Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Recipe (Slow Cooker) (2024)

Enjoy a simple sweet pork sauce recipe when you make this amazing Cafe Rio sweet pork recipe. It is a super delicious pork salad to have this summer for a fresh and sweet lunch or dinner!

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Recipe (Slow Cooker) (1)

Cafe Rio has amazing recipes and this Cafe Rio sweet pork recipe is a perfect summer recipe. It is a nice change from your traditional salad recipe, and has the best flavor profiles.

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Recipe (Slow Cooker) (2)

Cafe Rio sweet pork recipe from Six Sisters is a recipe that you will enjoy and make again and again. What I love about salads is that you can build them how you like them and leave out what you don’t.

But, I might be biased, but I love to make it into a salad. This Cafe Rio sweet pork salad to make at home is what makes it so good with all those cilantro, black bean, and salsa fixings. Even my kids and spouse love the taste, so that is saying something.

If you love this Cafe Rio recipe then you will want to try our copycat Cafe Rio steak marinade recipe, Cafe Rio steak salad recipe, and Cafe Rio slow cooker chicken and cilantro rice for more great copycat recipes to try.

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Recipe (Slow Cooker) (3)

Ingredients You Need to For Our Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Recipe:

  • Pork roast
  • Chunky salsa
  • Dr. Pepper soda
  • Brown sugar

How To Make Our Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Recipe:

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Recipe (Slow Cooker) (4)

When you are ready to prepare the sweet pork for this Cafe Rio copycat recipe, get out your slow cooker and fill it half of the way with water.

Then place the pork in the slow cooker and turn it on high and let the meat cook for 4 hour.

Now, mix together the chucky salsa, Dr. Pepper, and brown sugar unil it is well combined to prepare the sauce for the pork.

When the pork is done cooking, drain the water from the slow cooker and cut the pork into thirds.

Once you have the pork cut, pour the Dr. Pepper sauce over top of the pork and turn the slow cooker back on low and let it cook for 4 hours.

When the pork is done cooking, drain the liquid form the slow cooker (be sure to save a little) and shred the pork using a fork or a hand mixer on low.

Then add a little bit of the saved liquid back into the pork and mix it together to keep it really moist.

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Recipe (Slow Cooker) (5)

Now serve it on tacos, burritos, or as a salad!

To Make Sweet Pork Recipe Costa Vida You Will Need:

  1. Slow cooker (THIS is a great one.)
  2. Knife
  3. Hand mixer
  4. Small bowl

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Recipe (Slow Cooker) (6)

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Let us give you your time back. With the Six Sisters’ Meal Plans, we do the dinner planning, grocery ordering, and then all you have to do is decide whether to pick them up or have them delivered.

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What Kind of Pork for Cafe Rio Sweet Pork?

The cut of meat is super important to a recipe. Some recipes you will want lean meat, others you will look for a more fatty piece of meat.

Cafe Rio uses a bone-in pork shoulder/butt with nice fat marbling through-out. When you make this with a pork loin or roast, the cut of meat is too lean and won’t be as tender or moist when you shred it.

The Spruce Eats give you a complete guide to pork cuts! So if you want to learn even more about it for this recipe or future recipes, give it a look.

Plan for Your Favorite Toppings

Grab your favorite salad toppings to make a salad that fits your taste buds.

A few toppings we like to use are:

  • Pico de gallo
  • Guacamole
  • Cilantro
  • Lime/ lime juice
  • Black beans
  • Queso
  • Corn salsa
  • Chopped lettuce

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Have you heard about our newest cookbook, Copycat Cooking? We took over 100 of our favorite restaurant recipes and simplified them so that you can make them right at home!

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Recipe (Slow Cooker) (7)

This cookbook includes copycat recipes from Wingers, Texas Roadhouse, Starbucks, Panera, Cheesecake Factory, Kneaders, and so much more. We have you covered from drinks to dessert and everything in-between.

We are so excited to share these recipes with you. Order your copy today!

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The Best Side to Serve with Cafe Rio Sweet Pork:

  1. Fully Loaded Guacamole Recipe
  2. Easy Guacamole Recipe
  3. Pineapple Mango Salsa Recipe
  4. Easy Mexican Salsa Rice (Quick Spanish Rice) Recipe
  5. Easy Blender Salsa Recipe

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Recipe (Slow Cooker) (8)

Serves: 6

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Recipe

4.67 from 3 votes

Enjoy a simple sweet pork sauce recipe when you make this amazing Cafe Rio sweet pork recipe.



  • 3 lbs pork roast
  • 16 ounces chunky salsa
  • 12 ounces Dr. Pepper soda pop
  • 1 cup brown sugar


  • Put pork in crockpot and fill halfway with water.

  • Cook 4 hours on high.

  • Drain water, cut pork in thirds, mix together sauce and pour on top.

  • Cook 4 more hours on low.

  • Drain liquid and shred pork.

