I was served this scrumptious Braised Cola Brisket with Bourbon Gravy at our fall dinner club outing. The tasty beef was fall-apart tender. Plus, I witnessed the picky hubby eat parsnips! Earth-shattering! The umami-filled braising liquid provided incredible flavor!

Our lovely hostess shared the Brisket Recipe from Southern Living along with her tips on where to find Coca-Cola made with cane sugar. Once the weather got cool, I made this tender brisket for our dinner.

Braised Cola Brisket with Bourbon Gravy on a white platter with carrots and a pitcher of gravy.

Why You Must Make 

For our autumn dinner club, we had a cozy meal featuring loads of comfort food. Angel biscuits, panko-coated green beans, and this marvelous braised cola brisket with carrots, parsnips, and a marvelous bourbon gravy. As expected, everything was incredibly delicious, but I had to go back for seconds of the oven-baked brisket and the carrots and parsnips that were simmered in the gravy.

  • It’s the perfect cold-weather entree.
  • If you’ve only experienced brisket as corned beef, you need to expand your repertoire!
  • The depth of flavor is memorable!!

Ingredient Notes

  • Kitchen Staples – Kosher Salt, Black Pepper, Olive Oil, Ketchup, Balsamic Vinegar, Dried Rosemary, Sage, Marjoram and Thyme
  • Beef Brisket – 5 pounds,  first cut (flat), left out at room temperature for 1 hour to get the chill off
  • Cola – Cane Sweetened Coca-Cola preferred. Find this at International Markets.
  • Chicken Broth – I prefer the Pacific brand. It’s not overly salty.
  • Dry Onion Soup Mix – I used Lipton.
  • Carrots – Peeled, cut in half then into 4-inch pieces. May add parsnips, too.
  • Yellow Onion – Large, finely chopped.
  • Bourbon – Alcohol is a flavor enhancer. It will evaporate during the cooking time, leaving just a wonderful flavor.
  • Fresh Thyme Leaves – Adds another boost of flavor and freshness.
Overhead view of Braised Cola Brisket with Bourbon Gravy on a white plate.

Recipe Tips

I did not grow up eating brisket, and it wasn’t until my friend’s recipe for Coffee Braised Brisket was featured in Martha Stewart’s Everyday Foods magazine that I tried it. Brisket is an incredibly delicious cut of meat if you have the right recipe and use the right technique.

  • Learn the difference between cuts of brisket before you head out to the market. This recipe calls for the first cut or flat beef brisket.
  • The flat cut has less fat and is pricier than the point half or front cut which has more fat, is less costly, and actually has more flavor. 
  • Either will work in this recipe, but you will have more rendered fat to remove after cooking if you use the latter.
  • PRO-Tip: Brisket must be slow cooked in liquid, AKA braised, as the cut is tough and this technique will tenderize the beef. The braising can be done in a conventional oven or slow cooker.
  • A flavorful, umami-filled braising liquid will add an irresistible savory taste to your dish.
  • Beef, carrots, and onions all provide that coveted umami. Parsnips are also delicious with this brisket, so feel free to add them along with the carrots.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Use Cola?

There are a couple of reasons why adding cola to the braising liquid is beneficial. First, the sweetness, though subtle, is perfect for adding a depth of flavor to this brisket. Plus the acid in soda, phosphoric acid to be specific, will also help tenderize this tougher cut of beef.

What Are The Two Cuts of Brisket?

Brisket is a cut of beef taken from under the first 5 ribs. There are two sections, the flat cut and the point cut. The more expensive flat cut has less fat. The more flavorful point cut has more fat and requires long slow cooking. The latter is most tender when braised.

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Braised Cola Brisket with Bourbon Gravy on a white dinner plate with carrots

Braised Cola Brisket with Bourbon Gravy

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 50 minutes
Yield 8 servings

A tender, slow cooked brisket with cola, herbs and a fabulous bourbon gravy


  • 5-pound beef brisket, first cut (flat), left out at room temperature for 1 hour to get the chill off
  • 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoons plus ¼ tsp. black pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 14 ounces ketchup, I used Heinz
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 12 ounces cola, cane sweetened Coca Cola preferred
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 (1-oz.) envelope dry onion soup mix (I used Lipton)
  • 1 teaspoon each dried rosemary, sage, marjoram and thyme
  • 6 carrots, cut in half, then into 4-inch pieces (may add in some parsnips, too, if desired)
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Sprinkle both sides of the brisket with 1 tablespoon of the salt and 1 ½ teaspoons of the pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add brisket and cook until well browned, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the brisket to a plate.
  3. Whisk together ketchup, balsamic vinegar, cola, chicken broth, onion soup mix, and herbs in a large bowl. Pour slowly into the Dutch oven, and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits.
  4. Return brisket and any juices to the Dutch oven. Bring to a boil and cover with foil, then lid. Transfer to the oven and cook for 2 hours.
  5. After 2 hours, turn the brisket over. Add in carrots, then add the chopped onion around the brisket. Replace foil and lid, and continue baking until brisket is very tender, about 1 hour.
  6. Use a slotted spoon to transfer brisket and carrots to a serving platter. Cover with foil to keep warm. Puree cooking liquid in the Dutch oven with an immersion blender to make gravy. Simmer gravy until hot. Stir in bourbon, and season with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  7. Slice brisket then top with gravy and sprinkle with the fresh thyme. Serve with remaining gravy.


This recipe tastes even better when made one to two days ahead.

After step three, cool uncovered, then cover and refrigerate. Discard any fat that collects on the surface before reheating on the stove and proceeding with the recipe.

Adapted from Southern Living

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 974Total Fat: 56gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 27gCholesterol: 301mgSodium: 995mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 2gSugar: 23gProtein: 83g


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