This Cubano sandwich recipe is one of the greatest ways to repurpose your leftover pulled pork. It’s so tangy, sweet and delicious, you simply have to give it a try.
Ever since watching the movie Chef a few years back, we’ve been dying to try our hand at preparing our own Cubano sandwich. Jon Favreau just makes it look so delicious.
We found ourselves with some leftover pork shoulder the other day and decided that this would be an amazing way to bring new life to our leftovers.
Note: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. This doesn’t cost you any more than normal. Read our disclaimer for more info.
What is a Cubano Sandwich Made of?
Traditionally, a Cuban sandwich, or Cubano is made up of slow roast pork, ham, mustard, dill pickles and Swiss cheese, and prepared on a crusty Cuban bread.
Instead of slow roasting pork shoulder specifically for this sandwich, we have prepared a mojo sauce to add to leftover pulled pork from when we previously smoked a Texas Style Pork Butt.
Mojo Sauce for Pulled Pork
To cook our leftover pork shoulder for our recipe, we first needed to make the sauce to season the pork appropriately.
This is fairly easy with only 4 ingredients and can be done in about 10 minutes.
All we had to do was juice one lime and one orange. We put the citrus juice in a small pan over medium heat and added 2 tablespoons of brown sugar as well as 1 tablespoon of chili powder.
After about 10 min of simmering, stirring fairly regularly, the sauce had slightly reduced down and started to thicken. (Not to mention it smells so good!)
We then stirred in the 8 ounces of pulled pork until the sauce was evenly dispersed all throughout.
How to Make a Cuban Sandwich
Living in the heart of Indiana, we don’t exactly have access to authentic Cuban bread, so we just picked out a nice loaf of Italian bread that looked crispy on the outside but soft on the inside.
Cut the loaf in half to make a couple long sandwiches. After cooking, those two sandwiches would get cut again to total four servings in total. You can share them if you want, but once you taste them, you might not want to.
Slice open both halves of the loaf and spread a nice even coat of plain mustard on all four pieces of bread.
You might be questioning if this is too much. The answer is no. The mustard is one of the key ingredients to the flavor profile of this sandwich, so you do not want to skimp out here.
After the mustard, you will stack Swiss cheese, followed by ham, the sauced pulled pork, more cheese and pickles, followed by the other piece of bread.
(Sometimes you can find a jar of thinly sliced dill pickles at the grocery store, but you could also do like we did and slice a whole pickle using a mandolin.)
The last step before grilling the sandwich is to brush melted butter on the outside, both the top and bottom bread. Brushing the butter on the bread will help it toast better.
Grilling a Cuban Sandwich
We cooked our Cubano sandwiches on our Vision Kamado grill running at around 400 degrees.
A panini press would also work great if you prefer cooking these sandwiches indoors. Some people even use an oven for this, though it’s not as effective and you probably won’t get results quite as close to a panini press.
Grilling the Cuban sandwiches happened quickly. We simply placed the sandwich between the pizza pan and the skillet and then used our insulated pit gloves to apply pressure to the top pan in order to press the sandwich down. It let us toast the sandwiches very efficiently.
At 400 degrees, the sandwich was nicely toasted from white to a golden brown on both sides of the sandwich in less than 90 seconds. Not even enough time to close the lid of the grill.
Grilled Cuban Sandwich
- 2 cast iron pans
- 1 orange juiced
- 1 lime juiced
- 2 Tb. light brown sugar
- 1 Tb. chili powder
- 8 oz pulled pork
- 1 loaf Cuban bread
- ¼ c. yellow mustard
- 6 slices swiss cheese
- 6 slices deli ham
- 2 whole dill pickles thinly sliced
- 2 Tb butter melted
- To make the mojo sauce, combine orange juice, lime juice, sugar, and chili powder in a small saucepan and simmer for about 10 minutes over medium heat until it begins to reduce and thicken slightly.
- Stir leftover pulled pork into the sauce to evenly coat.
- Cut the loaf of bread in half (to make two long sandwiches that will later be cut in half after cooking). Then slice each in half to open up and begin building the sandwiches.
- Spread mustard on the top and bottom of each sandwich. Begin with a layer of Swiss cheese slices on the bottom of the sandwich.
- Add slices of ham to the bottom half of the sandwich and then pile the pork over that.
- Layer dill pickle slices over the pork, followed by an additional layer of cheese. Then finish with the other half of the bread.
- Use a pastry brush to paint melted butter on the outside (top and bottom) of each sandwich.
- Place the sandwiches down between the two cast iron pans. Use heat proof gloves to push down on the top pan to press the sandwich. You'll want to be sure the cheese is melted before removing it from the grill but it will likely only take about 90 seconds before it's good to go.
- Slice each sandwich in half and serve right away.
What to do with Leftover Pulled Pork?
We always like when we have leftovers from a smoked pork butt because there are so many delicious ways to repurpose the pulled pork! It lets us experiment with the pork and make new recipes to please our friends and family!
Although our Cubano sandwich recipe is already becoming very popular with our loved ones, we have other great recipes that you can use your leftover pork for. (You can give us thanks later).
In addition to this Cuban sandwich, here are some of our other favorites that you can make: