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Laura’s Version of Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

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Our family is in love with Cafe Rio’s sweet pork. It doesn’t matter what it’s in, we will eat it. To save money and satisfy our addiction, I’ve been searching for a recipe that tastes the same. Laura’s Version of Cafe Rio Sweet Pork is what I came up with.

I don’t think I’ll ever get it exactly the same. However, I thought I’d be doing well if I could get close. So I tried several recipes, and nothing was even close.

Cafe Rio Pork | realmomkitchen.com

Finally, I found a good recipe from a fellow PYPer on pinchingyourpennies.com. I altered the recipe slightly and came up with this winner. I then created my version of the Cafe Rio sweet pork recipe.

We usually serve it on tacos, but beware—it is messy. If you are going for tacos, you better use a fork. Burritos would be great for this, too. We’ve even put it on nachos or in a quesadilla.


Start by placing the pork roast in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Add the Coke and allow it to marinate overnight.

Place the roast and marinade in a slow cooker. Cook on low for about 8 hours until extremely tender. Drain off any liquid after cooking.

Shred the pork and place it back in the crock pot. Mix in the enchilada sauce, garlic, green chilies, and brown sugar.

Cook for 30 minutes to one more hour. This Cafe Rio pork recipe offers versatility. You can serve it in tacos, burritos, salads, quesadillas, or over rice. It pairs well with toppings like lettuce, cheese, guacamole, and salsa.

Cafe Rio Pork served in a taco

What cut of pork should I use for this recipe?
For this recipe, I recommend using pork shoulder or pork butt because they are well-marbled and become tender and flavorful when slow-cooked.

Can I use a different soda instead of Coca-Cola?
While Coca-Cola is preferred for its caramelized flavor, you can use other colas or even Dr. Pepper. However, the taste may slightly differ.

How long should I marinate the pork?
For best results, marinate the pork overnight or for at least 8 hours to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat fully.

Can I cook this in an Instant Pot instead of a slow cooker?
Yes, you can cook the pork in an Instant Pot. Use the pressure cook setting on high for about 60-80 minutes, depending on the size of the pork, and allow for natural release.

How do I shred the pork once I cook it?
After cooking, use two forks to pull the pork apart into shreds. The meat should be tender enough to shred easily.

Cafe Rio Pork | realmomkitchen.com

Laura’s Version of Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

Real Mom Kitchen

This deliciously tender and flavorful dish is made with slow-cooked pork roast marinated in a sweet and tangy sauce. Perfect for tacos, burritos, or salads, this recipe brings the taste of Cafe Rio right to your kitchen.
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Marinate Time 8 hours
Total Time 16 hours 10 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 servings
Calories 288 kcal


  • 2-3 lb pork roast
  • 1 can of Coke not diet
  • 1 (10 oz) can red enchilada sauce
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies
  • 1 cup brown sugar


  • Place pork roast in a gallon sized Ziploc bag. Add in the Coke and allow to marinate over night.
  • Place the roast along with the marinade and cook until very tender (about 8 hours on low). Drain off any liquid after cooking.
  • Mix shredded pork with enchilada sauce, garlic, green chilies, and brown sugar. Cook in slow cooker for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Serve in a taco, burrito, salad, or quesadilla. Serves 6-8


Since making this, I have discovered a way that I like to make this even more. In place of the the enchilada sauce I use a packet of enchilada sauce, 1 (8 oz) can of tomato sauce. Then I add in a little Coke(start with 1/4 cup) to add moisture to the mixture.
This is excellent made ahead of time and kept in the freezer for a quick dinner.


Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 288kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 429mg | Potassium: 481mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 254IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword Cafe Rio copycat, copycat recipe, sweet pork
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  1. So, when you say you put in a little coke, you don’t use the whole can as specified in the original recipe then? What is considered a little? 1/4 c, 1/8 c.?

  2. This is soooo good! I made it for a party and it was a huge hit! People are still asking for it!

  3. Did you use red or green enchilada sauce and what size. The sauce that is available at our store comes in a really large and regular size can.

  4. in the ingredients you said "1 can diced green" but I think you're missing the last word or two. Diced green peppers?

  5. I always just buy whatever is on sale. You can even use boneless ribs or chops too. You can do a roast with or without the bone. I prefer without the bone. That way you don't miss of piece of bone by accident.