Since spending a lot of time in Miami last year, I developed an obsession for Cuban sandwiches. At first, I was dubious. I just didn’t get the mix of braised pork and deli ham. Whyyy”, I thought to myself. Have one or the other!
Not sure what I’m talking about yet? Let me explain. It’s a pressed panini filled with slowly roasted pork (yuuum!), Swiss cheese + deli sliced ham, mustard and pickles. It’s has a lot of different flavors, textures and temperatures going on in there and that, I learned, is the beauty.
I remember the first time I tasted one. My husband had ordered the Cubano and I ordered (Yawwwn), a salad. When we got our orders, I had to admit, I was intrigued by his sandwich. First off, it was covered in shoestring fries and man, it looked way better than I had imagined. Then, I asked for a little bite. The mustard and the pickle stood out immediately. It really cut through the fattiness of the meat and brightened everything up! I generally like that type of contrast in my food. The shredded pork was tender, juicy and flavourful. The deli ham, a cold cut, offers a pleasant contrasting texture and taste. The bread is pressed flat and a little toasty, the cheese, slightly melted. I was hooked and I must have looked very sad sitting there with my boring chef’s salad because my husband kindly let me have half his sandwich. Bless his heart.
It then became my ambition to recreate the perfect Cubano at home in Montreal, where Cuban sandwiches are hard to come by.
In this post, I’ll share the Serious Eats recipe for the Mojo Roasted Pork but I certainly won’t judge those who prefer to buy ready-made pulled pork so you can make these in a pinch! Don’t get me wrong, the recipe is so easy but it does require minimum 2 hours of marinating. I marinate overnight.
The recipe calls for pork shoulder (calicollo cut). It has nice marbling and is pretty hard to dry out. It’s very forgiving.
For the bread, use a soft panino bun or a soft 6” submarine bun. I found these soft ciabatta buns and they were great but usually ciabatta would be too firm with not enough crumb.
The ham, choose your favourite! For the mustard, French’s of course!
I hope you try this recipe and love it as much as we do.
Cuban Sandwhiches with Slow Roasted Mojo Pork Shoulder
For the Mojo:
- 4-5 medium garlic cloves minced
- 1 tsp 8g ground cumin
- 1 tsp 8g freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup about 1 small handful minced fresh oregano leaves
- 1/2 cup 120ml fresh orange juice from 1 to 2 oranges (see notes)
- 1/4 cup 60ml fresh lime juice from 3 to 4 limes (see notes)
- 1/4 cup 60ml extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
For the Pork and to Finish:
- 1 4 lb boneless pork shoulder roast rind removed
- 1/4 cup about 1 small handful finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- 3 tablespoons about 3 very large pinches finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
- Lime wedges for serving
- 3/4 – 1 Lb sliced deli ham
- 24 slices of Swiss cheese
- Sliced Pickles
- 6-8, 6 ” panini or submarine buns
- For the Mojo: Combine garlic, cumin, pepper, oregano, orange juice, lime juice, and olive oil in a large bowl and whisk. Season to taste generously with salt. Transfer half of mojo to a sealed container and reserve in refrigerator. Add pork to remaining mojo and turn to coat. If desired, transfer pork and marinade to a gallon-sized zipper-lock bag and refrigerate 2 hours or up to overnight before continuing.
- For the Pork and to Finish: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 275°F.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place pork and juices on top and fold up foil, crimping to seal loosely but making sure that there is room for air to circulate inside.
- Place in oven and roast for 3 hours. Fold back foil, increase oven temperature to 325°F, and continue roasting, basting pork with pan juices occasionally, until pork shows almost no resistance when a metal skewer or knife is inserted into it and the surface is crackly and brown, 2 to 3 hours longer. Remove pork from oven and let rest 10 to 15 minutes.
- Pour accumulated pork juices into a bowl and discard all except 1 cup. Add reserved mojo to pork drippings, along with fresh chopped mint and oregano. Whisk together and season to taste with salt. Set aside for adding to the meat later.
- Assemble your sandwhiches as follows:
- Smear mustard on both the top and bottom bun interiors. Layer bottom bun with 2 slices of Swiss cheese and about 3-4 slices of deli ham. (3 if the slices are thicker), top with a generous amount of roasted pork. Top with more Swiss cheese and top with the top bun.
- Heat a large pan, griddle or cast iron skillet on med-high. Once heated, add a little oil or butter to the pan. Once hot, add sandwhiches and press down using a spatula or hamburger press. You should hear a sizzle. After a minute or two, carefully flip the sandwhiches and toast the other side.
- Cut in half on the diagonal and serve with a mountain of shoestring fries on top!