Cookshare: Vinegar Chicken

Buffalo's other famous chicken - vinegar chicken

Photo Courtesy: Bill Hettig. Buffalo’s Other Famous Chicken Marvel.

Baking is my go-to way to prepare

Along with chicken wings, that famed Buffalo juggernaut, there is a lesser known treat served at countless public events. It’s known as Chiavetta’s barbecued chicken. The smell of marinade ladened chicken dripping onto lit charcoal reminds us of the joys of a Western New York throughout summer.

This recipe is easy to grill at home, or even simpler — I like to bake ’n’ broil a batch. It takes only minutes to prepare the marinade, and then to bake the dish.

I crafted this marinade to approximate the original; or you might want to locate some on line or at many supermarkets in the East. The marinade is clear and designed to delight with a crispy skin finish. It can be eaten with knife and fork or out-of-hand, like chicken wings. It’s equally delicious as a cold picnic or lunch treat.


Vinegar Chicken Marinade

Ingredients for Vinegar Chicken recipe
Photo courtesy: Bill Hettig. Simple ingredients for Vinegar Chicken

RECIPE Serves 4-6

8 thighs or a cut-up roasting chicken. Also good: split breasts with bone in and skin on.


vegetable oil                    1/4 cup           bland (not olive)

apple cider vinegar         1/2 cup

salt                                     1 TBS.

poultry seasoning           1 tsp.              or Italian blend, or taco


pepper                               1/2 tsp.          fresh ground is best



Make marinade.

Pierce through the skin side of chicken pieces with tip of paring knife; five or six times.

Place rinsed and dried chicken in a large resealable bag and pour in marinade. Seal and refrigerate for 3-6 hours, flipping the bag occasionally. I like a strong flavor and go for 6 hours. My sister likes a lighter flavor — 3 hours.


Place chicken on indirect heat to slowly render the fat, [325ºF/163ºC]. Flip chicken every 7-8 minutes and cook about 40-45 minutes. When almost done, move pieces over direct flame, skin side down to crisp, about 5 minutes more. Don’t wander from this task.



Place pieces skin side up in one layer in a baking dish. Bake at [325ºF/163ºC] for 40-45 minutes, then turn broiler on for 5 – 7 minutes. Broil until skin is golden-crisp. Don’t wander from this task.

Rest, tented for five minutes.


This is great reheated, cold, or at room temperature. Pull off the bone; It fits right into a chicken salad, cold or hot pasta, or to boost rice dishes as a tangy addition.

I stock my freezer with a couple bags of Vinegar Chicken, always at-the-ready.



Grilling or baking chicken is best achieved by low and slow heat with a final flourish of direct heat to crisp the skin. Unlike beef, chicken is best cooked slowly to prevent dry results. This newer approach is in reverse of the traditional method of searing and then cooking.

Bill Hettig

Bill Hettig is a self-trained cooking instructor, author, and lecturer for the past 25 years. He offered a whole foods based series at health food stores and his home-based classroom in Winter Park, FL. In 1991 he created a device that ferments vegetables in common canning jars that became a company selling the Perfect Pickler around the world. Bill is retired and does occasional workshops and lectures. He currently resides in Central Florida and Western New York. He blogs on gardening and cooking tips in a sharing economy.

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