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How to make a Cuban Sandwich / Miami Style


If you have ever been to South Florida you know that one of the dishes to try. It is a Miami Style Cubano. We moved from Florida to Hawai’i a few years ago and one of the things we miss is the late-night trips to cafeterias. Where you can pick up a Cubano and a Batido de Trigo. Inspired by the Movie “Chef” We brought a little home flavor to Hawai’i

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Citrus Brine

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup spiced rum
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 TBS cumin seeds or ground cumin
  • 1/2 TBS dried oregano, or 2 sprigs fresh
  • 1/2 TBS dried thyme, or 2 sprigs fresh
  • 1/2 TBS dried rosemary, or 2 sprigs fresh
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 bay leaves


Mojo Marinade

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 2 oranges
  • Zest and juice of 3 limes
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1/3 cup culantro, aka chado beni (optional)
  • 1/2 TBS cumin seeds or ground cumin
  • 1/2 TBS kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced


Cuban Sandwiches

  • 3 pound boneless picnic pork shoulder 
  • or 34 pound bone-in pork shoulder
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 large loaf Cuban bread, or 4 mini Cuban loaves
  • (sub-options: Italian bread or French bread)
  • 4 TBS butter
  • 8 slices sweet ham, preferably sliced by hand from a whole ham
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese
  • Sliced dill pickles
  • 4 TBS yellow mustard
  • 4 TBS homemade aioli or mayo


  1. Combine the brine ingredients in a bowl large enough to hold your pork shoulder. Add the pork to the brine and submerge the meat. Cover with plastic or aluminum foil and allow pork to brine 12-24 hours.
  2. Combine the mojo marinade in a mason jar and screw shut. Shake marinade vigorously. Remove pork from the brine and discard. Pat the skin of the pork dry. Add marinade to the bowl and add the pork shoulder, skin side up. Ensure the skin is above the marinade. Put the bowl in the fridge, uncovered, for 2-24 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove pork from the marinade and reserve 1/2 cup of the marinade. Put pork on a rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack, or into a roasting pan with a rack (pork should be elevated from the bottom of the pan). Roast for 2 hours, until the pork is very golden. 
  4. Crank heat up to 425°F. Pour olive oil over the skin and shut the oven door. Baste the pork every 15 minutes with the reserved marinade until the skin is very crispy. To test, tap the skin with the blunt edge of a knife. When the skin makes a hollow sound when tapped all over, the pork is ready, 30-45 minutes.
  5. Turn off the oven and open the door 30 seconds to allow some heat to escape. Let rest 30 minutes in the turned-off oven. When ready to assemble, cut roast pork and ham into 1/4 inch thick slices.
  6. To assemble the sandwiches, heat a large cast-iron pan, griddle or plancha/panini press to medium heat. Fry the ham and pork in the pan until golden on each side. Slice the Cuban bread open lengthwise into two long slices. Butter the inside of the bread and place buttered side down in the pan; toast until golden. Swipe one side with mustard and the other with homemade mayo. Top each side with Swiss cheese and pickles. Add roast pork to one side, ham to the other, and close the sandwich.
  7. Butter the top of the sandwich. Add butter to the pan/griddle/plancha. Place the sandwich into the pan. If using a plancha, close it and allow the weight to settle on the sandwich. If using a pan or a griddle, top with a heavy grill press, or preheat a second pan or pot which fits inside the first. Using oven mitts, press down on the pot or pan to flatten the sandwich. If you have a kettlebell or similar weight, place that inside the second pan to weigh down the sandwich. Cook about 3 minutes until the bread is beautifully golden and the cheese is melted. Enjoy all the new friends you’re about to make.


Check out our how to make Cuban Bread post!

Keywords: Cuban food, Cuban sandwich, Easy Recipes, Miami Style,

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