Sweet Pork Burritos

I just love a good smothered burrito. And even though there are about a million versions of sweet pork burritos floating around the internet, I had to lend my voice to the one we like best.

It’s simple. It’s uncomplicated. It’s delicious.

I’m not even going to compare it to the sweet pork at the Cafe Rio’s of the world (do you know Cafe Rio?) because there isn’t a Cafe Rio within 15,463 miles of where I live and I’ve learned in a long, sordid history of trying every variation of sweet pork under the sun that nothing can live up to the legend of Cafe Rio’s sweet pork (trust me, I’ve tried that recipe, I promise!).

So consider this variation different. But still very, very amazing.

Sweet Pork Burritos

Making use of a slow cooker puts the easy-peasy stamp on this meal especially since the cilantro lime rice (don’t even think about not making it) can be made ahead and used when you are ready to assemble the burritos.

Basically what you’ll get when dinner rolls around is a hearty tortilla smothered in green sauce and cheese wrapped around succulent, sweet and savory pork, tender cilantro lime rice, black beans and a few tasty, simple spices. As my old roommate Kate (who gave me this recipe) was wont to say: “Yum, yum, give me some.” She also liked likes to say: “Love your buns tons” but I suppose that doesn’t really apply to these burritos. Now if dinner was hamburger night? Totally appropriate usage, I’d say.

What To ServeSummer Corn Salad or Guacamole Salad
Tortilla Chips or Toasted Pita Chips
Salsa (for homemade I suggest this Divine One-Minute Salsa)

One Year Ago: Peaches and Cream Sensation
Two Years Ago: Red Chile Sauce Chicken Enchiladas
Three Years Ago: Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze

Smothered Sweet Pork Burritos

Yield: Serves 6

Smothered Sweet Pork Burritos

You'll get more flavor if you use a pork roast that has a bone in - it can easily be removed once the pork is done cooking; however, this could also be made with boneless pork loin or a leaner cut of pork. Just keep in mind that it might not be quite as tender as a roast that has darker meat also. A note about the enchilada sauce, not all brands are created equal. I love the Herdez brand of green salsa or enchilada sauce (which I use interchangeably) so make sure you find a brand that tastes good (with a heat level you prefer).

Ingredients

    For Burritos:
  • 2 1/2 pounds pork roast like pork shoulder or butt roast
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 (15-ounce each) cans green enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Dash of hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 8 ounces Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese (or a combination), grated
  • 6-8 whole wheat or white flour tortillas, burrito-sized
  • For Cilantro Lime Rice:
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin

Directions

  1. Trim any excess fat pockets from the pork roast (it's ok to leave a bit here and there just trim the large pieces off). Cut the pork into 2-3 large pieces. Season each piece on all sides with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil until rippling and hot. Add all the pieces of pork and brown on each side, 2-3 minutes total. Transfer the pork to the insert of a 5-6 quart slow cooker.
  3. Add the liquid smoke and 1/2 cup water. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 8 hours.
  4. While the pork is cooking, prepare the rice. In a skillet or medium saucepan, melt the butter and add the rice. Stir, letting the rice and butter cook for 1-2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients (broth, salt, pepper, lime juice and zest, cilantro and cumin) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 15-16 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. This can be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to assemble the burritos.
  5. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred into bite-sized pieces (discarding the bone, if needed, or any large pieces of fat). In a large bowl, toss the shredded pork with the brown sugar, 1/2 cup of the green sauce, chili powder, salt and pepper (add more salt and pepper to taste if needed). Add the hot sauce, if using.
  6. Stir in the beans, rice and cilantro to the pork mixture.
  7. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and spread about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of the green sauce on the bottom.
  8. Warm the tortillas lightly in a skillet or in the microwave. Scoop about 1/2 cup of the meat mixture into each tortilla and sprinkle with a bit of cheese (you'll want to leave some cheese for the top of all the burritos before they bake). Roll up burrito style (folding the ends in and rolling).
  9. Place the burritos seam-side down in the prepared baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the burritos and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until heated through and the top is bubbly and slightly golden. Serve immediately.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/smothered-sweet-pork-burritos/
Recipe Source: adapted from my bestest friend and old roommate, Kate (added a few more spices, salt and pepper, subbed in cilantro lime rice for regular white rice and a few other changes).

79 Responses to Smothered Sweet Pork Burritos

  1. Catherine says:

    Oh yum, Mel! This looks sooooo good! As a fellow Cafe-Rio-desert-dweller, I love having another sweet pork option to try. I will definitely be making this!

  2. Morgan says:

    This made my mouth water (even after just finishing a full breakfast)!!! I will make it for dinner this Sunday- can’t wait ;-). Love your blog and recipes!!!!

