Curing: How to Make Tocino, A New Staple for My Freezer

So long packaged tocino, I can make you at home any time the craving strikes! (Well, with two days’ curing time factored in, but inevitably much easier than making a trip to the big-box Asian supermarket to hunt down packages of frozen Pampanga’s Best.)

This shall be short and sweet, with the recipe that follows, adapted from several variations I’ve seen online.


Quick-Cured Pork Tocino Recipe

Servings 4


  • 2 lbs pork shoulder
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp achuete oil*
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed


  1. Slice pork against the grain into ¼-inch slices (easiest if the pork shoulder is chilled for a few hours and slightly firm).
  2. Dump all ingredients into a large, sturdy Ziploc bag. Seal, and squish everything in there nice and well! Try to get the slices of pork as evenly coated as possible.
  3. Pop into the fridge to cure for at least two days, turning the bag over every 24 hours.
  4. When ready, heat a non-stick pan over medium. Place 5-6 slices of tocino at a time - you could include more or less, but don't overcrowd the pan. Add about ¼ cup of water, or enough that the water reaches about halfway up the tocino slices. Cover and simmer for 8 minutes.
  5. Once the liquid reaches a steady boil (it won't look like much at this point), uncover and flip the pieces. Turn the heat to medium-low, and continue to simmer until all the liquid evaporates, about 6-8 minutes.
  6. There will be a good amount of sugary residue in the pan - this is all good! Add a teaspoon of fat (preferably from that jar of bacon lard you have also have in the fridge). Fry for about 2 minutes each side. You'll want to keep a close eye on them so they don't char too much (although specks of caramelized tocino cure are obviously desirable).
  7. Serve with garlic fried rice and a fried egg, a dish known as tocilog.

Recipe Notes

Achuete oil is something I have found incredibly worth making once, storing in a squeeze bottle in the fridge, and having for several months at a time.


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