Monday, March 7, 2011

Slow Cooker Beef Brisket with Caramelized Onions: Delicious and Weight Watcher's Friendly!

While you can clearly tell from my blog I have a major sweet tooth, I also follow Weight Watchers to help keep that sweet tooth at bay. I joined for the first time 2 years ago to lose weight and now follow them for maintenance and tune-ups from time to time. :) To me, its the best way to adapt and maintain a lifestyle of healthy eating and portion control and I just can't say enough good things about the program.  I'm always on the lookout for new recipes for Weight Watcher's friendly dinners and over the 2+ years I've followed the program, I've accumulated quite a stack that my husband and I both love. It takes a little practice, but by swapping heavy amounts of butter and oils for low-fat flavorings such as broths, onion, garlic, wine, beer, and herbs, you can use these to flavor and season dishes in a way that people won't even miss the fat.  Since leaner cuts of meat can sometimes be tougher or less flavorful than their fattier counterparts, using the crock pot is a wonderful way to coax flavor and tenderness out of them.

This meal is one such dish.  Brisket is a leaner cut of beef and can be somewhat stringy but in this recipe, it cooks all day until you can shred it with a fork.  The beer, onions, and balsamic vinegar, give this a tangy, slightly nutty broth.  Its great served with mashed potatoes (email me if you want my trick of how to make them WW friendly) or it would be lovely served with some brown rice and a side of your favorite steamed vegetables.

1 (3 pound) beef brisket, trimmed of visible fat
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
cooking spray
1/4 cup water
2 cups vertically sliced onion (about 1 large)
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 12 oz. bottle light beer

Rub brisket with salt and pepper.  Heat a large heavy skillet over medium- high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add brisket to pan; cook 10 minutes, browning on all sides.  Remove brisket from the pan.  Add 1/4 cup water to pan, stirring to loosen browned bits.  Add onion; saute 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Place onion mixture, vinegar, bay leaf, and beer in a large electric slow cooker.  Place brisket on top of onion mixture.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until fork tender.  Discard bay leaf.  Serve with sauce.

Nutrition info:  3 oz. of meat and 1/3 cup sauce = 4 WW Points Plus.  (Fat 5g, Carbohydrates 5.6g, Protein 20.5g, Fiber 1.1g per serving).

Adapted from Cooking Light


  1. This looks delicious! Everything about the recipe is tasty without the addition of a lot of oil.


  2. Hey Ryan,
    This looks so delicious... Steve ( my hubby) is allergic to onions.. Do you think it would still taste good if i left it out?

  3. Comfort food at its best!! I'll have to let you know if I try ... but I can tell it looks fabulous!

  4. Hey Abi, I've never made it without the onions but the broth is so flavorful I think it would still taste really good. The original recipe also adds parsnips so maybe you could add other vegetables like that or carrots or potatoes instead of the onions or add some garlic powder when you are seasoning the meat before you brown the brisket for a little more flavor. I think it would still be good though! Hope you all like it!

  5. Double yes! Weight Watchers friendly and slow-cooker friendly? Thanks for posting the recipe!

  6. Ryan, this really does look wonderful. I love that it is also healthier than other similar recipes. I hope you have a great evening. Blessings...Mary

  7. Slow cooking is definitely the way to go with the leaner yummy. Love the beer in the ingredient list. ;) One of the for the's a win win.

  8. This looks delicious. Nothing better than a slow cooker for a weeknight meal.

  9. Ryan, this looks so delish and better yet, health conscious! Nice job! I'll have to try this one!

  10. Beef cooked in this manner is my perfect kind of comfort food. Sounds insanely delicious!


  11. Sounds absolutely delicious but I don't have a slow cooked so can't make it : ( Any idea if you can make this without a slow cooker?

  12. @Avacodopesto: Thank you! I've never made it any way but in the crock pot so I'm guessing here but I think if you put it in a covered pot like a dutch oven after you've browned the meat and cook it at 350 with plenty of liquid for 2-3 hours or until its fork tender, I would think it would work. My only thing is I would watch the liquid and maybe add a little more water or some beef broth to make sure it doesn't cook out in the oven. Let me know if you try it. :)


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