/ / / / / Cafe Rio Style Sweet Pork

Cafe Rio Style Sweet Pork

All you need are 7 simple ingredients and either a slow cooker or a pressure cooker to make a restaurant style barbacoa sweet pork that is incredibly tender and juicy! Use the meat in tacos, burritos, nachos, or a salad for a family favorite dinner recipe that everyone will ask you to make over and over again.

sweet pork in a tortilla on a plate with small bowls with sides around it

We’ve been making this pork for years and years. It’s one of my favorites to make when we are having a big gathering because everyone is always so excited about it.

Sometimes we serve it up taco bar style and other times it’s a make your own salad kind of gathering. We like to serve it with black or pinto beans, Mexican rice or cilantro lime rice, salsa or pico de gallo, and of course our favorite homemade horchata.

For some other ideas on how to serve this, see the tips and tricks section below.

ingredients on a black cutting board in front of a slow cooker

Ingredients

  • pork shoulder roast
  • Coca-Cola just the classic version not the diet
  •  sugar
  • El Yucateco Red Habanero Hot Sauce
  • ground mustard
  • cumin
  • garlic

Possible substitutions:

The El Yucateco hot sauce has some big kick on it’s own but the sweet Coca-Cola really balances it out well.

You could swap the hot sauce for adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers and 1 or 2 of the chipotle peppers.

collage of the pork shoulder before and after being cooked

How to make this in the slow cooker:

  • In a slow cooker mix together Coca-Cola, sugar, El Yucateco Hot Sauce, ground mustard, cumin, and garlic.
  • Add pork roast and press down to submerge. Cook pork on low for 6-7 hours. Shred meat with 2 forks. Allow to cook for at least another 30 minutes. Keep warm until ready to serve.

How to make this in the pressure cooker:

  • In the pot of the pressure cooker mix together Coca-Cola, sugar, El Yucateco Hot Sauce, ground mustard, cumin, and garlic.
  • Cut pork roast into roughly 2 inch cubes. Add the pork to the Coca-Cola mixture. Place the lid on the pressure cooker, turn the valve to sealing, and set the pressure cooker to manual high pressure cooking for 35 minutes.
  • Once cooking time has finished, turn the valve to release the pressure and wait until the pin drops. Shred meat with 2 forks. Replace the lid, set the seal to sealing, and cook for an additional 5 minutes on high pressure.
  • Once cooking time has finished, turn the valve to release the pressure and wait until the pin drops. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Tips and tricks

Pork shoulder can be kind of fatty. You can trim the fat before cooking but I also find I need to pick through and pull of some of the fattier bits before shredding.

There are lots of fun ways to serve up this meat. We really like to make it up smothered burritos style. Wrap up the meat with rice and beans in a tortilla. Pour enchilada sauce over the top of the burrito and sprinkle with cheese.

You could also make this up as a toastada or mini nacho style like we did here. Each little tortilla was SO good!

Crispy corn tortillas topped with slow cooked sweet pork, lettuce, queso fresco, chopped tomatoes, and jalapenos.

Top Tips for cooking with kids

If you have a picky eater like mine who is weird about meat textures, slow cooked shredded meats are a good bridge between ground meats and regular cuts of meat. It’s really tender and juicy and doesn’t require lots of chewing.

Let your children decide what sides you are going to serve the meat with or what style you will eat the meat (ie. tacos, burritos, etc.). This helps give kids feel in control over their food choices without having to make them something separate for dinner.

See here for more tips on cooking with kids!

For kids, and adults, who are sensitive to spicy foods you can easily tone down the spice level by reducing the amount of hot sauce used.

Read through my guide for making kid friendly Latin American foods for more tips!

a bowl of sweet pork on a yellow table
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Recipe

sweet pork in a tortilla on a plate with small bowls with sides around it

Cafe Rio Style Sweet Pork

All you need are 7 simple ingredients and either a slow cooker or a pressure cooker to make a restaurant style barbacoa sweet pork that is incredibly tender and juicy! Use the meat in tacos, burritos, nachos, or a salad for a family favorite dinner recipe that everyone will ask you to make over and over again.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 7 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 7 hours 40 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 274kcal
Author: Jade Jones

Ingredients

Sweet and Spicy Pork

  • 3 lbs pork roast
  • 1 1/2 cups Coca-Cola just the classic version not the diet
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp El Yucateco Red Habanero Hot Sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp garlic minced

Instructions

How to make this in the slow cooker:

  • In a slow cooker mix together Coca-Cola, sugar, El Yucateco Hot Sauce, ground mustard, cumin, and garlic.
  • Add pork roast and press down to submerge. Cook pork on low for 6-7 hours. Shred meat with 2 forks. Allow to cook for at least another 30 minutes. Keep warm until ready to serve.

How to make this in the pressure cooker:

  • In the pot of the pressure cooker mix together Coca-Cola, sugar, El Yucateco Hot Sauce, ground mustard, cumin, and garlic.
  • Cut pork roast into roughly 2 inch cubes. Add the pork to the Coca-Cola mixture. Place the lid on the pressure cooker, turn the valve to sealing, and set the pressure cooker to manual high pressure cooking for 35 minutes.
  • Once cooking time has finished, turn the valve to release the pressure and wait until the pin drops. Shred meat with 2 forks. Replace the lid, set the seal to sealing, and cook for an additional 5 minutes on high pressure.
  • Once the second cooking time has finished, turn the valve to release the pressure and wait until the pin drops. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Notes

Pork shoulder can be kind of fatty. You can trim the fat before cooking but I also find I need to pick through and pull of some of the fattier bits before shredding.
There are lots of fun ways to serve up this meat. We really like to make it up smothered burritos style. Wrap up the meat with rice and beans in a tortilla. Pour enchilada sauce over the top of the burrito and sprinkle with cheese.

Nutrition

Calories: 274kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 138mg | Potassium: 518mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg
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