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Cafe Rio {Copycat} Sweet Pulled Pork

Perfectly sweet and tender, pulled pork is the absolute best when it comes to meat for your meal! This tried and true recipe is definitely one for the books!

This pork is SOO GOOD and a recipe that you will use again and again! If you loved this pork, then try these Tacos, this Tenderloin, or this delicious Sweet and Sour Pork!

Sweet pulled pork made into a salad.

Sweet Pulled Pork

Cafe Rio is a restaurant in Utah that makes the best sweet pulled pork! It’s so good that I wanted to be able to make it whenever I wanted because I absolutely love sweet pulled pork! It is so tender and juicy that it literally falls off of my fork when I go to eat it. It is the absolute perfect meat to add to a salad because it’s thin and saucy!

This sweet pulled pork only takes a few minutes to put together. You marinate the meat overnight. Then, you cook it all day in the slow cooker and so when you go to take it out, it’s perfectly done. So not only does this taste divine but it’s a set it and forget it kind of meal! When it’s finished, I love making it into a salad with some rice, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, tortilla strips, and this amazing cilantro ranch dressing. It tastes exactly like the salad from Cafe Rio! This is definitely a recipe that you and your family will love!!

Ingredients for Sweet Pulled Pork

This recipe is not only simple but it only takes a few ingredients to make! See the recipe card below for a list of exact ingredient measurements.

  • Pork shoulder roast: Getting the right cut of meat is important to making this work. If you can’t find this in your grocery store then ask your butcher to help you!
  • Coca Cola: This is what will soak into your meat overnight making it so tender and juicy!
  • Brown sugar: The brown sugar adds the absolute perfect sweet taste to the pork.
  • Garlic salt: Needing to add just a bit of savory, this garlic salt does the trick!
  • Green chilis: These green chilis add in a little bit of spice without the heat.
  • Red enchilada sauce: This helps to add flavor and to thicken up the sauce.

Let’s Make Some Pork!

This sweet pulled pork only takes a few minutes to put together and will be totally worth the wait in the end! Go ahead and try it, you will be so glad that you did!

  1. Marinate: Add the pork to a gallon sized ziplock bag and add ¼ cup brown sugar and 1 cup Coca Cola. Let marinate for 3 hours or overnight.
  2. Rub with spices and cook: Drain the marinade and add the pork to a 5 quart slow cooker. Rub with garlic salt and pour 1 cup of coke and cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 5-6.
  3. Shred the pork: Carefully remove the pork from the slow cooker and discard the liquid. Shred the pork and return it to the slow cooker.
  4. Make the sauce: In a blender or food processor add can of diced green chilis, enchilada sauce, and 1 cup brown sugar. (can use less if needed.)
  5. Add sauce to meat and serve: Add the sauce to the pork and stir. Then, let it cook for an additional hour and serve.
4 pictures showing how to marinate pork and how to make the sauce.

Quick Tips

This sweet pulled pork is so amazing! I have come up with a few tips to making this meat turn out just right!

  • Marinate: I know that it’s tempting but DON’T skip the step to marinate this pork. If you can do it overnight, then that will turn out the best. This step is when the meat really soaks in all of those delicious flavors. It’s what makes it so tender and juicy!
  • Don’t use diet: When you are putting in your Coke, don’t use diet! Make sure that it’s regular and not sugar free. You could also use regular Dr Pepper or Root Beeer if you don’t have any Coke!
  • What to make with it: You can make this into a salad, toast up some buns and make some pulled pork sandwiches or even eat it with some potatoes and rolls. The options are endless, this sweet pulled pork is so delicious!
Sweet pulled pork being cooked in a slow cooker.

How to Store Leftovers

This is a recipe that can be made ahead and frozen for later! Or, you could store your leftovers and eat them for lunch or dinner throughout the week!

  • Refrigerate: Once your pork has cooled then you can store it in an airtight container. Put it in your fridge and it will last 3-4 days!
  • Freeze: Let your pork cool. Once it has, wrap it up in aluminum foil and place it in an airtight container or a ziplock bag. Label the container with the date. Put it in your freezer and it will last for up to 6 months!
  • Reheat: To reheat leftovers from the fridge then you can just use the microwave. Reheat it for 1-2 minutes until it’s warm. If you are reheating it from frozen then you can use a slow cooker! Put it in your slow cooker on low for 3-4 hours. It may take longer depending on how much meat was frozen. It’s done and safe to eat when it reaches 165 degrees farenheit!
A close up of shredded pork on a salad with toppings.
Print

Cafe Rio {Copycat} Sweet Pulled Pork

Perfectly sweet and tender, pulled pork is the absolute best when it comes to meat for your meal! This tried and true recipe is definitely one for the books! 
Course Dinner, main dish
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword pulled pork, sweet pulled pork
Prep Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours
Total Time 10 hours 15 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 470kcal
Author Alyssa Rivers

Ingredients

  • 3-4 pounds pork shoulder roast
  • 6 cups Coca Cola not diet, divided
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar divided
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 can diced green chilis
  • 1 (10 ounce) can red enchilada sauce

Instructions

  • Add the pork to a gallon-sized ziplock bag and add ¼ cup brown sugar and 1 cup Coca-Cola. Let marinate for 3 hours or overnight.
  • Drain the marinade and add the pork to a 5-quart slow cooker. Rub with garlic salt and pour 1 cup of coke and cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 5-6.
  • Carefully remove the pork from the slow cooker and discard the liquid. Shred the pork and return it to the slow cooker.
  • In a blender or food processor add a can of diced green chilis, enchilada sauce, and 1 cup brown sugar. (can use less if needed.)
  • Add the sauce to the pork and stir. Let cook for an additional hour and serve.

Notes

Updated on November 1, 2021
Originally Posted on August 1, 2012

Nutrition

Calories: 470kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 591mg | Potassium: 559mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 66g | Vitamin A: 33IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 3mg


from The Recipe Critic