  3. Oh these sound wonderful! Can’t wait to try them!

  4. Carrie says:

    I now know what I am making this weekend. Looks delicious! Thank you for providing all these wonderful recipes :)

  5. Kathy says:

    This looks delicious. I wish I had a pork shoulder to put in the crock pot. I know my family would love this!

  6. Maegan says:

    Oh my. I have been looking for my birthday dinner and you just found it for me! Thanks so much for alllllllll your delicious recipes.

  7. LIsa says:

    These look AWESOME! Can’t wait to try them:)

  8. Rebecca Roe Hale says:

    Oh, Mel, you are killing me here. I have an entire 3-inch binder full of recipes to try, and I promised myself I would try them all before printing anything else. But I am not sure I have the willpower. If I view the recipe on my Kindle Fire when I make it, that would be okay. The rest of my ‘to try’ recipes can wait. Right?

  9. Tahnycooks says:

    This is no joke, but in have a pork shoulder in the crockpot right now and I was just wondering what I was going to transform it into!!! This is PERFECT time! These look fabulous!

  10. I will not be satisfied with my life until these appear on my dinner table. YUM!!!

  11. Yeah, we’re gonna need to make this soon. Sounds delicious!!

  12. Hey Mel, what level of sweetness are we talking here–can you give me an idea? I’ve had a Cafe Rio type on my “to try” list for a while now, and your recipe looks so wonderful (as always) that I want to give it a go. But I’m worried that the amount of sugar will spoil it for my husband. He doesn’t share my sweet tooth! If I cut the sugar in half, will it still qualify for its title?

  13. Sarah M says:

    Ah Mel! I was just thinking you needed a Cafe Rio pork type recipe. So excited to try it!

  14. I have never had Cafe Rio, but this recipe looks amazing! And scores points because I usually keep all these ingredients on hand!

  15. karen says:

    Mel, I’m wondering about the sweetness level too. I love me a good savory burrito of any flavor, but the sweet makes me a little nervous. . .especially for my husband who doesn’t like breakfast for dinner because syrup is too sweet for him at dinner. :) If you could expand I’d love you even more and more and more!

    • Mel says:

      Karen and Fran – I would compare it to a sweet and sour chicken or other type of dish that has sweet and savory notes. It’s not breakfasty/syrupy sweet. It definitely has the taste of brown sugary sweetness but in my opinion, it’s not overpowering and plays well with the other savory flavors. Having said that, if you are a little tentative, try cutting the brown sugar in half and see how that works.

  16. Kristen says:

    Mel- can this really be as good as your honey lime enchiladas??! They seem similar to me, but the honey lime are SO GOOD!

  17. Des says:

    I had never heard of Cafe Rio before a few months ago. I’ve never eaten there but I feel like I need to make a pilgrimage and try this pork that everyone talks about. Until then I’ll make these burritos. They look fabulous!

  18. Peg says:

    Mel, do you think that the leftover filling can be frozen? My pork roast was bigger than recommend and I have lots of leftovers…. Thanks for a great website,,,

  19. Sheila says:

    I made these sweet pork burritos for supper tonight. @Karen and Fran: When I mixed the pork with the brown sugar and spices, it was really good but definitely on the sweet side. After making the lime rice, I was a little nervous because of the potent punch of flavor from the lime and zest. BUT after mixing it all together the beans and lime rice balanced out perfectly the sweet pork. I wouldn’t change a thing except I added more chili powder instead of adding any hot sauce. @Kristen: This recipe is EVERY bit as good as Mels honey lime one which stays in my “favorites” recipe file. Now both of these recipes will be in there. What’s so nice about this recipe is that its a complete meal with the rice, beans, and meat. When I make the honey lime enchiladas, I usually make a couple sides with it (salad and Mexican rice) Now when I make the honey lime recipe, I’ll just make Mels golden skillet potatoes or her sweet potato fries. Thanks Mel for another wonderful and delicious meal recipe!

  20. Melissa says:

    Yum, yum, yum! These are in the oven as I type this. I haven’t even tasted the finished product, but the rice alone is divine. I packed up some of the rice and beans for lunch tomorrow, and I definitely taste-tested the pork after mixed with the rice and it’s so good! Thank you for yet another new favorite!

  21. Amanda Z says:

    These burritos, oh my god, these burritos…. wow. Hubs and I devoured these and luckily there was enough left over for us both to take it work tomorrow for lunch or we might have had some serious problems. Thank you for this amazing meal!! You are the best Mel, I freaking love you!!

  22. Deborah says:

    Simple and uncomplicated is how I love things! These sound amazing!!

  23. Wow! I just love it already! Can’t wait to make it! :)

  24. I absolutely need to try this recipe Mel! I don’t eat enough burritos and I do love them, but they’re not available here as street food so I gotta make them at home. The perfect reason to make braised pork, and that is ALWAYS a good idea!

