Saturday, November 9, 2013

Cooking with Cola: Atlanta Brisket

November 3, 2013

Atlanta Brisket
Crisp Roast Potatoes
Green Peas
Smoking Loon 2011 Old Vine Zinfandel

Atlanta Brisket from Cook's Country
Crisp Roasted Potatoes from Cook's Illustrated

I had never heard of Atlanta Brisket until it was featured on a recent version of the Cook's Country TV show. Basically it is beef brisket that is braised with onions, ketchup, Coca Cola (thus the name as Coca Cola is based in Atlanta), and onion soup mix. I have one other recipe that uses coke as an ingredient, a Dutch oven recipe for Coca Cola Chicken that I learned about while in Boy Scouts.  It was an intriguing recipe and worth a try.

Instead of using onion soup mix, this recipe uses a mixture of spices to provide more control over the final flavors. The brisket was juicy and fall-apart tender, so much so that it could not be cut into nice, neat slices. The sauce was interesting with a unique flavor from the combination of sweet and sour ketchup with the sweet, acidic cola. There was no obvious cola flavor in the sauce which had some rough edges.

The roasted potatoes were good, crispy on the outside with creamy interiors. They were prepared something like oven fries; potatoes were sliced, parboiled, coated with olive oil, then roasted in a single layer on a baking sheet. While they were good we thought there were too many steps in the preparation and we will be trying some other roasted potato recipes in the future that will hopefully be simpler.

The potatoes help up well, they were warmed with a little oil in a skillet and they were certainly an easy and acceptable side dish. Like many braised dishes, the brisket improved with a few days sitting. As flowing water will wear down the rough edges of a stone producing a smooth cobble, time smoothed out some of the sauce's rougher, sharper flavors resulting in a more balanced, more pleasant flavor. We had the brisket simply rewarmed in the microwave and then again served on toasted hamburger buns.

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