How to make the best Cubano Sandwich (outside of Miami…)

Cubano Recipe

This is one of my favorite uses for left-over roast pork shoulder (and my all-time favorite sandwich!)

Cubano Sandwich 2Roasting a whole, boneless pork shoulder (or two) is a great way to stretch your grocery budget, and get several delicious meals in one.

I buy my shoulders in 2-packs at Cash & Carry for less than $30, and easily get 8-10 meals from them.

It’s really a great deal!

Now, just as an acknowledgement to all of my awesome Cuban readers, I know that you can’t get a “real” Cubano sandwich, outside of Miami (or Cuba, I would assume), as it’s very hard to find those very special Cuban rolls they use there.

That said, this recipe is, in my not-so-humble opinion, the best Cubano you can get…outside of Miami!

This recipe assumes you’re using leftovers from a previously roasted pork shoulder. To roast the perfect pork shoulder, see my recipe for Easy Oven Pulled Pork.

Slicing Roast Pork Shoulder

HomeChef Note: For the Cubanos, you don’t want your roast pork to be quite as “falling apart, as you do for pulled pork. Modify the cooking time to 8-10 hours, and just use salt and pepper, instead of a BBQ rub. Be sure to chill the roast overnight, before slicing.

Leftover Roast Pork Cubanos

For the stock:
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, peeled and gently smashed with the side of your knife
1 small onion, sliced
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 lime, juiced
1 cup chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

For the sandwich:
1/2 pound boneless pork shoulder, roasted & sliced
1 long Cuban bread roll (or 1/4 whole-wheat baguette)
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
4 slices of Swiss cheese
4 “sandwich slice” dill pickles
8 thin slices deli ham
Olive oil & butter

Greg Dupree

Combine all of the stock ingredients in a saucepan, whisk, and simmer until reduced by 1/3. Add pork roast slices, and heat until it just begins to simmer again, then remove from heat.

Making a Cubano Sandwich
Note: Though not part of the traditional recipe, I like to toast the bread, and put a little sear on the ham, before assembling.

To prepare sandwiches: split bread in half then layer the sandwich (in order) with mustard, cheese, pickles, ham, pork, salt & pepper to taste, then cheese again (the cheese glues it all together). I use whole wheat baguette because it’s the closest approximation to the Cuban rolls that I can find, here on the left coast.

Optional: drizzle a little of the reduced stock over the meat.

A “Plancha”, sometimes call a “panini press” is the key to a great Cubano! Don’t have one? Get one here!

To cook, heat a plancha or or a large cast iron grill pan over medium heat and lightly coat with equal parts butter and olive oil.

If you don’t have a plancha, place the sandwiches on the skillet and top with another heavy skillet and a couple of heavy weights (bricks, or cans of tomato-sauce work well).

What do you mean, you don’t keep bricks in your kitchen? 😉

Cubano sandwich Recipe

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Press down firmly and cook for 5 to 7 minutes per side (butter the top, before flipping) until the sandwich has compressed to about a third of its original size and the bread is super-crispy.

Cubano with Rice and Beans

Serve with homemade plantain chips, or black beans & rice (Moros e Christanos).

Buen provecho!

~Chef Perry