Star anise is much much more then the “licorice” label its been given. It has a more sensual aromatic smoky sweet aroma that is penetrating when used in sweet infusions and is also a powerful flavor booster in savory applications. Its strengths are many and its weaknesses are few. If used correctly, it can be a real trick up the sleeve and a true friend in a pinch. I find I am using star anise more and more for cooking meat, especially with long braises of tougher cuts. I even use it with wood chips for its amazing coffee like smoke! Use it all the time, and treat it like gold!