Monday, September 19, 2011

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

A couple of days ago I posted a copycat recipe for “Cafe Rio” CHICKEN.  I’ve had several requests for the “Cafe Rio” PORK recipe too….so I thought I would oblige.
THIS recipe I have made a LOT! My husband and I like the pork in a salad…my boys like it in burrito form, either way it’s DELICIOUS!
I’ve also included the recipes for the Cilantro-Lime Rice and the Tomatillo Ranch Dressing that are a wonderful compliment to the pork.  I didn’t include a recipe for the Cafe Rio Black Beans (I personally use canned black beans) but there are lots of recipes out there for that as well. Just ask my friend Google.

Sweet Pork Barbacoa
2 pounds pork (I like to use the pork butt – my butcher concurs)
2 cans Coke (NOT diet)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 c. water
1 can diced green chiles
3/4 can enchilada sauce (I used Old El Paso)
1 c. brown sugar

Put the pork in a reclosable bag to marinate, pour in one of the cans of Coke and 1/2 c. brown sugar. Marinade for a few hours or overnight. (I’ve done both…they both work.)

Drain marinade and put pork, 1/2 can of Coke, water, and garlic salt in crock pot on high for about 3-4 hours. Remove pork from crock pot, drain off liquid, shred pork. (I use two forks because I’m too impatient to wait until it’s cool.)

Mix together (in a bowl or in the blender) other 1/2 can of Coke, can of chiles, enchilada sauce and brown sugar.

Put shredded pork back in the crock pot, cover with sauce, heat just until warmed through.

Cilantro Lime Rice

1 cup. uncooked rice
1 T oil
1 tsp minced garlic (I use the jarred kind)
1 tsp fresh squeezed lime juice
2 cups water (or chicken broth – leave out bouillon)
2 tsp chicken bouillon granules (or 2 bouillon cubes)
1 T fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tsp sugar
3 T fresh chopped cilantro

In a saucepan combine rice, butter, garlic, 1 tsp. lime, chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low 15 minutes, until rice is tender. Remove from heat. In a bowl combine lime juice, sugar and chopped cilantro. Pour over hot cooked rice and mix in as you fluff the rice.

Creamy Tomatillo Dressing

1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing mix
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. milk
2-3 tomatillos, remove husk, cut in 1/2
1 bunch of fresh cilantro (cut off most of stems)
1 generous tsp of minced garlic
juice of 1 lime (I use two!)
1 jalapeno (I’m a wimp so I remove the seeds, leave them in if you like it SPICY!)

Throw it all in the blender and BLEND!  Refrigerate.

And there ya go.  Fair amount of work involved here…..but soooooooooooooooooo worth it when you taste it!  (Of course you can just run to your closest Cafe Rio if you’re impatient…and lucky enough to have one close by!!)


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34 thoughts on “Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

  1. Pingback: ALL Your Favorite Cafe Rio Recipes IN ONE PLACE! | My Blog

  2. Jadie

    I found your blog yesterday and I have done nothing but read it for two days! I love all of these ideas, and I love home made anything :). Just a tip, I have used a very similar recipe for pulled pork, try substituting Coke for Dr. Pepper next time! It makes it perfect.

  3. Pingback: Cafe Rio Sweet Pork |

  4. Pingback: ALL Your Favorite Cafe Rio Recipes IN ONE PLACE!

  5. Jen

    How many would you say the 2 lbs pork and your rice recipe will serve? Also, does it freeze well? I’m thinking this would be a great dinner for an upcoming family reunion. I have 10 adults and 14 kids to feed (three of which probably eat more like adults since they’re teen/preteen boys).

    1. Catherine's not naturally crafty

      Jen – the pork freezes beautifully! We make a version of it using B-B-Q sauce and, of course, even cut down 1 butt is too big for our family of 3. So unless I’m feeding the whole clan; we eat, I save some out for the Hub’s lunch the next day and the rest goes in the freezer for later consumption. I don’t even marinate, just plonk the thing in the cooker, dump on the sauce and let ‘er rip. I do trim the butt really well and drain the sauce off for de-greasing. Jillee – the Tomatillo Dressing would make a Killer coleslaw to serve on the Pork. sorta a Cuban/North Carolina fusion thing. Numnumnumnum.

      1. PippaP

        Do y’all freeze the rice, too? If so, how? I ususally just freeze mine in ziptop bags and it sometimes gets freezer burned.

        Jillee, I absolutely love your site!! I check it everyday to see what you’ve developed. I appreciate that you test everything ahead of time for us! Keep it up!! Your loyal fans depend on you!

  6. Kelly

    For the Cafe Rio Pork I have a recipe that is a two to three pound pork roast, 1 to 1 of brown sugar and Pace salsa, so 1 c. to 1 c. of each, put it in a crockpot for 4 hours on high and then shred the pork and put it back in the crockpot to let it warm back up. Super easy and really good. I get lots of compliments on it.

  7. Pingback: Cafe Rio Sweet Pork | chef in training

  8. Amanda

    WOW! I’ve never left a comment for a food but I just made these tonight and am eating a burrito right now and it is seriously exactly the same! We did a little spicier enchilada sauce so it has a bite to it but it is so delicious! Thank you for the recipe!

  9. Jennifer E.

    I made this today and it was delicious! However, I have about 90% of the dressing left. Any suggestions on what to do with it? We put it on the pork, but I wonder if there is some other use for it at Cafe Rio (we don’t have it here in Cincinnati). Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. Dee Ann

      yeah.. i guess i’m still unclear on the directions… i know you said drain it before it goes in the crock pot but after it’s done cooking do you dump out the liquid from the crock pot before you add in the rest of the ingredients?

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  11. Jennifer Peffer

    Wow! This was spot on! My kids devoured it like they hadn’t eaten in a week. We love the Costa Vida sweet pork enchiladas and now I can make them at home. Thanks!

  12. Angelique & Tiara

    My daughter Tiara had us make this tonight it’s yummy! A few of us get sick on pork, so we tried one crock-pot with CHICKEN/Dr. Pepper, one crock-pot with CHICKEN/Root Beer, & one crock-pot with SHRIMP/Dr.Pepper for Dad, our semi vegetarian in the family. Three of us are awake(4 sleeping) & all 3 of us preferred the Dr.Pepper over Root Beer. We have used COKE for Roasts & other meats & we like it, so we wanted to try different sodas. Anyway, for those of you who don’t like PORK, & prefer CHICKEN. It turns out just fine. Thanks for the recipe ;)

    *We love it, but we could’ve easily used less brown sugar or more enchilada sauce at the end. A bit too sweet just for us anyway but still DELICIOUS!

  13. Pingback: Cafe Rio Sweet Pork « Penny's Food Blog

  14. Kate

    Just made this today. Super yummy! And I can do a thousand things with it..put it on top of a baked potato, serve with rice, wrap it, put it on a sandwich…thanks!!!

  15. Erin

    I live in Indiana(no cafe rio :-() and when i visit family out west myvfirst stop from the airport is cafe rio for a pork salad!
    I am sooooo excited that i dont have to wait a year or two between them now!!!

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  19. Pingback: Crock-tober: Slow Cooker Cafe Rio Pulled Pork | Gaining Mommymentum

  20. Brenna

    I LOVE Cafe Rio pork salads! But it’s too big a hassle to haul my 3 kids in to get one. I tried this recipe for the first time today and it really does taste just like Cafe Rio!

    One tip for the salad dressing: I’ve been making it for years and it always turns out runnier than what I get at Cafe Rio. So I have learned to keep it in a gravy separator for a few days in the fridge. All the extra liquid will accumulate at the bottom and you can drain it.


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