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Copycat Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

INGREDIENTS

SEASONING MIXTURE:

  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon regular or smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt (I use coarse, kosher salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (I use coarsely ground)

PORK:

  • 3-5 pounds boneless sirloin pork roast or pork shoulder roast
  • 1 cup root beer or cola soda
  • 1 cup green salsa or enchilada sauce

SAUCE:

  • 2 cups red enchilada sauce (see note for homemade version)
  • 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 8 ounces chopped green chiles (blend for smoother texture, if desired)
  • 1 cup green salsa or enchilada sauce

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine all the seasoning ingredients together in a small bowl. Measure out 2 tablespoons of the mixture and save for later.
  2. Cut the pork roast into large chunks (4-6 inches) and rub the remaining seasoning mixture (not the reserved 2 tablespoons) evenly over all sides of the pork.
  3. Pressure cooker: add the root beer/cola soda and the 1 cup green salsa/enchilada sauce to the insert of an electric pressure cooker. Stir to combine. Add the seasoned pork. Secure the lid, set the valve to seal and cook on high pressure for 55-60 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes and then quick release the remaining pressure.
  4. Transfer the pork to a cutting board or pan and shred. Discard all but 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid in the pressure cooker. Add the pork back to the pressure cooker. Add the 2 tablespoons of reserved spices, red enchilada sauce, brown sugar, green chiles and green salsa/enchilada sauce and stir/toss to combine. Heat through using the saute function (stir often to avoid sticking) or slow cooker function (high for 30 minutes or so). Keep warm until serving.
  5. Slow cooker: add the root beer/cola soda and the 1 cup green salsa/enchilada sauce to the insert of a slow cooker. Stir to combine. Add the seasoned pork. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or high for 5-6 hours until tender. Transfer the pork to a cutting board or pan and shred. Discard all but 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid in the slow cooker. Add the shredded pork back to the slow cooker. Add the 2 tablespoons of reserved spices, red enchilada sauce, brown sugar, green chiles and green salsa/enchilada sauce and stir/toss to combine. Cover and cook on high for 15-20 minutes until heated through. Keep warm until serving.

NOTES

Freezing: this cooked pork freezes amazing well. When I freeze, I don’t bother heating through on the last step (once the red enchilada sauce and other ingredients are added) since the pork will heat through when thawed from the freezer and ready to serve.

Seasonings: make sure to use seasonings (especially chili powder) that you already love the flavor of. Chili powder, in particular, varies in spiciness so if you don’t want a lot of heat, use a brand that is mild.

Root beer or Coke: I’ve used both in this recipe (separate batches); delicious results either way.

Salsa/Enchilada Sauce: For storebought green salsa, I’ve used both Herdez and Trader Joe’s. I haven’t used storebought green enchilada sauce, but I have used this homemade version. I usually use storebought red enchilada sauce (Las Palmas mild), but I think the enchilada sauce from this recipe would be a great homemade version. Again, just like the seasonings, what is most important is using a brand/recipe of green or red enchilada sauce or salsa that you really, really love the flavor of.

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january, 2021

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