That Good Old South African Coke Brisket Recipe

Brown Brisket with Carrots, Potatoes and Onions

I’m sure that the ubiquitous Coke brisket/chicken recipe that took the South African Jewish culinary community by storm in the 1980s is widely available in various forms all over the internet. Still, I felt that I had to publish my version on my blog because it’s just one of those trusty stand-by recipes that gets dusted off every now and again and proves why it is around all these decades later. From my earliest days of cooking, when I was a student at The Hebrew University and had just met my husband, I have been making this recipeץ Back then I used chicken and among my friends it was know as “Brown Chicken”. Here, we’ll call it Brown Brisket.

I have a few versions in my tattered pile of recipe cars and fading A4 pages, even one that uses Diet Coke (which I’ve never made and don’t intend to). I use the one with good old fashioned sweetened Coke, because it’s Rosh Hashana and food should be sweet, right? Those of you who prefer healthy cooking avert your eyes. I prefer to use natural ingredients in my cooking (I’m not talking about dessert here) but every now and again I am prepared to veer off the path of the righteous cook into iffy territory. It’s all about moderation, isn’t it?

The original recipe is for oven cooked brisket (instructions included), but as stated previously, our Israeli brisket demands to be slow cooked, so I used almost the same recipe and it came out great after 10 hours of cooking. Now my house smells just how a Jewish home a few days before Rosh Hashana should.



2-3 kg (4½-6½ lb)brisket

1-2 onions sliced about 1 cm wide

1 kg of peeled small potatoes (optional but highly recommended)

4-5 large carrots peeled and sliced into thick slices (also optional but highly recommended)

1 cup tomato paste (200g)

1 cup chutney or apricot jam

3 tablespoons onion soup powder

2 tablespoons chicken soup powder

4 bay leaves

2 teaspoons ginger powder

About 2 cups of Coke (enough to make 4 cups of sauce with the rest of the ingredients above)

How to do it

1. Place the vegetables at the bottom of the slow cooker. Put the bay leaves on top of the veggies and then the brisket on top.

Ready for cooking

2. In a mixing bowl or large measuring jug, mix the tomato paste, chutney/jam, soup powders, and ginger. Then add the coke to make up about 4 cups of sauce. Pour over the brisket.

3. Cook the brisket on low for 10-11 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. (To oven cook, preheat the oven to 200°C/375°F, place the brisket in a roasting pan, cover and cook for about 2½ hours. Make sure to cut they vegetables you use quite small to ensure they cook through.)

4. Allow the brisket to cool before slicing.

Note: This brisket freezes really well with the sauce.

Serves 10-12 people depending on the size of the brisket.


6 thoughts on “That Good Old South African Coke Brisket Recipe

  1. Was looking for this recipe – saves me going through all my books. The American ones I found first did not have the veggies or the jam.

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