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Maple Smoked Brisket (Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Recipe)

No smoker needed.

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by Angela Gallardo in Instant Pot, Lunch & Dinner, Recipes

smoked brisketsmoked brisket

Update 2018: this brisket is one of the many 36 recipes in my new Instant Pot for Beginners eBook!  Click below to get your copy!

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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.



Get a printable PDF of the recipe

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

Directions:

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” (leave at “High Pressure”) 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 so natural steam release is better for brisket).

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.

*Notes:

-To 2x, 3x, etc this recipe, scale just the spice mix & liquid smoke accordingly to match up with how much meat you’ve got. The broth needed stays the same regardless of the size meat.

-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.

92 Comments
  1. Sarah Rawson Sprouse says:

    Delicious! I thickened the sauce, even added a little bit of tapioca starch to make it gravy like – everyone loved it. I had a larger brisket, 2.5 lbs and so I increased the spice rub by about a third and it worked great.

    1. Tapioca sounds like a great addition for a thicker sauce! So glad you loved it 🙂

    2. Rebecca Hunter says:

      Did you also increase the time by 20 min?? … it was recommended to add another 10 min per extra 1/2 lbs.

      1. L Smith says:

        Did the added time work right? We are preparing to cook a 3 lb brisket right now…planning on 80 minutes. (We have never used the instant pot before: just got it as a gift and this is our first try at anything.)

        1. April King-Davis says:

          I have never used mine either yet and have a larger family so a 3lb would be about right. How did yours turn out and is the a good recipe to break mine in with/ I’m pretty nervous lol

  2. Fair is Fair says:

    I’m new to Instant Pot, can you please explain: “allow the Instant Pot to release steam on it’s own”?

    1. Whenever you cook under pressure in the IP, there are two methods to release the pressure at the end of the cooking time. A natural steam release (recommend for this recipe) will take about 20-30 minutes and the pressure sensor to the right of the steam release valve will drop on its own. At this point, it’s safe to open the lid. To use the quick release method in other recipes, you’ll move the valve from “sealing” to “venting” immediately after cooking and the steam will escape in a strong, steady stream. The steam is hot to use caution and don’t do this under kitchen cabinets. I hope this helps!

  3. Tricia Suh Kim says:

    Fantastic recipe! Absolutely perfect in the IP. Thanks!

    1. Thanks, Tricia! So glad you loved it.

  4. Jessica Reeves says:

    I don’t have those fancy sugars. Can I use maple syrup?

    1. frankenbeans says:

      I’m trying that right now! Given it’s not as concentrated as straight sugar, I went with 4 TBSP of syrup. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

      1. Jessica Reeves says:

        How did it go? I’m about to start seasoning mine.

  5. Tonya Franks says:

    Thanks so much for this! Absolutely delicious. We ate it with cauliflower rice and roasted brussel sprouts. This will be in our regular meal rotation.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Tonya! Really glad you loved it. <3

  6. Yulia McGlumphy says:

    Do I have to use maple sugar, or can I just pour 2-3 tbs of maple syrup over the brisket after searing? Thanks!

  7. mrmseawa says:

    I have a 4 lb. brisket. Should I add addtl broth and should the meat lie on a trivet above the broth or in it?

    1. You shouldn’t have to add any additional broth. The amount listed will help it come to pressure regardless of the volume of meat. Did you give it a shot? If so, let me know how it went!

  8. Brittany Bruce says:

    So this is a stupid question, but do you cut the fat off after it’s done cooking? I’m a weirdo about the fat, I usually pre-cut all the my meats. Thanks!

    1. I am not the best person to ask since I eat a high-fat diet! I prize all animal fats as an integral part of my nutrition (so long as it’s grass-fed).

  9. natural beauty tips says:

    Beauty With Purity
    Fantastic recipe! Absolutely perfect things. Thanks to Sharing with us

  10. Laura says:

    Girl, I cannot wait to try this!!

