Grandma Sue’s Sweet and Sour Sauce

My mom used this sauce on country style pork ribs. Her recipe specifies not to buy the shoulder cut because it’s tough. She browned the ribs in an electric skillet (my husband’s mom also loved to use an electric skillet. It must have been a 1960s thing) and then cooked them the rest of the way with the sauce on.

There were times when every window in our house was open in a, mostly, futile effort to rid us of acrid smoke when the ribs weren’t quite fully cooked but the sauce was already burning. Whether this was a consequence of a too-hot electric skillet, inattention, or a logistical planning mishap, I disenjoyed it so much that I fully cook my pork separately and add the sauce on later. It works for ribs, as a dipping sauce, or on shredded pork (leftover from a roast) served over rice. No burning or smoke involved!

My mom’s original recipe includes most of one side of an index card of cautions and caveats about evaporation, adding water, frequent checking, the variability of cook times, and methods for determining whether the pork was fully cooked (she never used a meat thermometer–who needs such fancy things?).  That was my mom. She flew by the seat of her pants, even when she was cooking ribs. I loved her so. 🙂 Scans of her original recipe are below.

Grandma Sue's Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • Servings: n/a
  • Time: 15 min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 5 Tbsp sugar
  • 5 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tsp chopped garlic
  • pepper (white or black) to taste

Preparation:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and reduce sauce to desired consistency.
  3. Serve as a dipping sauce, or brush onto pork ribs 5 to 15 minutes before they finish cooking, or combine with pre-cooked shredded pork in a large skillet and brown-up over medium to high heat.
  4. Enjoy!

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