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What does tocino mean in Puerto Rican cooking?

ricardoz Sep 11, 2009 12:43 PM

I believe the word has different meanings in different Hispanic cuisines, but I'm looking for the stuff that Puerto Ricans use to flavor some of their dishes. I've seen it described as BOTH salt pork and fatback, but as far as I know those are two DIFFERENT things. Which one should I ask for and where should I look? I asked at Faicco's, a pork store in the West Village; they didn't have fatback.

Also, what's a good substitute?


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  1. Niki in Dayton RE: ricardoz Sep 11, 2009 12:49 PM

    The difference between fatback and saltpork is that fatback is raw and saltpork is cured; saltpork might be from pig's back but can also be from other parts of the pig. Julia Child says if one can't find fatback, one can soak saltpork (overnight, changing the water several times) and use it in place.

    1. m
      meseidy RE: ricardoz Sep 11, 2009 01:50 PM

      I am from Puerto Rico and tocino is a salted pork, at least that is what my grandmother always used. When in a bind I have just used thick cut bacon or a diced pork belly in it's place.

      What are you using it for?

      1 Reply
      1. re: meseidy
        ricardoz RE: meseidy Sep 11, 2009 02:03 PM


        I want to try Puerto Rican rice and bean recipes that are fast(using canned beans), but don't involve the use of Goya products(no MSG).

        Thanks Niki and meseidy.

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