, coriander, and cumin in the skillet and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute.

6. Pour the vinegar in and cook, stirring, until the vinegar is almost gone. (Stand to the side so you don’t breathe in the vinegar fumes.)

7. Pour the water into the pan. Stir and then pour everything from the pan into the slow cooker.


You can see I have plenty of room for a larger brisket in my slow cooker:


8. Using your hands, break the tomatoes up into the slow cooker and then pour in the juice.

9. Add the chipotle chile(s), bay leaf and honey.

10. Cook on Low for 9 – 10 hours.

11. Remove the brisket from the slow cooker and pour the sauce into a pan. (It is quite “watery” at this point.) Bring the sauce to a boil and cook it until it is reduced quite a bit and is a lot thicker.



12. While the sauce is reducing, shred the beef using two forks.


13. When the sauce is cooked down, stir the beef into the sauce and cook for a few minutes to reheat the beef, and it’s ready to eat!


Optional: If you’re using buns, you may want to butter them and grill them.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. September 12, 2010 5:20 pm

    Ughhhhh pulled brisket sandwiches. That is one of the things I miss about the Midwest–the ability to find some really great BBQ, including brisket. I’m Jewish, so we usually have Jewish-style brisket, but after looking at this I’m going to get my dad to try this out next time.

    • September 12, 2010 5:25 pm

      You know, I don’t think I have ever cooked beef brisket before, except for corned beef brisket. It’s so perfect cut for the slow cooker. Get your dad to try this one. I think you and he will like it!

  2. September 12, 2010 6:41 pm

    i am so delighted to have just subscribed to your RSS feed, everything on here is mouth watering!!! thank you so much for those kind anniversary wishes and for visiting me at mangiabella, stop by anytime!!! my husband is going to be thrilled when i try this pulled beef brisket recipe, i think it would be PERFECT on top of polenta….super yum!

    • September 15, 2010 2:42 pm

      Thank you so much! Let me know how you like it with polenta…I think it would be great, but my husband doesn’t like polenta.

  3. September 13, 2010 11:24 am

    Gosh this looks delish 🙂

  4. September 14, 2010 2:22 pm

    I adore pulled BBQ sandwiches. Those look delicious!!!

  5. July 3, 2011 6:36 am

    This looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it. I just wish I had a slowcooker.

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