Maple Smoked Brisket (Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Recipe)

Ahhhhh I'm so obsessed with my Instant Pot (if you are my Insta friend, you've probably already seen me raving).  

Like the cautious analytic person that I am, I waited for ages after seeing so many other people obsess over it.  Pressure cookers have always scared the crap out of me so I checked all the facts, looked at all the safety ratings/features, and weighed out all the different models.  Basically, the Instant Pot wins wins wins.  And the price? Crazy. 

I've been using it probably 3-4 times a week.  So far I've had really good success with bone broth (gels in just 90 minutes!!!), coconut milk yogurt (I prefer 12-16 hours), BBQ ribs, tougher cuts of meat (like the recipe below), and especially organ meats like heart.  And it has completely replaced my slow cooker.  I'll continue to post recipes as I've got them!  

You can read the notes below to find edits to adjust for your meat size.  My experience with doneness doesn't match up with the recommendations made by Instant Pot in this chart, FYI.

Anyhow, this Maple Smoked Brisket people!  I've been loving using liquid smoke since we got the Instant Pot.  You'll get a nice smoky flavor from just the smoked sea salt and paprika, but you only need a small amount of liquid smoke to get a pretty-dang-close-to-smoked-with-an-outdoor-smoker taste.

Maple Smoked Brisket

1.5 lb. beef brisket

2 tbsp. maple sugar, date sugar, or coconut sugar

2 tsp. smoked sea salt

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. mustard powder

1 tsp. onion powder

½ tsp. smoked paprika

2 c. bone broth or stock of choice

1 tbsp. liquid smoke*

3 fresh thyme sprigs


Remove the brisket from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking.   Pat it dry with paper towels and set it aside.

Mix the spice blend by combining the maple sugar, smoked sea salt, pepper, mustard powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika.   Coat the meat generously on all sides.  The rub will get a bit sticky due to the sugar.

Set your Instant Pot to "Sauté" and allow it to heat up for 2-3 minutes.  Grease the bottom with a bit of high heat cooking oil and add the brisket.  Brown on all sides until deeply golden but not burnt.  Turn the brisket to fatty side up and add the broth, liquid smoke, and thyme to the Instant Pot.  Scrape the browned bits off the bottom and cover with the lid.

Switch the setting to "Manual" and increase the cook time to 50 minutes.  Once finished, allow the Instant Pot to release steam on it's own (EDIT: I've found that using the quick release valve can leave large, leaner cuts of meat tasting a little dry).  Remove the brisket from the pot and cover it with foil to rest.  Switch the Instant Pot to "Saute" again to reduce & thicken the sauce (optional) with the lid off for about 10 minutes.

Slice the brisket on a bias and serve it with your favorite whipped veg (this recipe for Creamy Whipped Parsnips shown here) and drizzle with the reduced sauce.


-Make sure you find a liquid smoke that has no additives or MSG.  You can skip the liquid smoke but you'll get a more subtle smoke flavor.

-With a bit of experimentation, I've found that increasing or decreasing your meat size by ½ lb. (when the meat is kept whole and not chopped up) requires about a 10 minute change in cooking time.  For example, 1 lb. needs about 40 minutes, where 2 lb. needs about 60 minutes.  The nice thing about the Instant Pot is that it's quick and easy to throw the lid back on and add another 10 minutes, as needed.

-If using a slow cooker, brown the brisket in a saute pan before adding it to your slow cooker.  Add the broth to the saute pan to deglaze and grab all the flavor from the browned bits.  Then pour the broth straight into the slow cooker, along with the liquid smoke and thyme.  Cook on "Low" for 6-8 hours or until the meat is tender and slices easily.