Cafe Rio Sweet Pork {copycat}

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Cafe Rio Sweet Pork {copycat} – 3 simple steps to Cafe Rio Sweet Pork at home! Set it and forget it with just 15 minutes prep!

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork {copycat}

I still remember my first Cafe Rio experience.  When I was in high school, nearest Cafe Rio location was about 30 minutes away from our town. I hadn’t ever experienced it, or even heard of it for that matter, until I was out and about with a friend and her mother one day. We were starving (aka: I was starving. In high school, I was always starving.) and we stopped at a Cafe Rio. My friend and her mother had been there many times, but I was a newbie.

I had no idea what to get so I went with my gut and ordered a pretty typical favorite for me. A burrito. I’d like to think I could consider myself a burrito connoisseur and this burrito knocked it out of the park. So big. So beautifully smothered. So wonderfully stuffed with fire grilled steak, pinto beans, and cilantro lime rice goodness.


Cafe Rio Sweet Pork {copycat}

It was actually a couple of years before I ever ventured out to try the oh-so-famous sweet pork. I’m gonna be honest with you, I didn’t love it. Stop looking at me like that, this story has a happy ending. See, I married a man who adores Cafe Rio’s sweet pork. You know the sign they put up on their wall that says “I sold my soul for a pork salad”. Pretty sure it was my husband who said that. He’s practically famous. But since he has the sweet pork every. single. time. we go there, I eventually had to try it. Once, twice…..five times. Okay, it’s pretty good. I guess I kind of love it.

Told you there was a happy ending.

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork {copycat}

The epilogue? I had to learn to make this stuff at home. Que all-time-awesome-wife award. (wink.) Only problem? Now that I can make it at home, my husband wants this allllllll the time! Good thing it’s so dang easy!! I have an infatuation with set-it-and-forget-it recipes and this one gets slipped right to the top of my list since it’s a copycat of our favorite Cafe Rio Sweet Pork! What’s not to love here? No really. What??

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork {copycat}

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork {copycat}

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork {copycat}

3 simple steps to Cafe Rio Sweet Pork at home!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
0 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


Step 1

  • 2 pounds pork (rib meat or loin)
  • 3/4 cup coke
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Step 2

  • 1 cup coke
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder

Step 3

  • 3/4 cup coke
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 4-ounce can diced green chiles
  • 10 ounces mild red enchilada sauce


  • Step 1: Place pork in a zip lock bag. Add coke and brown sugar and seal bag. Chill at least 1 hour or overnight.
  • Step 2: Add pork to slow cooker and discard marinade. Add coke, water, garlic salt, onion salt, and chili powder. Cover and cook on high 3 hours. Drain the slow cooker and shred pork with two forks.
  • Step 3: Blend coke, brown sugar, chili powder, green chills, and enchilada sauce together in blender. Pour sauce into slow cooker. Cook 30 minutes longer. Serve with rice if desired.


This pork goes well in burritos, tacos, on salads, enchiladas, and more!Ā 


Calories: 889kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 163mg | Sodium: 1205mg | Potassium: 732mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 71g | Vitamin A: 563IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 3mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Tag @cremedelacrumb1 on Instagram and hashtag it #cremedelacrumb!

Recipe adapted from Favorite Family Recipes.

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Recipe Rating


How much does the Copycat cafe rio pork barbacoa make – how many will it serve?

    It easily serves 4-6 people šŸ™‚

    We love this recipe. How would you adapt it to an instant pot?

5 stars
I made this tonight and its pretty spot on tO Cafe Rio. My wife said its even better! I only maRinated it for two hours, given more time the Meat may have been a touch sweeter, it waS very Good! We used lime cilantro rice, BlacK beans, four cheese mexican bleNd and a table spoon of ENCHILADA sauce before rolling the up. Once we had all if them ready, topped with green ENCHILADA sauce and more cheese and under the broiler they went.
They had a nice light golden color and served them up with Pico and sour cream. Great recipe!

    I was drooling reading your description!! So. Dang. Good. Glad to hear you and your wife enjoyed this recipe so much, Rick!

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