Pork Barbacoa (Cafe Rio Sweet Pork)

There are a lot of restaurants in NYC (that was the understatement of the year), but we have yet to find something that tastes like good old Cafe Rio back home. This recipe for shredded sweet pork is ridiculously easy and comes strikingly close to the real thing. It's a perfect meal for Sunday since you can put it in a little before church and it'll be ready when you get home. It's delicious in tacos, salad, enchiladas, burritos, you name it. You can go all out and heat up some black beans and cook some rice with lime and cilantro. Below I've also posted the closest recipe I've found to their signature dressing. It's not perfect, but it's very close.

Cafe Rio Pork Barbacoa

2 ½ lbs. pork roast
⅓ cup water
1 clove garlic, minced {or ⅛ teaspoon garlic salt}
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
1 cup canned green enchilada sauce {or salsa verde}
1 cup brown sugar

Put pork, water, garlic, salt and pepper in crock pot on high for 4 hours. Drain, shred pork with two forks. Stir together green enchilada sauce and brown sugar, pour over pork and stir in. Serve in burritos, tacos, salad, etc.

Tomatillo Cilantro Ranch Dressing

3 large tomatillos
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup packed cilantro leaves
½ cup mayo
½ cup sour cream
1 envelope buttermilk ranch dressing mix
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 jalapeno {half it if you don't like the heat}

Remove Husks from tomatillos, wash, quarter and broil until soft, about 7 minutes. Combine everything in blender until smooth. Chill for at least one hour for flavors to blend.


  1. Hey Ang! I have to admit that I'm ALWAYS checking in on you and your AWESOME food recipes! I also love feeling a little like I've been to NY before...although it's never quite happened, but hopefully someday soon! So I've made the pork like this before, but never with the salsa verde/green enchilada sauce, just regular old pace picante! What kind of green sauce do you use? (never used the green before but have heard nothing but good about it!) And, is it mild??? I have a very LOW tolerance for spicy, so the milder, the better! Hope all is well!!

  2. I use Old El Paso grenn enchilada sauce, it comes in a yellow can and it's mild so no worries there.

  3. Yum!!! I've never been able to find a recipe for the pork that doesn't have dr. pepper in it, so I'm excited to try this. And by the way I responded to your comment on my blog, but the cinnamon rolls really aren't that hard. They're a lot easier than other recipes I've tried and the instructions are really easy to follow. Good luck! You should try them! I love that you have a food blog, by the way, I'm excited to follow it!

  4. i made this the other night last week. AMAZING. makes for perfect leftovers too. we heated it up for lunch two days in a row and it was still so yummy. love your blog!!!