Coca Cola Brisket

This Coca Cola brisket is unbelievably easy to make. Just toss it and the marinade in the oven or the slow cooker, forget about them for a while and come back later for a heartachingly tender braised brisket. You’re welcome. 

This heartachingly tender Coca Cola brisket recipe, a Southern classic, draws on just four ingredients—including, natch, a can of Coca Cola. We can assure you that we’re hearing from everyone that the braised brisket that results is way more than the sum of its parts. Although we’ve witnessed about as many different ways to tweak this as there are cooks who’ve made it. Some folks first coat the beef with a dry rub. Or swap ketchup or barbecue sauce for the chili sauce. Others toss a heap of sliced onions in the pan. Or strew chopped carrots, potatoes, or sweet potatoes around the brisket. Many first marinate the brisket overnight in a couple cans of Coke before draining and proceeding with a new can of Coke. Lots slather the final roast with barbecue sauce and return it to the oven, uncovered, for a few minutes. We could go on. That said, while you’re welcome to make this recipe your own, many folks—including our recipe testers whose comments are found below—are quite fond of it simply as is.Renee Schettler Rossi

*Kosher-For-Passover Coke

If you’re being observant for Passover, you’ll want to be mindful of seeking out kosher-for-Passover Coke. But we bet you already knew that.

Coca Cola Brisket

A plate of shredded Coca-Cola brisket with a fork resting in the meat.
This Coca Cola brisket is unbelievably easy to make. Just toss it and the marinade in the oven or the slow cooker, forget about them for a while and come back later for a heartachingly tender braised brisket. You’re welcome. 
Sara Roahen and John T. Edge

Prep 15 mins
Cook 3 hrs 10 mins
Total 3 hrs 25 mins
Entrees
Southern
8 to 12 servings
5 / 19 votes
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Equipment

  • Faith and a slow cooker

Ingredients 

  • 4 to 6 pounds beef brisket visible fat untrimmed
  • One (12-ounce) can Coca Cola*
  • 1 envelope dried onion soup mix (yes, seriously)
  • 1 cup bottled chili sauce, such as Heinz (may substitute ketchup or as as reader Ryan suggests: ketchup mixed with hot sauce)

Directions
 

  • To make the Coca Cola Brisket in your slow cooker, see the Slow Cooker Variation below.

    To make the Coca Cola Brisket on the stovetop, preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
  • Pat the brisket dry with paper towels. Place the brisket in a nonreactive roasting pan or a glass baking dish just large enough to snugly fit the brisket.
  • Mix the Coke, chili sauce, and dried onion soup mix in a bowl and pour it over the brisket. Cover the baking dish or roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil. Roast the brisket until tender, about 30 minutes per pound (so figure 2 to 3 hours total, depending on the size of your brisket).
  • Transfer the brisket to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, skim the fat from the surface of the pan juices and discard. Pour the defatted pan juices into a gravy boat or, if a thicker consistency is desired, pour the juices into a saucepan and simmer until reduced slightly.
  • Trim any visible fat from the brisket, then thinly slice it against the grain. Pile the slices of brisket on a platter and pass the warm pan juices on the side.
Print RecipeBuy the The SFA Community Cookbook cookbook

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Notes

Slow Cooker Variation

This four-ingredient braised brisket recipe just got even simpler. Place the brisket in the slow cooker. Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the brisket. Cook on low for 9 hours. Transfer the meat to a cutting board to rest. Skim any fat from the surface of the sauce. If a thicker sauce is desired, pour the sauce into a saucepan and simmer until reduced to the desired consistency. Slice or shred the brisket and serve with the sauce.
[Editor’s Note: Bear in mind, no two slow cookers are exactly alike, just as no two cooks are exactly alike. This slow-cooker approach worked really, really well for us, although if you have a different slow-cooker cooking technique you want to try by all means, do so. And, natch, we’d love if you’d share it with us in a comment below.] Curious to hear more about working magic with your slow cooker? Peruse our entire selection of slow cooker recipes.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Until I bought the ingredients for this Coca Cola brisket recipe, I’d never bought a packet of onion soup mix in my entire life. This recipe seemed so improbable. It’s one of those things I just never would have made if it hadn’t been sent to me to test. But there it was, and it seemed like it would be easy, if nothing else. I was really surprised that this turned out to be a solid brisket recipe. In the finished dish, I could not discern the Coke, the chili sauce, or the soup mix. Thank goodness. I ended up with a tender brisket in a mysterious, savory sauce. When I took the brisket out, I let it rest for a few minutes, and I put all the liquid into a gravy separator. I used the degreased liquid as a sauce to spoon over the brisket. It was thin, but tasty. This is one of those recipes that challenges all your assumptions about what can make good food. We’re told to avoid processed food, eat with the seasons, and so on, and that is, for the most part, what I do. Coke and soup mix are season-less and as processed as you can get. But don’t let that scare you away. Your guests will never know.

This Coca Cola brisket is an easy, delicious summer or winter dish that will end up as a great do-over in sandwiches or cold off the plate. One bowl to mix it all up, then into the oven it goes. I did line the baking dish with the foil so there was no clean-up. After it was done, I ran the brisket under the broiler to crisp up the fat layer that I hadn’t trimmed off, per the instructions. I put it in the pan fat side up with a scattering of chopped green onion that a friendly neighbor had delivered fresh from her garden. I reduced the liquid by half and passed it at the table for those who wanted some sauce. I found that it added a dimension that’s different from the usual brisket marinades I’m accustomed to eating.

