Brisket Slow-Cooked in Coffee and Brown Sugar

I think I may have said this once or twice or one million times before on this blog, but I wish I liked coffee.  I really do.  It is SO much easier to get a cup of coffee than to find a decent cup of hot, strong English breakfast tea unless you happen to be in the middle of London, and I am usually in the middle of New Jersey, so this is a problem for me.  I’ve tried to like coffee, just for the pure convenience factor, but I just….can’t…do it.

However, I DO (for some mysterious reason) like coffee when it is an ingredient.  Usually that means in ice cream, or in muffins, or other sweet stuff.  But in this case, I like it in a brisket recipe.  Whatever the hours and hours of cooking in the slow cooker do to transform the coffee, the sauce comes out not tasting like coffee, but like some rich, tangy, wonderful thing that you can’t quite put your finger on.  (Spoiler alert: it’s the coffee.)

For all you slow-cooker fans out there, this one is right up your alley.  Toss a brisket and some chopped carrots and baby potatoes and quartered onions into your slow cooker.  Mix up a sauce of tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and (you guessed it) coffee and pour it in there, stirring things up so the sauce is generally all over everything, and about half the veggies are on top and the other half are on the bottom.  Cover the slow cooker, press the “LOW” setting button, and go do something else for about 8 hours.

Now come back, slice the brisket into thin slices, put it on the plate with some veggies and pour that rocking great sauce all over the whole aromatic, tender, fabulous thing.  Have tea with dessert.  Feel all smug for liking coffee and tea at the same time.

Brisket Slow-Cooked in Coffee and Brown Sugar
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered, stem end left intact
  • 1 pound new potatoes (about 12)
  • 1 pound medium carrots, cut into 2 1⁄2-inch lengths
  • 2½ pounds beef brisket, trimmed
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • ½ cup brewed black coffee
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  1. Season the beef with 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and place in the bottom of a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add the onion, potatoes, and carrots.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the tomato paste, coffee, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar; pour over the beef and vegetables. Stir things around just a little until some of the sauce reaches the bottom of the pot. Cover and cook on low until the beef and vegetables are tender, 7 to 8 hours.
  3. Slice the beef across the grain and serve with the vegetables and sauce, sprinkled with the parsley.

Adapted from Real Simple


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  1. All Things Yummy says

    never thought to add coffee to brisket. Sounds delicious. I always add coffee to my brownies. it really brings out the flavor of the chocolate.

  2. Joanne says

    Well, you and I differ on the coffee front (I really should just have an IV drip of the stuff set up, based on how much I drink it). But really what that tells me is that this dish must be UBER delicious if you're extolling it's virtues! Coffee is definitely more versatile than people think. Looks fantastic!

  3. FOODalogue says

    This hardly looks as casual as you describe "Toss a brisket and some chopped" only because the end result looks perfect!

  4. emma.foster says

    Thank God I found you! You may be the ONLY other person in the world I have met who doesn't drink coffee. (or admits it!) I CAN'T DO IT EITHER! I have tried… Love the aroma! But I'm all about a cup of tea!

  5. Photocat says

    OK… dinner for tomorrow night has been discovered. Thanks Framed Cook. Looks and sounds delicious. Will let you know!

  6. Vicki says

    My neighbor used to make a delicious pot roast with coffee so I can only imagine how good a brisket would be. Since I don't eat meat, I'm always on the look out for something easy like this when I cook for those who do. This sounds great.

  7. Anonymous says

    Curious if you've ever had duros snacks. Bright orange wagon wheel pasta that you cook in the microwave for 30sec. to a minute and they puff up to a most wonderful airy flavorful "cracker/chip like" treat, great for dipping anything or just eat plain. Google it. I find them at Walmart super store and everytime I'm scooping them into a bag (produce dept.) someone asks me about them.

  8. flaky says

    DH has a really awful schedule traveling back & forth across 3 time zones this week. I think I am going to have this ready & waiting for him in the crock-pot when he gets home on Thursday night.

    Thanks for the inspiration, as always.

  9. Boodle says

    I have to say I am the opposite; love coffee and recoil at the thought of it in a recipe.

    But maybe, just maybe, I will try it!

  10. Lorrie says

    I can top ya, no coffee or tea for me. Like you I do love coffee ice cream or instant espresso in desserts, muffins etc. Sort of like coconut, won't eat it but will wear it and love it in a candle or room freshener.

    This recipe sounds fabulous.

  11. Jenna says

    I don't like coffee either. I've tried adding it to cake but it doesn't do anything for me. Ina is always saying that it enhances the flavor.

  12. Nancy says

    I've been using coffee for cooking for years, It's great in chocolate cake in place of other liquid, gravies, and any beef recipe.

  13. Danielle says

    This sounds delicious. Now that it's cold here I will definitely be making this recipe before the end of the week!

  14. The Wishful thinker says

    Making this now! The recipe off Real Simple states this serves 6. I hope it turns out as good as it looks!

  15. Anonymous says

    I love the sound of this but don't have much experience with slow cookers & so wondered if the beef does become tender without being covered in liquid? Juni

  16. FramedCooks says

    Anon: yes it does! You need some liquid of course, but because the slow cooker is covered, it will create enough steam that the meat will be gorgeously tender. Just try not to take the cover off to peek…the more you leave it along, the tenderer it will be. :)

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