Make the best homemade pork tocino at home. Sweet and succulently tender pork belly that you can enjoy for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Pair it with garlic fried rice and egg and serve TOCILOG style.
Filipino Tocino Recipe
After many attempts, finally found the best way of making Filipino pork tocino at home. And I’m so excited to share it with all of you!
I love how this recipe turned out. If I must say, it’s actually better than the store-bought ones. The pork is tender and not overly sweet. It’s smoky and almost tastes like ham.
I promise, you’re going to love this.
Homemade Tocino Ingredients
The ingredients you’ll find in this recipe are by no means traditional but they’re definitely accessible in many grocery stores. The best part? You don’t need any curing salt.
Here’s what you need to make this pork tocino.
- Pork belly – find a cut that has more meat than fat. Ask the butcher to remove the skin and cut it into 1/4 inches thick.
- Brown Sugar – I prefer using this over white sugar. It’s a nuttier flavor and gives the pork a golden color.
- Soy sauce – adds depth of flavor and brings out the best pork flavor.
- Pineapple Juice and Vinegar – balances the sweetness. The acid also helps preserve and tenderize the pork.
- Garlic – a Filipino recipe is never complete without garlic. Agree? 🙂
- Smoked Paprika – is optional but I like the subtle smokiness flavor it gives the tocino.
- Hoisin Sauce – the best idea ever! Patting myself on the back for this. It’s sweet and salty and makes the tocino delicious.
Tips on How to make Pork Tocino at Home
It’s so easy to make tocino at home. In fact, the hardest part for me is waiting because you will need 5 days to cure/marinate the pork. This ensures that it becomes succulently tender and really flavorful.
- Start by rubbing the massaging the pork with the salt and sugar. Doing this helps the sugar and salt stick to the pork.
- Combining all the ingredients of the marinade in a bowl.
- Place the pork in a zip back then pour over the marinade. Seal tightly and place in the fridge. Forget about it for 5 days and then cook as needed. That’s it!
Tender Pork belly tocino: How to cook
Boiling the pork in water until tender is the easiest way to cook the pork. This also helps tenderize the pork without burning the sugar.
Once the liquid has reduced, the fat will start to render. Add a little vegetable oil then lower the heat. Gently fry the pork until both sides are caramelized.
Watch carefully as the sugar in the meat can burn easily. Flip it every now and then. I also suggest frying in batches so the sugar doesn’t build up in the pan. Scoop out any blackened sugar from the pan using a metal spoon after every batch to prevent it from sticking to the uncooked meat.
Bonus Tip! How to clean the pan
Don’t scrub that sugar residue from the pan. It’s not only messy but will also damage your precious pan.
To easily remove the sugar and burnt meat from the pan:
Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of baking soda to the pan. Fill it with water and let it boil for 2 to 3 minutes until the sugar becomes lose and dissolves. If there are any remaining bits in the side or bottom of the pan, gently scrape it with a wooden spoon. It will come off easily. I promise 🙂
Filipino Pork Tocino Recipe
- 1 kg / 2 lbs. pork belly (skin removed, sliced into ¼" thick)
- 3 teaspoons salt (I used sea salt)
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil (for frying)
- water (for cooking)
- Place pork in a bowl. Add salt and brown sugar. Massage for 1 to 2 minutes until all sides are covered. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- Combine all the tocino marinade ingredients in a bowl. Stir until well combined.
- Place the pork in a zip back then pour over the marinade. Seal tightly and place it in another container with a lid to make sure the marinade doesn't leak.
- Marinate in the fridge for 2 days then transfer to the freezer. Marinade for another 3 days or until needed (see notes for shelf life). Defrost overnight before cooking.
How to cook tocino
- Remove pork from marinade then place in a frying pan. Add water until meat is almost covered. Let it boil and cook until all liquid has evaporated.
- Add oil when you hear the pork starts sizzling then set heat to medium-low. Gentle fry the pork until both sides are caramelized. Do this in batches and make sure that the pan is not too hot to avoid burning the sugar. Scoop out any blackened sugar from the pan using a metal spoon after every batch to prevent it from sticking to the uncooked meat.
- Serve with garlic fried rice, egg, and vinegar dipping sauce. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes and Tips:
- Pork belly can be substituted with pork shoulder, butt, or loin. Adjust the boiling time as needed.
- Salt- use sea salt or kosher salt. Do not use iodized or table salt.
- If the pan and oil end up being too hot and smoking, turn off the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. A smoking hot pan will burn the sugar in the pork easily.
- Rice vinegar can be substituted with distilled white vinegar, cane vinegar or white or red wine vinegar.
- Annatto powder is a natural food coloring that adds an "orange-ish" color to the pork. It can be found online and in most Filipino stores.
- Hoisin sauce is a sweet and salty glaze commonly used to make Chinese pork BBQ. It is available in many Asian stores, the international section of supermarkets, and online.
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