Slow Cooker Cafe Rio Sweet Pork {Copycat Recipe}


1 Comment

Pin Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This Slow Cooker Cafe Rio Sweet Pork is a copycat recipe made with just six ingredients. Who knew that such minimal ingredients could yield such flavorful meat? If you’re looking for an easy and yummy recipe to put on the dinner table, this sweet pulled pork is one to try!

If you enjoy shredded pork, try my Slow Cooker Carnitas {Crispy Mexican Pork}. It’s another dish that yields plenty of fall-apart tender meat.

spoon of cafe rio pork in slow cooker.

What is Cafe Rio Sweet Pork?

Cafe Rio sweet pork is part of Steve Stanley’s signature recipe in a meal that’s considered a fan favorite. If you’ve ever eaten at Cafe Rio and had their Original Sweet Pork Barbacoa, then you’ve sunk your teeth into delicious sweet pork. All the more reason to try this copycat sweet pork recipe in your crock pot!

Recipe Ingredients

Ingredients for cafe rio pork on a table.
  • Pork Butt Roast: An almost 5-pound pork roast is slow cooked in a flavorful cooking liquid until perfectly tender. This is often called a pork shoulder roast.
  • Coca Cola: Soda acts as a tenderizer, so you can ensure this pulled pork will be nice and tender.
  • Red Enchilada Sauce: Used to create flavor and a kick in taste. No need to add other seasonings for the enchilada sauce already has plenty of spices and chili powder in it.
  • Brown Sugar: Adds the perfect amount of sweetness. You can use light brown sugar or dark brown sugar.
  • Garlic: The perfect spice and flavor.
  • Diced Green Chiles: Creates additional flavor to the sweet pork.

Step-by-Step Directions

Four images showing how to make coca cola and brown sugar sauce and add to crockpot with pork.

Step One – In a large bowl, pour in the coca cola and half cup of the brown sugar.

Step Two – Whisk the cola and brown sugar together until the sugar has dissolved.

Step Three – Cut the pork roast into 4-5 big chunks and place it in the slow cooker. Then pour over the cola and brown sugar mixture.

Step Four – Cook on HIGH heat for 5 hours or on LOW heat for 7-8 hours until very tender and shreddable. 

4 images showing how to shred cafe rio pork and add brown sugar, green chiles and enchilada sauce.

Step Five – Remove the pork roast and shred pork in a large bowl.

Step Six – Pour out the cooking liquid and return the shredded pork to the slow cooker.

Step Seven – Add in the red enchilada sauce, green chilies, minced garlic and the remaining sugar.

Step Eight – Mix and cook on HIGH heat for 1 hour for the flavors to meld together.

cafe rio pork shredded in a crockpot.

How to serve

  • Who doesn’t LOVE the thick homemade tortillas from Cafe Rio? If you want something similar, try Tortilla Land Tortillas. You brown them in a dry skillet and they taste just like homemade. You can find them at most stores.
  • Cafe Rio sweet pork can be served on a bed of white rice with toppings such as sliced jalapeno, diced tomatoes, and fresh cilantro.
  • The sweet pork also makes a perfect topping for nachos. Don’t forget to add toppings to that as well (chopped onion, lime wedges, chopped lettuce, avocado, black beans, etc.).
  • Cafe Rio pork salad is another popular dish to make with this pork recipe. To make sweet pork salad, simply warm a flour tortilla in a skillet, layer it with cilantro lime rice, black beans, sweet pork, cotija cheese, guacamole, and other toppings like lettuce and pico de gallo. Finish it off with a cilantro lime dressing.
  • Another Mexican food you can make with this cooked pork is a burrito (or enchilada).
plate of shredded cafe rio sweet pork on a bed of rice.

Recipe FAQs

Can I use a diet coke?

Yes. The idea of using cola is to help with tenderizing the meat during the cooking process. Though, the flavor of the meal will be different if you use a diet soda.

How can I make this sweet pork copycat spicy?

Add 3 Tbsp of hot sauce or sriracha when you add in the enchilada sauce for a bit of a kick.

How do I store leftovers?

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. You can also place leftovers in a freezer safe bag and freeze for 2-3 months.

Can I use a pork tenderloin?

Pork loin has very little fat, which means less flavor. Yes, you can use pork loin, but it won’t have a melt-in-your-mouth flavor; it will be more of a low-fat version.

Can I use root beer or Dr. Pepper instead?

Yes! Either rootbeer or Dr. Pepper are great choices to make the best sweet pork recipe.

Can I use green enchilada sauce?

You can change up the recipe entirely with green enchilada sauce! You will still have a good pork recipe for all week!

Want to make more magic in your crockpot? Stay up to date and subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on FacebookInstagramPinterest, Tik Tok, and YouTube.

cafe rio pork shredded in a crockpot.

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 9 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 12
A copycat recipe for Cafe Rios Sweet Pork. Make a salad, burrito or bowl with the delicious sweet pork.

Ingredients  

  • 4.5 lb pork butt roast, (around 4-5 lbs.)
  • 24 oz. Coca Cola, (2 cans)
  • 1 cup brown sugar, divided into ½ cups (can use light brown sugar or dark brown sugar)
  • 10 oz. red enchilada sauce, canned
  • 4 oz. fire-roasted green chiles, canned
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

Instructions 

  • (WAIT TO ADD THE ENCHILADA SAUCE, GREEN CHILES, GARLIC AND HALF OF THE BROWN SUGAR) – PLEASE NOTE THE 9 HOUR TOTAL COOK TIME BEFORE YOU START.
  • Cut the pork roast into 4 or 5 large chunks and place in your slow cooker. In a large bowl, whisk together the coca cola and a ½ cup of the brown sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the cola mixture over the pork.
  • Cook on HIGH heat for 5 hours or on LOW heat for 8 hours until very tender and shreddable. Remove the pork and place in a large bowl. Discard the cola/juices from the slow cooker.
  • Shred the pork and add back into the slow cooker, add in the red enchilada sauce, green chilies, minced garlic and the other ½ cup of brown sugar. Mix and cook on HIGH heat for 1 hour. Serve over white rice and top with chopped tomatoes, jalapenos and cilantro. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Add 3 Tbsp of hot sauce or sriracha when you add in the enchilada sauce for a bit of a kick.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
  • Other toppings ideas are chopped onion, lime wedges, chopped lettuce, avocado, black beans.
  • You can use Dr. Pepper or Root Beer. I don’t recommend diet coke for it will make the flavor off.
  • Green enchilada sauce can be used if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 328kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 360mg | Potassium: 616mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 170IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition info is auto-generated. This information is an estimate; if you are on a special diet, please use your own calculations.

Made this recipe? Leave a comment below!

More slow cooker pork recipes:

Other recipes you may like

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




1 Comment

  1. Joseph says:

    5 stars
    I wonder if coke zero or pepsi zero or dr. pepper zero would yield a better flavor than their ordinary diet counterparts because I’ve tried both coke zero and diet coke and the diet coke seems more watery-tasting than coke zero.