‘Bricklayer Tacos’ recipe


Pati Jinich is resident chef of the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C., has a PBS cooking show called “Pati’s Mexican Table,” and also is mom to three young boys.

In her second cookbook, “Mexican Today,” Jinich shares the modern Mexican-inspired meals that she makes for her busy family. This recipe from the cookbook for Bricklayer Tacos (Tacos de Albañil) has traditional roots; it’s named for street food served at construction sites in Mexico.

Jinich will be in town this week for “Adventure on the Mexican Table,” a dinner event Friday at Cafe Coyote in Old Town hosted by the American Institute of Wine & Food. The author will sign copies and discuss her latest cookbook over a dinner of authentic Mexican cuisine and margaritas. Cost for the dinner is $45, or $95 for dinner and VIP reception. Details and registration at (619) 300-2532 or

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Bricklayer Tacos (Tacos de Albañil)

Serves 6

  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes or one 14-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 8 ounces sliced bacon
  • 2 pounds beef sirloin or tenderloin, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt or sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, cut in half, then into thin slivers (2 cups slivered onions)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 jalapeño chilies, seeded if desired, sliced thin (more or less to taste)
  • Flour or corn tortillas
  • Salsa

If using fresh tomatoes, preheat the broiler. Line a baking dish or baking sheet with foil. Place the tomatoes on the foil and place under the broiler, 2 to 3 inches from the heat. Broil for 4 to 5 minutes and flip over. Broil for another 4 to 5 minutes, until the skin is charred and the tomatoes are completely soft. Once cool enough to handle, chop coarsely, without discarding the juices or the seeds. Transfer with juices and seeds to a bowl. (Note: You can also roast the tomatoes on a hot comal, but a broiler is quicker.) If using canned fire-roasted tomatoes, chop, without discarding juices.

Cut the bacon strips crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces. Heat a deep 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until it starts to crisp and lightly brown. Add the meat and season with salt and pepper. Sear the meat for about 2 minutes per side.

Add the onion, garlic and chilies to the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until softened. Add the chopped tomatoes. Stir occasionally and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasoning.


Heat a skillet or comal over medium-low heat. Once hot, heat the tortillas for about 1 to 2 minutes per side, until completely malleable and lightly browned in spots. Place the tortillas in a tortilla warmer or wrap them in a clean kitchen towel or cloth napkin. Serve with salsa alongside the beef al albañil; guests can fill the tortillas with the amount of filling they desire.

Recipe used with permission from “Mexican Today: New and Rediscovered Recipes for Contemporary Kitchens” by Pati Jinich (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016)