Delicious and easy, this recipe taste just like Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Barbacoa and can be made in a slow cooker or instant pot! The perfect pulled pork recipe for dinner!

A plate of pulled Sweet Pork Barbacoa like Cafe Rio, sprinkled with cilantro.

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Mexican Food is probably at the top of my list of favorite cuisines. I could seriously eat tacos every day! When my husband introduced me to Cafe Rio many years ago, I was hooked. Hooked on the delicious and tender, Sweet Pork Barbacoa. I’ve tried it in a burrito, a salad, a tostada, tacos, and in a quesadilla and I love them all!

Unfortunately, my bank account won’t allow me to visit Cafe Rio on a daily basis to enjoy items from their delicious menu, so I had to come up with a way to re-create Sweet Pork Barbacoa at home. When you make this recipe, you also HAVE to make Cafe Rio’s Creamy Tomatillo Ranch! It’s the perfect compliment to this pork.

The definition of barbacoa is beef, lamb, or other meat that has been slowly cooked with seasonings, typically shredded as a filling in tacos, burritos, etc. So Sweet Pork Barbacoa is basically a Mexican-spiced, sweet pulled pork. To cook the pork in this recipe, you can use a slow cooker or an Instant Pot. Whatever floats your boat! It’s nice because you can kind of set it and forget it, which makes it a great dinner idea for busy weeknights. It’s also a good idea to make some extra. Then you can have salads, tacos, etc. for lunch the rest of the week! Easy peasy!

A plate of pulled Sweet Pork Barbacoa like Cafe Rio, sprinkled with cilantro.

Ingredients for Sweet Pork Barbacoa

Pork roast 2-3lbs

Red Enchilada Sauce

Garlic Salt

Black Pepper

Brown Sugar

Helpful Kitchen Items

Slow Cooker

Slow Cooker Liners

Instant Pot

How to Make Sweet Pork Barbacoa

Slow Cooker Instructions

Spray the inside of the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray or use a slow cooker liner. Place the pork roast in the slow cooker and sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper. Cook the roast on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Remove the roast, drain the juice, and shred the meat. Mix together the enchilada sauce and brown sugar. Add the mixture back to the slow cooker along with the shredded pork and heat for another 30 minutes. Serve in a burrito, salad, taco. tostada, or quesadilla!

Instant Pot Instructions

Spray the inside of the Instant Pot with non-stick cooking spray. Place the pork roast in the Instant Pot. Sprinkle the roast with the garlic salt and black pepper. Add one cup of water. Replace the lid and make sure the vent is shut. Set the Instant Pot to Manual mode for 50 minutes. When the timer goes off, let the Instant Pot naturally release for another 10-15 minutes. Remove the roast and shred the meat with two forks. Empty the liquid in the Instant Pot and turn on the Sauté mode. Add the enchilada sauce and brown sugar, stir until it is mixed. Place the shredded meat back in the Instant Pot and stir to coat with sauce. When the meat and sauce are heated through, you can turn the Instant Pot to warm and serve.

A plate of pulled Sweet Pork Barbacoa sprinkled with cilantro with a jar of creamy cilantro lime ranch.

This recipe is definitely on that my family and I enjoy all of the time! I hope you like it as much as we do! Head here for more yummy recipes and make sure to check out my Amazon store with all of my favorite cooking and baking supplies!

Print Recipe
Sweet Pork Barbacoa
Delicious and easy, this recipe taste just like Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Barbacoa and can be made in a slow cooker or instant pot! The perfect pulled pork recipe for dinner!
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Dinner, Homemade
Prep Time 20 Minutes
Cook Time 4 Hours
Servings
People
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Dinner, Homemade
Prep Time 20 Minutes
Cook Time 4 Hours
Servings
People
Ingredients
Instructions
Slow Cooker Instructions
  1. Spray the inside of the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray or use a slow cooker liner.
  2. Place the pork roast in the slow cooker and sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper.
  3. Cook the roast on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
  4. Remove the roast, drain the juice, and shred the meat.
  5. Mix together the enchilada sauce and brown sugar. Add the mixture back to the slow cooker along with the shredded pork and heat for another 30 minutes.
  6. Serve in a burrito, salad, taco. tostada, or quesadilla!
Instant Pot Instructions
  1. Spray the inside of the Instant Pot with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Place the pork roast in the Instant Pot. Sprinkle the roast with the garlic salt and black pepper. Add one cup of water. Replace the lid and make sure the vent is shut.
  3. Set the Instant Pot to Manual mode for 50 minutes. When the timer goes off, let the Instant Pot naturally release for another 10-15 minutes.
  4. Remove the roast and shred the meat with two forks.
  5. Empty the liquid in the Instant Pot and turn on the Sauté mode. Add the enchilada sauce and brown sugar, stir until it is mixed. Place the shredded meat back in the Instant Pot and stir to coat with sauce.
  6. When the meat and sauce are heated through, you can turn the Instant Pot to warm and serve.
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