January 11, 2010

Cafe Rio Pork Salad and Burritos with Cilantro dressing

{printable recipe here}

This is probably my most requested recipe so I'm going to repost it. It's simple and easy and always a hit with a crowd. I made it this weekend and used chicken tenders since that's what I had on hand, but I usually use pork loin. It tastes amazing as a salad (for the ladies usually) or as burritos (for the guys). The next day I like to make crispy quesadillas and after they are cooked I sneak in handfuls of spinach that melt right in so no one notices. It's easy to freeze the leftover meat and everyone loves it. I like to serve this with homemade refried beans (also cooked in the crock pot- you can do those first over night then start the meat in the morning). Yum.

Cafe Rio Pork Salad and Burritos

from Anne Strawberry
{printable recipe here}

1 pork loin or boneless pork roast (about four pounds, whatever you find)
1 can Dr. Pepper (NOT diet- and I prefer Coke normally but Dr. Pepper is better in this I think)
1 cup brown sugar
2 T. dry mustard powder
1 T. dry cumin powder
2 cloves minced garlic (or granulated garlic if you're in a hurry)
1 can Chipotle chiles in Adobo Sauce

First, open the can of chiles and drain the sauce into the Crockpot. Then discard the chiles. Chipotles are just roasted jalepenos and are plenty hot- so omit them unless you want lots of heat! I can find this stuff in the Mexican food aisle at Fry's and Safeway, so look around. Don't use the plain Adobo sauce (mine came in a tall little jar with a yellow lid) because the flavor is all wrong and I had to throw my last batch of pork out!

Then add sugar, mustard, cumin, garlic, and Dr. Pepper. Stir everything and toss in the trimmed, whole pork loin. Try piercing it a few times so the flavor steeps in during cooking. Rotate throughout the day and after about 5 hours on high the meat should be shred-able. Reduce heat to low, pull apart the meat with two forks and leave the lid off the Crockpot for a bit to let some of the extra liquid evaporate and soak into the meat (the longer it cooks shredded the tastier it will be, just watch and make sure there is enough liquid).

Meanwhile, make the dressing in a blender. Serve pork with tortillas, black beans, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, and cilantro dressing. Dish it up and enjoy! I also like topping it with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Cilantro Tomatillo Dressing

4 Tomatillos (throw away the outer peel and quarter)
1/2 Cup Mayo, not Miracle whip
1/2 Cup Milk
1 Packet Ranch Dressing mix
pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
1 bunch of cilantro, washed and stems discarded
1 Lime

Blend all ingredients (except lime) in a blender and let thicken in the fridge. For more spice, add a Serrano pepper. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lime and enjoy.


  1. This looks so good! Thanks for posting it. I was wondering, what size can of chipotle peppers in adobo? My Safeway carries 2 sizes, a 12 oz can and a smaller can. Both Embasa brand.

  2. That looks so good and easy! Only I wouldn't discard the peppers. I'd set them aside to hopefully use in another recipe. Who knows if I'd actually use them but I'd intend to.

  3. Erin- I looked and the can I buy is 7 ounces. I'm sure a little more spice would be fine, though!

    Liz- come over and we'll make it for you! Really, whenever you want! I think I owe TJ food for the rest of my life...

    Me!- I tried freezing my peppers last time. We'll see if I use them (or how they work!)

  4. Thank you for posting this! Yum, yum, yum! I can't wait to make it. :)

  5. Anne, Anne, Anne. I made this tonight for dinner. I used chicken instead of Pork. The Chicken is absolutely amazing. We were thinking of all the different stuff,we can use the chicken for. It was so good. Thank you for posting this. All of my cook books are unreachable at this time. So I really love your blog.

  6. Oh you are simply HEAVEN SENT.
    I need inspiration...and i"m headed to the store for these ing.
    thank you.
    Don't forget to give your baby strawberries hugs from auntie B.

  7. Oh I want some of this! What a great recipe Anne!

  8. Thanks for posting a link for the printable recipe. I prefer my recipes to be printed rather than bookmarked.

  9. That looks really good. I have a pork loin in the freezer right now I may use for this.

  10. This is DELICIOUS! I have made it a couple of times. Thank you for sharing.

  11. I couldn't find this recipe on pinterest, I looked under Anne strawberry