We had been away for weeks, traveling. When we returned home, we yearned for the familiar everyday dishes our palates were used to. But I was too tired from the trip to whip up a banquet. So I checked my freezer and there was Pork Tocino – Cured Pork in resealable plastic bags, ready to be cooked.
If you’ve never had pork tocino or cured pork slices which Filipinos love, then this is a good recipe to start with. You can either buy preserved and packaged pork tocino slices from Asian markets or Filipino groceries here in the USA. Or you can make your own homemade cured meat like I often do.
Cured pork like these are often found in the Pampanga and Tarlac (my home province) region in the Philippines. In my personal opinion, this can be attributed to the vast land areas in these parts which are used for piggery and livestock businesses. My dad preferred it when mom made pork tocino from scratch and we often had it for breakfast.
I took a cue from what mom used to do and cured my own pork tocino ahead of time, around two to three days before cooking. This has always been a lifesaver for me. I pack the cured slices in pre-portions inside zip lock plastic bags then freeze them. When I’m in a crunch and need to put food on the table quickly on weeknights, I cook tocino and serve it with leftover rice made into sinangag (garlic fried rice).
I relish watching the dark red slices of pork sizzle in the skillet. My family starts drooling when they catch a whiff of the sweet garlicky aroma. Sometimes this aroma wakes up my sons if I am making this for brunch.
Once our pork tocino and garlic rice were ready, I plated them in individual serving bowls, topped with an egg and slices of fresh Jersey tomatoes.
It’s always so good to be home when there’s a good bowl of tocino and rice ready for us to devour.
Pork Tocino- Cured Pork
- Large Skillet: 12 inches in diameter
- 1 pound pork shoulder or pork belly sliced thin in fillet sizes (liempo or casim in the Philippines)
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons paprika powder
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 2 Tablespoons white wine
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup water for cooking tocino
- 3 cups sinangag (garlic fried rice) for serving
- 1-2 whole large tomatoes sliced, for serving
- To cure pork tocino: Around 3 to 5 days before cooking, cure the meat by combining salt, sugar, paprika in a small bowl and set aside. Prepare the sliced pork pieces in a non reactive bowl by pouring the pineapple juice and wine. Pierce the meat with a fork all over so the liquid penetrates. Add the dry rub mixture and using your hands, mash the pork pieces making sure to incorporate ingredients well.
- Store the marinated meat in resealable plastic bags and freeze till ready to cook.
- How long to cure: Pork tocino needs to be marinated in these ingredients for at least 12 hours or 3 to 5 days before cooking. It will also keep frozen up to three months. Make sure plastic bags are air tight to avoid freezer burn.
- To prepare pork tocino for cooking: Thaw the meat at room temperature just before cooking.
- To cook the pork tocino: In a large skillet, over medium high heat, add the pork slices and half a cup of water (for the amount of meat in this recipe).
- The pork pieces will turn brown and water evaporates in 8 to 10 minutes. Stir the pieces around for even cooking. When the water evaporates completely, add the cooking oil to the skillet. The pork pieces will turn a red-dark brown hue and have a shiny glaze.
- Lower the heat to medium or low. Stir pieces around the skillet and continue to cook for 8 to 10 minutes more. Serve with garlic fried rice or sinangag, fried eggs and sliced tomatoes.
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Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of the marinade ingredients. The actual amount of the marinade consumed will vary. The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe? I have more classic recipes inspired by my late mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
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