  11. Alexa Lioncourt says:

    We just made this recipe and loved it. We used brown sugar in place of maple sugar and adjusted the flavors as needed when thickening the gravy. The newer Instant Pot we just got no longer has the *Manual* button as it’s been renamed to *Pressure Cook*. Using that option worked perfectly and we loved the dish.

  12. Jennette Shelton says:

    could you substitute flank steak for the brisket?

    1. Hi Jennette, a flank is a completely different cut so the cooking time would likely be very different. Flank has a lot of connective tissue but is also pretty lean so I’m guessing the time would be shorter. Let me know if you try it!

      1. Jennette Shelton says:

        Thanks Angela will do!

  13. Cristy Moore says:

    Do I need to double the recipe for 4lbs of brisket?

  14. Sharon Cox Sisson says:

    I’m new to the instant pot. High or low pressure? Quick! I just set it!! Oh my. I really hope I’m not wrong. I guessed at high pressure!!!!

  15. Michalya Dorval says:

    How many people would this dish serve?

  16. blundin says:

    I didn’t see this answered below — how much time for a 4 lb brisket? 120 minutes seems a bit long….

    1. Hey blundin (and others curious), the guidelines above for increasing time for larger size hold fairly true as far as most have experienced. If you have the larger IP, it may vary. And if you cut it into smaller pieces, it’ll go quicker. But keeping 4 lbs of tough meat like brisket whole intact will take close to 120 minutes under high pressure.

  17. Elaina St. John says:

    Fabulous recipe and such a time saver compared to traditional smoking of brisket. Thank you!

  18. Eris Cushner says:

    I followed this recipe and the meat was delicious and juicy, but it fell apart when I sliced it…any idea why?

    1. Hey Eris, my best guess is your particular size didn’t need quite as much time as you ran it for. Also, I have two IPs and I’ve actually had varying results with time needed based on the size of each (one is the 6 qt and one is 8 qt). So that could be a factor too. I’m glad it was still delicious and juicy though!

  19. S. Jones says:

    I made this as one of my first Instant Pot recipes and used coconut sugar as I couldn’t find the maple sugar. It was delicious!!! I made the whipped parsnips with it as well and felt like I was eating at a fancy restaurant for dinner. 🙂 Thanks for the excellent recipes and helping me learn to use my Instant Pot!

  20. Ashley Kozel says:

    This is going to be my first instant pot recipe. The meat is bigger than the bottom of the pot. Is it ok that the ends of the brisket curl up the sides of the pot?

    1. Hi Ashley! How did it turn out? It’s totally normal for meat to curl. Heat causes the proteins to tighten up so curling is normal. You can use a lodge cast iron press (http://amzn.to/2mbROhs) if you want to offset this in the future.

  21. Sean August says:

    I am making this tonight for my girlfriend and want to get it right. I am new to instant pot; what setting should the pressure be on? It seems to automatically start at high… is this what I want?

    1. Hi Sean, how did the recipe go? I’ve updated to note that you do need to leave it at “High Pressure.” Thanks for the feedback!

  22. dcgirl says:

    I love your Instant Pot recipes! Hope you don’t mind me sharing some to my FB Instant pot /Cockpot page Behind the Pot. I love that you post recipes that work on both appliances😀 I have a question…any tips on making coconut or almond milk yougurt in the instant pot? DH recently got put on vegan diet(please let it not be for long.he loves his meat,regular yogurt etc and is super cranky now. Lol) diet so Im having to make that instead of regular. Haven’t even made that because I just got my IP. Ty!!!

    1. Hi there! Thank you very much for the kind words 🙂 I have a coconut yogurt recipe over on my Instagram page from awhile back: https://www.instagram.com/p/6jI7W5xsOI/?taken-by=barerootgirl. Simply click the Yogt button at set to at least 12 hours. I use Cultures for Healthy vegan yogurt starter. I recommend placing the yogurt in jars covered with a lid since the condensation from the lid and ring can drop savory flavors (like from this brisket :)) into the yogurt if left uncovered.

