Enjoy Miami-worthy Cuban sandwiches at home with this easy and authentic Cuban sandwich recipe. The secret is in the pork, which you make in your slow cooker or pressure cooker!
This is the Cuban Sandwich recipe, for The Cuban Sandwich. Cuban sandwiches are easy to make, they’re a staple at restaurants and walk-up windows all over Miami, and they are just one of those South Florida street foods everyone knows. And there is one way to make them. Period.
The sandwich involves 6 simple ingredients: Cuban bread, mustard, Swiss cheese, pickles, mojo pork, and sweet ham. That’s it. No aioli, no salami, no onion, no lettuce, no lots of other things I’m seeing on Cuban sandwich recipes nowadays. But it’s okay, this is why I’m here, to teach. 😉
I know the title to this post may sound a bit pretentious, but there really is only one list of ingredients for making an amazing Cuban sandwich. The challenge, should you not live someplace with a large Cuban population, i.e. – almost everywhere, sourcing some of these ingredients can be challenging, specifically the Cuban bread and the pork.
Finding the right bread for Cuban sandwiches
Here’s my tip for the bread, if you can’t find Cuban bread, use a soft Italian bread instead. Cuban bread is very light and crusty, but not crusty in the same way as a French bread. The crust is much easier to bite through and toasts up beautifully. The closest I’ve found to it is a light Italian. Of course, if you can find it, Cuban bread is the absolute best choice.
You could also try to make it, but that opens up a whole other discussion on styles, recipes, and authenticity. While I do try to make a really good Cuban bread from time to time, I buy the bread to make sandwiches mostly because I haven’t come up with or found THE bread recipe yet. Keep things simple since you already have to make the pork!
Getting the right flavors in the filling…
For the second hard to source item… all you need is a little help from your slow cooker or pressure cooker! So I guess you could call these Slow Cooker Cuban Sandwiches? Instant Pot Cuban Sandwiches? I can’t commit to a different title.
In Miami, we would find a roast pork with a nice citrus spice at every grocery store deli, so if you find that near you, just buy that and skip this step. We haven’t found it anywhere outside the South Florida area, so I make my own mojo pork in the slow cooker and we shred it for use in the sandwiches. It’s easy to make your own marinade, especially if you can find sour oranges.
Fresh sour oranges, also called “naranja agria” can be found only briefly and usually in international grocery stores. They’re also used in some Asian cooking. Since fresh sour orange is not always an option for me, I’ve found mixing fresh orange juice and lemon juice gives you a very similar flavor profile.
Now for the easy part…
After you have those little details taken care of, making these Cuban sandwiches is easy! Slice your bread, layer your ingredients, toast, and serve! We make them up for a quick lunch when we have the ingredients on hand, or I make a sandwich out of the entire loaf of bread, toast, and slice for parties.
The Godfather and I once hosted a Cuban sandwich party at our house for a college football Saturday. It wasn’t the traditional football food, but it was delicious!
I hope you enjoy making your own authentic Cuban sandwiches very soon!
For the Sandwich
- 1 loaf Cuban bread (or a soft Italian baguette)
- 1/2 lb mojo pork, sliced thin (or shredded from recipe below)
- 1/2 lb sweet ham
- yellow mustard
- kosher dill pickles (not the sweet kind)
To Make the Slow Cooker Mojo Pork
- 3-4 lb pork shoulder
- 1/3 c fresh sour orange juice (about 2 sour oranges) *OR* 1/4 c fresh orange juice and the juice from 1 lemon
- 4 large cloves garlic
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
To make the slow cooker mojo pork:
- Place the pork shoulder in your slow cooker.
- Combine the sour orange juice (or orange and lemon juice), garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Pour over the pork shoulder.
- Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high 4-6 until the pork is cooked through and shreds easily.
- If you are using the Instant Pot or a pressure cooker - Follow the first 2 instructions and then cook on high pressure for 40 minutes or until the pork is cooked through and shreds easily. Allow the pressure to release naturally, or wait at least 15 minutes after the cooking cycle for manual pressure release.
To assemble the sandwiches:
- Preheat your panini press.
- Cut the bread in half lengthwise. Spread one or both sides with mustard.
- Layer the pork, pickles, ham, and Swiss cheese on the bread.
- Press the sandwich until toasted outside and the cheese is melted.
- Serve warm and enjoy!
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Hamilton Beach Electric Panini Press Grill with Locking Lid
Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer
Crock-Pot SCCPVL610-S-A 6-Quart Cook & Carry Programmable Slow Cooker with Digital Timer Stainless Steel