Make the best homemade pork tocino at home. Sweet and succulently tender pork belly cured in pineapple juice. Enjoy it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Pair it with garlic fried rice and egg and serve TOCILOG style.
Pineapple Cured Tocino
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.
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.
The best pork cut for tocino is pork belly. Leaner cuts such as pork butt and shoulder can also be used. I personally like combining two types of cuts for variation in texture.
To make it easier for the meat to absorb the marinate, cut the pork belly into ¼ inches thick. You will need to remove the skin as well.
All-natural Curing Marinade
Here's what you need for the marinade:
- 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 a minimum of 3 to 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 a few days then cook as needed. That's it!
How to Cook Tocino
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.
Serve Tocilog style
Tocino goes so well garlic fried rice and fried eggs. I like it with some atchara and sukang sawsawan to balance the sweetness.
Storage and Shelf-life
Marinated tocino can only last 5 days in the refrigerator. Freeze and place in a freezer-safe container if not using immediately. It should last for up to 2 months in the freezer. Thaw overnight before cooking the next day.
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 🙂
More breakfast recipes for your weekly menu:
- Skinless Longganisa
- Spam Yang Chow Fried Rice
- Pork Fried Rice
- Soft Pandesal
- Chicken Arroz Caldo
- Pandesal Asado
- Bagoong Rice
- Chicken Tocino
Pineapple Cured Pork Tocino
- 1 kg / 2 lbs. pork belly or pork shoulder/ butt/ loin (skin removed, sliced into ¼" thick)
- 3 teaspoon sea salt (see note 1)
- 10 tablespoon brown sugar
- 3 tablespoon 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 a minimum of 3 days. Transfer to the freezer if not cooking right away. 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. 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:
- Salt- use sea salt or kosher salt. Do not use iodized salt.
- Rice vinegar can be substituted with distilled white vinegar, cane vinegar, or white or red wine vinegar.
- 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. Substitute with ketchup if not available.
- 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..
- Shelf-life: Marinated tocino can only last 5 days in the refrigerator. Freeze and place in a freezer-safe container if not using immediately. It should last for up to 2 months in the freezer.
- Nutrition: 125g per serving assuming the meat only absorbs half of the sugar. It is impossible for me to determine exactly how much sugar is absorbed.
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Frequently asked questions
Tocino is means bacon in Spanish which is usually made of pork belly. In the Philippines, it refers to sweetened cured pork popularly serve for breakfast.
Chicken thighs are a good substitute for pork when making tocino. You can use this recipe to make it.
Aside from paprika, annatto powder (from annatto seeds) can be used to add some color to tocino. Use one teaspoon for every 500g of meat.