Slow Cooker Sweet Pork (Costa Vida or Cafe Rio Copycat)

I've always lived in Utah so in junior high and high school I ate an INSANE amount of sweet pork salads from Costa Vida. Like at least one a week if not more...I will always prefer Costa Vida to Cafe Rio even though both are very similar. And if you've never been to either, you can have a similar sweet pork at home!
This sweet pork is so addicting and I can never get enough! It has the perfect amount of sweetness that balances out the spice and I could eat it for days. We made some rice bowls with it for Christmas Eve dinner because we always make Mexican food. I also have a recipe for some amazing cilantro lime rice and savory black beans you can use and the tomatillo ranch dressing that is the best dressing in the world. You've got to make this! Your whole family will love it.

Slow Cooker Sweet Pork (Costa Vida or Cafe Rio Copycat)
Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
Seasoning Mixture
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. regular or smoked paprika
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3-5 lbs. boneless sirloin pork roast or pork shoulder roast
1 cup Coca-Cola or Dr. Pepper
1 cup green salsa (I love Herdez Salsa Verde)
 2 cups red enchilada sauce (I like Old El Paso or this homemade version)
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
1 cup green salsa

1. Combine all the seasoning ingredients together in a small bowl. Measure out 2 tablespoons of the mixture and set aside for later.
2. Cut the pork roast into large chunks (4-6 inches) and rub the remaining seasoning mixture evenly over all sides of the pork.
3. Add the Coca-Cola or Dr. Pepper and 1 cup green salsa to the insert of a slow cooker. Stir to combine.
4. Add the seasoned pork. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or high for 5-6 hours until tender.
5. Transfer the pork to a cutting board or pan to shred. Discard all but 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid in the slow cooker.
6. Add the shredded pork back to the slow cooker. Add the 2 tablespoons of reserved seasoning mixture, red enchilada sauce, brown sugar, and green salsa and stir to combine.
7. Cover and cook on high for 15-20 minutes until heated through. Keep warm until serving in burritos, tacos, salads, or rice bowls.


  1. This does not taste like the sweet pork from Costa Vida or Cafe Rio. It was a great flavor, just not the same.

    1. I'm glad you liked it! It's just a copycat version so it won't taste exactly the same, but it's a great one to have at home.

  2. I made it and it was addictive for sure. Not exactly like Costa Vida but it didn't give me a stomach ache like Costa Vida so that's good. The recipe says to put all the green sauce in at the beginning and the end so that's confusing. I just put it in at the beginning and it was delicious!

    1. I'm glad you liked it! You put one cup of green salsa in the slow cooker with the pork and one cup when you make the sauce.

    2. Okay, thank you for the reply. I'm making it again and I'll do that, yum.


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