June 20, 2016  •  Meat & Poultry, Sandwiches

cubano-sandwiches-sliced-to-serveWhen I went to Cuba, the one thing I was excited to try was an authentic Cubano. Unfortunately, that’s the one thing I never even saw, let alone enjoyed. I had a pressed ham and cheese sandwich at the airport on the way out of Havana, but that’s not really the same thing. What makes a Cubano a Cubano are a few special touches:

  1. Not just ham, but also citrusy, savory Mojo-marinated pork
  2. Yellow mustard
  3. A thin pickle slice running down the middle

Did you love the movie Chef? Well turns out that after making that moving Jon Favreau was inspired, and he created this recipe. I followed it nearly to the letter, but with a few changes that I think make it just a little better.cubano-sandwiches-slicedThis is a great party food. You can prep the 6-inch long sandwiches the day before, lay them on a try, and wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap. When you are ready to serve, heat up a panini press, cook them off for about 2 minutes per sandwich, slice, and serve. I cranked out 12 sandwiches that I cut into fourths in less than 15 minutes. I served this at a Cuban reunion party and it was (along with my Shrimp Ceviche) the hands down favorite dish there!

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Marinate the pork 2 days ahead, prep the sandwiches the day before, and cook the day you want to serve.
Serves: 12
  • 12 six-inch-long soft hero or hoagie rolls, split lengthwise
  • Yellow mustard, for brushing
  • 24 thin slices of Swiss cheese
  • 18 very thin slices of smoked ham
  • 18 thin dill pickle slices
  • 2-3 pounds of Mojo-Marinated Pork Shoulder (recipe follows), cooked and very thinly sliced
  1. Place split rolls under the broiler for 1-2 minutes to lightly toast. Remove from oven and spread mustard on each slide. Split the slices of cheese in half, and lay two halves lengthwise on each bottom half of the rolls. Fold ham slices in half and lay one and a half slice on each piece of cheese. Lay pickle slices down the center (it will take about 1½ slices of pickle to cover each roll completely). Top with slices of the mojo pork, then another slice of cheese, split in half and laid lengthwise. Top with the top halves of the rolls. Wrap in plastic wrap if not cooking right away.
  2. When you are ready to cook, heat a panini press to high, butter both sides of the rolls and cook them on the press set at about medium height, two at a time, until lightly brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Remove from the press, let cool a minute, then slice and serve warm. Repeat with remaining Cubans.

Mojo Marinated Pork Shoulder
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 6 (or enough for 12 sandwiches)
  • 1 boneless pork loin or shoulder roast (about 3-4 pounds)
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup lightly-packed cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely-grated orange zest (from 1 orange)
  • ¾ cup fresh orange juice
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup lightly packed mint leaves
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Butterfly the roast so that you have a piece about 10 inches x 10 inches. Set aside while you make the marinade.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix until well combined. Place the butterflied roast into a large Ziplock bag and pour in the marinade. Press out all of the air and seal so that the roast is well covered with the marinade. Place in refrigerator to marinate for 24 hours.
  3. The next day, remove the marinade and pat dry; discard marinade. Grill over medium heat until a meat thermometer registers 145 degrees. Remove and rest meat for at least 10 minutes before slicing.


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