Delia Smith Slow Cooker Brisket Recipe

Delia Smith Slow Cooker Brisket Recipe
Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 4 Mins

In this article, I will show you how to make Delia Smith’s slow cooker brisket recipe in a complete step-by-step guide. You will learn what ingredients you need, how to prepare them, how to cook them, and how to serve them. You will also get some tips and tricks to make this recipe even better. By the end of this article, you will be able to make this delicious dish with ease and confidence.

Let’s get started!

What is Delia Smith’s Slow Cooker Brisket?

Delia Smith Slow Cooker Brisket is a recipe for a classic English pot roast that uses a slow cooker to make a tender, juicy, and flavorful beef brisket. It is a dish that is perfect for any occasion, from family dinners to festive gatherings. The recipe is from Delia Smith, one of the most famous and respected British chefs, who is known for her simple and reliable recipes.

Must Try Recipes:

Why This Recipe is a Must-Try

Delia Smith’s slow cooker brisket recipe is a standout for several compelling reasons:

  1. Simplicity in the Kitchen: The recipe demystifies the cooking process, making it accessible even to novice cooks. The initial steps of searing the brisket and simmering the onions and ale lay the groundwork for the flavor. Once these steps are complete, the slow cooker does the rest, allowing you to focus on other tasks or simply relax.
  2. Flavorful Results: Imagine a brisket cooked to perfection—tender, moist, and rich in taste. The slow cooking process infuses the meat with a deep, complex flavor, enhanced by the ale’s richness and the subtle sweetness and acidity from the sugar and vinegar. The end product is a gravy that is both sumptuously rich and satisfyingly balanced.
  3. Adaptable to Any Occasion: This recipe is a celebration of versatility. Whether served with classic sides like mashed potatoes or a light, crisp salad, the brisket adapts to any meal setting. What’s more, leftovers from this dish can be transformed into an array of new meals, from hearty sandwiches to savory pies.
  4. Economical Choice: Brisket is a budget-friendly option that doesn’t compromise on taste or quality. This cut of beef, known for its leanness and rich flavor, is perfect for feeding a crowd without breaking the bank. The flexibility in choosing the ale or substituting it with other liquids adds to the recipe’s practicality.

Ingredients Needed to Make Delia Smith Slow Cooker Brisket?

For this recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1.2 kg (2.6 lb) brisket, rolled
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 500-550 ml (17-19 fl oz) golden ale
  • 1 tbsp yeast or beef extract
  • 1 tbsp dark brown soft sugar, plus extra to taste
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, plus extra to taste
  • 1/2 bunch of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz) hot beef stock
  • 2 tsp cornflour (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Useful Equipment

You will also need a heavy cooking pot and a 6 to 8-quart slow cooker.

Instructions to Make Delia Smith Slow Cooker Brisket

Step 1: Prepare the ingredients

  • Season the brisket all over with salt and pepper.
  • Peel and slice the onions.
  • Wash and dry the thyme and bay leaves.
  • Measure and pour the golden ale, yeast or beef extract, sugar, vinegar, and stock into separate bowls or cups.
  • If using cornflour, mix it with a splash of cold water in a small bowl.

Step 2: Sear the brisket

  • Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan over high heat. When it’s hot, add the brisket and sear it on all sides until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the brisket to a plate and set aside.

Step 3: Cook the onions and ale

  • Reduce the heat to medium and add another drizzle of oil to the same pan. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, about 12 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir until well combined. Gradually pour in the ale, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until slightly thickened about 5 minutes.

Step 4: Transfer to the slow cooker

  • Transfer the onion and ale mixture to the slow cooker. Stir in the yeast or beef extract, sugar, and vinegar. Add the brisket and arrange the thyme and bay leaves on top. Pour enough stock to cover half of the brisket. Cover with the lid and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the brisket is tender and easily pierced with a fork.

Step 5: Rest and slice the brisket

  • Carefully remove the brisket from the slow cooker and transfer it to a cutting board. Cover it with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  • Slice the brisket against the grain and serve with the gravy and your choice of side dishes.

Step 6: Make the gravy

  • Strain the cooking liquid into a saucepan and bring it to a boil over high heat. Boil until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, sugar, and vinegar to taste. If you want a thicker gravy, whisk in the cornflour mixture and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes.

Delia Smith Slow Cooker Brisket

What Do I Serve With Delia Smith Slow Cooker Brisket?

Pairing the right side dishes with Delia Smith’s brisket can elevate the meal to new culinary heights:

  1. Mashed Potatoes: A timeless favorite, mashed potatoes provide a creamy, smooth texture that perfectly complements the brisket’s rich gravy. Get creative by adding cheese, garlic, or herbs to match your personal taste palette.
  2. Roasted Vegetables: Add a colorful and nutritious element to your meal with roasted vegetables. Carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and squash tossed with herbs and roasted until golden offer a delightful blend of flavors and textures.
  3. Green Beans: These provide a simple yet elegant side. Blanched to retain their crunch and then seasoned with butter, salt, pepper, and a hint of lemon juice, they bring a fresh contrast to the dish. For an added twist, sprinkle with sliced almonds, bacon, or garlic.
  4. Fresh Salad: A salad adds a light and refreshing balance to the hearty brisket and gravy. Choose from a variety of greens like lettuce, spinach, arugula, or kale. Dress them with a simple vinaigrette or a richer ranch or blue cheese dressing. Incorporating tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, or cheese adds an extra layer of flavor and texture to the salad.

