While sweet, smoky cane syrup is a Louisiana staple, used on everything from pain perdu to glazed ribs, cane vinegar is emerging as a new family favorite. The most widely available cane vinegar is produced by Steen’s in Abbeville, and its smooth, mellow flavor—similar to a malt vinegar—is ideal for dressings, marinades, and even cooked down into a glaze.
To produce cane vinegar, makers must first extract the juice from fresh cane, cook it down until syrupy, and then ferment that syrup into vinegar. While cane vinegar is a relatively new product for Louisiana, it has been popular for much longer in Brazil, India, and the Philippines. Surprisingly, the finished vinegar contains no residual sugar and therefore isn’t any sweeter than other vinegars (and is even labeled as ‘sour vinegar’ in the Philippines). Around the world, the color ranges from clear to a dark amber, but Steen’s currently offers one of the darker varieties.
In this recipe, the cane vinegar’s tartness is balanced by local honey and some spicy cayenne pepper. The dish is a terrific weeknight fix, served with roasted vegetables or a quick rice pilaf.
Look for cane vinegar where Steen’s cane syrup is sold, but if it’s not available there are a few good substitutions: white wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar, or malt vinegar. Whether you’re using it as a dip for fried catfish or a base for quick pickles, cane vinegar might just become your new favorite condiment.
- 4 skin-on bone-in chicken thighs
- 4 skin-on drumsticks
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cup cane vinegar
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
- Preheat oven to 450°. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Spray with cooking spray.
- Place chicken on pan; season chicken with salt and black pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey, and cayenne. Brush chicken with vinegar mixture. Bake 10 minutes; turn chicken over, and brush chicken with vinegar mixture. Bake about 20 minutes or until juices run clear when pierced with a knife, brushing occasionally with remaining vinegar mixture and pan drippings. Garnish with green onion, if desired.
WHERE TO FIND CANE VINEGAR
Steen’s • steensyrup.com