A hands-off, low and slow, melt-in-your-mouth dish

Make your next gathering tasty and easy with Brisket, caramelised fennel and white beans

  • SERVES: 6 – 8
  • PREP TIME: 1.5 hrs (1 hour of that is leaving the brisket to take on the spice rub).
  • COOKING TIME: 6.5 hours, hands-off cooking
  • DIFFICULTY: easy
  • IDEAL FOR: crowd-pleaser, gathering, Sunday lunch, BBQ
  • BUDGET: £ – ££

Brisket, caramelised fennel and white beans

There is a certain level of commitment to this dish.

But it’s not a difficult dish, and the commitment is mainly making time to get the brisket prepped and in the oven so you have plenty of time for the low-slow cooking.

This is not a dish you start in the evening and expect to be dishing up for dinner.

And you also want to let the spice rub sit on the brisket for an hour to absorb some of those wonderful flavours.

The meat is dry-rubbed with an aromatic blend of thyme, sweet paprika, and sage before it’s quickly browned on the stove.

It’s then cooked low and slow in the oven alongside onions and fennel bulbs in a rich braising liquid.

All I can say is, it’s worth it.

What is brisket?

It’s a (beef) cut from the lower chest.

Which is tough and full of fat and collagen – ( I’m not selling it I know BUT just wait) – which is why it needs a slow cook.

So, this does mean that the fat will melt away giving the dish even more flavour.

It’s also a cheap cut so perfect for family meals or gathering crowds without breaking the bank and the best part, they’ll love it.

Tips for buying brisket

1. Know the cut you want.

Beef brisket comes in two cuts separated by a layer of fat.

The first cut, also called the flat cut, is one muscle and is sliced with little fat — which often means it’s a bit more expensive.

But it does have more meat on it than the point cut.

The second cut, or the point cut, and it has a more intense beefy flavourful.

Corned beef comes from brisket point

2. Buy the right size

Brisket is usually cut as small as 1 kg to 6kg.

A 6 kg brisket would feed 25 to 30 people.

A general rule with brisket is to buy 250 g per person you’ll feed.

So, 1.5 kg brisket will feed approx. 6 people.

Brisket, caramelised fennel and white beans

How to cook brisket

A good brisket is tender, moist, and pulls apart easily.

So, to get this result, you need to cook your brisket low and slow.

Braising method

Choose a flat-cut brisket for this slow and moist cooking method.

To braise, brown the meat on high heat on the stovetop, then transfer it to a large pot that contains a liquid, such as broth, wine, or canned tomatoes, and cook the brisket for three to four hours.

The meat will be soft and tender after you slice the brisket.

Slow cooking method

Similar to braising, cooking brisket in a slow cooker tenderizes the meat.

When you’re slow-cooking a brisket, brown the meat first, then place it, fat side up, in the slow cooker.

Pour liquid or a marinade—such as barbecue sauce, wine, tomatoes, stock, or Worcestershire sauce—into the slow cooker and season the meat with salt, pepper, and brown sugar.

Cook on the lowest temperature setting.

Smoking method

Apply a spice rub first (here are some ideas for spice rubs).

Then let the piece of meat cook at a low temperature over a long period.

This gently renders the fat and creates a juicy and tender smoked brisket.

3. The marbling

Don’t worry about the marbling.

Brisket doesn’t have much marbling like some steak.

But that doesn’t matter because of the layer of fat on the brisket.

Brisket, caramelised fennel and white beans

So, in a nutshell, brisket is worth a go.

If you can, buy grass-fed.

It’s more expensive but it’s worth it both in terms of flavour and looking after our planet.

The caramelised fennel is a winner.

I’m not a massive fan of fennel unless it’s sliced wafer thin in a salad or cooked like this.

And throwing in a jar of white means to soak up all those flavours is a simple solution when you don’t want to fuss.

For more brisket ideas, visit here.


Recipe: FoodandWine


Brisket, caramelised fennel and white beans

Course Main Course
Keyword braising, brisket
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 6 hours 45 minutes
Servings 6 people
Cost £ – ££


Spice rub

  • 2 tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tbsp dried sage
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp sea salt

For the braising pan

  • 2 kg (grass-fed) brisket
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 8 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 3 fennel bulbs, cut through the core and into wedges


Spice rub

  • In a bowl, mix the thyme with the paprika, sage, ground black pepper, and 1 tablespoon of sea salt.
    Rub the spice mixture all over the brisket and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 150 C/ 300°F.
    In a large oven-proof roasting pan set over two gas hobs, heat the oil and brown the brisket, turning once – approx 8 minutes.
    Transfer the brisket to a large plate.
  • Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt to the roasting pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and well browned, approx. 20 minutes.
  • Add the beef stock, vinegar, tomato puree, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaf; bring to a simmer. Return the brisket to the roasting pan, then nestle the fennel in the braising liquid around it.
    Tent the brisket with foil and bake for about 6 hours and 30 minutes, until very tender.
    Transfer the brisket to a carving board, tent with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes.
    Skim the fat off the braising liquid and discard the bay leaf.
    Carve the brisket and serve.