I’ve often made braised meats with beer or wine; I love the depth of flavor that alcohol gives to meat. However, I have had a lot of people ask me what they can use if they don’t want to use alcohol for a number of reasons. Seeing as how I have always been curious about braising roast beef with Coca-Cola, I thought, let’s give it a go in the crock pot! I was really pleased with the result. The meat was amazingly tender, juicy, and had a beautiful caramelized color on the outside, even having been cooked in a slow cooker.. When using something carbonated in cooking, it’s easy to understand why! I love using beer in my cooking because the acids in it help to tenderize the meat, and the Coca-Cola did the same thing, but I was more surprised as the color of the outside of the meat. I’ve cooked many a meal in a crock pot with a bottle of beer thrown in there, but the extra sugar in the cola had a wonderful caramelizing effect on the roast and left it with a lightly sweet and sticky exterior (I’m sure the brown sugar didn’t hurt, either). It was fantastic! Don’t get me wrong, though; this isn’t a very sweet roast beef by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t think that anyone unaware of how the meat was prepared would know that it was cooked with soda! And before anyone gets on my case about it, yes, I know how many chemicals are in Coca-Cola, but I still wanted to try this and it was absolutely delicious. Besides, if you don’t want to use cola, by all means, use beer!
This sandwich was one of my favorites meals this month. I’m a simple girl and I like my food simple, as this sandwich clearly is. There was still a lot going on; the slight heat from the red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper, the wonderful smell from the oregano and ground mustard, and the boldness of the ground cumin. The Worcestershire sauce adds a welcome touch as well, with its light acidity and combination of special seasonings; it is a natural combination with red meat. I piled my sandwiches high on homemade Italian bread with the strained carrots, onions, celery, and garlic and topped it all off with Swiss cheese. This is most certainly a husband-approved, family-friendly meal.
What you’ll need (minus the vegetable broth; I didn’t end up using it).
Thinly slice your onions and celery.
Slice your carrots.
And thinly slice your garlic.
Place all of the vegetables in the pot, along with the meat and other ingredients. Stir everything together a bit and turn your crock pot on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
Check the meat to see that it’s done.
Take the meat out with a pair of tongs and place on a cutting board. With a mesh strainer or colander, strain the vegetables from the juices. Use the veggies as toppings and pour the juices over the meat and/or your sandwich as desired.
Slice your beef or pull it apart with two forks, whichever you prefer. Both make a great sandwich!
Pile your sandwich high with the beef, vegetables, a slice of Swiss cheese, and the au jus!
- 3 pounds chuck roast (or a similar cut of beef)
- 3 stalks celery, sliced thinly
- 1 onion, sliced thinly (I used two because mine were super tiny)
- 3 carrots, sliced thinly
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
- 1 can regular Coca-Cola
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
- 10 slices bread of your choice (to make 5 sandwiches)
- 10 slices Swiss cheese (or whatever cheese your prefer)
- Spray your crock pot with non-stick cooking spray. Add in the sliced vegetables, then the beef, then the rest of the ingredients (except for the bread and cheese, of course). Mix everything up and turn your crock pot on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
- When the meat is ready, remove from the pot with tongs and place on a cutting board. Strain the juices from the vegetables and set aside. Slice or shred the beef (whichever is your preference) and add some juices if needed (I added about 2 or 3 tablespoons of juices to the meat before plating the sandwiches).
- Lay two slices of Swiss or other cheese on one slice of bread, followed by the beef, then the vegetables, then the top slice of bread (add some more juices if you like or serve on the side for dipping). Makes 5 sandwiches.