Homemade pork tocino recipe with 48 hours of marination!
Filipinos like their breakfast hearty, but it must be easy to prepare, like with tocino. Tocino is a type of preserved meat that’s undergone the process of curing.
It’s easy to spot this dish, as you’ll never be wrong with its sweet flavor. It’s also usually served not only on the breakfast table, but also in many eateries around the country as a part of their breakfast menus.
The meat used for this recipe can be chicken, pork, or beef. But pork is what’s usually sold in wet markets and in supermarkets.
Though pork tocino is easily bought from the supermarkets as an easy-to-cook version, this pork tocino recipe is actually easy enough to follow if you want something homemade!
Another feature of this recipe is that the traditional recipe includes salitre (saltpeter), giving it a reddish color. However, as salitre is a strong chemical, the modern way of cooking homemade pork tocino is done without it.
Commercial producers of pork tocino have also followed suit, as you’ll usually see advertisements of packed tocino marketing their product as “no salitre added.”
If, however, you want to achieve that traditional reddish color, you can always use food coloring.
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 Homemade pork tocino recipe peparation
- 2 Homemade pork tocino recipe
- 3 Cooking tips
- 4 Substitutes and variations
- 5 How to serve and eat
- 6 Similar dishes
- 7 FAQs
- 8 Enjoy your homemade pork tocino
Homemade pork tocino recipe peparation
Though the idea of preserving meat for future consumption might scare some, the procedure for this tocino recipe is actually simple! It only involves mixing the other ingredients and then adding the pork.
After, you’d let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. After that, it’s ready to be cooked at any time!
Cooking, on the other hand, only involves frying it. Since the pork already has its own fat, you may opt not to use cooking oil; you can just let the pork be fried in its own fat.
Partnered with warm rice, sunny-side-up eggs, sliced tomatoes, and hot coffee, this will up your mood in the mornings!
Homemade pork tocino recipe
- 6 lbs pork shoulder
- 2½ cups pineapple juice
- 1⅓ cups Coke or Pepsi
- 1⅓ cups ketchup
- 1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 2½ cups dark brown sugar
- 2½ tbsp garlic powder
- 2½ tbsp salt
- 3 tsp ground black pepper
- Slice the pork shoulder and place it in a ceramic baking dish 48 hours before cooking.
- Make the marinade:
- Whisk together pineapple juice, Coke, ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Pour marinade over meat, making sure it's well covered by the sauce.
- Cover tightly and refrigerate no less than 48 hours and up to 5 days.
- When ready to cook, pour meat and marinade into a large saucepot and cook on high until boiling.
- In batches, move meat from pot to skillet using tongs and cook until sauce reduces and thickens, and meat cooks thoroughly (about 5-7 minutes).
- Serve and enjoy!
Check out YouTube user Chef RV Manabat’s video on making pork tocino:
I know I’ve already mentioned how easy this dish is to prepare, but despite how simple it might be, don’t let it fool you! There are still some cooking tips and tricks to it, which I’m going to share with you:
- The secret to a cooked, tender tocino is choosing the right meat. Personally, I found using pork tenderloin or pork shoulder to be the best when making tocino because the meat and fat are perfectly balanced.
- I always love the natural colors, taste, and preparation of my recipes especially if they’re homemade, so if you want to have your pork tocino look natural, you can skip adding food coloring or Prague powder. But if you want the reddish color, you can instead use ketchup or 1 teaspoon atsuete powder.
- To make the meat softer and to counteract the sweetness with a tinge of acidic flavor, you can add pineapple juice, anise wine, or vinegar.
- Soy sauce is already a bit salty, so make sure that you only add the right amount of salt to your marinated and cured pork.
And those are the secrets to making a homemade pork tocino that rocks!
Substitutes and variations
You might be wondering what would happen if you don’t have all the ingredients to cook pork tocino. Say no more, and check out some of my ingredient substitutions and variations.
Use ketchup instead of red or pink food coloring
There’s no need to add food coloring to make your tocino look pink or red. You can always add your regular banana ketchup to your homemade pork tocino.
Simply prepare 1/4 cup and pour it into the cured pork with all the other ingredients.
Use chicken meat instead of pork
The closest thing to pork is chicken meat.
Yes, you may very well substitute pork with chicken meat, but there will be no sense in calling it “pork” tocino. So it’ll now be chicken tocino.
Use light brown or even white sugar instead of dark brown sugar
Using dark brown sugar for your homemade pork tocino is highly recommended because it’ll help darken the pork meat. However, if you have none available, you can substitute it with light brown or white sugar instead, since these types of sugar are quite common.
Ready to make your tocino? I know, but stay with me.
How to serve and eat
Preparing tocino is no biggie. Similarly, serving and eating it is also as smooth as silk.
To serve and eat tocino, you can do this in 2 ways.
The first one is serving tocino with plain white rice and a delicious vinegar and soy sauce mix for dipping.
The other one is making a completely different dish called tosilog. To make tosilog, you’ll cook fried rice and a sunny-side-up egg, and serve them in a small bowl with your homemade tocino on top.
Whichever you choose, have the first bite with your spoon and savor it in your mouth!
Can’t get enough of our star dish for today? Check out these similar dishes to pork tocino that are equally mouthwatering!
We all know what ham is (to reiterate, ham is a pork leg cut that’s been wet or dry-cured, with or without smoking, to preserve it). Ham may include both intact cuts of meat and meat that’s been mechanically produced.
Bacon is a salt-cured pork product that’s made from a variety of slices of pork, usually the belly or less fatty areas of the back. It can be a side dish, the main dish, a flavoring, or a decoration.
Humba is quite different since this is a whole new Filipino dish specialty. But when talking about the taste, humba can be a bit closer to tocino.
Humba specifically comes from the Visayas region of the Philippines, where a soft drink like Coca-Cola or Sprite is frequently substituted for sugar while braising the pig. Its taste is like a strongly spiced meal of chicken or pork.
I know you’re very excited to proceed to your kitchen to cook your homemade pork tocino. But let’s have our short Q & A first. Let’s get all of this crystal clear!
What type of meat is tocino?
Filipinos often make pork tocino (a form of cured meat) using beef, poultry, or pork. Tocino is the main ingredient of a favorite breakfast staple called tosilog, which is a combination of tocino, sinangag (garlic fried rice), and itlog (sunny side up eggs).
How do I store tocino?
Put cooked leftovers in a plastic box with a secure lid. Store it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Does tocino need oil?
Not necessarily. Tocino is best cooked with the pork’s own oil.
Can I bake tocino?
Yes, you can!
On a baking sheet lined with foil, spread out the marinated meat in a single layer. Bake uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes at 350°F, or until the meat is browned and a meat thermometer inserted in the center registers 145°F.
If the meat is over-browning before it’s fully cooked, turn it halfway through cooking and loosely tent it with foil.
Enjoy your homemade pork tocino
Is a bad morning already a bad day? Nope, not with this mouthwatering tocino!
Feel its warmth on a cold morning with your coffee while watching the sunrise. Isn’t it nice?
Ready to take the first bite of your homemade tocino? Head over to your kitchen now and follow my recipe, as well as my cooking tips! Impress your family and friends and let them wonder how you did it.
’til next time.
Do you like my pork tocino recipe? Give me 5 stars and I’ll see you on the next equally savory and hearty Filipino recipe.
To learn more about pork tocino, read this article.
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.