Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

cafe rio sweet pork

One of the most popular requests from my blog survey was more quick and easy dinner ideas.  So I am making a commitment to you – right here and now!  I will post at least one new quick and easy dinner idea each week.  Promise. Or rather I will really, really try hard.

Today’s quick and easy dinner idea is a bit of a cheat as it is a recipe I shared back in November of 2007, just a few months after I started my blog.  Since this recipe is buried deep in the archives of the blog and the fact that it has no photos qualified it for a recipe redo.  Also, the fact that is delicious and one of my favorite dinners is another  reason!

Cafe Rio is a Utah based restaurant which has now spread into California and Arizona (you lucky people, you!) but sadly has not come to Oregon yet.  So each time I visit Utah, which is quite often as the result of all four of my children currently residing in the state, a visit to Cafe Rio is required at least once.

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

One of my favorite dishes to get there is their sweet pork.  I love it in a burrito or in a salad.

We had friends for dinner this week and I needed something that was easy and delicious and could be done ahead of time or in the crock pot.  Cafe Rio Sweet Pork qualifies on all four counts! It was so fun to share their first “Cafe Rio experience” with them.  They loved it!!

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

I purchased pork carnitas from the store but you could use pork roast or shoulder.  Just get the least expensive cut of pork you can find.

There are lots of different sweet pork recipes out there in the blogosphere and I have experimented with a lot of them.  In fact the original sweet pork recipe I posted back in 2007 is different than the one I am posting today.  I have found a new favorite.

I marinaded the pork for a couple of hours in a can of coke (can use caffeine free if you’d like but don’t use diet!) along with some brown sugar.  After it marinades pour all of it into the crock pot and let it cook away for hours.

About an hour before serving pull it out of the crockpot and shred it.  Put the meat back into the crock pot (discard the liquid) and add in enchilada sauce,

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

Allow it to cook in the crockpot for another 30 -60 minutes.  If there is too much sauce drain some off.  You don’t want it too soupy.  I like to serve it along with lime cilantro rice and black beans (recipe coming soon.)  Top it with a little Monterey Jack or cotija cheese and wrap it up in a tortilla for a delicious quick and easy meal.

It is also great in a taco or a quesadilla.  I’ll be back on Monday to show you my most favorite way of eating it!

One of my favorite ways to use the sweet pork is in a Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Salad.

Check out my favorite crock pot here.

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork
  • 2-3 lbs. boneless pork (carnitas, shoulder etc)
  • 1 12 ox. can Coke
  • ¼ c brown sugar
  • 1 10 oz. can enchilada sauce
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 small can diced greenchileis
  • ¾ C brown sugar
  1. Marinade pork for at least 2 hours or overnight in can of coke and ¼ C brown sugar.
  2. Pour pork and liquid into crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
  3. Remove meat and shred. Discard liquid
  4. Put meat back in crock pot and add enchilada sauce, garlic, green chilies and brown sugar.
  5. Cook for 30-60 more minutes. If there is excess liquid drain some off.

Adapted from Real Mom Kitchen

slow cooker cafe rio sweet pork

Leigh Anne
Hi – I’m Leigh Anne! I have been a homebased mom for 30 years since my first baby boy was born! I love working with women and helping to inspire them to achieve their goals and dreams while still maintaining motherhood and family as their number one priority. I blog about everything I enjoy – creating treats and meals in my kitchen, spending time in my garden, entertaining and party planning, reading, self improvement and tips and ideas on style and fashion.
Leigh Anne
Leigh Anne

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  1. Jennifer says

    We have one in Denver now too…the lines are so long you have to show up an hour before you want to eat! Thanks for the recipe! It’s one of my favorite dishes!

  2. Erin says

    When my friends drive from Portland, they stop in Boise and sometimes Twin Falls just to get their fix because its such a long drive to Utah! Its amazing how addicting it can be!! I’l have to try your new updated version. That’s how I found your blog in the first place years ago….!!!!

  3. Susan says

    Your “old” recipe was a definitely a crowd favorite and used on many occassions. I cannot wait to try the new and improved. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Terry says

    Does it have to be Coke or could it be Pepsi? Pepsi is sweeter than Coke and the preferred drink in our home. But, if it has to be Coke, I can get a can of Coke!

  5. says

    Thank you!! We moved from Utah to AZ, but the nearest Cafe Rio to us is 40 minutes away! It makes me so sad :( We try to go there whenever we can, but it’s such a long drive

  6. Karen says

    This is amazing!!! Made it tonight for dinner and the hubby said it is Food Network quality! We loved it, including our little kiddos, thanks for posting this, it’ll be a regular around our table for sure!

    • says

      You can but it is shame to waste a more expensive cut of meat on this. Because it cooks so long and gets so tender I always use a less expensive cut of meat but tenderloin would work. It may not have to cook quite as long.

  7. Katie says

    Has anyone tried making it without the marinating part, just found the recipe wanted to throw it in at lunch while I’m home for dinner

  8. Anna says

    How many people does this recipe serve? We want to make this for a big family get together and need to know how many recipes of this we need to make for about 30 people.

  9. kansascook says

    What does a can of cola do in the marinating? Better half is leery of using soda pop and brown sugar together. Is there a replacement item?

    • says

      you could just use water I guess but I have never left it out or substituted something for it. The sugar in the soda does add to the flavor and the acid in the soda helps tenderize the meat. Can’t vouch for the recipe without the soda.

  10. Jeanne says

    I like to make the main dish for my bunco party ahead of time, freeze it, and warm it up on the day of the party. Is the Cafe Rio Pork a good one to freeze? What about the Slow cooker Greek Chicken? How does that one freeze? Thanks.


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