Homemade Pork Tocino

by arnold on March 20, 2010

A few weeks ago, I got this urge to make my tocino, the sweet cured pork that’s a staple Philippine breakfast meat. It’s probably most commonly served as tosilog, which is portmanteau of tocino, sinangag (garlic fried rice), and itlog (eggs). (I discuss “silogs” in my Best Breakfast Ever post from a few years ago.)

Tosilog - Cherry GardenTosilog — the breakfast of champions (from Cherry Garden in Fremont, CA)

My first attempt at tocino used the simple salt/sugar/achuete cure from the book Memories of Philippine Kitchens by Chef Romy Dotoran and Amy Besa of New York’s famous-but-now-closed Cendrillon. but that recipe didn’t work for me at all. The tocino ended up being way too salty, and it was almost inedible. (There’s a good chance that the recipe’s failure was my fault, so I’ll have to revisit it one of these days.)

While discussing my tocino plans with a couple other food bloggers on Twitter, Mark Manguerra of No Special Effects said that he’d always want to try Simply Anne’s tocino recipe, so I decided to give it a shot. In short, the recipe is good and with a few adjustments, the tocino was exactly what I wanted.

Pork Tocino

(adapted from Simply Anne’s.)

3 lb. boneless pork shoulder roast
1¼ cups pineapple juice
½ cup ketchup
½ cup lemon-lime soda
1/3 cup light soy sauce
2 cups brown sugar
1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Freeze pork shoulder roast for an hour or so to firm it up so that it’s easier to slice. Cut 1/4-inch slices of pork shoulder and place in a one gallon zipper-lock plastic bag.
  2. Mix the rest of the ingredients in bowl and then add to the meat. Seal the bag, doing your best to remove excess air. Let the pork cure in the refrigerator for a 4-5 days, flipping over the bag every day or so.
  3. After curing, you can either cook the meat or portion them off into smaller bags and freeze them.
  4. To cook the tocino, add a little water, marinade and a few slices of meat to a skillet. Over medium heat, let the liquid boil off and then fry the meat for a couple more minutes to caramelize it. There’s a lot of sugar in the marinade so make sure you don’t burn the meat.

    You can also grill the tocino, which is my ideal method, by searing both sides on a grill over high heat and then letting them finish cooking over low or indirect heat. You can replicate this method indoors using a grill pan to sear and a low oven (around 250F) to finish.

Grilled TocinoPan frying tocino is traditional, but I prefer it grilled.

There’s a lot of tocino in that picture, isn’t there? I’ll show you what I did with it in my next post… :)

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Trissa March 21, 2010 at 2:39 am

This looks absolutely fantastic! Takes me back to the Philippines! I’ll have to try the recipe one day.

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Cora Gatilao March 21, 2010 at 11:32 am

Arnold, looks so good! Please make some when you come home!

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Phil March 21, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Just when I thought I’d seen all you could possibly do with pork, enter Tocino. That looks brilliant, Arnold. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I’m definitely trying this.

When Jo sees this post, she’s going to flip out. :-)

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Arnold March 24, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Thanks, Phil. I think this a bit of porky heaven most people don’t know about.

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Brian Asis March 22, 2010 at 4:31 am

Yes, the breakfast that Filipino never get tired of eating :D Actually, I could eat this any time of the day :D

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Keane March 24, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Wow. Just wow.

I feel like I glanced into Heaven just briefly.

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Arnold March 24, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Thanks, Keane. Wait till you see the next post… :)

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Susannah March 29, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Thanks a lot. you know andy is going to expect me to make this now, right?!!

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Row March 31, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Pure awesomeness! This post has inspired me to give homemade tocino a try. Now I’m craving Filipino breakfast!

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sheryl@crispywaffle April 1, 2010 at 1:47 am

Tosilog!!! I cannot wait for my trip to the PI, but breakfast there is going to make me fat. Should I send you some pasalubong? ;-)

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Xai | Obviously Omnivore November 23, 2010 at 1:48 pm

never thought of grilling tocino, but it certainly sounds good though.

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EZnSF February 15, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Well, I just finished my first batch of Tocino from your recipe.
It’s Grrrrrrrrrreat!.
Making a second batch this afternoon. Thanks for the recipe.
I fell in love with this breakfast when I bought it from a ‘taco truck’ in downtown San Francisco one morning. I package up into individual servings, like you suggest… instant breakfast. Also, I forgo the lime soda and just add lemon juice and an extra bit of sugar.
THANKS FOR THE BEST BREAKFAST EVER!

