BBQ Beef Brisket in the Instant Pot

Another Instant Pot win! I love this damn thing. I think everyone should have one.

I will admit that the Instant Pot takes some getting used to, but once you kind of know what makes it tick (i.e. that dreaded “Burn” message), you can usually figure it out pretty quickly. The only thing I’ll still mess up occasionally is the cooking times. But this one was PERFECT. And cooked in less than half the time of doing it in the oven.

I had roughly 3 pounds of brisket leftover from the Super Bowl, thanks to the kind folks at Pat LaFrieda. They sent me a massive 13.5 lb brisket for my friend to make in his smoker, and he couldn’t fit the whole thing, so the lobbed off 3 pounder got sent back home with me. The next day, I decided to make a BBQ brisket in the Instant Pot. Result: fall apart, tender deliciousness. If you’re thinking “that looks dark and dry!” I’m here to tell you that you’re insane, because it fell apart at the touch of a fork.

I made my own BBQ sauce to go with this, but you can easily use whatever bottled brand you prefer. In my case, I also had to cut the brisket in half to make it fit in the Instant Pot. I also kept some of the fat cap on for flavor (you can prob see it), but you can trim it down a bit more if you want. I cut it off mostly before serving anyway. Some additional notes:

If you like a less sweet BBQ sauce, I would say cut down the brown sugar to 1/2 cup. This sauce was pretty sweet but even I loved it and I am not a sweet-tooth.

Let the meat come to room temperature before cooking. I think cold meat in a hot pan/pot can cook unevenly. It won’t destroy it, but I think you run a greater risk of cooking unevenly.

Last note: if you get a BURN message on your Instant Pot, that likely means that there are bits of food/seasonings stuck to the bottom of your pot, therefore tricking the Instant Pot mechanism into thinking something is burning. 9 times out of 10, nothing is actually burning (in my experience). But either way, it’s not good because the IP will shut off. So you can fix that by making sure you deglaze your pot with water or beef broth and scrape up any of those bits on the bottom with a wooden spoon. Key to avoiding this is to make sure there’s enough oil/butter in your pot to avoid sticking.

BBQ Beef Brisket in the Instant Pot

  • 2-3 lbs beef brisket, fat cap on but trimmed
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small-medium onion, quartered and sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup beef broth

For the rub:

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar (I had dark so I used dark)
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

For the BBQ Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp tomato paste


  1. For the rub, mix all ingredients together and rub all over the meat. Cover and let it sit to come to room temperature if it isn’t already. If it’s already at room temp, you don’t have to let it sit.
  2. In a blender (or a large bowl if you don’t want to use the blender), add the BBQ sauce ingredients together and blend/stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Set aside.
  3. In the Instant Pot, set it to “Saute” mode and add 1 tbsp of the olive oil. When it’s hot, add the meat and brown on all sides, 4-5 mins. Remove and set aside.
  4. Add the other tbsp of olive oil and add the onions, stirring to coat and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn.
  5. Add the beef broth and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon. As I have previously mentioned, the Instant Pot can sometimes mistake those little brown bits on the bottom for something that’s burning and therefore give you a “BURN” message on the front of the pot, causing it to shut off. You want to avoid that at all costs. Hit “Cancel” to turn off Saute mode.
  6. Add the brisket on top of the bed of onions, beef broth, and garlic. Pour the BBQ sauce over the top of the brisket and DON’T MIX. Just close the lid and make sure the valve is set to “seal”.
  7. Hit “pressure cook” and set the timer to 90 minutes. When the time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 10 mins, then do a quick release for the remaining pressure. Remove brisket and let sit for a few minutes before slicing. It should be very tender!
  8. Skim any fat off the top of the sauce in the pot, then pour over the sliced meat and serve. Or you can return it to the pot in slices to keep it warm/make it more saucy. It’s just delicious.


As always, thanks to Pat LaFrieda and FreshDirect for the ingredients! #FDambassador

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