Sweet Pork Tacos

Updated: Apr 16


This is by far the most requested dinner at my house! For sure in our top 5 dinners. The sweet pork is a copycat recipe of Cafe Rio's pork (although I think this is even better). Tacos made with this delicious pork, a homemade cilantro ranch dressing, and semi-homemade taco shells are the best! We keep them simple and just top them with cheese, lettuce, sliced olives, and the cilantro dressing, but that is totally up to you! If you are needing something new to try, I highly recommend this dinner. It's a no fail, easy, but DELICIOUS way to do tacos!


Sweet Pork Tacos

Serves 10-12


Slow-cook Pork:

4 lbs. pork tenderloin or boneless pork shoulder roast

2 (10-oz.) cans red enchilada sauce

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 cup brown sugar, divided

1/2 cup salsa

1 tablespoon Worcestershire

1/2 cup apple juice

kosher salt and black pepper to taste


Place pork into slow cooker and generously salt and pepper. In a mixing bowl, combine the enchilada sauce, chili powder, onion powder, 2/3 cup brown sugar, salsa, Worcestershire, and apple juice. Pour over pork to cover. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Remove pork and shred, discarding any fat pieces. Add remaining 1/3 cup brown sugar to sauce in slow cooker. Put shredded pork back in and stir to coat with sauce. Cook an additional 30 minutes on high in the slow cooker.


Cilantro Dressing:


1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 packet or 1 1/2 tablespoons Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup green salsa

1/2 cup cilantro


Place all ingredients into a blender. Blend thoroughly; refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.


Step-by-step tutorial:


Slow-cook Pork: Gather your ingredients. You need about 4 lbs. pork tenderloin or boneless shoulder or butt roast, red enchilada sauce, chili powder, onion powder, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salsa, and apple juice.


In a mixing bowl, combine the 20 oz. enchilada sauce, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 2/3 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire, 1/2 cup salsa, and 1/2 cup apple juice.


Whisk until combined.


Add pork to the slow cooker and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.


Pour sauce over pork.


Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.


After cooking all day, remove pork to a big bowl.


Shred the pork, removing any excess fat pieces if necessary. Since this was a few tenderloins, there was minimal fat.


Add remaining 1/3 cup brown sugar and shredded pork back into the slow cooker. Mix everything together. Cook on high for 30 more minutes with the lid off.


Remove and serve!



Cilantro Dressing: Gather your ingredients. You will need mayonnaise, buttermilk, lime juice, ranch seasoning mix, garlic, cilantro, and green salsa.


Into a blender, add 1 cup mayonnaise....


....1/2 cup buttermilk.....


.....1/4 cup green salsa....


.....2 tablespoons lime juice.....


......2 garlic cloves, minced.....


.....1 1/2 tablespoons ranch dressing mix....


.....and 1/4 cup cilantro, rinsed and dried. You can just sit the leaves in there and let the blender do the chopping.


Blend until smooth.


My kids could drink this stuff. They put it on everything from salads, to chicken, to fries.


It makes a good amount, so we keep it in a great serving container so we can easily have it whenever needed.


A tip for keeping cilantro: After buying a bunch at the grocery store, put it in a glass of water and cover it with the produce bag, tucking the bag underneath. Keep it in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for many weeks this way. Every time I get it out and use some cilantro, I turn the produce bag inside out and put it back on. This keeps the moisture out so it stays fresh. It really works!!


Now for frying the tortillas. I learned this method from my best friend years ago, and we are addicted. It's easy and adds so much to a meal. You can do this with any of your tacos!


Bring some oil to 350°F. Place in a corn tortilla and let it cook for about 30 seconds, then flip and immediately fold in half with your tongs.


Cook for an additional 30 seconds or so, holding the fold at first. Eventually it will hold and you can flip the tortilla shell over a few more times to evenly fry.


Place on paper towels to drain. I then keep them in my oven on warm until serving.


Get your taco toppings assembled. We love shredded lettuce, cheese, sliced olives, and the dressing.


Serve and let everyone make their own tacos just as they like! AMAZING!


Recipe Source: Pork and Cilantro dressing adapted from recipes in Our Best Bites first cookbook you can find on Amazon here:




Did you try this recipe?  I'd love to hear from you!  Please rate and leave a comment!

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