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May 27, 2016

The BEST Brisket Recipe | Sweet & Tender Soda Pop Brisket

Brisket can be somewhat of a daunting piece of meat.  It is very large, very fatty and notoriously hard to cook.  I've always been confused by it with the multitude of different recipes and recommendations that exist.   Should you cook it low and slow?  For 2 hours or 12?  The recommendations are all over the board.  To make matters worse, it is one of Mike's favorite comfort meals, which equals high expectations.  

I recently saw a brisket recipe that featured Coca-Cola and ketchup as the two main ingredients.  Sound like an old, yucky recipe from the 80s?  Maybe, but it came highly recommended...

Cook's Country (on PBS, my favorite channel) is filmed in an old Vermont farm house - which I love.  They feature unpretentious food with recipes that have been tested and retested.  Chris Kimball, the host, is a very poindexter looking fellow that seems to have a sophisticated (a bit snobby?) palette.   He knows everything about food, New England life and culture.  On the last episode, he said that this recipe was his favorite recipe of all time.  A recipe with sauteed onions, ketchup and Coca-Cola as the main ingredients.  Now that is something to try.  

I have to tell you, that I loved, loved loved this recipe.  I don't know what happens to sauteed onions, mixed with ketchup and Coke in an oven when it cooks with a brisket, but let me tell you - this sauce was incredible.   The entire thing only baked in the oven for 3.5 hours, then rested for 45 minutes.  

There are a couple of things that are crucial to this recipe.  The resting is a very important, apparently, as Chris described it, the many tendons of the brisket get tight during the hot cooking, but the resting period allows them to soak up the moisture of the sauce and soften, leaving the brisket fork tender.  And it was.  The original recipe called for rubbing the meat with salt 6-24 hours before cooking, but I skipped this part due to time.  If you have the time, I'd love to hear how salting it improved the tenderness, too. 

I served our Soda Pop Brisket with Ina's French Potato Salad.  It is basically steamed potatoes, dressed with herbs and a dijon vinaigrette, served warm - was a great side dish for this sweet and rich brisket.  I also served it with some really easy homemade refrigerator pickles.  I'm so excited for these simple, rustic Summer dinners.

Enamelware : You may have noticed the beautiful robins egg blue enamelware pieces I used for this very summery dinner  (Oval Platter, $18, Large Basin Bowl, $16).  They are part of my Summer Collection, here.  They are incredibly fun and lightweight - perfect for casual, outdoor entertaining. 

I made a couple of changes to their original recipe - mainly the seasonings. 

sweet & tender
Soda Pop Brisket

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3 1/2 lbs beef brisket
sea salt*
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 lb onion, large dice
2 cups coke-cola
1 1/2 cups ketchup
4 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder

*This is the part I skipped due to time, but if you plan ahead, it would be great to try.
With a fork, poke holes in the brisket all over.  Rub the brisket with salt.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 6-24 hours.

Heat oven to 325 degrees.  Pat brisket dry with paper towel.  In a large heavy bottomed pan (I used my dutch oven), heat 2 tablespoons of oil.  Sear brisket for 4 minutes on each side.  Remove from pan. 

Add the other 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan along with the onions.  Cook on medium until onions are tender and browned.  About 5-6 minutes.  Add ketchup, coke, onion powder and garlic powder.  Stir together, then put brisket back in, turning it to coat in the sauce.

Cover pan and put it in the oven to bake for 3.5 hours.  Remove from the oven, leaving covered, and let rest for 30 minutes.  Remove lid, then let rest for 15-30 more minutes.  Remove from pan, and slice in thick slices.  Spoon warm sauce over to serve. 

Here is the brisket before slicing. 

See how tender and juicy?  It is the resting that does it.

You really have to try it.  A very special recipe from very humble ingredients.

And for the potato salad...
I used the Barefoot Contessa's recipe for French Potato Salad, recipe, here.

It is a very simple - steamed potatoes tossed in a dijon and champagne vinaigrette with parsley, dill and scallions.  It was tart and tangy with the dressing and herbs - a perfect compliment to the sweet brisket sauce. 

Instead of cubes, I did the potatoes in slices - made it look/seem more like a dinner side dish than a potato salad.

Simple and pretty - perfect "real" food for summer.

I'm excited to snack on this all week for lunch.  I'm trying to upgrade my lunches during the week from a peanut butter sandwich... any ideas?



  1. Will you share the pickle recipe?

  2. Prepared the brisket tonight...and it was delicious! So good. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Jenny, thank you so much! My husband has been making a variety of different brisket recipes over the last couple of years. All have been good, but each time we decide that the next time needs a bit of a tweak. We tried your recipe this weekend. I admit we were a bit skeptical of the Coke and ketchup but oh, were we wrong! This is a keeper - delicious, juicy perfection. There will be no more tweaking. Thank you so much!


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