Fall-apart slow-cooker beef brisket and ale casserole

A whole beef brisket slowly cooked in ale until it is melt-in-the-mouth tender- the ultimate comfort food!

Sometimes nothing hits the spot like a beef casserole, and as it’s such a crowd-pleaser it’s great to cook for the whole family, or make enough that you can squirrel some portions away in the freezer for another day.

I love a basic beef casserole just made with beef stock, but honestly I think that when it’s made with ale, guinness or red wine it just makes it so much more delicious that it’s well worth it.

Slow-cooker beef and ale casserole

What types of beef are best to use for beef stew?

I love using beef brisket– it’s a great value cut of beef, it has amazing flavour, and it’s perfect for the slow cooker. You can use any casserole beef that you like for this though- Chuck steak is ideal for the slow-cooker too, or you could use beef shin, silverside, skirt or oxtail.

What are the syns of this beef casserole if I’m following Slimming World?

I tend to just buy a local ale for this (500ml), but you can also use Guinness to really bring that lovely dark richness to it. If you are following Slimming World then the ale for 500ml is usually around 9/10 syns, but as this meal easily feeds 6 (and more depending what you serve with it!), it’s really not a lot per person and I think that for the flavour you get it’s absolutely worth it!

How is this slow-cooker beef and ale casserole made?


Ingredients for slow-cooker beef and ale casserole

  1. For maximum flavour I pre-fry the onions first of all in low calorie cooking spray or spray oil, this softens them up and brings out their natural sweetness:

frying onions in a frying pan

2. Next add the celery and garlic and stir-fry for a couple more minutes:

Frying celery and onion in a large frying pan

3. Now scoot the vegetables over to the side of the pan, and pop your brisket in just to seal and brown a little on each side- just about a minute on each side:

Searing a beef brisket ready for slow cooking

4. Now pop the beef and fried vegetables into the slow-cooker pot, add in the rest of the ingredients and give everything a bit of a stir to combine it. Cook on low for 8-12 hours, after which time you will be able to either pull the brisket apart with forks, or if you prefer, take it out whole and slice it.

All of the ingredients in the slow-cooker for a beef and ale casserole

What should I serve with this slow-cooker beef and ale casserole?

My very favourite way of serving this is just as my Grandma used to with roast potatoes and baked beans! Sounds like a bit of an odd combo but it is absolutely delicious! Why not try these Oxo roast potatoes with it?

This also goes beautifully with rice (brown or white), mashed potatoes, baked sweet potatoes and even chips! It’s also lovely with fresh green veg such as broccoli, asparagus, green beans and peas!

Can I freeze this slow-cooker beef and ale casserole?

This meal is perfect for the freezer! I’m usually cooking it for 4, so usually have some leftovers for the freezer. Just pop it in a tupperware once cooled and it’s ready to go!

What other recipes can I make with a beef brisket?

One of the real classics for beef brisket is BBQ beef brisket, which is so delicious! I also make an alternative Sunday roast with is Slow-cooker beef brisket with rich onion gravy.

Slow-cooker beef and ale casserole

My Recipe

Serves: 6
Syns: 1.5/2 syns per portion
Healthy Extra: none


  • 700/800g beef brisket (visible fat removed, and remove any string)
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 3 carrots, chopped into small chunks
  • 500ml ale (I just use a local ale, but you can use Guinness!)
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 beef stock cube or stock pot
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • spray oil or low-calorie cooking spray


  1. Fry the onions in spray oil/low-calorie cooking spray until softened (about 3-4 minutes)
  2. Add the celery and the garlic, and stir-fry for another 2 minutes
  3. Move the vegetables over to the side of the pan and pop in the piece of beef. Give it a quick sear (30 seconds to 1 minute will suffice) on each side.
  4. Pop the piece of beef into the slow-cooker pot, add in the fried veg and sprinkle the cornflour over everything
  5. Add in the carrots, ale, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, beef stock cube (crumble this, or dissolve the stock pot in a little boiling water before adding), thyme and season with salt and pepper. Give everything a bit of a stir to combine the ingredients
  6. Pop the lid on and cook on low for 8-12 hours.
  7. When you are ready to serve, either use 2 forks to pull the beef apart into the casserole, or you can remove the brisket, slice it up and serve it with the sauce poured over it!

Additional Info

You can make this an all-in-one meal by adding chopped potato/and or sweet potato a couple of hours before the end of cooking. See above for serving suggestions! This always looks great with a little parsley sprinkled over the top!

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