Where did the Cuban Sandwich Originate?  

The Cuban Sandwich has been around for centuries. Although we aren’t exactly sure if it originated in the US or Cuba. It become largely poplar in the Tampa Bay and Key West areas early on. These were common areas that immigrant Cubans came to either for work or pleasure. It became very popular amongst the people of these communities and eventually expanded to the surrounding cities, especially Miami. For decades now there has been a friendly rivalry as to who has the better Cuban sandwich, Tampa Bay or Miami.

Preparing the most amazing Cuban Sandwich:

Disclaimer: this is not a “traditional” Cuban Sandwich. Traditionally, it is made with sliced pork loin. I, however, prefer pulled pork as it has more fat in it and gives what I believe to be a better flavor. For this recipe you will need some basic ingredients, some are a staple, and some are a slight twist that I like to put on it. So, here we go:

  • Cuban Bread- hard to find but any sort of loaf bread will work in a pinch, just make sure it is soft.
  • Yellow Mustard
  • Mayo
  • White Onion
  • Bread and Butter Pickles
  • Roasted or Pickle Jalapenos
  • Swiss Cheese
  • Sliced Deli Ham
  • Pork Shoulder, Boneless

This recipe is going to require the use of a lot of different pieces of equipment, not to worry though most can be varied for different pieces of equipment. To begin we are going to marinate the pork for 24 hours in the following marinade.

  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 3 oranges, juiced
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced and seeds removed
  • 2 Tbl. cumin
  • 2 Tbl. smoked paprika
  • 2 tea. onion powder
  • 2 tea. granulated garlic
  • 1 tea. cayenne pepper
  • 3 Cups vegetable oil
  • 2 Garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 Bunch cilantro, chopped
  • Cut the pork shoulder into two-inch-thick slices and lay in the bottom of a hotel pan.
    • Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix.
    • Pour marinade over the pork and cover with plastic wrap.
    • Allow it to sit in fridge for 24 and flip halfway through.

After 24 hours, remove the pork from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels and discard the marinade. Preheat your Thermodyne oven to 230°- alternatively, you could use a crockpot or your oven.

Using a cast-iron pan, sear the pork on all sides to create a nice crust. Cover the pan with foil and place on a shelf in your Thermodyne slow cook and hold oven. If you don’t have a Thermodyne you can place the pan in a 275° oven or in a crockpot set on high. Allow it to cook until it is fork tender 4-6 hours. Allow it to rest for 2 hours before shredding. After shredding, season to taste with salt.

Assembling the Pulled pork Cuban Sandwich

Preheat your American Steam Griddle or panini press to 350°.

  1. Take your bread and slice it lengthwise.
  2. Put mayo on bottom slice and mustard on top.
  3. On the bottom add sliced white onion and jalapenos.
  4. Put a thick layer of pulled pork on top of onions and jalapenos.
  5. Then add a thin layer of sliced deli ham.
  6. Next top it with swiss cheese, the more the better in my opinion!
  7. Lastly add in your pickles.
  8. Put the top bun on and your ready for the griddle.
  9. Drizzle a bit of oil on the grill and place the sandwich on top.
  10. Place some steak weight on top of the sandwich. A Cuban sandwich is always pressed and crispy. – if using a panini press just drop the lid on top and let it do its thing.
  11. Flip the sandwich over once the bottom is crispy.
  12. Once top and bottom are crispy and the cheese is partially melted, you are ready to go.

This recipe pairs great with a Mojito! Cheers!