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4.67 from 30 votes

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

Cafe Rio (or Costa Vida) Sweet Pork is super flavorful and easy to make at home in either the slow cooker or instant pot. It's perfect for eating out at home and recreating our favorite pork salads, burritos, tacos, and quesadillas since we don't live anywhere near a Cafe Rio or Costa Vida anymore!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 15 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 8 -12 servings
Calories: 317kcal
Author: Amy Nash



  • 3-5 pounds pork shoulder butt roast
  • 1 can Coca-Cola or Dr. Pepper not diet, divided
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper


  • 1 can Coca-Cola or Dr. Pepper not diet
  • 10 ounces red enchilada sauce
  • 4 ounces diced green chiles
  • ¾ cup brown sugar

Rub (for Instant Pot approach)

  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper



Slow Cooker

  • In a large, heavy duty Ziploc bag, combine the pork roast with one can of Coke and ¼ cup of the brown sugar. Seal tightly and marinade in the refrigerator anywhere from 2 hours to overnight.
  • Once the pork roast has had a chance to marinate for at least 2 hours, transfer the pork, along with the marinade, to a crock pot. Add the water and sprinkle the salt, garlic powder, pepper and chili powder over the pork roast. Cover and cook for 3 to 4 hours on high (or 6 to 8 hours on low), until the pork is tender enough to be easily shredded with a fork.
  • While the pork cooks, combine the remaining can of Coke and the remaining ¾ cup of brown sugar in a blender, along with the can of diced green chilies and red enchilada sauce. Blend until smooth, then set aside.
  • Remove the pork from the crock pot and discard the cooking liquid. Shred the pork, removing any fat, and return it to the crock pot, along with the enchilada sauce mixture. Cover and cook for 1 to 2 hours on low, then check seasoning to see if more salt is needed. Serve in salads, burritos or tacos!

Instant Pot

  • You can skip marinating ingredients and instead just combine the rub ingredients in a bowl. Cut the pork roast into large pieces and sprinkle with the spices, rubbing it all over the meat.
  • Add the meat to the pressure cooker along with 1 can of the Coca-Cola (or Dr. Pepper) and ¼ cup of brown sugar. Lock the lid in place and turn the valve to seal. Select "pressure cook" and cook for 50 minutes at high pressure. When done, let the pressure cooker do a slow natural release for 45 minutes (do not touch the release valve). After 45 minutes, release any extra pressure and remove the meat. Discard all but about ½ cup of the cooking liquid.
  • Shred the meat, discarding any pieces of fat and return to the Instant Pot.
  • In a blender, combine the remaining can of soda, red enchilada sauce, diced green chiles, and brown sugar. Blend until smooth, then pour over the shredded pork, tossing to coat. Set the Instant Pot to "saute" and cook for 15 minutes until heated all the way through.


  • Freezing: This pork freezes really well. Just transfer to a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze for 2-3 months. Thaw completely in the fridge, then reheat in the microwave, slow cooker, or oven until hot all the way through.


Calories: 317kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 1055mg | Potassium: 451mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 662IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 2mg