  23. Kara Lee Pawsey says:

    Hi Angela!

    I’m trying this for the first time right now and I don’t think I browned each side long enough lol… I didn’t want the spices to burn … just a question, do you sauté on low, normal, or high.., I did high and wasn’t sure how long each side should
    take, but I’ll see how it turns out! Love your site 🙂

    Thanks!!

  24. Henry Cohen says:

    I love this recipe. I’m Jewish, and I make this every single time I have guests for Shabbat lunch, and it’s always a hit. Amazing recipe, thank you!

    1. Awesome, thank you for the feedback! I’m glad it works so well for you and your guests.

  25. cait says:

    do i need to place the meat on the trivet thingy or just in the pot?

    1. Just straight in the pot!

  26. Annette says:

    Can you explain why a high setting is needed? I’m afraid this will dry out the meat? I am marking a 6# brisket in the 8qt IP. I had to cut it up so it would fit. just don’t want it to be tough.

    1. Do you mean high on Saute or on the Manual setting? Brisket is a very tough cut of meat that needs a lot of time/pressure to become tender so overcooking isn’t too much of a worry here. Be sure to use the Natural Steam Release method and you should be good. Hundreds have made this recipe so I can attest to its viabilty. Let me know how it goes!

  27. Chezna says:

    Hi Angela,
    Just got an IP and super excited! Can you explain why the rack is not used to cook the meat on top of liquid vs in liquid? I have a 4.3 lbs French roast. Should I add the suggested 30 extra cooking minutes with natural release? Assuming I would double the dry ingredients too. Was also going to use beef bacon as the fat for browning, unless you think differently. Just need this to taste amazing for Passover seder.

    1. Hi there! The rack is only needed when you don’t *want* the food to touch the bottom. Examples being poached eggs, steamed veggies. With a larger roast, you will want to multiply out the dry ingredients and extend the cooking time. Though if you’re using a different cut than brisket, the cook time may vary due to how much connective tissue or fat is present in the meat. There’s more help in my free Instant Pot for Beginners eBook (linked on this page) that I think you’ll find useful.

      1. Chezna says:

        So is it possible to make this recipe with the french roast or should I use a variation of your chuck roast recipe?

        1. Sorry for the delay, I am not at all familiar with the term “french roast” and had trouble pinpointing the cut of meat even with googling. Are you outside the US? If it has a lot of fat and marbling, use the same cook time recommended here. If it looks very lean with little fat running through it, I’d shorten the cook time and test it for doneness. Then add more time as needed (will not impact the final result at all). Just be sure to use the natural steam release method either way.

          1. Chezna says:

            Thanks Angela! The French roast has a good amount of marbling, just not much fat laying on top of the cut like a brisket has. I’ll keep you posted next week on how it turns out.

          2. Chezna says:

            Hi Angela,
            Cooked the roast, came out falling apart delicious, thanks! The beef bacon was a nice taste to use as oil to sautee meat. I used a fast separator for the gravy before thickening it back in the IP. Thanks for posting this delicious recipe!

          3. Yes!! So happy to hear this. Thanks for giving me the feedback.

  28. Lorraine says:

    Which would you recommend for a substitute for the maple sugar, either maple syrup or dark brown sugar? Thanks!

    1. A granulated sugar will work best in this recipe. If you use maple, just add it to the pot before setting the pressure, don’t coat the meat with it.

  29. Sarah Espinal says:

    My meat wasn’t that flavorful. Meat was a little dry. I cooked exactly has described 🙁 wasn’t impressed.

  30. Barbi says:

    Are you cutting the brisket in half or cooking whole? Thanks!

    1. I leave it whole! If you want to cut into pieces, you can decrease the pressure cook time by about 25%.

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