Here's how to make the BEST Traditional Cuban Sandwich, a.k.a. the Cubano, at home! Layers of mojo-marinated pork roast, ham, cheese, and pickles make this sandwich outstanding. Serve toasted grilled bread sandwich hot or cold!
- 1-pound loaf Cuban or Italian bread
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 small clove garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
- 8 ounces thinly sliced Swiss cheese, about 10 slices
- 1 pound shredded pork roast, heated until warmed through
- sliced dill pickles, as needed
- 10 slices Black Forest or smoked ham
- Potato chips
- Dill pickles
1 Heat your skillet or griddle: I like to use two cast iron skillets nested on top of one another, pressing the sandwich in between. To use this method, place both skillets (one on top of the other) over medium heat and let them heat through.
If using a panini press set it to medium heat. The skillet or griddle shouldn’t be screaming hot, but it should radiate enough heat to toast the bread slowly.
If you aren’t using the double pan method or a panini press, just use anything you have to weigh the sandwich down – a foil wrapped brick, your spatula, whatever you have will do.
2 Toast the bread: Slice the loaf of bread in half horizontally. If you’re using a skillet, you may have to cut the loaf cut the loaf vertically as well so it fits in your pan and make the sandwich in batches.
Toast both halves of the plain bread, cut side down, until the surface is a light golden-brown. This step reduces the sogginess that often occurs after the mustard and pickles are added.
3 Make, then spread, the schmear: While the bread is toasting, stir together the butter and minced garlic to create a schmear. Once the slices of bread have been toasted, spread the garlic butter onto the cut side of one of the bread halves. Then spread the mustard on the cut side of other piece of bread.
4 Layer the meat and cheese: Top the mustard side with a layer of Swiss cheese, followed by a handful of the warmed roast pork. Add another layer of Swiss cheese followed by a layer of pickles and the ham. Top the ham with any remaining cheese and cover the sandwich with the other piece of bread.
5 Grill the Cubano: If you prefer really melty cheese, wrap your Cubano in aluminum foil before grilling (this is totally optional).
If using the 2-skillet method, once both pans are heated through, lift the top pan up. Place the sandwich into the bottom pan and place the top pan directly onto the sandwich. Otherwise, weight the sandwich down using your preferred method.
Grill the Cubano for 5-6 minutes on one side before carefully flipping the sandwich and grilling for another 5-6 minutes on the other side. If you’re using a panini press, grill for 6 minutes total, or until the cheese is melted.
When ready the Cubano should have a flat, crispy, slightly dark brown, top and bottom, and the cheese should be melted.
6 Serve: Remove your sandwich from the skillet or griddle. Slice your sandwich according to the number of guests you need to serve and serve the sandwich with a handful of chips and a pickle or two.
LEFTOVERS! Leftovers should be wrapped in foil and stored in the refrigerator. They may be reheated by cooking the same as above.