Sweet Pork Barbacoa Tostadas with Cola and Garlic
Our IP Version of CAFE RIO MEXICAN GRILL’S Sweet Pork Barbacoa Tostadas. How can you go wrong, braising pork in cola? This copycat replicates the braised pork shoulder filling the chain uses in its enchiladas, burritos, tacos, and tostadas. We chose to put it on top of tostada shells because we think it’s quite good with a little crunch underneath it. The pork mixture is sweet, as you might expect, given its name on the menu. And it’s not very hot (or really not hot at all, if you use a mild enchilada sauce). Spice it up by drizzling servings with a thin hot red chile sauce or even a chipotle chile sauce. Because the filling is itself pretty simple, we load the tostadas up with toppings, which are similar to what you can get at the restaurant.
Servings Prep Time
6servings 10minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
6servings 10minutes
Cook Time
  • 1 12-ounce bottle or can of cola(do not use diet or low-sugar varieties)
  • 1/2cup dark brown sugar
  • 1tbsp garlic powder
  • 1tbsp onion powder
  • 2tsp table salt
  • 1 4-pound boneless skinless pork shouldercut into 2-inch pieces, any fat blobs removed
  • 1 10-ounce can of mild red enchilada sauce1 cup plus 2 tablespoons
  • Tostada shellsfor serving
  • Shredded iceberg lettucefor serving
  • drained and rinsed canned black beansfor serving
  • Crumbled queso fresco or blancofor serving
  • Lime wedgesfor garnishing
  1. Mix the cola, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt in the insert set in a 5-, 6-, or 8-quart Instant Pot. Add the pork and stir well to coat. Lock the lid onto the cooker.
  2. For the MAX model:PRESSURE COOK on MAX. Set the time for 1 hour with the Keep Warm setting OFF. If needed press START.

    For other Instant Pot models: Set for PRESSURE COOK on HIGH pressure. Pressure valve must be closed. Set the time for 1 hour 10 minutes with the Keep Warm setting OFF. If needed press START.
  3. When the pot has finished cooking, turn it off and let the pressure return to normal naturally, about 35 minutes. Unlatch the lid and open the cooker.
  4. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat to a nearby large bowl. Use a flatware tablespoon to skim the sauce in the pot of its surface fat.
  5. Press SAUTÉ and set it for MEDIUM, NORMAL, OR CUSTOM 300°. Set the time for 20 minutes. If needed, press START.
  6. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s reduced to half its volume from when you removed the pork, about 10 minutes.
  7. Stir in the enchilada sauce and continue cooking, stirring more frequently, until the sauce has again reduced by half its volume after you added the enchilada sauce, about 8 minutes.
  8. Pour the pork and any juices in its bowl into the insert. Stir well and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute. Turn off the SAUTÉ function and cool for a couple of minutes. To serve, use kitchen tongs to pick out some of the meat from the sauce. Set the meat on top of a tostada shell, then top with shredded iceberg lettuce, black beans, crumbled queso fresco, and a lime wedge for squeezing over the whole thing.
Recipe Notes

Other Pots
• For a 3-quart Instant Pot, you must halve all of the ingredient amounts.
• For an 8-quart Instant Pot, you can increase all of the ingredient amounts by 50 percent.
• For a 10-quart Instant Pot, you must increase all of the ingredient amounts by 50 percent or you can even double them.