Thursday, October 20, 2016

Updated: Grocery-style Tocino. Tosino

I miss tocino (Yeah, it's supposed to be spelled with a "c" instead of "s".). It's cured meat Filipino-style. Well actually it's a Spanish word for "bacon". Tocino is also a typical accompaniment in  Caribbean dishes as well.

What makes it apart from all the other cured meats of the world? The sugar, garlic and anisette (anise-flavored liquor) creates a wonderful explosion of flavors in your mouth that makes you want to eat more and then that's your meal for the day. You won't even crave for junk food or snacks in between meals. That is if you eat this for breakfast or lunch.

Tocino can be eaten for dinner too but preferably breakfast.

I made 2 lbs of this because I don't want to go to Vegas (Asian grocery store) to buy them. Waste of time, effort, energy, mulah. We really don't give a crap about Vegas unless I have to visit the Motherland via McCarran International airport or we need to watch a show we both like to see on the strip.

I've used this recipe several times on chicken, pork, veal and lamb. I'm using pork again today. Word of advice: this has pure food-grade phosphate I bought on eBay.

It's supposed to make the meat firm when raw but tender (and still firm) when cooked. If you have no way of buying  phosphate online, check your local health food store if they sell calcium phosphate in the highest mg. Pound and grind into fine powder and use as substitute.  For vitamin C called for in the recipe, if you have pure Vitamin C (w/o rose hips please) from 500-1000 mg in your medicine cabinet, use it; also pound and grind in to fine powder.

No anisette? Don't you think it's time to buy a bottle just for making your own mass-produced tocino? However, I am actually testing an anisette substitute recipe. I will post it as soon as I am done testing it as I know some of you would like a non-alcohol based anisette substitute.

Typically, tocino is RED of food dye/color. I omitted that altogether. Isn't that great?

I heard dried plum can be a substitute for phosphate. I will have to try that out next time.




2.20 lbs or 1 kg pork tenderloin or pork belly
2 T kosher sea salt (regular salt is okay)
1/2 teaspoon curing pink salt also called Prague powder
12 T light brown sugar (granulated white is okay)
1 teaspoon phosphate dissolve in 1/4 cup water
2 T Anisette
2 T pineapple juice (optional)
2 T finely chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon vitamin C
1/2 teaspoon MSG (optional)


1. Pat dry the pork and place in a large non-porous bowl/container preferably glass, metal or hard plastic; set aside. 

2. Mix all the dry ingredients and set aside.

3. In another bowl, mix all the liquid ingredients.

4. Cut up the pork to bite size pieces or at least 1/4 inch thick, 2" long.

4. Carefully pour the wet ingredients on the meat and mix using your hands. Follow through the dry ingredients and combine well with hands.

5. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12-48 hours.

Note: after 6 hours, you can decide to freeze the remaining tocino that you will not cook. Use a freezer bag. For this recipe, I freeze 1 lb of the tocino to be used some other time.

How to cook:

for 1 lb of cured tosino, use a large pot or saute pan. measure 1 cup of water and pour over the cured meat in the pot. Add 3 T of cooking oil preferabley corn oil, coconut oil or vegetable oil.

bring to a boil on high then lower heat to medium high. continue boiling for at least 10 minutes

bring heat to low and cover to simmer for 15 minutes.

Uncover and bring heat to high; continue stirring to let the water evaporate and coat the meat with the fond (caramelized bits of meat sticking to the pan after browning).

Fry in the rendered fat, oil that remains in the pot for 2 minutes; remove from heat.

Best enjoyed with a side of steamed rice OR garlic fried rice and sunny-side up eggs, over easy OR over  medium.

Thanks for reading!

Inspired by a recipe by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority for Women Center (TESDA), Philippines.


Update: I apologize. When I get excited sharing a recipe, I just ram the keyboard and type my brains out forgetting some ingredients or even a step in the procedure. Really sorry.

I totally left out on previous recipe the most important ingredient which is the "curing salt" or "pink salt"; also called "Prague powder". It should NOT be confused to the "Himalayan pink rock salt".

The purpose of Prague powder is to kill micro-organisms or delay microbial action. I bought the Prague powder online. If you live in a big city with easy access to independent butcher shops, then just give them a visit and check if you can buy or even ask for just a tablespoon of it-for FREE!

I also forgot what part of pork you need to use. This has now been updated above.