Active Time
25 Mins
Total Time
8 Hours 25 Mins
Serves 8 (serving size: 2 brisket slices, about 1/4 cup melted onions, 2 tbsp. pickled onions)

The challenge: I know it’s hands-free cooking, but why wouldn’t I just make something in my Dutch oven in a fourth the time?
Our solution: Trust us—some food does fare better with even, gentle, long, low heat. Brisket is a prime example. It’ll take you about three to four hours of oven or stovetop braising to get it tender, so why not go longer, lower, and unattended in the slow cooker for even more tender meat with less fuss? Here, a minimum of seasonings goes into the cooker with beef and onions (so that the flavor focus is squarely on the brisket), and a bright, pickled red onion garnish balances all that beefiness.

How to Make It

Step 1

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Sprinkle brisket evenly with pepper and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Add brisket to skillet; cook until very well browned, about 4 minutes per side.

Step 2

Place bay leaves in bottom of a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker; add Worcestershire sauce and 2 tablespoons water. Add brisket to slow cooker. Separate sweet onion into rings; toss with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Arrange onion rings over brisket. Cover, and cook on low until brisket is tender, about 8 hours.

Step 3

Meanwhile, bring vinegar, sugar, cloves, 1 teaspoon salt, and remaining 2/3 cup water to a boil in a saucepan over high. Add red onion; remove from heat, and cool to room temperature. Place in a bowl; refrigerate up to 8 hours.

Step 4

Remove brisket from slow cooker; cut across grain into 16 slices. Arrange on a platter. Top with sweet onion mixture and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt. Drain red onions; discard cloves. Arrange pickled red onions on platter.

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