I love Cuban Sandwiches, and I’ve posted on them extensively here on Off The Broiler. I generally don’t eat them at home, because we have a number of good Cuban restaurants in the Northern NJ area. However, we found ourselves with an abundance of really good leftover slow-cooked Berkshire pork shoulder from Momofuku Ssam Bar this week after indulging in their Bo Ssam, and we needed something to do with it. Originally I thought about doing barbecue sandwiches, but I wanted to show the meat more respect and let the natural flavor of the high-quality pork show through, so I chose to transform it into Cubanos.
First, take your roast or slow cooked pork (even pork loin will do, leftover pork shoulder from your barbecue works great) shred it apart, and heat it on low heat in a cast iron pan, just to get the cold off from the refrigerator. To make it taste more authentically Cuban, we added some of Daisy Martinez’s Pineapple/Garlic/Chile Vinagre which is a great condiment to make for doing all sorts of marinades or to add some kick to deep fried and grilled foods. When warmed up and mixed up with the Vinagre, remove from pan and set aside.
Next, get your Cubano mise-en-place ready. You’ll need some nice sliced ham (we’ve got Black Forest), sliced Swiss-style cheese (this is Jarlsberg), sliced dill pickles, and a mustard-heavy mayonnaise and mustard mixture.
Get some nice hero rolls or French bread (Cuban sandwich bread is ideal, but French bread is very similar) or an eggy bread like a Portuguese roll (in order to make Medianoche, a popular variant) and spread some of the Mustard/Mayo mixture on each side.
Next, the cheese and the pickles.
Next, the pork.
Finally, the ham.
Cover with the other half of the roll.
Butter both sides of each sandwich. Heat up the cast iron pan to medium-low heat, and put the sandwiches in there.
Using a second cast iron pan, smush down firmly on the sandwiches while they are grilling. Flip the sandwiches after 3 to 4 minutes and grill on the other side for the same amount of time.
Cut the sandwiches along a triangular bisect. Serve with potato chips and fruit-flavored soft drink (such as a champagne cola or mango/pineapple soda) or Caribbean-style Latino beer such as Hatuey or Presidente.