Filipino Tocino Recipe – Filipino tocino, otherwise known as sweet cured pork, is a staple dish in the Philippines. You’ll especially find this cured meat served with a sunny-side-up egg and garlic rice for a breakfast meal. Tocino is a term you can use to refer to any cured meat. The difference with tocino though is that it is usually on the sweet side. What’s more, pork is the more popular option for protein. There are different ways you can make and enjoy this dish and this recipe is just one of them.
Filipino Tocino Recipe
- 2 pounds pork butt sliced to 1/4-inch thick
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 drops red food coloring
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- Combine pork, sugar, salt, garlic, pepper, and red food coloring in a bowl. Massage the seasonings and coloring into the meat.
- Add the curing mixture into the bowl mixture and make sure everything is well-distributed and evenly colored.
- Transfer the marinated meat into a covered container or ziplock bag and refrigerate overnight to cure.
- Pour the pork and marinade into a pan and add enough water to cover the meat. Have the stove at medium heat, cover the pan, and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Once the meat is boiling, lower the heat and let it simmer until the meat is tender and cooked through. If you see the meat drying at any point, add more water in 1/2 cup increments as needed.
- When water is completely absorbed and meat is tender, add oil and cook, thhen stir regularly until meat caramelizes.
Not a fan of food coloring? Substitute about 1 teaspoon atsuete powder or 1/4 cup of banana ketchup.
What to Know About Tocino
The word tocino refers to the Spanish word which means “bacon”. Traditionally, the meat is prepared using a tender cut of meats is sliced into thin strips then cured in a mixture of anise wine, annatto, water, salt, and lots of sugar. The mixture is then left to marinate at room temperature for an hour. Following this is a curing process that takes 3 days in the freezer. After the curing process, the meat is then boiled in small amounts of water until it evaporates. When that happens, oil is added and finished off by frying it quickly to prevent the burning of the sugar.
Other Ways to Enjoy Tocino
While there is a traditional way to cook tocino, there are also other cooking methods to try. Depending on what cooking method you decide on, you may end up with different results. There are three methods you can test when making tocino. They are: using the stovetop, grilling, or baking. The stovetop method basically refers to pan-frying the meat. It is recommended though to cook the tocino first in water until it’s tender before frying it to give a crisp outside and tender middle.
If you want to try grilling the meat, you best do it with coal. Cook the meat over hot coals or on a tabletop grill for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through and nicely charred. As for the baking method, it’s a bit longer in comparison. First, arrange the marinated meat in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. In a 350 F oven, bake the meat for about 30 to 40 minutes or until browned and a thermometer inserted in the center of the meat reads 145 F. Once the meat is cooked halfway, loosely tent the tray with foil if over-browning before fully cooked.
These are just a few options you can try when it comes to experimenting with Filipino-cured meat. If you are interested in any other Filipino recipes, check out our “Pancit Malabon Recipe” or “Beef Afritada Recipe.”