I’m a fan of Cuban sandwiches and when I say fan, I mean in love with them!!! Back when I lived in Florida and was a personal chef, I’d always grab the Cuban’s from Publix for my lunch. And by always – every single day. They were good and I didn’t really ever have time to cook for myself so there it was.
Anyways, this past weekend I made an amazing Cuban inspired pork butt that I smoked and then roasted in the oven. Part of the thinking behind it was that I was going to make Cuban sandwiches with the leftovers. Traditionally Cubans are made with a pork roast and not necessarily a smoked pork butt, but I don’t think it makes a difference and I like it 🙂 I made this with smoked pork, but it’s really not necessary. You can easily use a pork roast or even pork tenderloin for your Cuban. It’s actually the way I’m going to write the recipe down below. Everything besides smoking is the same, including the brining and the seasoning.
Now, if you don’t want to take the time to brine the pork, that’s fine. However, it’s just not going to be as good. The pork is the star of the sandwich so I seriously don’t recommend half assing it! Actually, this goes for all of the ingredients in the Cuban. You want to buy good ham. You want good dill pickles, and for the love of God people, do not use bread and butter pickles. Don’t buy frozen baguettes – head into the bakery department and buy a fresh baguette. Are you getting my point? 🙂
The Cuban is simple and delicious because it uses good ingredients that all work well together. Probably why I stick with the original recipe for this Cuban.
Cuban Sandwich Recipe
- 1 2-pound pork roast (recipe follows)
- 1/2 pound good quality ham
- 6 slices of swiss or provolone cheese
- Dill pickles
- Yellow mustard
- 2 baguettes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 2-pound pork roast
- 1 gallon of water
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup salt
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and salt
- Bring the water and brining ingredients to a boil so that you dissolve the sugar and salt. Let it cool and submerge the pork in the solution for 24 hours. After 24 hours, remove and rinse.
- One you are ready to make your sandwiches, turn your oven onto 350F/180C. While it's heating, season the pork with the dry rub and sear in sautè pan for a couple minutes on each side until it's brown. Place in the oven for 50 minutes. Once the pork reaches 155F/68C, remove from the oven and let rest.
- While the pork is resting, start assembling the Cubans. Cut the baguettes into 3 pieces and slice open. Squeeze yellow mustard onto both side of the bread. Then place some cheese, ham and pickles down.
- This is a good time to slice the pork and place on top of the other sandwich ingredients.
- If you have a panini press, awesome - get that that heated. If not, heat a large sautè pan to medium heat. Slather each side of the bread with some butter and press for a few minutes on each side. Yo are looking for the cheese to be melted. Once melted, remove and serve.