(Chicago) -  We, Pinoys, love our tocino.  I am personally addicted to this especially if it comes with a mound of fried rice and over-easy eggs. For the uninitiated, tocino is a highly sweet cured meat, either pork or chicken, which is usually bright red in color and very popular in the Philippines

But as much as I love tocino, I also fear the carcinogenic curing salt (salitre/saltpeter) and food coloring being used to make it. Though there are comprehensive studies about the bad long-term effects of salitre to our body, I wonder why it is still very much accessible and widely used in curing meat and food in general.

Well, I don’t intend to initiate a protest to the Department of Health about this. I’d rather device a way to enjoy tocino without jeopardizing my health. And that is to make something homemade. After googling for numerous recipes of tocino online, I am amazed to realize that all the necessary ingredients are just right here in my own pantry. Thanks to multiple online sources for ideas and friends for their suggestions. Here’s my adaptation of homemade tocino.  Let’s enjoy it and live longer! :)

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs pork rump, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 1 head garlic, crushed

Directions:

In a gallon-size zip lock, put all the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Be careful not to damage the plastic container.  Add the pork, lock the bag and toss gently to distribute the mixture.  Let it marinate for 12 hours in the fridge.

To cook the tocino, put the marinated pork with ½ cup of water in the large pan on medium high heat. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.  Then, remove the cover and let all the liquid completely evaporate. Once dry, lower the heat to medium and pan fry the meat till brown. Isn’t that easy?! Serve with hot rice.