We were introduced to the Cubano sandwich at an unremarkable tavern years ago; it was love at first bite. Since then, we have ordered the Cubano at a variety of restaurants and pubs. This sandwich never disappoints, regardless of the establishment from which we order. I am uncertain if the following recipe is truly the most authentic version of the Cubano, but we have made it at home again and again, without growing tired of it. As of this writing (October 2023), it is one of the family's favorite meals. I've recently begun fermenting my own pickles -- check out the link below.
Cubano Sandwich(serves 4-5)
1-1.5 pounds pork tenderloin
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large loaf French bread
4 large dill pickles (make your own!), sliced lengthwise
8 slices Swiss or baby Swiss cheese
8-12 slices deli ham (black forest ham and maple ham are our favorites)
Trim excess fat from pork and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together orange juice through garlic. Add pork to the bowl and toss to coat. Allow pork to marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature. Alternatively, refrigerate the marinated pork for several hours. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed 8" x 11" pan with aluminum foil. Transfer pork to the prepared pan and pour the marinade over top.
Roast until the pork has reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees, about 25 minutes. Transfer pork to a cutting board and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. Carve pork into 1/4-inch slices on a diagonal.
To prepare the sandwiches, cut the French bread into 4 to 5 chunks. Rub the outer sides of bread with softened butter. Spread mustard on insides of bread, then layer pork tenderloin, Swiss cheese, sliced pickles and deli ham. Heat a sandwich press/panini maker, then press each sandwich until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted, about 5-6 minutes.