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Arnold April 10, 2011 at 9:54 am

I’m glad this worked out for you. Now I’m craving tocino! :)

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Paul February 20, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Just wanted to say that you probably didn’t do anything wrong when you made the Pork Tocino from ‘Memories of Philippine Kitchens’. I just made it for the first time using that recipe, and it’s sooooo salty, it’s (as you said) almost inedible. It also seems to have a completely different salt-to-sugar ratio than any other variation online. What a huge disappointment.

I’ll have to try it again, this time with your recipe. Your results look great!

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Arnold April 10, 2011 at 9:57 am

Glad to know that I’m not crazy. I need to go back and work on a more stripped-down version of tocino.

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Jeffrey May 11, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Im Jeffrey, Ask ko lang po sana kung anu- anu ang ipagbabalot sa skinless/fresh sausages and sa smoked sausages.At itanung ko lang kung saan pede bumili ng phosphate? at sa anisado wine kung saan ako pedeng bumili ng mga ganun, kasi po gagawa ako ng tucino at sausages yung homemade lang idedeliver ko lang sa mga tao. gagawin ko kasi itong partime job while mag- aaral ako.please do help me po.

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Abby August 10, 2011 at 10:28 am

I tried your recipe, it’s very nice and very delicious. Thanks :D

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Arnold August 14, 2011 at 2:43 am

Thanks, Abby! Glad you liked it.

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Arnold August 15, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Thanks, Abby. Glad you liked it. :)

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jasmin heither August 18, 2011 at 7:30 pm

jeje…try to do it……..it’s nice……

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justin August 18, 2011 at 7:39 pm

that’s nice……..I and my friends tried that…….making tocino…but lets see the result if it is successful…..jejejeje

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karen November 6, 2011 at 11:19 pm

hi there,

thanks for sharing this simple and natural ingredients…i want to use your recipe to have an extra income look nice and delicious, just wanted to ask if it’s packed how many days it will last using your ingredients?

thank you, your reply is highly appreciated….

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ian November 8, 2011 at 2:35 am

hehe kahit hindi poh bah pork shoulder roast

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Rommel January 8, 2012 at 3:51 pm

greetings from sydney. grilled tocino??? hmmm…never had that one before. even back home i’ve never seen them grill tocino. that’s something new. i’ll try your recipe and grill them to awesomeness…. thanks dude!

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Richard January 11, 2012 at 4:55 am

Wow! I’m glad I found this online! My pinay gf is in the Philz and I’m in the states (until we can rectify that..lolz) so I’m trying to learn filipino recipes to surprise her when she’s here. She cooks pork tocino any time of day, so I know it’s a fave of hers. I’ll have to try the tosilog. Looks delicious! Thanks again

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Rommel Cruz January 18, 2012 at 6:23 pm

I had your tocino for breakfast and I also had it for lunch (my “baon” for today).

After three days in the marinade I fried a few pieces. It did not taste nice. It was lacking in flavor and the meat was on the tough side. On the sixth day (which is today), I thought I boil them first with the marinade and let the liquid reduce to a low until it is charring a little then I added some oil towards the end. The result was amazing! Color is vibrant. Taste is yum and it was quite tender too.

Thank you for a really good recipe and thank you Simply Anne’s! Funny I usually have vinegar with tocino but with this I didn’t have to. My eldest son had it with tomatoes though. I did not know whether I should be happy he liked dad’s tocino or the fact that he was eating tomatoes.

I still have a few pieces left in the batch and I plan to grill them.

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John Gavina January 23, 2012 at 3:06 pm

It’s marinating now. How am I supposed to wait?
I think I’m gonna like this because it doesn’t use vinegar.
Just sweetness.
So what’s that over your rice in the first pic?
Are those sunny side down eggs?
Yum.

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masimeon March 14, 2012 at 3:54 am

i have been craving tocino and it is nowhere to be found in my area. I’m so excited to try this recipe!

I just have one quick question, though. The recipe calls for ketchup, do I use regular tomato ketchup, or the filipino version which is banana ketchup?

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Gilbert Caganda July 11, 2012 at 10:00 pm

i wanna know what is ” lemon-lime soda”..heheh
i want to try this recipe for my livelihood project!

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Tina August 20, 2012 at 12:15 am

Hello from Lausanne! Just reiterating what masimeon said… do I use tomato or banana ketchup? Thanks!

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arnold August 20, 2012 at 1:41 am

just regular ketchup. :)

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Angel November 1, 2012 at 4:52 pm

i tried with pork butt…amazing. then got a little crazy and tried it with pork belly…WOW. gotta be careful with the belly though. choose belly with enough meat (60/40 meat to fat ratio). you’ll see…and banana ketchup for sure. thanks for the recipe, man!

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booksbenji March 18, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Just use ham steaks. simple to use, marinade cook!!!! Grits is rice be great. forgotten this will try it soon!!!

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