Sweet Pork

This sweet pork comes from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, and is a lot like Cafe Rio’s. It’s amazing, and we’ve made it for several large group events and birthday parties. Plus, pork shoulder is often on sale for 99 cents, so the meat is surprisingly cheap (although the sauces make it more costly).

It makes a lot, and we usually freeze the leftovers in quart bags to use in the future. You can use the sweet pork to make into sweet pork burritos with seasoned black beans and cilantro lime rice, or into sweet pork salad with the beans, cilantro lime rice, pico de gallo, and jalapeno ranch dressing.

And luckily this one is naturally gluten free.

Sweet Pork

  • Servings: A LOT
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Great for big gatherings, and it freezes well.



  •  1 Tbsp. cumin
  •  1 Tbsp. Paprika
  •  1 Tbsp. Onion Powder
  •  1 Tbsp. Chili Powder
  •  1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
  •  2 tsp. Salt
  •  1/2 tsp. Black Pepper


  •  3-5 lbs. Pork Shoulder (or boneless sirloin pork roast, but it’s not as good)
  •  1 c. Root Beer or Cola
  •  1 c. Green Salsa (aka salsa verde. Herdez is great, but use Mild–medium is surprisingly hot)


    •  2 c. Red Enchilada Sauce (Rosarita is good)
    •  1/2 c. Brown Sugar
    •  8 oz. Chopped Green Chiles
    •  1 c. Green Salsa


For seasoning: Combine all the seasoning ingredients together in a small bowl. Measure out 2 Tbsp. of the mixture and save for later. Cut the pork roast into large chunks (4-6 inches) and rub the remaining seasoning mixture (not the reserved 2 Tbsp.) evenly over all sides of the pork.

For pork: Add the soda and green salsa to the 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, then add the shredded pork back.

For sauce: To the pork in the slow cooker, add the 2 tablespoons of reserved spices and the rest of the sauce ingredients, then stir to combine. Cover and cook on high for 15-20 minutes until heated through.

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