This barbacoa pork recipe is a set it and forget it meal that takes all of 5 minutes to put together! It’s great for making tacos, burritos, and salads! This sweet pork recipe is great for meal prep because it stores well in the fridge all week and is freezer friendly!
Why This Recipe Works
I’m pretty picky when it comes to pulled pork recipes. Or really any meat that has sweetness to it. I find that a lot of recipes are either overly sweet (almost making it taste like a dessert meat?!) or they’re hardly sweet at all and don’t deserve “sweet” in the title.
But this pork barbacoa recipe?! It’s PERFECTION. It’s got the most flavorful sweet heat going on without being overly sweet or heat-y (is that a word?) Everyone who raves about Cafe Rio sweet pork recipe.. prepare to be mind blow by this one! And? In the comfort of your own home (Hello PJs!)
Depending on the day I’ll make this in the slow cooker or make it into Instant Pot pork barcaboa. I’ll share instructions for both! They are both great, the Instant Pot just makes it much faster. So if you don’t have all day, go with that!
Don’t forget to make yourself a nice big batch of 2 minute avocado lime crema to use as a topping (or eat by the spoon… whatever works!)
- Cola. I use just plain cola. I DO use the one with sugar, not a diet or zero sugar option. This adds to the sweetness. If you use a diet version I’d recommend doubling the brown sugar!
- Pork Loin. I use a half pork loin roast but you can also use a pork shoulder or “Boston Butt”. (If you’re curious what makes different types of pork different, checkout this post on cuts of pork!)
First, be sure to trim large chunks of fat off of your pork. Set aside.
Next, right in the crockpot combine all remaining ingredients and whisk together.
Add your pork into the slow cooker and just turn it over a few times to get it all nice and coated.
Set your slow cooker to high and cook for 6-7 hours (I recommend checking it after 4 hours and turning it to low if needed. Some slow cookers cook faster than others)
Once your meat is able to be shredded with a fork go ahead and shred the entire thing up. I like to use electric beaters for this (just be careful at first- it might splatter!)
Allow it to simmer for ~30 minutes on low to ideally to allow the sauce to really soak in (if you’re in a rush you can skip this! I understand!)
Now enjoy! Scoop some onto a taco, a salad, over rice or eat on it’s own!
Instant Pot Pork Barbacoa Instructions
For the Instant Pot, follow all of the same directions except you can add the optional step of searing the meat for 2-3 minutes per side prior to making the sauce in the IP pot. Do this on the sauté function setting, drizzling a bit of oil in before searing.
This can add to flavor but if you’re short on time skip it. Pressure cook for 60 minutes and allow to naturally pressure release.
I like to use pork tenderloin but you can also sub a pork shoulder A.K.A. “Boston butt”.
Honestly? I wouldn’t recommend it. I know society has deemed sugar as “bad” but it adds so much flavor and satisfaction to your meals that you’ll be way more mindful, enjoy it and be more likely to actually listen to your hunger and fullness level. (Some intuitive eating right there for ya!)
If you use diet pop I’d recommend increasing the brown sugar from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup in order to maintain sweetness.
Yep! If you don’t have a slow cooker or an Instant Pot then you can cook this in a large roaster or dutch oven at 350 for ~3 hours (take a peek and if it needs to go longer to be shredded easily allow another 30-60 minutes, then check again) Be sure to cover it the roasting with aluminum foil!
I love making extra and putting some of it in the freezer for later. I use a freezer ziplock bag (the gallon size) and get all of the air out and try to get the meat to lay in a flat layer (not all clumped at the bottom). This will last for ~4-6 months in the freezer.
- Shredding The Pork: I start off by using two forks to shred the pork, but then I switch the electric beaters. It’s WAY faster and gets nice and shredded. Just be careful at first as to not splatter it everywhere!
- How To Serve Pork Barbacoa: I love using this slow cooker pork barbacoa in tacos or burrito bowls. It honestly makes a great omelette filling though, too. Sounds strange but it’s actually delish!
Other Recipes You Might Like:
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Don’t forget to pin it on your Pinterest board for later, or tag me on IG @no.food.rules if you try the recipe and love it!
Slow Cooker Pork Barbacoa
- ~3 lb pork loin roast fat trimmed
- 1 cup 8 oz cola
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 cup broth chicken or veggie work great
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- First, be sure to trim large chunks of fat off of your pork. Set aside.
- Next, right in the crockpot combine all remaining ingredients and whisk together.
- Add your pork into the slow cooker and just turn it over a few times to get it all nice and coated.
- Set your slow cooker to high and cook for 6-7 hours (I recommend checking it after 4 hours and turning it to low if needed. Some slow cookers cook faster than others)
- Once your meat is able to be shredded with a fork go ahead and shred the entire thing up. I like to use electric beaters for this (just be careful at first- it might splatter!)
- Allow it to simmer for ~30-60 minutes on low to ideally to allow the sauce to really soak in (if you’re in a rush you can skip this! I understand!)
- Now enjoy! Scoop some onto a taco, a salad, over rice or eat on it’s own!
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