Cuban Sandwich

I will be up front with you, I have never been to Cuba. I had to get that off my chest. But that does not mean that I have not sampled Cuban food throughout my lifetime, or better yet food from the southern part of Florida.  Ropa vieja, tamales, and fried plantains are only a few, but one always stood out in terms of simple, and comforting food. The Cuban sandwich.

What makes a Cuban sandwich so go is only to be said when you crunch your way into toasted, pressed sandwich. It might be the cheese, it could be the pickles, but I believe overall, it is the combination of all ingredients that make a Cuban sandwich so delicious. The Cuban sandwich is basically a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a few extra ingredients, and cooked just a bit differently from a traditional grilled cheese. As the Cuban sandwich traditionally calls for Cuban bread (hard to find in the Milwaukee area), I used a day old loaf of bread from Jimmy Johns (48 cents) and it pressed and toasted really, really well. Let’s get started.

Cuban Sandwich Recipe

Ingredients: [Print this Recipe]

  • 1 loaf of Jimmy John’s bread, cut into 8″ slice (other options, french roll, or seedless hoagie)
  • Sliced ham (I used Wisconsin’s finest Sunday boiled ham, thinly sliced)
  • Slow roasted pork cooked in mojo (see below)
  • Dill pickle slices
  • 2 slices of Baby Swiss Cheese, per sandwich
  • Mustard (optional)
  • Butter

Ingredients for Pork:

  • 3 lbs of pork shoulder
  • 1 head of garlic, skins removed, smashed
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 cup of orange juice
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the pork, mix all of the ingredients, excluding the pork, in a bowl. Take a knife, and create large slits into the pork. Add the pork to a large, sealable plastic bag and dump the marinade into the bag. Massage the pork, seal, and let it marinate for at least four hours. When you are ready to cook, you can throw the pork, and marinade into a slow cooker, or roast in the oven until cooked.

Start by getting everything ready, and set it out on the counter for at least 30 minutes. Everything should be room temperature, and I mean everything. This allows everything to cook together nicely and get evenly cooked.

Cuban Sandwich Recipe

When you are ready, I recommend getting heavy cast iron skillets out if you have them. The goal is to create a heavy press, and cast iron not only heats really well, but it has the weight you are looking for to press the sandwich.

Build your sandwich by adding the pickles to the bottom layer, or if you want to use mustard, spread a light coating of mustard before adding the pickles, then top with roasted pork, ham, and top with cheese. Add about one tablespoon of butter to the skillet that is on medium-low heat. Take the sandwich and massage it into the butter. Take another tablespoon of butter and spread it on the top part of the bread. Lay another cast iron skillet on top of the sandwich, and carefully press down. If you do not have the second skillet, you could wrap aluminum foil around a brick, and use that as your press. Be creative, but find a clean, heavy pot or pan to lay on top of the sandwich.

Leave the sandwich alone for a few minutes, however monitor the heat. You definitely do not want to burn the bread, so lower the heat a bit if you are concerned. The goal of the sandwich is to build an amazing crust and have the cheese melt. After a few minutes, flip the sandwich over, add the skillet back to the top of the sandwich, give a little press, and cook another few minutes. The sandwich is done when the cheese is melted, and your crust is complete. You know the crust is complete when you tap on the sandwich and you get that sound. You’ll know the sound, and it is a beautiful one at that.

Take the sandwich, let it rest for a few minutes, then slice on a diagonal. The result is everything, and a bit more. The exterior is so wonderful, and biting into it you will know first hand why this sandwich is really great. It could be the combination of flavors, or it could be the balanced textures. Whatever it is, the Cuban sandwich is a must make, and what a better time to make one then today or tomorrow! Enjoy.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

Dax Phillips

Thank you for visiting my website. Truly, I do appreciate it. My free time and stress reliever is cooking for my family, friends, and everyone in between. The recipes you find on this site are those that I have either created, been part of, or those that I simply enjoy and have made my own in some shape, form, or other. My focus has always been on comfort food, because at the end of a long work day, you want something comforting. I currently am the father of three children, and married to a wonderful wife of thirteen years. There is nothing fancy with these recipes, just simple, and I will admit, not so simple ingredients, and a simple kitchen corner I can call my own. I learned early on that cooking and bringing family together was very important. After all, this notion of being together at dinner time was instilled early on by my parents. There are many memories of being in the kitchen with my parents, watching them cook, or preparing meals, or those home cooked smells while waiting for dinner. My parents who worked full-time, always had home cooked meals during the week, with the exception of Friday nights where we would enjoy a Wisconsin fish fry, and often on late afternoons on Sunday, where we would order Ann's pizza. I tend to cook by making things up. As a home cook, I think you have to take chances, and add or subtract ingredients that make up a dish, and make them your own. Remember to taste, and taste often. If a dish has potential, try it again, and make it your own. You should also note that I do not count calories, or break down recipes into grams of anything. To me, that's a bit boring. My philosophy is that if the food is good, eat it, and eat it in moderation. Life is just too short not to enjoy good food. Commonly Asked Questions: Can I use your photography/content on my website/blog? Please do not redistribute my photography or recipes without my permission. All of the recipes and photography on this website are my own unless noted, and is subjected to copyright  If you’d like to use a photograph or a recipe, please contact me for permission. Will you review my product/book/site? I am available for recipe development, food photography and/or styling, travel/press events, product reviews, brand promotion/ambassador, and sponsored posts. If you are interested in working with me, or if you have a question/comment regarding a recipe or about my blog, please send me an email.

2 thoughts to “Cuban Sandwich”

  1. I think you were faithful to the Cubano. I lived in Tampa, FL for awhile which was my first exposure to the sandwich and where I totally fell in love with it. I do believe that mustard is NOT optional. The flavor is just as integral to the sandwich as all the other ingredients. Fortunately, I work very close to a Cuban restaurant in Chicago that makes one of the best Cubanos.

  2. Jimmy Johns- BRILLIANT! I make cubans all the time but I use the Turano Pan Tuscano sliced round loaf. It toasts up well but isn’t authentic. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *