This weekend I set out to recreate Café Rio’s sweet shredded pork and cilantro-lime rice, and thanks to this recipe and this recipe, I came pretty close. Hooray for Google!
FOR THE PORK:
2 to 2½ pounds pork loin
3 cans regular Coke
1 ¼ cup brown sugar
dash garlic salt
1/4 cup water
1 can diced green chilies
1 can green enchilada sauce
With the least amount of touching possible, rinse the pork (ew). Trim the fatty and sinewy pieces off (I almost threw up). Put it in a heavy-duty Ziploc with a can and a half of Coke and ¼ cup brown sugar to marinate. We put the bag inside of a bowl and set it in the fridge overnight.
Next morning: Transfer the raw pork to your slow-cooker along with ½ can of Coke, ¼ cup water, and a dash of garlic salt. Make your husband discard the filthy marinade.
Cook on low for 6 hours, then remove the pork and shred it up. Dump out the leftover juices. Blenderize the enchilada sauce, chilies, ½ can Coke and the remaining brown sugar (1 cup) and add it all back into the slow cooker for another 2 hours on low. Tamp down the shredded meat so as much of it as possible is covered with the liquid.
FOR THE RICE:
Prepare 3 cups cooked rice (add a teaspoon of lime juice into the water for the cooking process).
Combine 1 tablespoon lime juice, 2 teaspoons sugar, and 3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro into separate container. Using some sort of utensil, pound the cilantro to pieces so that it really gets ground into the mixture. Slowly add it to the rice as you fluff. (FULL DISCLOSURE: I just now realized that’s two TEASPOONS of sugar. Our rice definitely had two tablespoons of sugar in it.)
FOR THE SAUCE:
1 cup Herdez Salsa Verde (it’s a tomatillo sauce, and we were able to find it at our Safeway)
½ cup ranch dressing
The original recipe called for equal parts of each, but we found the ranch a little overpowering. Also, to true Café Rio fans – I didn’t set out to make the sweet green sauce they pour all over the burrito to make it “Enchilada Style”, I wanted to make something similar to the creamy tomatillo sauce they serve on the side. This is a little spicier than that other stuff, but still good.
THE GRAND FINALE:
We threw in some black beans and combined the elements into burritos, but it would also be amazing in a salad. The general idea is that the pork is delicious, and it smells delicious, and when you eat it it makes you full. So, really, it’ll be an overall great experience for everyone involved.DO IT NOW.
…After typing the words “Grand Finale”, I can’t not tell this story. My family and I drove the Al-Can highway when I was 8 years old. From Anchorage, Alaska to Stafford, Virginia, my dad led our procession in his old red Dodge Ram with a canoe on top, pulling our pop-up tent trailer. My mom followed close behind him with all the kids packed into the suburban pulling the horse trailer. We communicated by CB radio and made our home in a different fairground each night so that our horse, Fancy, could stretch her legs in an arena after 10 hours of cramped standing. We’d all pitch in to set up camp, eat some form of hot dog creation for dinner, then we’d settle in to our beds for the evening. And each night without fail, when the lights were out and my mom would try to discreetly remove her bra from underneath her T-shirt, my dad would draw attention to the fact by announcing to everyone, “It’s the grrrrraaaand finaaaaaaleeee!”
Sorry, mom. But aren’t you proud that I spent my entire Saturday cooking?