Cuban Sandwich

Cuban Sandwich

The Cuban is my favorite sandwich of all time. Alas, my desire is often thwarted by a dearth of one crucial ingredient: roast pork. So, the way I figure it, why not reach for a far more common deli meat: herb-roasted turkey. Is it authentic? No. Is it delicious? Believe it.

Since this is a very particular sandwich, I’m very picky about the ingredients I use. When it comes to the bread, look for short hoagie rolls, 6 to 7 inches long by 2.5 inches wide. For the pickles, opt for the long-cut “sandwich stuffer”-style pickles that are quite thin, but several inches long — that way, you get more pickle per bite.

This recipe first appeared in Season 8 of Good Eats.

Cuban Sandwich

  • 4 hoagie rolls
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 8 slices baked ham, thinly sliced
  • 8 slices roast pork or turkey, thinly sliced
  • 8 slices provolone cheese, thinly sliced and halved
  • 8 long-cut, sandwich-style dill pickle slices
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  1. Heat your panini press. If there are temperature settings, go for full power.
  2. While the press is heating, prepare your ingredients by pre-stacking the fillings on a cutting board or a parchment paper-lined countertop. Remove 8 pickles from the jar and blot with paper towels, drying them as much as possible. Divide the ingredients evenly among the 4 rolls: Start with 2 slices ham, followed by one half-piece of cheese, 2 slices of pork or turkey, 2 pickles, finishing with another half-piece of cheese.
  3. Halve the rolls lengthwise and brush the cut sides liberally with the melted butter. Place 1 or 2 rolls (or however many will fit comfortably) on the panini press, cut-side down, then coat the outside of the rolls with additional butter. Close the press and brown for 2 1/2 minutes. Repeat with remaining rolls.
  4. While the rolls are in the panini press, tear four sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil, enough to wrap each sandwich.
  5. Remove rolls from the panini press and place on aluminum foil. Coat both cut sides of the rolls with enough mustard to cover. Position the pre-stacked ingredients on the bottom roll, finishing with the top roll. Wrap in foil and set aside. Build the second sandwich and place both, still wrapped in foil, back in the press for 3 minutes. If your panini press only holds one sandwich, just toast one at a time.
  6. Rest for 1 minute in the foil then unwrap and enjoy.

Hardware: Panini press

Yield: 4 servings

Active time: 10 minutes

Total time: 10 minutes


Add yours
  1. 4
    James Horton

    A MUST is Cuban bread. It’s a Cuban sandwich, DUHH! No mojo marinated pork? NOT! And substitute provolone for swiss? Not in Tampa!
    From Wikipedia: While there is some debate as to the contents of a “true” Cuban sandwich, most are generally agreed upon. The traditional Cuban sandwich starts with Cuban bread. The loaf is sliced into lengths of 8–12 inches (20–30 cm), lightly buttered or brushed with olive oil on the crust, and cut in half horizontally. A coat of yellow mustard is spread on the bread. Then sliced roast pork, glazed ham, Swiss cheese, and thinly sliced dill pickles are added in layers. Sometimes the pork is marinated in mojo and slow roasted.[10]
    The main regional disagreement about the sandwich’s recipe is whether or not to include salami. In Tampa, Genoa salami is traditionally layered with the other meats, probably due to the influence of Italian immigrants who lived side-by-side with Cubans and Spaniards in Ybor City.[12][3][18][19] In South Florida, salami is left out.[20] A 1934 travel article describes a Tampa Cuban sandwich as a “complete meal” consisting of ham, lean pork, Swiss cheese, soft salami, dill pickle and a “liberal moistening of mustard” served on “very crisp and crusty” Cuban bread.[17] These ingredients are reiterated 27 years later in the first and all subsequent editions of “The Gasparilla Cookbook” (1961), a still-popular collection of Tampa cuisine

  2. 5
    Tony Jacobs

    You forgot the Genoa salami. The Cuban sandwich was invented in Tampa in 1890 a full 70 years before Miami was even a Cuban community. I can accept the roast Turkey but to forget the Salami is to make this nothing more than a ham and cheese. Call this what it is, a Miami ham and cheese sandwich, not a Cuban.

  3. 6

    I use Swiss cheese on my Cubans. For the roast pork I prick a pork tenderloin with a fork and marinate in Mojo Crillo (Goya makes it, it is a Spanish marinade), bake or grill then slice for the sandwich. Around here we can get authentic Cuban bread from Publix Supermarkets but I have used hoagie rolls in a pinch and it works great. I have a “redneck Panini maker” which is 2 cast iron skillets. I use one to press down the sandwich.

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  6. 21
    Carl Marquardt

    I make what I call the “Carolina Cuban”: Pulled pork barbecue, smoked ham, mustard, pickles and swiss cheese on a buttered hoagie/hero roll. Pressed, of course. Wonderful.

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