Tocino or pork tocino is one of the popular pork dish for Pinoys but this dish, or maybe just the name was one of the Spanish influence that we inherited. Actually “tocino” is a Spanish word for “bacon” but when it comes to our cuisine, it is sweetened cured pork.
When it comes to Filipino cuisine, pork tocino is a classic dish that has been enjoyed by generations. This sweet cured pork is a popular breakfast food in the Philippines and can be served with rice, fried eggs, and tomato slices. While you can easily buy pre-packaged tocino in supermarkets, making it at home is not only healthier but also allows you to adjust the flavor to your liking.
The first step in making pork tocino is to prepare the meat. You will need half a kilo of pork shoulder or kasim, sliced into 1/4 inch thick pieces. In a mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, red food coloring or annatto powder, pineapple juice (optional), and salt. Mix well to form a marinade.
Next, rub the marinade all over the pork, making sure to cover all sides of the meat. You can either place the pork and marinade in a ziplock bag or a Tupperware container for curing. Put the container in the refrigerator and let it cure for 2 to 3 days.
After the curing process, you can either fry or grill the pork tocino. Heat at least 4 tablespoons of cooking oil in a pan over medium to high heat. Fry the tocino for 3 minutes on each side or until browned and cooked through. Be careful not to overcook the meat, as it can become tough and dry.
Once done, you can serve the pork tocino with fried rice and fried eggs for a hearty breakfast. The sweetness of the pork pairs perfectly with the saltiness of the eggs and the acidity of the tomatoes.
Making your own pork tocino at home is a great way to enjoy this classic Filipino dish without the added preservatives and unhealthy ingredients found in pre-packaged tocino. Plus, it’s a fun and easy way to get creative in the kitchen and experiment with different flavors. Try adding some spices like black pepper or chili powder to give your tocino an extra kick. You can also try using different cuts of pork to see which ones work best for you.
Pork tocino is a delicious and easy-to-make dish that you can enjoy any time of the day. Making it at home not only ensures that you know exactly what’s in your food but also allows you to customize the flavor to your liking. So why not give this recipe a try and impress your family and friends with your culinary skills?
Notes on The Ingredients:
Pork shoulder or kasim
This cut of pork is often used in Filipino cuisine as it has a good balance of meat and fat, which helps keep the meat juicy and tender. When sliced thinly, it also cooks quickly and evenly.
The sweetness of brown sugar is what gives tocino its distinctive flavor. It also acts as a natural preservative, allowing the meat to last longer without the need for chemical preservatives.
Soy sauce adds a savory, umami flavor to the marinade. It also helps to tenderize the meat by breaking down its proteins.
Garlic adds a pungent flavor and aroma to the marinade. It is also believed to have several health benefits, such as boosting the immune system and reducing inflammation.
Red food coloring or annatto powder
This ingredient is optional, but it is often added to give the tocino its distinctive red color. Annatto powder is a natural food coloring made from the seeds of the achiote tree and is commonly used in Filipino cuisine.
Recipe Update: This blog post is updated with more text and added with recipe notes, notes on the ingredients and cooking tips. The calorie value is also corrected based on the calorie counter from Verywellfit.com
How To Make Pork Tocino (Sweet Cured Pork)
- 1/2 kilo pork shoulder or kasim slice into 1/4 inch thick
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp of red food coloring or annatto powder
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/8 cup pineapple juice optional
- 1/2 tsp. salt
How To Make Pork Tocino (Sweet Cured Pork):
- Combine the ingredients: brown sugar, food coloring, soy sauce, garlic, pinepple juice and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Put the sliced pork in the bowl and rub the mixture liberally on all sides of the pork.
- You can either use a zip bag and put all the pork and mixture or in a tupperware container for curing the pork.
- Put inside a refrigerator and cure for 2 to 3 days.
- After curing the pork, you can either fry or grill it. Heat at least 4 tablespoons of cooking oil.
- Fry the tocino at least 3 minutes on each sides until browned on medium to high heat or until cooked.
- Don't overcook because it will become too dry and tough.
- Serve with fried egg and fried rice or java rice
Watch the Video on How to Make Pork Tocino:
- Make sure to slice the pork shoulder or kasim thinly, around 1/4 inch thick. This will help it cook evenly and quickly.
- When curing the pork, make sure to use a container that can be tightly sealed, such as a zip bag or Tupperware container. This will help the meat absorb the flavors of the marinade more effectively.
- If you don't have red food coloring or annatto powder, you can omit this ingredient. The tocino will still taste delicious without it.
- When frying the tocino, make sure to heat the oil over medium-high heat. This will help the meat cook quickly and evenly without burning.
- Don't overcook the tocino, as it can become dry and tough. Cook each side for around 3 minutes or until browned, and remove from the pan as soon as it is cooked through.
Correction: In some of the comments below, star ratings were mistakenly included. These have now been removed for transparency. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.
Yvonne Marie Edralin
Hello! I tried doing tocino. But the meat is so tough. How come other tocino’s are so tender?
I think it depends on the kind of pork or what part of the pork you are using. Usually pork shoulder or pork butt is used. Also, the commercial tocino are using tenderizers to make it tender.
Hi Yvonne, some boil it in water first until tender then fry it in oil after.
Hi Pixie, thanks for the cooking tip! 😁
Hi there! Is garlic necessary for this recipe?
Hi Sahlee, yes it is necessary.
So I have 2 pounds of meat do I just double the recipe then?
Yes you have to double ingredients in the recipe.
Hi Sarah, you can use rock salt or kosher salt.
Is the measurement of salt for Kosher salt or ordinary table salt? Thanks!
How long can i keep and freeze it? Can I keep it in the freezer for 1 month?
Hi Loise, Yes you can store it in a freezer for a month.
Hi! Can I use this tocino recipe for my food business? Thanks!
Hi Joys, what kind of food business? are going to sell the tocino uncooked and frozen or in a restaurant or canteen? Since this tocino does not have preservatives or other stuffs for curing the meat, I’m not sure about the shelf life.
Hi i tried to sell homemade tocino and i got their feedback so bad result 🙁 . Can u assure to me that this recipe is delicious? Is it tender even w/out sprite and vinegar?
Hi May, I can’t assure you if it will suit your taste. You can try a small quantity first, let say 1/4 kilo then cook and taste it.
I didnt use red colouring and cooked on electric grill, but was amazing!! Served with spicy rice, the sweet with spicy done it for me! Thanks for the recipe.
Hi Haley, My pleasure! thanks for visiting and sharing your comment!
Been using recipe for about 6 months. My filipina and I love it.
Hi Bert, I’m happy that this recipe blog helped you in your cooking tocino.
Hi Kris, you only need to add chili or what ever spices to make it spicy and no need to reduce the sugar. But you can reduce the sugar if you think the amount is too sweet. It will not affect the curing process.
Hi! I’ve never made or had tocino before. But I plan to make it for someone who had it in Korea. He said one place in particular served it spicy. So would I reduce the sugar or is the current amount necessary for the curing process?
i like to make it…. I love food
Hi thanks for sharing this tocino recipe. I was looking for a tocino recipe without preservative (salitre) like this one.
Do i need to put it in freezer? Tnx
If you will store it for a longtime, you need to put it in the freezer.