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+ servings

Instant Pot Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword cafe rio dressing, copycat recipe, sweet pork
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
natural pressure release and preparing meat after cooked 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 8 -16 servings
Author Si Foster, A Bountiful Kitchen


  • 4-7 lbs boneless pork shoulder butt or boneless pork rib meat*, cut into large chunks, large visible chunks of fat removed
  • Menudo spice mix or make your own (see post for instructions)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups cold water
  • for sauce
  • 3/4 to 1 cup brown sugar light or dark to taste
  • 1 - 16 oz can red enchilada sauce*
  • 1 4 oz can chopped green chiles not drained
  • 1 -12 oz can Coke Pepsi or Dr Pepper


  1. Place 3 tablespoons spice mix in a large gallon size Ziplock bag. Shake until meat is coated.
  2. Turn Instant Pot to Saute mode.
  3. Add one tablespoon olive oil.
  4. Place meat in pot when hot and brown on both sides. If you are in a hurry, skip this step and omit the oil in the pot.
  5. When meat is browned on both sides, Add water around sides of meat.
  6. Place the lid on the top of the pot (make sure the sealing ring is in place inside of the lid) and lock into sealing position. Turn the setting to Manual or High Pressure and set the timer for 50 minutes. Make sure the lid is set to the Sealing position.
  7. After the timer goes off, allow the pot to naturally release the pressure for at least 45 minutes.

  8. Carefully remove the lid from the pot when all of the pressure is released.
  9. Remove the meat and set on a cutting board. Allow to cool for a few minutes. When cool enough, pull any remaining visible fat off of meat and set aside. Discard any fat. Shred meat with a fork.
  10. Remove the remaining juice from the pan and place in a small bowl.
  11. Whisk the enchilada sauce, chopped green chiles, brown sugar and one can of soda together in the Instant Pot. Place the shredded meat back into the Instant Pot and turn the setting to Saute. Heat just until sauce boils and the meat is heated through, then turn the setting to keep warm mode.

  12. If you would like to thicken the sauce a bit, whisk one tablespoon of cornstarch into a cup of the liquid removed from pan after the meat was cooked and add back to the Instant Pot with meat and enchilada sauce. Continue to heat up until thickened.
  13. Serve on top of tortilla chips, tortillas, or a bed of rice. All Cafe Rio style recipes listed and linked on post.

Recipe Notes

-It is important to remember that Instant Pot cooking is not necessarily quick cooking! The IP takes away much of the time normally spent in the slow cooking process, but remember the pot needs to come up to pressure, and the process takes a bit of time. When using an IP, it is extremely important when cooking meat to allow the meat to naturally release the pressure in the pot. Meaning, it will take time to allow this to happen and this time needs to be built in to the cooking time of the meat. In this recipe 45 minutes of natural release time is needed. This process can't be rushed! For this recipe, count on 2 hours minimum for preparing, pressurizing and then natural release of pressure and removing any fat still attached to meat.

If using Boston butt, or pork butt, count on about 1/2 of the total pounds before cooking being discarded (after cooking). The fat will need to be removed and discarded.
-I use both homemade and canned red enchilada sauce for this recipe. I believe homemade is best, but it's very difficult to taste the difference between homemade and canned when the brown sugar and green chiles are added! The link for my homemade sauce is on this post under the last paragraph "Tips and Secrets for Perfect Cafe Rio Sweet Pork". It takes about 5 minutes to make.
-As stated in the post, I did not marinate the pork in the sauce before cooking. My slow cooked method posted previously recommends marinating, but this recipe does not.