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Cafe Rio Inspired Slow Cooked Sweet Shredded Pork and Cilantro-Lime Rice

Ever feel like you have to get your "fix" of something? Usually this refers to a devilishly sweet treat or something wonderfully salty. I think it's possible to need your "fix" for something healthy. For me, though, when the weekend rolls around, I crave nothing else but that sweet and juice pork barbacoa from Cafe Rio.  

It's divine. And could probably fill you up for a couple days in one sitting. 

It calls to me, and I'd willingly go towards that call every weekend if I could, but the sound of our bank account screams louder with reason. So I do what I've done in many times past: I make the dang thing in my own kitchen. 

The beauty of Pinterest, and the food blogging community, is that there are already a bunch of copycat recipe out there to chose from - especially with Cafe Rio-inspired dishes. So all it took during "grocery-list-making-day" (Thursday of each week) was a quick search - and immediately I was staring at a truck load of recipes to use.

The meat fell apart perfectly (after marinading overnight, and cooking over 7 hours, it basically had no choice), and had that almost-spicy-but-delightfully-sweet familiar taste. The rice was even better, and we ended up making a couple rice-bowls with the leftovers the next afternoon. I adjusted some of the ingredient measurements to taste.

Also, we don't drink soda in our house (not because we're anti-soda, but we just don't care for the stuff). So instead of buying the 2-liter as we did this time, I think we'll just get a couple of smaller bottles next time. As wasteful as it may sound to some, we ended up just throwing the rest of the soda away because it just sat in our fridge forever. Are we weird? Oh well.

Slow Cooked Sweet Shredded Pork 
enjoy Cafe Rio's Pork? This will have you well taken care of.

2 lbs boneless pork ribs
3 cans Coke (not diet)
1/4 C brown sugar
garlic salt
1/4 C water
1 can diced green chilies
10oz can red enchilada sauce
1 C brown sugar - get over it. 

1. Marinade your pork overnight - in a large ziploc bag, or pyrex with fitted lid, mix together 1 1/2 cans Coke and 1/4 C brown sugar. Seal it tight, leave it in the fridge, come back later. 
2. Drain marinade and put pork, 1/2 can of coke, water, and garlic salt in crock pot on high for about 5 hours. Remove pork from crock pot and drain any liquid left in slow cooker. Shred pork and put it back into crock pot.
3. In a food processor or blender, blend 1/2 can of Coke, chilies, enchilada sauce, and remaining brown sugar. Pour over pork and cook on low for 2-3 hours. 

Recipe source: Favorite Family Recipes, Inspired by Cafe Rio Pork Barbacoa. 


Cilantro-Lime Rice  
light, fluffy, tangy, and just what the doctor ordered 

1 C uncooked rice (long-grain, white rice)
1 t butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t freshly squeezed lime juice
15oz chicken broth
1 C water
1 T freshly squeezed lime juice
1 t sugar
3 T freshly chopped cilantro

1. In a saucepan, combine rice, butter, garlic, 1 t lime, chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil and then cover and cook on low for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat
2. In a small bowl, combine lime juice, sugar, and cilantro. Pour over hot cooked rice and mix in as you fluff the hot rice. 

Recipe slightly adapted from: Favorite Family Recipes, Inspired by Cafe Rio Cilantro Lime Rice 


  1. It's not even 10:00 and I already want Cafe Rio ;)

    1. Haha! I hear ya. Sometimes Cafe Rio should be a swear word around here because whenever someone says it... the craving immediately begins. It's dangerous!

  2. This looks incredibly delicious! The meat, yes, but the whole combination on the plate is mouth watering. Only a question for you about flavor. How sweet is the meat? Three cans of coke plus the brown sugar sounds like a lot, but maybe it doesn't taste that way once cooked. Would you say this is any sweeter than sweet and sour chicken or meatballs? Or maybe more like a sweet bbq sauce? Thanks for the recipes. I will be making this soon!

    1. Good question. It's more like a sweet and sour chicken type-of-thing. Plus, I never include an adjective in the recipe title unless I really really really mean it. Ryan and I aren't big on soda, so this amount of sugar probably should have sent us into shock, but I think it muted over time (marinating overnight + 7-9 hours of cooking), and we didn't mind the flavor. Happy you're trying the recipe out, Wendy!

  3. How much garlic salt does it call for? You didn't add a quantity...


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