Copycat Cafe Rio Sweet Pulled Pork {Crock Pot}

Ever been to Cafe Rio? Try this copycat version of the Pork Barbacoa! It’s sweet & tangy pulled pork cooked in the crock pot, shredded and used for tacos, burritos, salads, etc.

Copycat Cafe Rio Sweet Pulled Pork {Crock Pot}

You guys. I am obsessed with Cafe Rio’s sweet pork barbacoa. It’s basically the best thing ever.

We have one Cafe Rio that’s not the closest thing to our house and I’ll beg my husband to drive all the way over and get me some. Everything I’ve had there is really tasty.

If you haven’t been there before, it’s a pretty casual little mexican food place. You walk through a cafeteria style line and watch them make your food and then pay. Their menu isn’t very large but their most popular meat is the pork barbacoa. You can get any of their meats on any of their dinner items but I always get the sweet pork barbacoa on the salad. To-die-for.

Now folks, if you’re like myself and love Cafe Rio, stay tuned!! I have a few more goodies up my sleeve!

Even if you’ve never heard of the place, you have to give this pork a try. The sauce is tangy, sweet and a little spicy. The pork is so tender and flavorful. Such a great flavor combo and is the best on tacos, or salads, in burritos or enchiladas. You won’t regret giving it a try!

Copycat Cafe Rio Sweet Pulled Pork {Crock Pot}
5.0 from 4 reviews
Copycat Cafe Rio Sweet Pulled Pork {Crock Pot}
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Sweet & tangy pulled pork cooked in the crock pot, shredded and used for tacos, burritos, salads, etc.
Recipe type: Main, Crock Pot
Serves: 8
  • 1 (3-lb) pork loin roast
  • 21 oz. Dr. Pepper
  • 1 (10-oz) can green enchilada sauce
  • 1 (10-oz) can red enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 (7-oz) can chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  1. Place pork roast and Dr. Pepper in slow cooker on high for 6 hours.
  2. At 6 hours, add the rest of the ingredients and continue cooking for another 3 hours.
  3. Before serving, remove chipotle chilies, shred the pork and then pour as much liquid as you like over the pork. Delicious in tacos, burritos, salads, etc. Enjoy!
Copycat Cafe Rio Sweet Pulled Pork {Crock Pot}
Want more slow cooker meat dishes?


  1. 1


    Jen, I crave Cafe Rio all the time and love that I can make it at home now :) We just made Cafe Rio style tortilla soup for dinner and it was awesome. I might have to add this to the menu next week to get more of a CR fix :)

  2. 2

    Krista says

    Ok, confession. Never been to Cafe Rio, but after seeing all the copy
    cat recipes I apparently need to go! This looks delicious, and I love
    shredded anything! :) YUM Pinning!

    Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats

  3. 4

    Pita says

    Do you drain the liquid from the pork after the first 6 hours of it being in the slow cooker, before adding the other ingredients?

    • 5


      Hi Pita! No, don’t drain the liquid after the 6 hours. Just add the other ingredients and cook for the remaining 3 hours. Then when it’s finished, pull out the pork and shred it, and pour however much of the liquid you like, over the pork and serve it. I hope that makes sense! Let me know if you have any other questions!

  4. 6


    Pork barbocoa is my husband’s favorite at Cafe Rio. He will love this. I just want to double-check, it’s 9 hours total on high? Usually that long of a time is on low, so I just want to make sure before I make my roast into jerky :)

    • 7


      Hi Michelle! Yes, I kept mine on high for the 9 hours! You cook it with SO much liquid that it almost braises the meat and makes it super tender! But, having said that, every slow cooker is different. If you think yours will burn it, I would do the first 6 hours on high and then do some sort of medium/low setting for the last three hours. Let me know how you like it! I need to post the rest of the Cafe Rio recipes I made and took pictures of! This meat is my very fave. I hope you and your husband like it!

      • 8

        harry moore says

        our crock pot is too small for all the meat and liquid, can it be cooked in an oven? if so what tempatue and times? thank you

        • 9


          Hi there, I’m not sure what the temperature and times would be if you want to cook this in your oven because I’ve never tried it before. You can always half the recipe and cook in your smaller crock pot OR buy a bigger crock pot, lol! Sorry I’m not much help. I hope you still try it!

  5. 11

    Mariska says

    Husband and I are obsessed with Cafe Rio pork and I have tried several different copycat recipes. I have to say this is one of the best! I have made this twice and both times turned out so delicious! Although one thing I did differently the second time around was I drained half the liquid after 6 hours. The first time I made it was a bit too watery for my taste (but still good!). Thank you so much for this simple & yummy recipe.

    • 13

      Billy says

      I made this recipe and used your advice in draining part of the liquid….absolutely perfect….friends and family stopped by and an entire large pork shoulder was consumed in minutes! Fantastic recipe and follow up advice…kudos to you all.

  6. 15

    Amanda says

    This was super good. I doubled the recipe for an 8 lb pork shoulder. It was SO juicy though. I dumped half the Dr Pepper after the 6 hours and that worked out great. Also, mine was borderline spicy, even after pulling all the peppers. I’d probably cut the peppers down a bit. But this is a GREAT recipe! Will make many times again.


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