This Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Recipe tastes just like the sweet pork they serve at Cafe Rio! Yes, you read that right. It’s so delicious AND it’s really easy to make.

After moving to Texas and realizing my favorite Mexican American restaurant was nowhere in site, I knew I needed to have Cafe Rio recipes in my recipe box. That’s when I discovered this recipe. You guys, it’s a real winner!

A slow cooker full of shredded Cafe Rio sweet pork.

Serve this sweet pork with cilantro lime dressing, Cafe Rio black beans, and cilantro lime rice and you’ll be set!

You, and those eating this delicious food will never know this was homemade.

How to make Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

First, season the meat.

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Seasoning

You’ll need 1 tablespoon of each:

  • Cumin
  • Paprika – can use smoked or regular, or a combination of both.
  • onion powder
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper

Combine all of the dry seasonings in a bowl and stir to combine. Next, reserve 2 tablespoons of the dry seasoning, set this aside so that it doesn’t get mixed up with all the other things you’ll have going on in your kitchen. 🙂

A glass bowl full of dry seasonings.

Take the seasoning and rub it on all sides of the pork shoulder roast. Remember, don’t use the 2 tablespoons of reserved seasoning, that will be for later use.

Four chunks of pork on a cutting board with seasoning rubbed on the meat.

Prep the Slow Cooker

To the insert of a slow cooker add Coca Cola soda and salsa verde (green salsa).

Next, add the seasoned pork to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.

The cooking may take more or less time, depending on the size of your meat chunks.

A slow cooker with pork shoulder pieces, green salsa, and Coca Cola, for making Cafe Rio sweet pork.

Shred the pork

Once the meat is done cooking, transfer it to a baking pan and shred it. Discard any fat.

Pro tip: you don’t have to use a baking pan, but I find it so much easier than shredding meat on a cutting board. The baking pan catches the juices and keeps everything from spilling over.

A close up photo of shredded pork.

Discard all but 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid in the slow cooker.

Add the shredded pork back into the slow cooker along with the 2 tablespoons of reserved seasoning, the 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, brown sugar, red enchilada sauce, green chiles, and green salsa. Stir together.

Cover and cook until heated through, about 20-30 minutes on high. Serve warm.

A slow cooker full of shredded Cafe Rio sweet pork.

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A slow cooker full of shredded Cafe Rio sweet pork.
Print Review
5 from 2 votes

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Recipe

Homemade Cafe Rio sweet pork is made in the slow cooker so that all of the seasonings and ingredients can meld together for full optimum flavor! This recipe is easy AND tastes just like Cafe Rio's sweet pork!
Prep Time: 35 mins
Cook Time: 5 hrs
Total Time: 5 hrs 35 mins
Servings: 14 servings

Ingredients
 

Seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika - can used smoked or regular paprika, or a mixture of both.
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Pork

  • 3-4 lb boneless pork shoulder roast
  • 1 cup coca cola soda
  • 1 cup green salsa

Sauce

  • 2 cups red enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar - packed
  • 7 oz can diced green chiles - can puree the green chiles so they're smooth if you'd like
  • 1 cup green salsa

Equipment

Instructions
 

Seasoning

  • In a small bowl stir all of the seasoning spices together. Measure out 2 T of the seasoning and set aside for later use (we’ll use it after the pork is done cooking). 

Pork

  • Cut the pork into large chunks (about 6 inches) and rub the seasoning over all sides of the meat. (DO NOT use the 2 T of seasoning you reserved for later).
  • To the bottom of a slow cooker, add the cola and green salsa. Stir to combine. Add the seasoned meat to the slow cooker, cover, and cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. (May take less time or longer depending on how big or small your meat chunks were). 
  • When the pork is finished cooking, transfer the meat to a large cutting board or casserole dish and shred the meat. Discard any fat.
  • Discard all but ½ cup of the cooking liquid in the slow cooker.

Sauce

  • Add the shredded pork back into the slow cooker along with the 2 T of reserved seasoning, red enchilada sauce, brown sugar, green chiles and green salsa. Stir together. Cover and cook until heated through, about 20-30 minutes on high. Serve warm!

Notes

Notes:
  • If you'd rather not have the chunky diced green chiles, you can blend them prior to adding to the slow cooker. 
  • If you don't have a 7 oz can of diced green chiles you can use a small 4 oz can. You won't notice a difference!
  • After the meat is shredded and the sauce has been added to the slow cooker, I'll taste the meat + sauce and sometimes I'll add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar for a slightly sweeter pork. 
Recipe source: adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Nutrition

Calories: 164kcal (8%)Carbohydrates: 16g (5%)Protein: 13g (26%)Fat: 5g (8%)Saturated Fat: 2g (10%)Cholesterol: 40mg (13%)Sodium: 977mg (41%)Potassium: 336mg (10%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 14g (16%)Vitamin A: 869IU (17%)Vitamin C: 7mg (8%)Calcium: 29mg (3%)Iron: 2mg (11%)
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
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