Lacquered Brisket of Beef, Pickled Fennel

lacquered brisket of beef, pickled fennel

Lacquered Brisket of Beef, Anise Ginger Garlic Tamari Glaze
Served with Pickled Fennel

Meet a match made in heaven: Lacquered Beef Brisket & Pickled Fennel. Bright tart crisp pickled fennel flavored with star anise and cinnamon marries super-tender slow-cooked brisket brushed with a barely sweet Asian-flavored sauce. Reducing the brisket cooking liquid of beef broth, star anise, ginger, garlic, sugar, and tamari results in an intensely flavored glossy glaze.

The meat is lacquered with the glaze, and it is painted onto the plate. The result is a striking combination of flavor, texture, color, temperature. Everything can be prepared a day or two ahead. A five lb. brisket serves nine, with the cost per serving under four dollars, making this a terrific dish for entertaining.

Pickled Fennel Recipe

fennel pickling liquid, star anise, cinnamon stick, pickling spice, peppercorns

  • 1 1/2 c. white balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 t. black peppercorns
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 T. pickling spice

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan, bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes.

sliced fennel

Meanwhile, thinly slice 2 fennel bulbs.

pickled fennel liquid

After simmering 20 minutes, strain the liquid.

pickled fennel

Pour hot liquid over sliced fennel. Let dish come to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Lacquered Brisket of Beef Recipe

cooking beef briskets

We served Lacquered Brisket of Beef at our Sunken City Supper Club winter event a little while back. Each 5+ lb. brisket makes nine cube servings. After cooking we square off the edges to get a clean shape. (Trimmings are saved to make Asian tacos!)

Season both sides of the brisket with salt and pepper. Place meat  in roasting dish fat side down. Place under broiler until the meat starts to caramelize. Flip the meat and caramelize the fat side of the brisket. Remove from oven to add cooking liquid and spices.

star anise, ginger, garlic, sugar

Add beef stock to come just under half-way up on the meat. Add 1/4 c. low-sodium tamari. Scatter several pieces of sliced ginger, smashed garlic cloves, about 6-8 star anise and 1 1/2 T. sugar in the cooking liquid.

cooking beef brisket

Cover with foil and cook in a 275° oven for at least 8 hours, until the meat is melt-in-the-mouth tender. Remove foil and let cool slightly. Remove the meat from the liquid. Pour liquid into a fat separator. Let stand.

slow roasted brisket of beef, asian spices

Remove excess fat from the top of the brisket. Place brisket in a clean roasting pan, let cool completely, cover and refrigerate over night.

fat separator

After the fat separates from the sauce. Pour de-fatted sauce into a clean pan and reduce over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally,  to a syrupy consistency.

ladrillos de brisket, brisket cubes

Take the cold brisket, trim off the ends, and slice into nine cubes. Place cubes back into the roasting pan with some beef stock for moisture, and reheat, covered at 325° until heated through. The cube holds its shape perfectly for serving but since it is so tender, guests can simply use their fork to break the meat apart. More photos on slicing the brisket into cubes can be found on my “Ladrillo de Brisket” post here.

lacquered plate

The glaze is painted onto the plates using a plastic pastry brush.

lacquer sauce

Make sure to taste the sauce before serving.
This sauce was finished with a bit of extra sugar to get a balance of flavor.

lacquered brisket of beef, pickled fennel, recipe
Serve cold pickled fennel with a warm brisket cube brushed with the glaze. Be sure to tell your guests to enjoy each bite with a bit of beef, glaze, and fennel together on the fork. The fennel can be made one or two days ahead, as can the brisket and the sauce – which makes for easy entertaining. Simply reheat the meat in the oven and gently warm the sauce in a saucepan, then plate with cold pickled fennel.

We served Lacquered Brisket of Beef as one of seven courses at the Sunken City Supper Club event. Some of the dishes were inspired by ones we’ve served at parties held in the past (links to recipes). Here’s the entire menu:

sunken city supper club winter fusion
a seven course seasonal menu

passed appetizer
crostini with truffle cheese/ truffled shiitake/ truffled frisee

amuse bouche
zucchini ribbons/ buratta/ pistachio relish/ basil

spicy curried butternut squash
toasted coconut/ cashews/ dried pomegranate arils/ banana

pomegranate endive radish salad/ grilled meyer lemon/ champagne vinaigrette
panko crusted crab cake/ meyer lemon aioli

lacquered brisket of beef/ ginger/ garlic/ star anise/ tamari
pickled fennel

braised bok choy/ miso butter/ polenta

oloroso sherry
apricot wonton ravioli/pine nuts/ chile crème anglaise/mint

chocolate ginger pots de crème/candied ginger

25 thoughts on “Lacquered Brisket of Beef, Pickled Fennel”

  1. A simple dish but presented with class. Brisket is a tricky cut of beef and more often than not – people screw it up (too dry). Yours is moist, succulent.

  2. Not something I’ve ever seen in the same sentence…lacquered brisket and pickled fennel. In fact, I’ve never seen them as stand-alones but, as usual, you presented a beautiful and memorable dish. Good work, LL!!

  3. Lori Lynn! Amazing… This is simply gorgeous and I love the pickled fennel idea! I adore fennel and I love seeing different preparations with it. As usual, everything looks scrumptious!

  4. This is a work of art on a plate. So artfully done. I’ll admit that I only like fennel when someone else prepares it for me–I can’t seem to get it right in my kitchen (always just roast it). I’ll have to try your method next time, love the pickling idea. And this post reminds me that I need to pick up a mandoline!

    Have a great week!

  5. Wow! I’m going to have to invite some people over so I can try this fabulous dish. That glaze looks the biz. Fennel is a veg I don’t eat very often but I’m intrigued by your pickled dish. This is a ‘must try’

  6. This is such a coincidence but I’m inhaling the aroma of my beef brisket in the oven while reading your post! Now I’m tempted to make the pickled fennel to go with it! What a creative combination. I love the Asian style marinade you used to braise the beef. What a beautiful and delicious dish!

  7. I’m one those people who mess up the brisket. Yours looks so succulent and enticing. And I’ve always been enamoured with its cost! The fennel will be appearing here shortly.

    1. Hi Claudia – low & slow is the secret. And do not have the butcher remove the fat – cook with the fat side up, then remove fat before chilling. Please let me know how you like the fennel.

  8. I am, simply put, in awe of this food work of art. I love fusing Asian flavors in American style BBQ/Grilling. I can’t wait to try this amazing recipe outdoor on my smoker. A little adaption and I should have something that pays tribute to your dish.

    Thank you…thank you…thank you…

  9. be still my heart, my beloved brisket all dolled up – ready to go to the!! wonderful job!! bookmarked for my easter luncheon…


  10. so, I feel like I have deja vu and saw this same dish (or something strikingly similar) here before. am I wrong? either way, it looks crazy good. crazy, crazy good. the darkly smiling plate echoes my sentiments exactly.

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