Tampa Style Cuban Sandwiches in the Oregon Desert
I could watch Jon Favreau make Cuban sandwiches all day, every day.
Jon Favreau the director/actor/comedian, not Jon Favreau the political commentator. But I suppose if the latter made the same ridiculously delicious sandwich, then I would also watch him make them all day, everyday. If you haven’t seen the movie “Chef,” watch it. NOW! Then come back and make this sandwich.
I had the lovely honor of being in Madras, OR for the eclipse (more on that in its own post later) and I was asked by Jared’s maternal grandmother to cook for everyone. So I thought: What can I make that is impressive, easy, and can feed a lot of people? Then. I remembered that August 23rd is National Cuban Sandwich Day.
Behind the Banh Mi, this is probably my favorite sandwich, because PORK ON PORK ON PORK, GUYS! I really recommend Tampa Style Cuban Sandwiches, because Genoa salami is yummy. I have no other adult word for it. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find true Cuban bread—and I didn’t feel like baking it, so we used Ciabatta bread in a pinch. I know it’s not the same, so if you can get Cuban bread for this recipe, it is 1000% WORTH IT.
You also do not have to grill the pork—you can totally use your oven, but really we had to cook outside. It was a gorgeous day, and we couldn’t stand the thought of babysitting an oven indoors. Have this sandwich outside, in the desert like us if you can. :-)
As far as the beer flavor goes, you could definitely smell the beer while the ribs are cooking, however, it wasn’t at all overpowering in the dish itself. I doubled the amount of meat in the initial recipe; if I do the same amount next time, I’ll simmer the meat a while longer to get it a little more tender. Although it might not be the true braising method, I’ll also stir the meat so all the pieces get a chance to braise in the liquid. The meat finishes off in the grill, which adds a nice crispiness to the meat!
Cuban Sandwiches (Cubanos) - Tampa Style
For the Grilled Cuban Mojo Pork
- 3 and 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, in one piece
- 3/4 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbs orange zest
- 3/4 Cup fresh orange juice
- 1/2 Cup fresh lime juice
- 1 Cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 1/4 Cup lightly packed mint leaves, finely chopped
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbs minced oregano (2 teaspoons dried oregano)
- 2 Tsp ground cumin
Kosher salt and pepper
For the Sandwiches
- 2 (8- to 10-inch) sections Cuban bread, split open horizontally - we used ciabatta because we couldn’t find Cuban bread
- 4 tablespoons yellow mustard or to taste
- 6 ounces sliced or shredded Swiss cheese
- 6 ounces thinly sliced dill pickles
- 8 ounces sliced honey ham
If you have a food processor or using a blender: Add the orange juice, cilantro leaves, mint leaves, smashed (not minced) garlic cloves, and pulse until everything is finely chopped. Add this mixture to a large metal bowl (big enough to fit the meat), along with the rest of the oil, zest, lime juice, oregano, and cumin. Add the pork shoulder and cover it with the marinade.
Cover with foil or plastic wrap and put it in the fridge overnight, or for at least several hours.
Preheat the grill to 425 degrees.
Place the pork on the rack and discard the marinade. Salt and pepper the pork well.
Roast the pork for 30 minutes. It should be lightly browned.
Turn the grill down to 375F. Roast for another 1 hour and 20-30 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 160 (we were cooking close to 9 pounds, which took closer to 3 hours).
Transfer to a cutting board, cover with aluminum foil and let it rest at least 20 minutes.
Carve against the grain and serve on the sandwiches below!
Preheat a panini press or a large cast iron skillet or griddle over medium heat. Lay bread, open side up, on a work surface and spread the bottom and top halves with mustard. Layer bottom and top halves with Swiss cheese. Working only on bottom halves, layer on all of the pickles, ham, roast pork, and salami (if using). Close sandwiches, pressing gently down.
Butter top and bottom of panini press, then press sandwiches with moderate pressure until crisp on both sides (be careful to keep the tops of the sandwiches from sliding off with the press), about 8 minutes. If using a cast iron skillet or griddle, melt half of butter in pan and add sandwiches. Use a second pan to press on them as the first side crisps. When crisp, flip sandwiches, add remaining butter, swirl to coat, and continue cooking while pressing until crisp on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Slice sandwiches in half diagonally and serve immediately with a side of Salt & Pepper Kettle Chips!
Happy National Cuban Sandwich Day!
How are you going to celebrate? Comment below!