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The amazing classic Cuban Sandwich (Cubano)
A hearty and delicious combination of flavors and textures
The classic Cuban Sandwich is layered with sweet ham, juicy tender pork, melted Swiss cheese, dill pickles with a nice slathering of yellow mustard.
The original sandwich is said to have been invented in a Key West Florida cafe popular with local Cuban workers. However that first Cubano sandwich was made with salami instead of ham which later became the standard.
There are may variations of this sandwich but this is without a doubt one of our favorites.
It’s hard to resist this cheesy, meaty, flavorful sandwich
You probably knew this amazing sandwich would be the next after posting the wonderful, flavorful Grilled Cuban Mojo-Marinated Pork Tenderloin last week.
The lime juice and citrusy garlic marinade adds incredible flavor to the pork and to this sandwich. As you probably have guessed, this hearty sandwich is loaded with meat and cheesy goodness so nobody goes away hungry!
Overview of ingredients:
- Italian, French or Cuban bread – store-bought or homemade
- unsalted butter
- a few tablespoons of yellow mustard
- Swiss cheese
- sweet (honey) deli ham
- sliced dill pickles – I like the sandwich style sliced pickles here
- sliced roast pork, cooked pork shoulder or mojo-marinated grilled pork tenderloin
How to make a Cuban Sandwich
1. The bread
Since real Cuban bread is almost impossible to find, pick up two 12-inch long loaves of soft white French bread or Italian bread or make your own at home. First, remove the top and bottom crust from the loaf of bread and cut in half so you have four 6-inch pieces of bread.
Cut each portion of bread in half lengthwise. Next lightly spread butter on the top and bottom sides that will be grilled. Therefore you’ll have 8 pieces of buttered bread. Turn the pieces butter-side down on a large baking sheet.
2. Build the sandwiches
Generously spread mustard on the inside of each of the 8 slices of bread. Layer 1 slice of Swiss cheese over the mustard on 4 of the bottom halves. Divide the pickles, ham and pork over the Swiss cheese. Top with another slice of Swiss cheese and then the top of the bread, butter side up.
3. Grill the sandwich
Finally, preheat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and then add two sandwiches. Turn the heat down slightly and continue cooking until the bottoms are lightly browned.
Carefully turn the sandwiches over and “firmly press” the Cuban using a heavy skillet, cast iron skillet or foil wrapped bricks. Don’t be afraid to press firmly. Continue cooking until the cheese is melted and both sides are golden brown.
However, if you have a panini or grill pan that will work well too. This sandwich is perfect made on our Blackstone griddle. It’s our favorite way to cook while camping!
Repeat with the remaining sandwiches cooking on both sides until golden brown. Cut the sandwiches in half diagonally and serve with chips and a cold beer if desired.
If you’ve traveled in the Tampa or Miami area perhaps you’ve had a great Cuban sandwich.
Sounds like summer perfection to me! However if you don’t want to go all the way to Florida or Cuba to enjoy a terrific Cuban sandwich, I’ve got your recipe right here!
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Cuban Sandwich Recipe
- 2 loaves Italian, French or Cuban bread about 12 inches long each
- 1 ounce unsalted butter
- 1 ounce yellow mustard
- 6 ounces Swiss cheese (8 slices)
- 12 ounces sweet (honey) deli ham (8 thin slices)
- 8 dill pickles slices
- 12 ounces roast pork or pork tenderloin
- Trim off the ends and remove the top and bottom crust from each of the loaves. Cut each in half so you have four 6-inch pieces of bread. Cut each portion in half lengthwise then lightly butter the top and bottom that will be grilled. You should now have 8 pieces of buttered bread. Turn the bread butter-side down on a large baking pan.
- Generously spread mustard on the inside of each of the 8 slices of bread. Place 1 slice of Swiss cheese over the mustard on 4 halves. Divide the pickles, ham and pork over the Swiss cheese. Top with another slice of Swiss cheese and then the top of the remaining bread, butter side up.
- Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium heat then add two sandwiches. Reduce the heat slightly and cook until the bottom is lightly browned. Carefully turn the sandwich over and "press" the Cuban using a heavy cast iron skillet or foil wrapped bricks. Cook until the cheese is melted and both sides are golden brown. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.
- Cut the sandwiches in half diagonally and serve with chips and a cold beer if desired.
The Cuban is a pressed or grilled sandwich typically made with Cuban bread similar to French or Italian loaves.
We usually pick up a few small Italian loaves to use in this recipe. To make the bread easier to press and grill I trim off the tough ends and top and bottom crusts.
In other words, don’t get hung up on having the right kind of bread to make this iconic sandwich. If it’s soft, white, thick and delicious, it’s going to be great.
I love the occasional sandwich and especially a meaty one with cheese like this Cuban. It’s a nice splurge that completely satisfies, plus it’s easy to make, too.
This sandwich is perfect for casual entertaining.
You can easily prepare each of the components ahead of time and simply assemble the sandwiches just before cooking. After that all you need to do is gave a few bottles of good beer on ice and extra pickles and chips on hand. Done and done!
There’s something about a classic sandwich that keep me coming back for more. For instance, these Homemade (Baked) Chick-Fil-A Sandwiches have been on my list of must-make recipes forever!
And finally another crazy delicious ham & cheese variation is this Monte Cristo Sandwich. This makes an amazing breakfast sandwich too!