March 7th, 2011

Cafe Rio Shredded Pork Salad

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*This is one of the first recipes I posted on Let’s Dish.  I recently recieved a different version of the recipe from my mom, which is much better, so I’m reposting the new recipe today. Cafe Rio is a popular Mexican restaurant in Utah, Nevada and Arizona, and the shredded pork salad is one of their most requested dishes. I’ve never eaten at Cafe Rio because I don’t live within 200 miles of one, but I hear the food is delicious.


Cafe Rio’s Sweet Pork Salad is the thing I hear people raving about the most, so I figured I should try recreating it at home. I actually think this tastes a lot like the sweet pork salad I can get at Cafe Mexicali here in Colorado. Which is a good thing! Because they’re sweet pork salad is amazing! The original recipe calls for 2 cups of brown sugar, but that was way too sweet for me, and even one cup was too sweet for my husband, so feel free to adjust the sugar to suit your own tastes. You can also serve this pork burrito-style, which seems to be more popular with the guys than “salad.”

Cafe Rio Shredded Pork Salad

Preparation 10 min Cook Time 6 hr Total Time 6 hrs 10 mins


    For the pork

    • 1 (2 lb.) pork roast
    • 3 (12 oz.) cans Coke
    • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar, divided
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
    • 1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilis
    • 1 (10 oz.) can enchilada sauce

    For the salad

    • Cooked rice
    • Flour tortillas
    • Black or pinto beans
    • 1 head lettuce, washed and shredded
    • Chopped tomato
    • Shredded cheese
    • Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing.


    1. Place the pork roast in a zip-top plastic bag.
    2. Add 1/2 a can of Coke and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Marinate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
    3. Place the roast in a slow cooker along with 1/2 can of Coke, 1/4 cup water, and garlic salt.
    4. Cook on high for about 3 hours.
    5. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred. Drain any remaining liquid from the slow cooker.
    6. In a food processor or blender, blend 1/2 can Coke, green chilies, enchilada sauce and 1 cup brown sugar. Add more Coke as needed to reach desired consistency.
    7. Return pork to slow cooker, along with sauce mixture. Cook on low for an additional 2-3 hours.
    8. To assemble the salad, place a tortilla on a large salad plate or in a large bowl.
    9. Layer with rice, shredded lettuce, beans, and shredded pork.
    10. Top with chopped tomatoes, shredded cheese, and Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing.

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    If you love this recipe, you might also like:

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    Who Dished It Up First: Cafe Rio, of course, but there are many versions of this recipe on the internet.


    1. Sounds and looks fabulous! I make pork bbq with root beer, but I bet the coke/brown sugar combo as a marinade rocks.

    2. Ahorsesoul says:

      This one of our favorites. I’m going to try it in my Instant Pot this week.


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