Braising the brisket in cola makes for a perfectly tangy and sweet cooked-in-the-pot finishing sauce.
But brace yourselves – this brisket recipe does not involve a smoker. Did you even know that brisket can be not-smoked?? Brisket is, after all, a cut of meat. And much as there’s several ways you can cook a steak, you don’t HAVE to barbecue brisket. In fact, before the humble pectoralis profundus became so incredibly popular as a pit smoked meat, it was more commonly cooked as a braise, just like pot roast.
Cooking the brisket flat in a concoction of sticky sweet cola and a some other key ingredients also makes this recipe a one-pot-wonder. Everything you need, aside from the buns, is gonna happen in the same pot. And all of those delicious braising liquids actually reduce down to become the chopped brisket sauce! Though the cook time might be long, the prep is super easy (and the cooking brisket doesn’t really need much babysitting at all). And if you’re not a cola fan, you can absolutely substitute it with your favorite soda flavor.
There’s a very good reason this recipe is for chopped brisket, not pulled brisket. If you have ever taken a close look at a brisket flat, you’ll see the muscle is made up of very long strands of muscle fibers, all running in the same direction. These direction of these fibers is also called the grain of the meat, and usually if you are going to slice the brisket, you cut against the grain. In this case, trying to pull the brisket muscle (even when super tender) would give you super long threads of meat. Chopping the meat lends itself to a much more bite-friendly result.
Remove the brisket from the fridge, and pat dry with paper towels.
In a bowl, combine garlic, onion, ancho powder and salt. Stir to combine – this is your dry rub. Coat the brisket heavily on both sides and edges with the rub, massaging it in well.
Place an enamelled dutch oven over high heat, and add the olive oil to the pot. Once hot, place the brisket into the hot pot to sear at least 10 minutes on one side, before flipping it over and searing the other side. During the sear, it’s important to leave the brisket without moving it so a deep crust can develop.
After the brisket has been seared on both sides, add the cola, Worcestershire and tomato paste to the pot. Stir, then allow the mixture to come to a boil. Once boiled, reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cover with a lid and cook for 4 hours.
After 4 hours, remove the lid and increase the heat just slightly so the simmer is a higher. Cook a further 2 hours.
Gently remove brisket from the braising liquid onto a cutting board. Chop/cut against the grain, then return the chopped pieces to the sauce in the pot. Stir the meat into the sauce.
To serve – spoon a generous amount of braised Cola Braised Chopped Brisket onto the bottom half of a sandwich bun. Place the top bun on the meat, and serve immediately.