Pork shoulder, slow-cooked and shredded to perfection in a delicious slightly sweet marinade – there’s nothing quite like Cafe Rio Sweet Pork. In a burrito with a homemade flour tortilla, a salad, or on a tostada, you just can’t go wrong with this delicious pork. Top it with some Cafe Rio Cilantro Ranch dressing and mmm, mmm, mmm. So, so good!
Cafe Rio has been one of my very favorite places to eat out since it opened about 20 years ago. You walk up to the counter and tell them how to build your burrito, salad, tostada, quesadilla or tacos. (They also have an amazing chicken enchilada soup.)
Living so far away from a Cafe Rio is a bummer, but thankfully there are copycat recipes like this, that are just as delicious as the original.
Most sweet pork copycat recipes have coke or root beer in them. Last time I made it I didn’t have coke or root beer on hand, so I decided to try sprite with a tablespoon of molasses. It worked great. Honestly, I think it tastes more authentic than when I use coke or root beer. Give it a try. Tell me what you think!
Amazing Copycat Recipes
- Copycat Diner Style Pancakes
- Copycat Macaroni Grill Rosemary Bread
- Copycat Magnolia Blueberry Dessert
- Olive Garden Pasta Fagioli Soup
- Cafe Rio Cilantro Ranch Dressing
- Peppermint White Chocolate Pretzel Crisps
How to Make Cafe Rio Sweet Pork
Tips for Making Cafe Rio Sweet Pork
- Use pork shoulder, pork loin, or a combination of the two.
- Rub the seasoning mix all over the pork before adding the liquid ingredients to the slow cooker.
- Let the meat cook for the full 8 hours on low. If you don’t have that much time, put the meat on high or 2-3 hours and then turn to low for 3 hours or until the meat is fork-tender and shreds easily.
- Once it is finished cooking, remove the meat from the sauce and shred it. Make sure to remove any large fatty pieces and return the shredded meat to the sauce.
- Use the Cafe Rio Sweet Pork to build burritos, salads, tostadas, or quesadillas.
- Serve with cilantro rice, black beans, romaine lettuce, pico de gallo, homemade salsa, and my Cafe Rio Cilantro Dressing recipe.
- The meat will stay good in the fridge for 4-5 days and can be frozen in a Ziploc bag or airtight container for up to 6 months.
- 3-5 lbs boneless pork shoulder or pork loin
- 1 TBSP ground cumin
- 1 TBSP onion powder
- 1 TBSP garlic powder
- 1 TBSP chili powder
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 12 oz can Sprite
- 1 TBSP molasses, optional
- ½ cup +2 TBSP brown sugar
- 1 10 oz can red enchilada sauce
- 1 8 oz can Herdez Salsa Verde
- 1 4 oz can diced green chilis
- Place the pork roast in the slow cooker.
- In a small bowl, combine the cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Pour half of the seasoning mixture over the roast and rub it into the meat. Turn the roast over and use the other half of the seasoning mixture to do the same on the other side.
- In a medium bowl, mix sprite, molasses, brown sugar, red enchilada sauce, salsa verde, and diced green chilis.
- Pour around the edges of the roast, not directly on top, to try and preserve the seasoning on the roast.
- Cook on low for 8 hours* or high for 5-6. Roast is done when meat shreds easily with a fork.
- Remove roast and shred pork on a plate or cutting board. When shredded, return to the juices in the slow cooker (this will add so much flavor).
- Serve in burritos, salads, tacos, tostadas or anything you choose.
- *See tips for more info on cooking time.
- Leftovers can be refrigerated for 4-5 days or frozen in an airtight container for up to six months.