  • Save a little liquid and mix it in with the pork so it is really moist.Serve over salads, in burritos, or tacos!


We love to make salads with this pork like the ones you can buy at Cafe Rio Sweet Pork.

To turn this into a Freezer Meal:

Add all ingredients to a gallon-sized freezer bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible and seal bag closed. Place freezer bag into freezer and it will last 60-90 days.

When ready to use, spray inside of slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray and dump ingredients from bag into slow cooker. Place the lid on top and cook for 8-10 hours on low heat (you can cook it for 5-6 hours on high heat, but it will not be as tender as cooking it low and slow).
Remove roast from slow cooker and shred roast using 2 forks. Follow the rest of the instructions as written.


Calories: 486 kcal · Carbohydrates: 48 g · Protein: 52 g · Fat: 9 g · Saturated Fat: 3 g · Cholesterol: 143 mg · Sodium: 665 mg · Potassium: 1112 mg · Fiber: 1 g · Sugar: 45 g · Vitamin A: 363 IU · Vitamin C: 1 mg · Calcium: 64 mg · Iron: 2 mg


  • Slow Cooker

  • Knife

  • Hand mixer

  • small bowl

Recipe Details

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Recipe (Slow Cooker) (9)

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  1. esahm says:

    This recipe sounds really interesting! Thinking of giving it a try when my husband gets back from his business trip. I came to check out your site after you found mine through the blog hop. I love your concept! It really makes me want to make my sisters a part of my own blog. I'm now a GFC and Facebook follower.

  2. Zitting Zoo says:

    does it have to be dr. pepper? or could i use diet co*ke?

  3. Camille says:

    @Zitting Zoo- I have tried this recipe with co*ke (and it's still so good), but I have heard that Diet co*ke doesn't taste as good . . . something about the "diet" ingredients not producing the same yummy flavor (I think that the sugar plays a big role in why this is so good!). But, you never know! If you try it, let us know!

  4. Julie says:

    This was a hit! Served it with lime-cilantro rice. Very yummy! Thank you for sharing

  5. Camille says:

    I prefer to use a pork roast. It seems to do better in this recipe!

  6. alexxkw says:

    Does the sauce include the salsa? Or does that go on the side...

  7. Camille says:

    It includes the salsa! You can put additional salsa on top or I like to use fresh pico de gallo or fresh tomatoes. :)

  8. Jacki says:

    Do you have a recipe for the Cafe Rio salad dressing? We moved from Utah to NC and miss Cafe Rio so much!

  9. Six Sisters says:

    We found a recipe on another blog for you -
    We are big Cafe Rio lovers! Have a great day! -The Six Sisters

  10. Kari says:

    These are my absolute favorite thing to eat! Just curious, which brand of salsa do you use?

  11. Lenna says:

    Could you tell me approximately how many adults does this recipe serve?

  12. Cyd says:

    It really depends on how much meat they put on their tortilla or salad. It could easily feed 10 people. Possibly more.

  13. Yari says:

    Can you use non-spiraled ham that you make in the crockpot to make this?

  14. Cyd says:

    We use a pork roast for this recipe. I don't think it would taste very good with ham.

  15. Doris says:

    When I first made this recipe, it included the recipes for the pico de gallo, the cilanthro rice and the bean recipe. Are these recipes still available?

  16. Cyd says:

    This link includes all of those recipes.

  17. Kim says:

    Can you substitute pork for chicken? And if so, how long would you cook the chicken for?

  18. Cyd Adamson says:

    You can easily sub chicken for the pork. Chicken won't cook quite as long. I'm thinking maybe 4-6 hours total on low. Just be sure it's cooked all the way through. And you don't want it to be dry.

  19. Monika says:

    My daughter said this was the best dinner ever. Our whole family loved this, another great recipe from six sisters!

  20. Kaze bee says:

    Is there a specific salsa you like to use for this recipe?

  21. Momma Cyd says:

    We use all kinds of salsa, Herdez, Pace, or even store brands work great.

  22. Katharine says:

    So good! I bought dressing from Cafe Rio and made a cilantro lime rice recipe from Minute Rice (using Jasmine rice) to save me time. One of my kids made a burrito with it while the rest of us made salads. I will definitely be making this again!

    Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Recipe (Slow Cooker) (10)

  23. Momma Cyd says:

    So glad you liked it! It's one of our favorites!

  24. Sarah says:

    Excited to try this. When do you remove all the fat. membranes, and gross stuff. Now I am hoping Cafe Rio cleans the meat before serving. Thanks 6 Sisters - your recipes are always great.

    Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Recipe (Slow Cooker) (11)

  25. Momma Cyd says:

    You can remove any fat when you are shredding it after cooking time is done.

  26. Katie S. says:

    I am so excited to make this for a family get-together at my house. I was starting some cabinet painting when my mom called and informed me the family would be coming to my house in 3 days. You have to love family. I just hope I can get all of this painting done in time. Wish me luck.

    Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Recipe (Slow Cooker) (12)

  27. Momma Cyd says:

    Hi Katie, We hope all went well with your painting, guests and the food!!!

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Recipe (Slow Cooker) (13)

About The Author:

Momma Cyd

Cyd is the mom of the six sisters and joined the team early on to help out. She shares the best of the best recipes from her kitchen.

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Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Recipe (Slow Cooker) (2024)


Do you have to put liquid in slow cooker with pork? ›

You don't technically HAVE to add liquid into your slow cooker for pulled pork because the pork will generate moisture. However, we do recommend adding some kind of liquid to the crock pot to make sure things stay nice and moist.

Do you slow cook pork on high or low? ›

Set the cooker to low; the high setting will boil the meat instead of braise it, so it's only a quicker trip to an undesirable outcome.

Can pork be slow cooked too long? ›

It's not easy, but yes, you can overcook pork shoulder! It becomes tough, chewy and dry when it's cooked for too long or at too high a temperature.

Can you overcook pork in a slow cooker? ›

Of course you can slow pork too long. You can overcook anything, even with moist heat. Once the meat has cooked completely, become tender and the collagen transforms into gelatin, further cooking will only pull moisture from the meat. It will just become dryer and dryer, even if it is partially submerged in liquid.

What happens if not enough liquid in slow cooker? ›

Not adding enough liquid can lead to burning.

"It's important to add enough liquid to ensure the bottom of your dish doesn't burn." If your meal does burn, the chef said to avoid scraping the bottom of the pot while stirring and serving because it can give the entire dish a burnt flavor.

What is the best liquid to cook pork in? ›

Pull the pork from the fridge to take the chill off while you chop a few onions and smash garlic cloves. Transfer everything to a large slow cooker and add a splash of liquid — water is great, but so is broth, apple juice, or beer if you have them handy.

Is 4 hours on high the same as 8 hours on low? ›

The difference between "High" and "Low" on slow cookers seems to differ with every brand and model. One thing that is consistent, though, is that food takes seven to eight hours to reach a simmer point (around 210°) on low; versus three to four hours on high.

How do you keep pork from drying out in a slow cooker? ›

Yes, it's generally recommended to add some liquid when cooking pork in a slow cooker to prevent it from drying out and to help distribute flavors. You can use broth, wine, barbecue sauce, or even just water depending on the recipe you're following.

Why is my pork not tender in the slow cooker? ›

  • The meat was overcooked: Slow cookers are known for their ability to tenderize meat, but if the meat is cooked for too long, it can become overcooked and tough. ...
  • The meat was not cut into the correct size: If the meat is cut into large chunks, it may take longer to cook and could become tough.
Dec 7, 2021

How do you know when slow cooked pork is done? ›

One way to determine your porks' doneness is by the color of the juices that come out of it when you poke a hole in it with a knife or fork. If the juices run clear or are very faintly pink, the pork is done cooking. If they're mostly or entirely pink or red, it's best to continue cooking.

Is 12 hours too long in slow cooker? ›

Is it safe to leave a slow cooker on for 12 hours? Yes, you can use your slow cooker for longer than eight hours, as long as you keep an eye on it. Many slow cookers do have an automatic shutoff after 24 hours.

Can I slow cook pork for 24 hours? ›

Season your pork butt generously with salt and pepper. Place all ingredients into a slow cooker and place on the 'low' setting. Cover and let cook 24 hours.

Will pork get more tender the longer you cook it? ›

Unlike the more lean tenderloin and chops, pork shoulder is an incredibly forgiving cut of meat. It becomes more tender as it cooks and benefits from a lengthy cook time, so even if it stays on the heat a few minutes too long, you won't suddenly end up with something dry or rubbery.

What cut of pork is best for slow cooking? ›

NOTE: Pork shoulder is a large piece of meat and is usually divided into two (or even three) for retail, each around 1.2-1.5kg. The top part (known as the butt) is best for slow cooking, while the lower shoulder section absorbs flavours beautifully.

Can you put meat in a slow cooker with no liquid? ›

Most certainly, especially if you are using a meat with lots of connective collagen, like Brisket or Pork Shoulder. The meat produces it's own liquid and slowly braising it a slow cooker results in nice, tender meat.

Can you cook things in a slow cooker without liquid? ›

A slow cooker does not need any liquid added at the beginning of the cooking process, because it will generate steam, which will become liquid in the bowl. For recipes that use liquid, and have not been written specifically for a slow cooker it make sense to reduce the amount of liquid by half.

Can you put raw pork in a slow cooker? ›

Can You Put Raw Meat in the Slow Cooker? It is safe to add raw meat to a crock pot or slow cooker if it will be cooked through completely. Tough cuts like pot roast, pork shoulder, and stew meat can be browned first and then cooked through in the cooker or simply added to the crock pot.

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