  25. Laura says:

    I’ve been thinking about these since I came across them last week. Gonna have to add them to the menu, they sound great!

  26. Jodee says:

    These are fabulous!! I am just devouring the last of the leftovers! Thanks once again Mel for making me a rock star in the kitchen! ;)

  27. Marci says:

    Could I put half of the assembled burritos in the freezer?

    • Mel says:

      Marci – did I ever respond to your question about putting these burritos in the freezer? So sorry if I didn’t! And yes, I think you could definitely freeze the assembled burritos!

  28. Jackie says:

    Definite success! So good!

  29. Julie says:

    Mel,
    What brand of green enchilada sauce and tortillas do you use? These look amazing and I can’t wait to try them. Thanks!

  30. Jennifer H says:

    I made this tonight and it was a huge success with the entire family. Thanks for sharing a delicious recipe. The sweet pork was so good I might have eaten several forkfuls right out of the bowl. Yum!

  31. Stacey says:

    OMG these were way beyond my expectations! AMAZING flavor! I love the sweetness of the meat combined with the tangy rice and sauce! By any chance do you have a recipe for a good green sauce? Also, these were easy to make and quick to assemble.

  32. Jessica says:

    This has got to be, like the 8th recipe of yours I have made and only recently found your website. Made these last night for a girls night and they were delicious!! The rice was definitely a key ingrediant. I personally would reduce the brown sugar to maybe 1/4 cup but otherwise they were sooo good. Taking leftovers for lunch. Oh yeah, makes a lot, very filling:)

  33. gayle boysen says:

    These are wonderful, just made tonight, I used a boneless porkloin and brown rice, didn’t have white, added extra cilantro, the brown sugar is so good with the chill powder, this recipe is a keeper!

  34. Smirking says:

    Made these and loved them! Delicious! I wish I would’ve made two smaller pans and frozen one so I could have a freezer meal to look forward to. Thanks for an awesome dinner!

  35. Melanie says:

    Not even sure how I found your page but I’m so glad I did. I made these last night for dinner for the fam and I got thumbs up all around. You are totally right about the cilantro-lime rice, it is a MUST and oh so yummy. You have SOO many good recipes I don’t even know which one to try next. I just keep bookmarking every one I see!

  36. EC says:

    These burritos are really REALLY good!!! I love the cafe rio ones but I’ve always thought they were a little too sweet. The amount of sweetness in these burritos was perfect!!

  37. Kurtis says:

    These sound amazing! Can’t wait to try them. Cheers!

  38. melissa says:

    How do you think this will taste with Red Enchilada sauce? I have all the stuff and am gonna these tonight!

  39. Hannah says:

    I made these two nights ago and they were delicious!! I ended up cooking the pork with diced chipolte peppers in adobe (and left out the liquid smoke) for a slight kick. Not a huge sweet meat person, but the spice counteracted the sweetness perfectly! Thank you for the wonderful, easy recipe.

  40. Julie says:

    These were fabulous! There was leftover pork mixture — I did not combine all the pork and rice because it looked like somehow I had a little too much. My family used crackers to eat the pork because it is truly delicious. I know Cafe Rio well, and I won’t say it’s the same, but it’s just as wonderful.

  41. Corine says:

    Hello mel,
    I read you use in a lot of recipes a slow cooker. I don’t have one. What can I do instead?
    Thanks, Corine from the Netherlands

  42. Lauren Holley says:

    THESE ARE FANTASTIC. I’m such a fanatic about your blog, Mel! I read it almost religiously. I just started college and it’s been fun to make these rad recipes and be able to eat really well on a budget. Thank you so much, I really appreciate you sharing the love of food (:

  43. shirlh says:

    Could you please give me the nutritional info on this recipe. I want to see just how many points there are in weight watchers.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Shirlh – I don’t include nutritional info on my recipes but I know there are several free nutritional calculators online for you to use. Good luck!

  44. Lisa D says:

    Mel, these burritos are absolutely divine. I have been trying to find a great smothered burrito recipe with no success until this one. This is a legit Cafe Rio rival. :) So easy to assemble and tastes amazing. I agree, the rice is a must, so good! Thanks for another great recipe.

  45. Beth says:

    Looks great but I need a chicken recipe. Think it would work to substitute chicken breasts instead???

  46. Amanda says:

    Another winner Mel!!! Loved these, thanks for sharing!

  47. Jess says:

    I made these yesterday, they are awesome! We used brown rice instead of white. I just added a little extra broth and cooked the rice longer (A LOT LONGER). Thanks for sharing, this one will definitely go into the monthly rotation!

  48. Cari says:

    Thanks for the recipe, Mel. My husband loved it and gave it a rare 10!

