When Commander’s Palace Executive Chef, Tory McPhail, found out that the “tail” of the Old New Orleans Rum distilling process was being wasted, he went to work trying to figure out how to make a unique Louisiana product out of it. Vinegar, one of the world’s oldest condiments, caught his imagination and he set to work to creating his own.
“The rum vinegar mother was created right here at Commander’s Palace with some leftover banana peels from Bananas Foster,” Tory says. “We put some molasses, water, and brown sugar into a few oyster buckets and hung them under the eaves in Ella Brennan’s back yard. About six weeks later, we had our first batch of vinegar.”
To the rum vinegar mother, Tory adds the Old New Orleans Rum tail to round out the flavor. Because of its six-week stint of open fermentation in the Garden District, Chef Tory’s New Orleans Rum Vinegar has a funky sweetness with a body that resembles balsamic. While it is perfectly suited to everyday uses like salad dressings and marinades, its flavor intensifies when it’s cooked down into a glaze. We love it on baby back ribs, but it would be just as delicious on chicken, pork, or quail.
- 1 (12-ounce) bottle rum vinegar*
- ¾ cup cane syrup
- 1 tablespoon Creole mustard
- ¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1¼ teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped hot chile peppers (red, green, and yellow)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 (3-pound) rack baby back ribs
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- In a large saucepan, whisk together vinegar, cane syrup, mustard, crushed red pepper, and ¾ teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook until mixture is reduced to ¾ cup, about 15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Stir in chile peppers and parsley.
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- Remove membrane from back of ribs. Brush ribs with oil, and sprinkle with salt and remaining ½ teaspoon black pepper.
- Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Add ribs, meat side down, and cook until grill marks form, about 5 minutes. Place on prepared pan, meat side up. Lightly cover with foil. Bake until almost tender, about 45 minutes. Uncover, and bake until tender, about 20 minutes more, brushing occasionally with glaze.
- *We used Tory McPhail’s New Orleans Rum Vinegar.