Welcome to Don’t Shoot the Food, a semi-regular series where I combine my love of gaming with my love of cooking and eating.
Since moving to Atlanta six years ago, I have really come to appreciate this city and the people who live here. For my money, there’s no better place to be in the early spring than Atlanta. Things warm up quickly and when the flowers on the trees open, driving around is a riot of pinks and whites. Sometimes, as I’m walking into my office building a breeze will shake the petals of off the trees, surrounding me in a snowstorm of pink. It’s glorious. It doesn’t last long and it gives way to insane amounts of pollen followed by scorching heat, but while it’s here, I love it.
Given that I don’t have anything up my culinary sleeves to celebrate the 3DS, or WWE and NASCAR games for that matter, I thought I’d go with celebrating Atlanta. What better way to do that then by cooking with a hallmark of Atlanta culture, Coca-Cola. Coke is big business down here and while I’m always surprised to go to a restaurant that serves only Pepsi products, when I go to one here, I always wonder why the locals haven’t burned the place to the ground yet. With that in mind, today’s recipe is for Atlanta Brisket, a brisket marinated and cooked in Coca-Cola. This is one of the best brisket recipes I’ve had, as it’s extremely flavorful and very easy to make. Just the thing for days you’d rather spend outside working in the garden. Or, why not skip the ham this year and serve this bad boy up at your Easter table?
A word of warning first. If you’re a big Coke drinker, you may want to have someone else prepare this recipe. Upon seeing what a hunk of meat looks like after a night spent in a Coke bath, I’m pretty sure you’ll never want to drink it again. It ain’t pretty.
For the vegetarians, after doing some research and then consulting with Barnes, we decided that you could use seitan for an adequate meat substitute here. If you’re making it from scratch, there are a number of recipes online for it, but this one skips the simmering in broth step, thereby making it a little easier. I found a lot of vegetarian brisket recipes that use that recipe as a base, so it’s worth a shot. The only change to make is instead of forming the seitan into a log, form it into a brisket shape, basically a rectangle about an inch to an inch and a half thick.
Atlanta Brisket courtesy of the AJC. Not sure where they got it from.
1. 1 3lb brisket – if the fat cap is really thick, like more than 1/4 of an inch, trim it off. As you’ll be braising the meat, it’s harder to dry it out so you can be more aggressive with your fat trimming than if you were smoking the brisket
2. 5 cups Coca-Cola, divided (4 + 1) – I have no idea how this would taste with Coke Zero and I have no intention of trying.
3. Kosher salt
4. Black pepper
5. 2 Tbl vegetable oil
6. 1 packet Lipton’s French onion soup mix
7. 1 cup ketchup
8. 2 onions, sliced
9. 2 bay leafs
1. Place brisket in baking dish and cover with 4 cups Coke. Refrigerate overnight. I would skip this step for the seitan. Not sure what Coke would do to it.
2. On the day of cooking, heat your oven to 375.
3. Remove the (seitan) brisket from the Coke, pat dry and rub with salt and pepper. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or dutch oven. Brown the brisket on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.
4. In a small bowl, mix the soup mix, the remaining Coke and the ketchup. If you want to skip the ketchup and Coke, use three cups of water, but be prepared for a far less flavorful meal. Stir until mixed well.
5. Place the (seitan) brisket in a baking dish, pour the mix over it and surround the brisket with the onions. Throw the bay leafs in the liquid, cover and place in the oven.
6. Cook the meat for three hours, basting every hour and flipping half way through the cook time. If the gravy cooks down too much, add water 1/2 cup at a time. If you’re doing this recipe with seitan, start checking after 90 minutes, shooting for no longer than a two hour cook.
7. After three hours, check to see if the brisket is done. The best way to do this is so stick a fork into it and twist it to see if the meat gives a little. Also, if the fork doesn’t come out easily, it’s not done. If the meat isn’t done, check every 30 minutes until done.
8. Take the (seitan) meat out of the oven, chuck the bay leafs and let the meat cool. Slice against the grain and serve with the gravy.
That’s all there is to it. Minimal prep work, minimal time, awesome results. Coca-Cola, it’s not just for childhood obesity any more!
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