  49. jen says:

    Loved the ease of making the initial shredded pork. I adapted it to my dutch oven since I don’t have a crockpot, will use that method again for sure. Once we added the sauce the flavor was just too sweet, the enchilada sauce got lost, so I’d change that up a bit next time. Thanks as always!

  50. We just had a Rio open up near us last Summer and we’ve not been. These burritos are a must make and soon. Something about sweet and pork together sounds so wonderful. Pinned

  51. Jenny says:

    Made these tonight….so freakin’ good! Thanks, Mel!!!

  52. Angela says:

    Perhaps this is the wrong place to post this . . . you may never see it. Aw well, it must be said. These were amazing. First I love and adore you for not saying it was like Café Rio, and acknowledging that, to this day, no recipe on the internets is capable of producing the Café Rio pork deliciousness. Secondly, this pork was absolutely fantastic, the best I have had, and while it was not the same taste as Café Rio, it definitely matched both Café Rio’s taste and quality. You are a food goddess, my favorite and go-to food blog. I will always count you as one of my best online and food friends whom I have never, and most likely will never, meet. Thank you Mel, truly.

  53. Menu Mondays says:

    […] Sunday: smothered sweet pork burritos […]

  54. Kristen says:

    I just made these tonight and I have a ton of the filling leftover… do you think it would be okay to freeze?

  55. Meridith says:

    Making this tonight and can’t stop eating spoonfuls of the pork/beans/rice mixture by itself. So delicious.

  56. Kayla says:

    We had these for dinner tonight and couldn’t get enough. My new favorite!! Thanks for the best recipe ever!

  57. Emily says:

    First of all, awesome recipe! I was just eating the filling straight up while assembling them! I have a suggestion for your video tips- I would love to see you demonstrate rolling up burritos. I have not mastered that skill at all!!

  58. Desiree says:

    Hi Mel! Made these last night, so delicious. Thank you, your recipes never let me down!

  59. Kira Peterson says:

    These were extra tasty. Thanks!

  60. Kayla says:

    My family and I love these! Always followed the recipe exactly and have been pleased. However, we now have beef in our freezer. Could I sub a beef roast in place of the pork? I really love the original version but need to use our meat. :)

  61. Katie says:

    I made these yesterday for dinner and they were amazing! I used some boneless, country style pork ribs that I had on hand and cooked it in the oven with the water and liquid smoke. I didn’t have low sodium chicken broth, so I halved the salt in every component and was glad I did; the seasoning was spot on. I used your recipe for homemade green enchilada sauce and will never look back. Phenomenal. My husband and I were raving over every bite. They seem to fancy to be in a regular dinner rotation, but they’re so easy they can be! So happy to have this recipe!

  62. Ashlee T says:

    Hey Mel! I made an extra pan of these. I’m going to freeze them. Will they turn out ok still? How long do I cook them for after I pull them out of the freezer? Thanks!!! Love your recipes!

    • Mel says:

      Ashlee T – These freeze great! I usually cover the pan (that’s been frozen) with foil and cook them on 350 degrees for an hour until they are heated through and then uncover and cook until they are hot all the way through.

  63. Julie says:

    This is one of my most very favorite meals. I make three or four pans and bake them all, let them cool and then freeze all but one pan. That turns out very well. Mel might have better advice.

  64. Jen says:

    I made these for my family the other night. They were so delicious! My mother, who does not like spice, liked these. My picky 3-year old liked the filling (she was too scared to try the burrito). I woke up the next morning expecting to have left overs for breakfast and my sneaky husband had taken them all with him for lunch at work! I was mad and pleased at the same time! I’m just wondering when is too soon to make these again?

    • Mel says:

      You sound like me, Jen! I make things back to back when they are just too good to resist. Glad the burritos were a hit with your family (darn those sneaky husbands stealing all the leftovers!).

  65. LeeAnne says:

    Heavens, these are so good! Just made them tonight for dinner and what a hit they are :) I halved the brown sugar because I’m not a fan of really sweet pork, and to me it gave it the perfect hint of sweet without being overpowering. Thank you, Mel! You’ve shared so many awesome recipes that my family loves!

  66. Joan says:

    These look so very good. Making them for company Sunday. What sides would you serve with them?

  67. Megan says:

    Hi, I am not the best at commenting on blogs, but I just had to tell you how much I loved these!!!! I tried another Cafe Rio mock recipe a while ago and it totally failed (I am sure it was user error, but still disappointing). These were so yummy and I was so thrilled to have leftovers! Thanks for the great recipe and the awesome instructions! I will be sure to check out your blog for other recipes!

  68. Megan says:

    Also, in case this helps anyone, I am VERY rice challenged. I have to use a rice cooker or else things will end in tears! I made my rice in the rice cooker and then stirred in the ingredients (minus the chicken broth), and I thought it turned out great. Just an FYI for all those that struggle with rice like me.

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