This Coca Cola brisket recipe really could not be any simpler—unless you make it in a slow cooker. After placing the brisket in my 6-quart slow cooker, I poured the sauce over the meat and set the cooker to low. Nine hours later, I had fork-tender, pull-apart brisket complete with sauce. While the meat rested, I skimmed the fat from the surface of the pan juice and poured the sauce into a saucepan. I then simmered it for 15 minutes, and it reduced nicely. I pulled the beef apart and added it to the sauce. It was slightly sweet with a savory depth that was amazingly delicious. We ate the leftovers in sandwiches the next day, and they were marvelous. This is perfect for dinner after a long workday, a game day party, or any occasion. Truly a spectacular and simple dish!

Originally published April 08, 2017

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Ok, I just made this yesterday. I only had a 1.6 lb piece of brisket so I made half the sauce mix and only used about 75% of that. At first I was really turned off by the smell of the gravy/sauce mix (Coke, onion soup mix and chili sauce). I thought it would be a disaster, but since it was a small cut of meat, not too painful. Well, I’m now eating this brisket every chance I get. Wow! This is great stuff. I have made brisket other ways, with more prep/ingredients, but this is the one I will go to.

    Chunks of this will be good in a faux chow fun recipe that I do – beef, onions, oyster sauce & tamari, shiitake mushrooms, all together with rice noodles. Yummy. I also think this will be good in soft tacos etc.

    Of course, this all depends on me not eating all of it before it can be used for other dishes. I’ll do a much bigger brisket next time so I can freeze some.

    Bravo!

    And Sherry, those were exactly the brands I used! :-}

  2. My aunt has forever cooked her brisket exactly like this – sooo good! Of course the cola, chili sauce and dried onion soup mix were always by Coca-Cola, Heinz and Lipton. “Never cook with diet soda or you’ll get garbage!” she would always say. Once in a while she’d substitute Dr Pepper and it was just as good. The brisket was made the night before so it would cool in the fridge, and for all the fat to float to the top which was scraped off the next day before slicing it and then rewarming it in the remaining sauce for sandwiches made with bakery dinner rolls. Again, sooo good! I’ve never cooked a brisket any other way and never will – why?

    Cheers!

    1. Sherry, thanks for sharing your memories. Yes, yes, how we recall those brand names. And yes, yes, we concur, when you have a recipe for brisket–or anything, for that matter–that works so well, why do it any other way?!

  3. I have a similar recipe that I’ve been making for years–it’s become such a tradition that my family won’t hear of trying a new one! My recipe: Take one packet of onion soup mix, mix it with one can of whole berry cranberry sauce and half a can of water, pour over brisket, cover the baking pan tightly with foil and bake at 325 for 3+ hours, depending on the size of the brisket, until very tender.

    Sounds awful, but it’s amazing!!

    1. WOW Carin.

      I love the sound of the cranberry sauce mixed with the onion soup mix, Mmmmmmmmmm. I’m going to make it and let everyone know how it turns out. You wrote this in march 2012, it is now january 2017…

      Thanks for the inspiration,

      Sgt. B

  4. I’ll have to try this. I remember eating Coke A Cola BBQ Baked Chicken as a kid at church functions as this was our great Soprano Opera Like Singer in the choirs favorite pot luck item to bring to church functions. My mom got the recipe from her finally after asking numerous times. She started making it at home. The whole family loved it, even Dad, who didn’t like to eat poultry, since he had to kill them as a young boy for his mom’s home business. When my mom passed away it was one of the recipes I was going to grab from her recipe box. Alas, time had faded the ink so badly I couldn’t read it, as well as most of her recipes. I kick myself sometimes for not copying her recipes when I was younger.

    1. Here’s a recipe for Lauralee that I found online. I haven’t tried it myself.

      COCA COLA CHICKEN
      Chicken breasts or pieces
      1 c. Coca Cola
      1 c. barbecue sauce
      Salt and pepper to taste

      Skin chicken; arrange skillet. Pour coca cola and barbecue sauce over chicken. Let come to a rolling boil; lower heat and simmer for 1 hour.

    2. I can’t help wanting to let you know that brisket is actually beef…were you thinking it is actually some kind of chicken or am I not understanding your reference? I also have missed out on recipes from my grandmothers and mother…we just don’t think when we are younger!!

      1. Thank you Carol S. Yes I know brisket is beef. I was happy to see this Coca Cola Brisket recipe, just hoping someone had the BBQ Coca Cola Chicken recipe out there since my mom’s recipe cards had faded so badly I couldn’t read them. Thanks though for the reply.

        1. 1 Cup brown sugar
          1 Can regular Coca-Cola
          2 medium onions, chopped
          2 Cloves garlic, minced
          2 Tablespoons soy sauce (a Japanese sauce) salt and pepper to taste
          2 ½ Pounds chicken wings or ribs

          Preparation

          In a large casserole, combine the brown sugar, Coca-Cola, onions, garlic, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Stir until mixed. Place chicken wings or ribs in sauce mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours. To thicken sauce, mix in a cornstarch mixture.

          Delicious served with rice.

      2. I think Lauralee is hoping someone may have a recipe similar to this brisket recipe, but for beef. Anyone? And Carol S, yes, it’s so sad to miss out, if only we knew then what we know now….

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