Cubano Sandwich (Cuban Sandwich)
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The classic Cubano Sandwich (or Cuban Sandwich) has far surpassed legendary status as far as all-time sandwiches go. Packed with flavor, with just the right amount of sweet, spice, salty, and tartness, it could very well be one of the greatest foods that have ever existed. It is a sandwich that plays homage to the mighty Pig, and it is perfect to make if you’ve got an abundance of delicious leftover Roast Pork. So, lets jump into this amazing sandwich!

It is simply not A Cubano Sandwich unless it has these key ingredients

The quintessential Cubano Sandwich consists of these ingredients, and these ingredients alone: Roast Pork, Sliced Ham, Mustard, Pickles, and Swiss Cheese

I don’t know what it is exactly about these ingredients, but when paired together they are simply magical. You wouldn’t really think it on paper either. I mean, pairing Roast Pork with Ham? Seems kind of redundant when you think about it. However, for a Cubano Sandwich I just couldn’t imagine it any other way!

Cubano Sandwich close up
Roast Pork, Ham, Cheese, Pickles, and Yellow Mustard make up the amazing Cubano Sandwich

The key to a great Cuban Sandwich really lies in the quality of the Roast Pork

This is the most critical part of the Cubano Sandwich. Good quality, juicy, Roast Pork that is packed full of flavor. There are plenty of amazing Roast Pork ingredients out there however we stand by a few of our favorites. Check out our Crispy Roast Pork Shoulder or our Crispy Pork Belly with Szechuan Pepper. Both recipes produce phenomenal tasting Pork that goes so well in a sandwich for some delicious Leftovers

There is only one way to cook Roast Pork, and that is to cook it low and slow. Let the Pork slowly cook and break down to become super tender. Let the slow cooking allow the delicious Pork Fat to render and seep into the meat, leaving it beautifully flavorful and juicy!

Another popular way to Roast Pork for a Cubano Sandwich is to let the Pork soak in a brine for 24 – 48 hours before cooking. The brine is predominantly citrus based, using Oranges as the preferred flavor profile. It creates quite a unique taste and adds some Cuban flair to the Pork

One thing we will warn you about if you go down this route, the Pork does tend to get a little bit stinky after sitting in the brine for a while! It tastes great, don’t get us wrong – you’ll just be encountering some funky smells along the way!

Cubano Sandwich stacked
Good quality ingredients are the key to perfecting a great Cubano Sandwich

‘Swiss Cheese’ isn’t actually a specific cheese, it is more a categorization of cheese. Here are some great types of Swiss Cheese to put into a Cubano Sandwich

Indeed, for years we were taught that Swiss Cheese was that specific type of cheese with holes in it. The cheese that was featured in cartoon shows that we watched growing up!

Well, Swiss Cheese isn’t a singular type of Cheese. Instead, it is named Swiss Cheese because it is made in a way similar to how they make it in, you guessed it, Switzerland. In the US and other countries around the world there are types of Cheese which resemble the Swiss type of Cheese, hence they are often categorized as Swiss Cheese

Some great examples of Swiss Cheese are Jarlsberg, Comte, Gouda, Gruyere, and Raclette Cheeses. The beauty of these cheese is not only do they taste fantastic, but they have a beautiful melting quality. Which is perfect for a Cuban Sandwich. Once you toast this beautiful Cheese in the sandwich it will start to slightly melt and ooze over the delicious filling

Get the pre-sliced Pickles in Brine for the best result

Pre sliced Pickles in a jar that are swimming in Brine are simply perfect for this dish. The Pickles themselves add that beautiful tartness to the sandwich. However, it’s the Brine that really steals the show, bringing a salty sweetness to the flavor

Sure, you could buy your pickles whole, but that’s not fun. Douse the sandwich up with a load of these beautiful pickles and be sure to keep them covered well in Brine. The good news is you can use that delicious brine to create some amazing sauces that go great in Burgers. Check out our Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich recipe to see how you can make an amazing sauce with the pickle brine

Rectangular shaped Rolls are the most ‘authentic’ but honestly, any Bread Rolls will do

To get that true Cubano Sandwich look and feel, long, rectangular shaped rolls are the way to go. A good type of roll to use for the Cuban Sandwich is a typical Hoagie Roll. They’re large so you’re getting a full meal out of the sandwich, and they are the perfect shape to hold a significant amount of ingredients in them

Cubano Sandwich top view
Get a good Bread Roll such as a Hoagie Roll that’ll hold the filling well and toast beautifully for the best result

If you can’t get your hands on Hoagie rolls it doesn’t really matter. Just find a large enough roll that will hold the filling without falling out. Part of the cooking process for a Cubano Sandwich is to compact them, either in the frying pan with some weight on top, or in a typical sandwich press. So you want the bread to be sturdy enough to handle the weight of being compacted without the filling seeping out the sides

A nice little trick is to butter both the inside and outside of the bread before it goes into the sandwich press. This way you’ll get a beautiful golden crust on the outside of the sandwich which will be lovely and crunchy when you bite into it

Recipe Details

Servings

2 Sandwiches

Prep time

5 minutes

Cooking time

5 minutes

Total time

10 minutes

Cubano Sandwich Recipe

Ingredients

  • ½ lb. Leftover Roast Pork
  • 6 slices of Ham
  • 2 large bread rolls (eg: Hoagie Rolls)
  • 12 large Pickle slices in brine
  • 4 slices of Swiss Cheese (eg: Gruyere, Gouda, Comte Cheese)
  • 2 tbsp. Yellow Mustard
  • 1 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  1. Prepare your Pork by slicing it into long, strips. Preferably about ¼ inch thick. You want the Pork thickness to be about 2×3 times the thickness of the sliced Ham
  2. Cut your Bread Roll completely down the middle, lengthwise to form 2 pieces. Liberally butter both the inside and outside of both slices of bread
  3. Layer the Cubano Sandwich with ingredients in this order from bottom to top: Pork, Ham, Cheese, Pickles, Yellow Mustard. Finish with a pinch of Salt and Pepper then place the top on the sandwich
  4. Place the Sandwich in the middle of a Sandwich Press and push down to compress. Cook until the Cheese just begins to melt, and the outsides are a dark brown / golden color
  5. To serve, cut the sandwich in the center on a 45-degree angle

We’re huge fans of Roast Pork, so our ratios in our Cubano Sandwich are about 4 parts Pork to 1 Part Ham. It’s totally up to you how much of either ingredient you put in, however it is important that you have a good balance of ingredients to achieve a harmonious flavor in the dish

For more fun ways to create delicious meals using Leftovers, head on over to our Lunching on Leftovers page and see what awesome dishes you can whip up. Some of our favorite Lunching on Leftovers recipes are these ones:

Happy Cooking!

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