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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know a basic rule of thumb for cooking with wine; if you wouldn't drink it, don't cook with it.
I am preparing a roasted pork loin (seasoned w/ s&p, fresh herb, browned in skillet then transferred to baking dish and cooked/braised in balsamic vin.) I want to use quality vinegar, but nothing terribly expensive that might be better for finishing or garnishing a dish.
What rule of thumb to you guys use for selected a vinegar to cook with?
 

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The manufactured commercial varieties of balsamic are fine for this. The cooking time, treatment and heat would destroy the nuanced qualities of traditionally made balsamic vinegar. And the price would be prohibitive.

Your common grocery store varieties will do fine. You might want to reduce them a little with some brown sugar right up front if they're too harsh. Many of these are really just doctored red wine vinegar and a little grape must.

Costco's branded balsamic is a reasonable price and of quite good quality for a commercial balsamic because of it's age and grape must content. If your budget will stretch that extra little distance, it's what I like to use. 
 

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Unless your using traditional Balsamic (300+ for 6 oz.) price in not a critical factor.  With manufactured balsamic they sell a bottle and fancy label. Costco is probably good if Buba recommends it.  
 

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So everyone else has talked about balsamic vinegar specifically but what about the broader question about deciding what quality vinegar to use. In many ways what applies to wine applies to vinegar, to a point. Vinegar may not be something you would want to "drink" but the same overall principle applies, at least IMHO. Any vinegar that isn't pleasant to the taste, straight is not a vinegar I really want to cook with. Many store brand vinegars are overly harsh with horrible aftertastes. My rule of thumb is if it wouldn't make an enjoyable vinaigrette then I wouldn't use it to cook with. There are a few exceptions to that rule when it comes to pickling and preserving, but even then I usually shy away from distilled vinegar as I find it harsh and abrasive.
 

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Imho, I think balsamic is used in too many dishes, that don't require same, I.e. trendy. You might apply it to a marinated dish like sauerbraten, and use a different sauce for finishing/serving.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I totally agree it is popular and trendy, and that there are so many other choices to choose from instead of using Balsamic quite often.
There are some dishes that Balsamic vin. goes absolutely beautifully with and just cause it is trending doesn't mean one shouldn't use it, if it works.
I guess there should be a healthy balance of trying new things and using what works.
Thanks for the input!
 

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When you ferment something it make alcohol and if you ferment that further it makes vinegar.  There are a lot of varieties whether it is made from apple, grapes, grain whatever started the sugar for the initial ferment. I would say pair it to what you're cooking.  Use flavors that make sense with the spices and the product

Ex.

If i'm making a dipping sauce with soy and sesame, ginger, garlic, scallion etc,  i would use rice wine vinegar

If I'm deglazing pork, pork goes with apple I use apple cider vinegar

If i'm stir frying on a wok, I would deglaze with shaoxing vinegar
 
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