Pro Tips to Make Perfect Delia Smith Slow Cooker Brisket

Achieving the perfect Delia Smith Slow Cooker Brisket involves attention to detail and a few expert tips:

  • Refined Searing Technique: A critical step is to sear the brisket thoroughly on all sides. This process not only creates a delightful crust but also locks in the flavors. Enhance the brisket by rubbing it with a blend of herbs and spices like rosemary, thyme, garlic, or paprika prior to searing, for an extra layer of flavor.
  • Optimal Onion Preparation: Slowly cook the onions until they attain a golden color, which adds a subtle sweetness to the gravy. Enhance the aromatic base with additional ingredients like garlic, celery, or carrots to deepen the flavor profile.
  • Selection of Quality Ingredients: The choice of ale is pivotal. A high-quality golden ale is recommended for its ability to enrich the gravy’s flavor. However, you can experiment with red wine, cider, or beef broth to suit your taste preferences.
  • Masterful Seasoning: Tailor the gravy to your liking by carefully adjusting the seasoning. The choice of yeast or beef extract, sugar, and vinegar can significantly impact the flavor. Consider adding Worcestershire sauce, mustard, or horadish for an extra zing.
  • Proper Slicing Technique: To ensure tenderness, slice the brisket against the grain. For a more casual presentation, shredding the brisket with two forks can be a delightful alternative.

Delia Smith Slow Cooker Brisket

Variations of Delia Smith Slow Cooker Brisket

Personalize the Delia Smith Slow Cooker Brisket with these inventive twists:

  • Exploring Different Cuts of Beef: While brisket is the traditional choice due to its flavor and texture, other cuts like topside or silverside can also be used for slow cooking. Each cut offers its unique taste and texture, providing an opportunity to explore different versions of the dish.
  • Incorporating Additional Ingredients: Elevate the dish by adding a variety of vegetables like carrots, celery, swede, or mushrooms directly into the slow cooker. This not only adds flavor but also turns the dish into a hearty one-pot meal. Consider adding potatoes for a more substantial dish.
  • Alternative Cooking Methods: If a slow cooker is not available, the recipe can be adapted for oven cooking. Place the brisket and ale-onion mixture in a covered ovenproof dish and bake at 160°C (320°F) for 3 to 4 hours. For a quicker method, use a pressure cooker and cook the brisket on high pressure for 60 to 90 minutes, finishing with the preparation of the gravy.

How do I store Delia Smith Slow Cooker Brisket Leftovers?

Preserve the deliciousness of your leftover brisket with these storage and reheating guidelines:

  1. Cooling Down: Before storing, ensure both the brisket and gravy cool completely. This crucial step prevents bacterial growth and maintains freshness.
  2. Portion Separation: Divide the brisket and gravy into smaller portions before storing. This not only aids in easier reheating but also ensures flexibility in serving sizes.
  3. Labeling and Dating: To keep track, label, and date the containers containing your leftovers, providing clarity on their content and preparation date.
  4. Immediate Refrigeration or Freezing: Swiftly refrigerate or freeze the containers to maintain the quality and safety of the food.

How do I reheat Delia Smith Slow Cooker Brisket Leftovers?

  • Thawing: For frozen leftovers, thaw the brisket and gravy in the refrigerator overnight. This gradual thawing ensures even reheating.
  • Oven Method: Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Place the brisket in a baking dish, cover it with foil, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until thoroughly heated.
  • Gravy Reheating: Transfer the gravy to a saucepan, bringing it to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer until hot, occasionally stirring. Adjust thickness with water or stock if needed.
  • Microwave Option: Alternatively, reheat the brisket and gravy in a microwave-safe dish, covered with a lid or plastic wrap. Heat on high for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Can I use a different cut of beef for this slow cooker brisket recipe?

While you can experiment with alternative cuts like topside or silverside, brisket tends to offer the best flavor and texture for this specific dish. Its higher connective tissue content breaks down beautifully during slow cooking, resulting in that tender, succulent brisket we all love.

Can I make this slow cooker brisket without ale or substitute it with another ingredient?

Answer: Absolutely! While ale adds depth to the dish, you can easily substitute it with red wine, cider, or beef broth for a different flavor profile. Opt for a liquid that complements the beef and other ingredients for the desired taste.

Can I modify the recipe to cook in an oven instead of a slow cooker?

Yes, you can! To adapt to the oven, follow the same steps, transferring the brisket and ale-onion mixture to a covered ovenproof dish. Bake at 160°C (320°F) for 3 to 4 hours until the brisket achieves that desired tenderness. The slower cooking process at lower temperatures in the oven mimics the slow cooker’s effect.


Delia Smith’s slow cooker brisket recipe is a delicious and easy way to make a classic English pot roast that will impress anyone who tastes it. It uses simple ingredients and a slow cooker to create a tender, juicy, and flavorful beef brisket that is perfect for any occasion.

By following this complete step-by-step guide, you will be able to make this dish with ease and confidence. You will also learn some tips and tricks to make it even better. I hope you enjoyed this article and found it helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. I would love to hear from you.

Thank you for reading and happy cooking!

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