The Cuban Sandwich- You won’t believe how good this simple sandwich tastes

Oct 7, 2020 | Recipes

I first became aware of the Cuban Sandwich while watching the movie “Chef.” The film is based around the main character’s love and passion for this Sandwich. He quits (or gets fired depending on how you look at it), a fancy restaurant job, and on the advice of his ex-wife, starts a food truck selling Cuban Sandwiches. “Chef” is one of the best food movies out there, and I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it. There is also a spin-off show on Netflix called “The Chef Show,” which is one of the best food programs out there right now. Again, I highly recommend that too. Anyway, this post isn’t about that movie or TV show. It’s about a sandwich. The Cuban Sandwich is very simple, but I swear it is one of the best sandwiches you will ever eat. Let’s get to it.


What is a Cuban Sandwich?

First of all, a Cuban Sandwich isn’t actually Cuban. From what I understand, except for really touristy areas, you are unlikely to find this Sandwich anywhere in Cuba. It is actually from Flordia. The sandwich’s real history is a little unclear, but basically, it is a Cuban immigrant version of the American ham and cheese sandwich. And yeah, the Cubans do it way better than the Americans do.

The ingredients for a Cuban Sandwich are Cuban bread (we’ll talk about this in a minute), ham, Swiss cheese, roasted pork, dill pickle, and mustard. It doesn’t even sound that good when you list it out like that, but I promise it is. The pork is no ordinary pork. It is marinated in Cuban flavours for 12 hours then slow-roasted to perfection. Don’t worry; we’re going to go into that in-depth in a second. This sandwich’s key is that it is grilled and pressed to toast the bread and heat everything up slightly. I’m drooling just thinking about it.


The Pork

The Marinade

The pork for the Cuban Sandwich is marinated (or brined depending on how you look at it) in a mixture of garlic, orange juice, vinegar, brown sugar, salt, thyme, bay leaves, and pepper. You can find the measurements in the recipe below. The shortened version of the recipe is, combine all the ingredients and marinate the pork for a minimum of twelve hours.

The Pork

The pork that you want to use for a Cuban sandwich is pork shoulder. Pork loin is too lean and will end up dry. Pork shoulder has just the right amount of fat to keep the pork succulent. If the pork shoulder has skin on it, take it off. Then score the fat with a sharp knife. Scoring the fat will help the marinade penetrate the meat more deeply. It will also help the fat get nice and crispy.


Roasting The Pork

Once the pork has marinated overnight, heat the oven to 350°f, put the pork on a rack over a roasting pan. Season the pork the salt and pepper, and roast it for about two and a half hours or until a thermometer reaches 165°f. You may want to flip the pork halfway through cooking, but it isn’t strictly necessary. Once the pork comes out of the oven, let it rest for about twenty minutes before slicing.

Cuban Roast Pork

The perfect Roast Pork for a Cuban Sandwich
Prep Time: 12 hours
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 14 hours 30 minutes
Course: Sandwich
Cuisine: American, Cuban
Keyword: Cuban Sandwich, Gourmet Sandwich, Pork, Roasted Pork
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Chef’s Notes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Sliced Garlic
  • 1 cup Orange Juice
  • 1/2 cup Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Salt
  • 1/2 bunch Thyme
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 tsp Crushed Peppercorns
  • 5 lb Pork Shoulder Roast
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  • Mix all the ingredients except the pork togehter in a medium mixing bowl.
  • Remove any skin from the pork, and score the fat with a sharp knife.
  • Put the pork in a large ziplock bag and pour the marinade over it.
  • Seal the make, make sure the pork is covered in the marinade and put it in the fridge overnight.
  • Take the pork out of the marinade, season it with salt and pepper and roasted it on 350°f for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 160°f.
  • Take the pork out of the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes before slicing it.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

The Bread

Cuban Bread

Cuban bread is like a French baguette crossed with soft Italian bread. It has a thin flaky crust and a light, airy crumb. The shape is more rectangular than round like a traditional baguette, and it is generally about three feet long. You’re probably going to have some trouble finding Cuban bread. You can substitute it with a soft baguette, French bread, a crusty roll, or like I did, a gluten-free hamburger bun. No matter what bread you are using, make sure to toast the inside lightly.


Making The Sandwich

To make the Cuban Sandwich, spread a thin layer of mustard on each half of the lightly toasted bread, then top with sliced dill pickles, ham, Swiss cheese*, and the roasted pork. Butter the outside of the bread and toast it on each side in a hot pan or a hot sandwich press. If you don’t have a sandwich press, don’t worry. Just flip it every minute and a half or so and push it down with a spatula. The sandwich is done when the bread is toasted, and the insides are warm. Now take a bite and experience the flavour that your life has been missing.

*I bought Swiss cheese and it got lost in the grocery bags and left out at room temperature for three days. This was a real bummer because it like $13 worth of cheese. So, instead of using Swiss cheese, I used Mozzarella which was still very delicious.

Cuban Sandwich

A delicious and flavourful sandwich made with roasted pork, ham, cheese, mustard, and pickles.
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Course: Sandwich
Cuisine: American, Cuban
Keyword: Cuban Sandwich, Gourmet Sandwich, Roast Pork Sandwich
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Chef’s Notes

Ingredients

  • 4 Sandwich Rolls
  • 1/2 cup Yellow Mustard diveded
  • 8 slices Dill Pickles
  • 8 slices Ham
  • 4 Slices Swiss Cheese
  • 1 lb Thinly Sliced Roasted Pork divided
  • 1/4 cup Butter

Instructions

  • Slice the rolls and lightly toast the inside.
  • Brush the inside of the rolls with mustard then tops with pickles, ham, Swiss cheese, and the pork.
  • Heat a large frying pan on medium heat. Brush the outside of the rolls with butter and put them in the pan. Toast on one side for 2-3 minutes then flip. Press the sandwiches with a spatula to flatten slightly. Cook the sandwiches until the cheese starts to melt then serve.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Conclusion

I can’t stress enough how good this sandwich is. Make it. You will so happy that you did. Any leftover pork can be eaten with rice, beans and sweet potato, Cuban style. I can’t think of a better way to put this Gourment Sandwich Series to bed then with this sandwich that comes as close to perfection as possible. Once again, do yourself a favour and make this sandwich.

What was your favourite sandwich in the series? Or is there a sandwich that you think I should have featured? Tell me about it in the comments or on social media.

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