Cafe Rio Sweet Pork is a delicious copycat recipe that can be used in burritos, enchiladas, tacos, sandwiches, or salads. It tastes just like the amazing pork from Cafe Rio Mexican Grill based in Salt Lake City! This recipe is so easy to make and is great for feeding a crowd.
Cafe Rio was one of my favorite restaurants to eat at during college. Unfortunately, I haven’t lived near one since graduating so I had to make a Cafe Rio Sweet Pork copycat recipe to satisfy my cravings. Believe me, after you try this you will crave it a lot too.
This looks a lot like bbq pulled pork but instead of a barbecue sauce, a homemade sauce made up of enchilada sauce, chilies, and sugar is used. It is so dang good!
Cafe Rio Sweet Pulled Pork
What I love about this pork is that it is inexpensive and so easy to make. Usually pork roasts sell for $1.99 a pound but often goes on sale for cheaper.
This is one of my go-to meals for when we get together with friends or extended family because it’s easy and enjoyed by everyone.
HOW TO MAKE CAFE RIO SWEET PORK:
Time needed: 8 hours and 10 minutes.
Season all sides of pork generously with garlic salt.
Lay the roast fat side down in the slow cooker and pour the water and part of the root beer in the bottom. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
- Make the Sauce
In a blender, puree remaining root beer, brown sugar, enchilada sauce, green chilies, and chili powder. (This can be made just before the 6 hours are up or in the beginning and refrigerated.)
Remove the roast onto a cutting board. Discard any large pieces of fat and then shred. Discard the juices in the slow cooker and then add the shredded pork back in along with the sweet sauce and mix together.
- Cook again
Cook on low for another 1.5 hours. Remove the lid, turn the heat up to high and cook for about 30 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened.
- Can I double the recipe?
Yes! You can double the recipe just fine and still fit it in a large 6-quart slow cooker.
Boston butt (pork butt) or pork shoulder are the best for pulled pork recipes. They are often tougher and less expensive than other cuts but they have great marbling and when cooked low and slow they produce tender and flavorful meat.
Yes! Since the bone takes up space and weight, I recommend using a bone-in roast that is 1-2 pounds more than the recipe calls for so that you end up with as much meat.
I have used pork loin and it is also really good though not as tender and moist as pork butt and shoulder.
Diet soda contains aspartame which is not meant to cook. When exposed to prolonged heat it’s altered and loses its sweetness.
TOOLS USED TO MAKE THIS SWEET PULLED PORK:
- Slow Cooker– This is very similar to the one I use but it has the addition of a lockable lid which is awesome for when you are transporting food for a party or pot luck, especially soup.
- Wolf Gourmet Blender– This blender is amazing! It a power house that can blend anything. I love it and use it for everything from smoothies, to soups, to dressings. For a more affordable blender that does a good job, I recommend this KitchenAid Blender.
- Shredder Claws– These make shredding meat so easy!
LOOKING FOR MORE MEXICAN DISHES? CHECK OUT THESE:
Cafe Rio Sweet Pork
- 3-4 pounds boneless pork roast (shoulder or butt)
- garlic salt
- 1 can Root beer, Coke, Pepsi, or Dr. Pepper, (NOT diet)
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 10 ounces red enchilada sauce
- 4 ounces green chilies
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- Shake garlic salt all over the pork and lay fat side down in crock-pot. Pour 1/4 cup Root Beer and 1/4 cup water in the bottom of the pot. Cover with lid and cook on low for 6 hours.
- Make the sauce by combining remaining Root Beer, brown sugar, enchilada sauce, green chilies, and chili powder in a blender. Puree until smooth. Place in fridge until ready to use.
- When meat is tender and shreds easily, remove and shred on a cutting board. Discard the fat and remaining juices in the pot.
- Place shredded pork back in the crock pot (no need to wash) along with the sauce. Stir together and cook on low for 1.5 hours. Remove the lid and cook on high for 30 minutes so the sauce can thicken.