A couple of years ago, I went to a cute little restaurant in Flint, Michigan with my aunt and a couple of my cousins (don't worry we drank beer instead of water). On the menu, they had a Cuban rendition of the classic French Dip sandwich. I am totally a dipper, so I was completely intrigued with this sandwich and had to try it. The au jus was your typical au jus with a splash of lime juice. It was fantastic, but I knew I could make it even better. So, I went back to my home in North Carolina and started working on making this sandwich amazing.
The traditional Cuban sandwich (also known as the Cubano) is normally a slice of pork loin or roast, a slice of deli ham, yellow mustard, and a pickle. As I mentioned, I live in North Carolina where pulled pork is a staple. So what would make this sandwich even better? Replacing the slice of pork with pulled pork, of course. In previous blogs, I have proclaimed my love for pretzel rolls. This sandwich is no exception. The pretzel roll holds up very nicely when dipping it in a brothy liquid.
What also makes this sandwich really good is that it can easily be made quickly on a week night to get a yummy dinner on the table in a short time. To help speed this process up, I throw a pork roast or a small pork butt (shoulder) in my handy dandy crock pot before I go to work and let it cook low and slow all day. When I am ready to make the sandwiches, the pork is falling apart and easy to shred. Leaving me only to throw the sandwiches together and make the au jus. With the au jus, I totally cheat though. I buy an au jus concentrate from my local grocery store, that I like. I add a little chopped garlic, a dash of garlic infused balsamic, lime zest, and lime juice to make it perfect for dipping this sandwich in.
Pulled Pork Ingredients:
- 4 lb pork shoulder or pork butt
- 6 garlic cloves, pressed
- ¼ teaspoons cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoons oregano
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons Aceto Shallot Infused Balsamic Vinegar
- 4 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup of beer (any kind. I like to using IPA).
Pulled Pork Recipe:
- Spray inside of crockpot with pan spray
- Put pork in crock pot and turn to low setting if your crock pot has one
- Add remaining ingredients
- Let cook low and slow until pork is falling apart, depending on your crock pot, about 4 - 6 hours.
- Pull pork apart using two forks (I usually just do this in the crock pot as it keeps the juices contained.
Au Jus Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup of Au Jus concentrate (made to package instructions - the one I use is 1 part concentrate to 2 parts water so when I am done, I have a cup and a half of au jus for dipping)
- 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon of prepared horseradish (optional)
- zest from half a lime (about 1/2 teaspoon)
- juice from half a lime (about 1 Tablespoon)
- 1/2 teaspoon of garlic infused Bsphere balsamic vinegar
Au Jus Recipe:
- Prior to building sandwich, start the au jus
- Follow package instructions for au jus concentrate using a heavy bottom sauce pan
- Add remaining ingredients
- Bring to a boil on a medium high heat
- Reduce heat to low
- Simmer until ready to use
- Pour au jus into individual bowls for dipping
Cuban Sandwich Ingredients:
- pretzel buns (I buy a bag of 4 and usually have some left over pulled pork for lunch the next day)
- 12 slices of deli ham (I like Black Forest ham for this, but use what you like)
- yellow mustard
- dill pickle slices (I like the sandwich slices, but you can use dill chips if you want)
- Mengazzoli Spray Olive Oil
- Mantua Marine Salt Spray
Cuban Sandwich Recipe:
- Preheat oven broiler
- Slice pretzel buns in half and lay each half white side up on a sheet pan
- Lightly spray each bun with the Mengazzoli Spray Olive Oil to toast the buns
- Put under broiler until the white part if the buns is lightly toasted - remove immediately
- Change oven temperature to 400 degrees
- Place 3 slices of ham on the bottom half of each bun
- Turn bun tops over and lightly spray with Mantua Marine Salt Spray
- Place back into oven for 8 - 10 minutes so ham is warm, but buns are not burning or getting to crunchy and dry.
- Remove from oven
- Top with pulled pork and top of pretzel bun.
- Plate and serve with au jus.
Flavors of Lonato Products Used: