Pork Tocino, or Filipino Marinated Pork


I hardly know anything about the Filipino cuisine, not to mention tasting or cooking it. I don’t even have a Filipino cookery book, so my vague idea of what the Filipino cuisine looks like is based on what I see on food blogs. Ray’s (Wok with Ray) tempting recipes and beautiful photos made me decide to prepare the very first Filipino dish in my life.  Tocino, the dish I have chosen for this memorable event, was not only simple and made with easily available ingredients, but most of all was a new way to prepare my beloved pork.

Tocino is a Spanish word for “bacon” and in the Philippines it means cured and marinated meat, served grilled or fried. This preparation is apparently also popular in Puerto Rico and Cuba. I think I took decision to prepare it when I read in Ray’s post that this pork dish is traditionally served for breakfast. As someone who simply is not able to have a sweet breakfast, I started to dream about hotels where instead of the horrible and boring thing called “continental breakfast”, marinated pork is served. I suppose I have to visit Philippines in order to see such a delight served in the morning, but in the meantime I had tocino for lunch, dinner, late weekend breakfast and am very happy I have started to explore this fascinating cuisine by such a delicious and versatile dish. I don’t have a grill, so I have simply fried it, but I am sure it tastes even better prepared on a grill. The meat has a very delicate taste, it is slightly sweet and even the very lean pork loin I used was tenderised by the pineapple juice. I sprinkled it with Korean chili flakes because I love sweet and hot flavours together. Unfortunately I didn’t have necessary ingredients to make the mango salad Ray advises to serve with tocino, but the pork was also perfect with good crispy bread and my pickled sweet peppers. Thank you, Ray, for this wonderful recipe, which is my first, but not last stage in the exploration of the Filipino cuisine.

I haven’t changed anything in Ray’s recipe, but I have slightly modified the amounts of the ingredients (Ray’s recipe was adapted to 5 pounds of meat and I had only about 1 pound). Ray says cured pork freezes very well, so if you want to make a bigger batch, check his recipe and extraordinary photos.

Before I pass to the recipe I would like to invite you to visit Elin’s blog (Elinluv’s Sweet Delights) and see the beautiful savoury cake with shrimp and broccoli, modifying my Savoury Cake with Shrimp and Edamame. Thank you, Elin, for having used my recipe and for all the kind words you said about my blog.

Now let’s go back to this simple and delicious recipe.

TIPS: The meat should be marinated for at least 24 hours, but the taste improves after two-three days.

Of course slightly fatty cuts (like shoulder) will be more tender. I used pork loin because I happened to have it in my fridge and even though it was not as juicy and soft as shoulder would be, I loved it.

Preparation: 24 hours – 3 days marinating + 10 minutes grilling/frying time


500 g pork  butt (a cut from pork’s shoulder; I used pork loin) cut into 1-1,5 cm slices


25 ml pineapple juice

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon dry sherry

Tocino mix:

60 g sugar

10 g salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Combine the ingredients of the tocino mix.

Take two tablespoons of the tocino mix and combine it with the marinade ingredients.

(Put aside the remaining tocino mix for further marinades).

Stir well until the sugar and salt are dissolved.

Put the pork slices into the marinade and keep on the fridge for at least 24 hours.

Fry or grill the meat.

56 Replies to “Pork Tocino, or Filipino Marinated Pork”

  1. I too prefer savoury breakfasts though I get cravings for french toast or pancakes with syrup on occasion … but I usually have that for lunch. 🙂 The pork dish you’ve presented looks very tasty.

    1. Thank you, GG. I usually prefer quick dishes, but having made 500 g pork in advance I had two very quick meals after two days of marinating the pork, so it was convenient too.

    1. Thank you, Sportsglutton. I have also learnt here what pork butt meant! (Although I didn’t use it here, but I will do it next time).

  2. This looks pretty similar to our Chinese bbq pork. I love that sticky caramelization. Yum! I love it with pickled white radish/carrots/ginger. Gosh, I’m getting all hungry again and I’d just finished a huge burger for dinner.

    1. Thank you so much, Ping. I also thought it was a bit similar to Asian dishes (there is soy sauce and the slightly sweet taste).

  3. Wow, Sissi! My jaw just dropped when I saw this posting of yours about the tocino that I made. I am thrilled that it was made by one of the foodies that I follow and admire. Thank you for trying the recipe and very glad that you liked and enjoyed the dish. I like the use of the pickled sweet peppers on the side. Have a great week, Sissi!

    1. Thank you so much, Ray. You are very kind to say this! I am very happy you approve of my small-batch version. Unfortunately I have burnt it a bit, but it was still delicious. Thank you once more for the excellent recipe and for the inspiration. I hope to explore more of your Filipino recipes in the future!

  4. I haven’t seen or tried this one, my exposure to Filipino cuisine is fairly limited unfortunately. Lot of sweet flavours in this dish. This is almost a sweet breakfast.

    1. Actually it wasn’t really sweet (only slightly) because I have thrown away the marinade (it was supposed to be grilled, so I fried it without sauce).

  5. I had seen pork Tocino recently while stumbling through the web. Already then I liked the idea of the dish and the ingredients. Its like fate, second time seen means I have to make it. Thank for the useful recipe.
    Hope u had a nice weekend! =)

    1. Thank you, Helene. Do make it! It was really easy and very good. I also hope you have had a nice weekend.

  6. coming from a nation where pork is one of the staples, i’m very excited to learn about new and exotic recipes to prepare it! thks!

    1. Thank you, Jeno. I simply couldn’t stop myself from adding something hot to the slightly sweet dish.

  7. This sounds like a delightful spring twist on pork with pineapple… yum! I am not experienced in Filipino cuisine either but this dish looks juicy, full-flavoured and delicious. I will have to have a closer look at Elin’s blog when we return from our ski trip…. (sunny and 12 degrees Sissi – gorgeous spring skiing!! :)).

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly. Your holidays sound fantastic, a bit like in Swiss mountains in Spring! Have a great time!

  8. Very interesting recipe Sissi. I will have to share your recipe with my friend from Puerto Rico to see if she makes something similar. (She’s a great source of recipes and information about Spanish cuisine!) I will definitely bookmark this for the future.

    1. Thank you so much, Barb. I’m very curious if your friend’s recipe is the same. I am completely ignorant about the Puerto Rican cuisine too.

  9. I haven’t tried Filipino food either and I’m not sure why! It’s as close to Australia as all the other Asian countries and we eat plenty of their food. I also don’t think I’ve seen any Filipino restaurants or cookbooks around. Great that you are bringing the cuisine to life! xx

    1. Thanks, Charlie. It’s strange that this cuisine is not more famous. Judging from Ray’s blog it is extraordinary.

  10. I know precisely nothing about Fillipino food – what I do know, I learned from Kristy’s foray into it on her blog. I bet this pork was really good, and pineapple juice? I’m really curious as to the final effect it had. It sounds like it would be really sticky and delicious when cooked – I don’t eat so much pork – I guess I just find it a bit boring on its own, but this looks like a really nice way to dress it up. Thanks for the idea Sissi – I’ll remember this next time I’m in the store and won’t just pass by the pork again.

    1. Thank you, Charles. It was just a bit sticky and only slightly sweet because I didn’t use the marinade. I am absolutely crazy for pork. Pork is my default meat, as says Hiroyuki (in the French and traditional English sense of “meat”, which excludes poultry). I have just looked at my categories and I have 31 pork dishes, compared to only 22 turkey and chicken. Numbers talk for themselves! I have never understood why people would eat pork “nature” (like a beef steak). My mum cooked a lot of pork, but I have never had just a pork cutlet on its own. Pork requires good recipes and/or good condiments. This is maybe why I think the French don’t know how to cook pork… They make great cold meats (sausages etc.), but fresh pork is not what they should boast about. When I enter my French butcher’s shop, I always ask myself if seeing me, his employees think “oh, the pork lady!” 😉 because I am the only customer probably who always buys at least a bit of pork.
      I have no idea if the British cuisine is better here, but I have always considered Chinese and Japanese cuisines as the ones which know how to handle pork. Central Europe is really good here too (Poland, Hungary, Germany). Now maybe Filipino cuisine will prove inventive here…

      1. Oh, definitely – the wealth of incredible dishes using pork in asian cultures – they do really amazing things with it. I think there are many good dishes using pork in central – eastern Europe as well, although I don’t know them as well as Asian ones.

