Denise’s Pressure Cooker Brisket with Molasses BBQ Sauce

barbera wine pairing
BBQ Beef Brisket. BBQ is an amazing barbera wine pairing.

Pressure cooker brisket with molasses bbq sauce that’ll blow your mind. And, don’t forget the brisket wine pairing! 

When I visited Denise of Castello di Sinio a few weeks ago, she was excited for me to try her recent creation. I was wowed.

A decadent bbq beef brisket sandwich smothered in the most amazing molasses bbq on brioche hamburger buns. Turns out, it’s not all that hard to make and below, find links to all the recipes – coleslaw and the buns! 

Tips for this pressure cooker brisket recipe:

  • For the rub spices, if you want to be extra accurate on the measurements, keep in mind that spices have different weights. To simplify, as we did in this recipe, so you can always account for 3 grams per teaspoon. 
  • For an even more flavorful pressure cooker brisket, marinate with the rub overnight (if you can’t do it overnight, make sure it marinates two hours minimum).
  • In the recipe, we note that you can use water or unsalted chicken stock for cooking. Denise explains that the brisket’s natural juices make for a fantastic base, so cooking with water in lieu of chicken stock works just fine.
  • Denise suggests using an Instant Pot for this brisket bbq recipe as it turns out the juiciest meat because the brisket cooks in its own juices and not in dry heat (like a smoker). It gives you the ultimate rich and smoky flavor. In the Instant Pot, the spices and flavor all penetrate the meat.
  • This brisket bbq recipe is also fast and easy. The meat cooks perfectly tender and it gives you the base for the absolute best homemade bbq sauce for brisket.

Complete BBQ beef brisket sandwich meal

Use Denise’s brioche hamburger buns recipe and her summer slaw. And, below, find some notes on wine pairing.

Don’t forget ALL the napkins! 

Denise’s Pressure Cooker Brisket with Molasses BBQ Sauce

Author: Denise Pardini, Hotel Castello di Sinio


Dry Rub

  • 2½ to 3 lbs beef brisket
  • 2 TBS brown sugar (26g)
  • 1 TBS hot smoked paprika (15g) or chili powder 
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper (6g)
  • 1 tsp onion powder 1 tsp (3g)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (3g)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder (3g)
  • 1 tsp coarse kosher salt (3g)
  • 1 tsp cumin seed, ground (3g) 
  • 1 tsp fennel seed, ground (3g)
  • 1 tsp allspice, ground (3g) 
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (0.5g) 


  • 1 medium onion, sliced ½ cup  
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup water (125ml) (you can use unsalted chicken stock, but water works just fine)
  • 1 TBS molasses or maple syrup (15ml)
  • 1 TBS honey (15ml)
  • 2 TBS apple cider vinegar (30ml)
  • 1 TBS liquid smoke

Molasses BBQ Sauce (added to the cooking juices)

  • 2 TBS Dijon mustard (30ml) 
  • 1 TBS Molasses (13g)
  • 1 cup ketchup (250ml)
  • 1 TBS chipotle pureé (13g)


Dry Rub

  • Mix the spices together and rub all over the brisket. 
  • Allow to marinate for at least two hours and preferably overnight.

Cooking the Beef Brisket

  • To the Instant Pot, add sliced onion, minced garlic, 1 tbsp / 15 ml maple syrup, 1 tbsp / 15ml honey, 2 tbsp / 30 ml apple cider vinegar, 3 to 5 drops liquid smoke, and ½ cup / 125 ml water or unsalted chicken stock to the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker. Mix well. 
  • Do NOT add ketchup, Dijon mustard, and brown sugar.
  • Add marinated brisket to Instant Pot. Pressure Cook at High Pressure for 75 minutes and Natural Release for 15 minutes. Remove the lid carefully.
  • Carefully place cooked brisket on a chopping board and let it rest.

Molasses BBQ Sauce

  • If desired, use a fat separator to remove the oil from the BBQ sauce. Bring the BBQ sauce back to a simmer by pressing the "Cancel" button, then "Saute" button.
  • Mix in 1 cup / 250 ml ketchup, 2 tbsp / 30g Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp / 13 g chipotle pureé, and 1 TBS / 13 g molasses (substitute with brown sugar if you don't have molasses) in the Instant Pot. Let the BBQ sauce thicken by simmering for 8 to 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt if necessary.


Copyright Denise Pardini 2008 - 2020,


Beef Brisket Wine Pairing

BBQ wine pairing has a lot of elements, style, meat, heat! You are generally always going to do well with acidity to stand up to the rich, meaty flavors, and spice. For beef brisket wine pairing, look for something fruit-filled, good acidity, and light or fine tannins. Some good go-to’s include Pinot noir, syrah, merlot, barbera, and more delicate nebbiolo.

We tried two different nebbiolo-based wines, the first had a bit of oxidization going on, so it was probably a bit past peak. But, overall, but those notes really paired perfectly with the molasses bbq sauce, even freshening up the wine a bit.

Next, we tried a Roero Riserva.

beef brisket wine pairing

2016 Demarie Roero Riserva DOCG (100% Nebbiolo) with this Pressure Cooker Beef Brisket

Demarie’s Roero Riserva sees newer french barrique for the required wood aging. Winemaker Paolo Demarie explains that he uses traditional large oak casks for his Barolo and Barbaresco, but wanted to go a bit more modern with his Roero Riserva because the establishment of the DOCG designation was more recent, in 2004.

The barrique aging gives the wine great spices with notes of licorice and cocoa, a perfect pairing for this bbq brisket recipe. It’s full-bodied with red fruits and great power to take on such a flavorful, rich dish.

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