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The Zach and Cilantro Saga – Day 2: Pork Tacos with a Chipotle Aioli, Salsa Verde, and Orange-Habanero Sauce

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When I think of tacos, I think of something that just melts in your mouth and makes a huge mess. My Dad used to always say, “The messier the better”. This statement seems to hold for tacos all the time. Hence, I bring to you the ultimate pork taco packed with three different sauces just to keep your taste buds in a constant state of confusion while you attempt to prevent the delectable taco from falling onto the plate. Don’t be afraid of these tacos though since the sauces are actually quite mild due to the large amount of natural sugars present in the dish. And, the use of three different chiles (chipotle, jalapeño, and habanero) disperses the spiciness over your entire mouth, something that you will not get from just a single type of pepper alone. These might very well be the most customizable taco to ever enter your kitchen too. Do not be afraid to pile on the sauces!








I do suppose that a taco does deviate from the expected plan to only provide sweets and fried foods while Justine is out of town. However, it is Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer, and it just seems natural to throw something on the grill. While many folks will be loading up the grill with prepackaged hot dogs and burgers, I figured it would be worth the time to do something a bit more creative with the grill. So, why not use a grill to cook a pork tenderloin rubbed with cumin, chile powder, and paprika? Uh, I do not have an answer for that question. So let’s just do it! The one thing that you have to be careful about here though is that you do NOT want to put the pork over burning hot coals or in a gas grill on high. The rub will burn very quickly if you do this and the meat will taste more like a burnt log than a succulent pork tenderloin. Also, be sure to let the pork rest after removing it from the grill so that you do not lose all of those yummy juices that are stuck inside the loin.

While the list of sauces is quite extensive, I assure you that they are super easy to make and you can make them all at the same time if you follow the order in which they are described below. The nice thing about these tacos is that if you are serving them for guests, you can leave it up to the guests to use any ratio of the sauces. So, if someone wants a smokier taco, they can pile on the aioli. If someone wants the heat of a jalapeño, then add a bit more salsa verde. And then, if there is someone who just wants to go all out they can pile all the sauces on the taco (make sure that this person is wearing a bib as there is a 99% chance that some of the taco will end up squirting out). You can make all of these sauces a day in advance if you are pressed for time too. And, you can even do the pork loin a day in advance and just let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. You will not even have to heat the pork the next day if you do not wish to. I have had these tacos both hot and cold and I cannot decide which I like better. I guess you could do both and let your guests decide for you?

As with any spicy dish, a hoppier beer is always a good bet. However, as the mercury rises, a super heavy and hoppy beer is not the kind of thing that you want to be downing with each and every meal. So, we need a compromise here I think. Breckenridge makes a brew that is exactly what the doctor ordered here (I suppose I could be the doctor making this order) . . . an Extra ESB. In the world of microbrew and now nanobrew, I suppose one can just make up any style that he/she may wish. It appears that that is exactly what they have done here with the Extra ESB. This beer is going to be higher in alcohol content than a standard ESB but no where near the bitterness of an IPA or IIPA. I suppose that this beer is so good that you may just want to drink the beer and save the tacos for leftovers.

As a final note, and completely unrelated to tacos and beer. We are testing out a new recipe format with this post and we would absolutely love any feedback (both positive AND negative). If you hate it, let us know. If you love it, also let us know. We think that the addition of the food nutrition is a great plus and we hope you find the recipes easier to follow (especially on the more complex recipes like this one where there are numerous sub-recipes). Thank you again for all of your support!





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I’m the voice, author, creator, and photographer behind Cooking and Beer. We started things about 10 years ago and Cooking and Beer has morphed and grown into what it is today: providing hundreds of recipes to thousands of people.

4 Responses

  1. OMG i am so looking forward to trying this recipe. If I had all the ingredients in I would do it today, but sadly not. Will be enjoying very soon though, thanks for sharing.

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Hello! I'm Justine.

I’m a blogger and web developer from the beautiful state of Oklahoma, where my loving husband, two adorable kids, and two mischievous dogs keep me on my toes 24/7. My idea of heaven includes endless summer days, getting lost in a good book, and whipping up some delicious homemade bread.


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