        It’s true, the French tend to treat it as they would a good piece of lamb or beef, which you can’t really do with pork. I like it a lot when it’s braised with apples and rosemary – a really simple dish, but so delicious. I know I’ll be trying this soon though – it looks really nice!

        1. I have never had it with rosemary (I use it for lamb mainly), and never with apples. Very intriguing!
          I think this Filipino marinade is quite versatile and would please everyone.

  11. that reminds me of chinese barbecued pork! the pineapple juice and worcestshire sauce is a twist though! i think the pineapple also helps tenderise the meat! oh this sounds just gorgeous, thanks so much for sharing this!

    1. Thank you, Shuhan. Yes, the pineapple juice has tenderised the meat and it was good even though very lean.

  12. Neither do I know a lot about this cuisine. It is rare to hear something about it and restaurants are rare…

    This recipe sounds amazing!



  13. Dear Sissi,

    I hardly cook or eat Filipino food either although I have seen some of Ray’s delicious looking recipes which is sometimes a cross between Spanish, American and Asian 🙂 Some of the pork dishes is really a melding of delicious flavours with so many cross-cultural ingredients!

    1. Hi, Chopinand. I agree. It’s a bit like a mixture between the three cuisines. i also like such customs like having grilled pork for breakfast 😉

  14. Oh Sissi, this pork looks delicious, like the pineapple juice and the tocino mix…great flavors!
    Hope you are having a fabulous week 🙂

  15. Sounds fantastic Sissi! Canadians eat pork roast with applesauce and ham with pineapple sauce. Not exactly Hungarian flavours, but after all these years I have become rather fond of sweet pork. Next time I am making THIS recipe.

    1. Thank you so much, Zsuzsa. I admit the presence of only apple sauce or pineapple sauce doesn’t sound very appetising… I like sweet pork, but with some other condiments too. Here the marinade is discarded, so there is no sweet sauce really. I hope you will like this one!

  16. Hi Sissi,
    This looks wonderful my dear, I love Ray’s blog, everything makes me drool…
    I too have very less idea about this cuisine, but thats the beauty of food blogs you get to learn soo much..

    I can totally say that you have done a great job with the recipe, it looks absolutely fantastic!!!

    1. Thank you so much, Reem. You are totally right, it’s amazing how much we learn from each others!

  17. Hi Sissi,
    Thanks for the mention 🙂 I have bookmarked this and I am sure this Pork Tocino is going to taste delicious and you have done a great job on it since it being your first try :))

    1. Thank you, Elin. I hope one day I will be able to grill it on a real grill… it must taste so much better!

  18. I saw this on Ray’s blog as well and bookmarked it as well! So glad to see you made it and thanks for the notes. I have a couple of dishes that I need pork shoulder for so I’m headed over to the market this weekend to pick one up. This is one of those recipes! Looking at your pictures, looks like you will make Ray proud! Now I need to go check Elin’s blog. That’s a new for me.

    1. Thank you, MJ. I am sure it will taste better made with pork shoulder than my lean pork loin.

  19. I know nothing at all about filipino cuisine, so very interested to find out more. I love the idea of this marinade, wonder if it would work well with chicken since I’m not that into pork?

    1. Thank you, Gourmantine. I’m sure it would work with chicken too, especially since I used very lean pork and it was excellent in spite of lack of fat.

      1. I’ve tried it with chicken yesterday and my, this was soooooo good, will definitely be making this again and again! 🙂 Thanks to you! 🙂

        1. I’m so happy you liked it, Gourmantine! Thank you so much for letting me know. It’s always such a pleasure to learn someone trusted me and even a bigger pleasure to learn she or he liked the dish I posted 🙂 I also must try it with chicken one day! Thanks to you I know it suits chicken too.

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