Scratch-made Cubanos

Food is one of the most powerful ways that we connect with people, places, and cultures. This weekend we had a festive gathering of old and new friends: a perfect venue to debut Paul's new sandwich. Our Scratch-Made Cubano starts with mojo marinated pork, slow smoked to moist tenderness.  This citrus and smoke laced pork is then thinly sliced, and piled high on fresh baked sourdough and topped with garlicky pickle slices, Swiss cheese, mustard and our house cilantro sauce. This Scratch-Made Cubano builds on the classic Cuban sandwich, with amped up flavor and unique home-made ingredients. Try this sandwich, and you may never go back. 


Serves: 10-12 sandwiches


   Pork Roast:

  • 5 pound pork roast (shoulder or butt)
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 1 orange, juiced and zested
  • 2 lime, juiced and zested
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoons cayenne
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt

  Cilantro Sauce

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 jalapenos, seeds and white pith removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 large bunch cilantro
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves
  • 5 sprigs fresh mint
  • 2 limes, juiced and zested


  • 12 sandwich buns (we used homemade sourdough)
  • dill pickles (we used homemade, stay tuned for the recipe)
  • mustard
  • Swiss cheese


  1.  For the meat: Buy the best pork roast you can find. Yes, it can get expensive, but the underlying quality of the meat does shine through in this recipe. If you can afford free range from a local butcher, this would be a good time to do it. 
  2. Blend all the marinade ingredients (except the pork) together in a food processor or blender.  Lay the meat out on a cutting board or pan.  If you have a meat injector, this is its chance to shine. Fill the syringe with the mojo marinade and inject it, forming small pockets every 2-3 inches across the pork, trying to inject it about halfway through the thickness of the meat. You'll be injecting about 1/3 cup total of marinade. If you don't have an injector, your meat will still turn out great. If your injector is getting clogged, strain some of the marinade to inject.
  3. Put the meat into a large zip-top bag, pour in all the marinade in you can fit, squeeze out the air, and seal the bag. I double bag and put the bag in a bowl just to make sure I don't have a leak.  
  4. Put the meat into the refrigerator for about 12 hours (minimum 2 hours, maximum 24 hours). Flip the bag a few times through the marinating just to make sure there is even contact with the meat.
  5. After the marinating is finished, dump off the marinade and pat the meat dry. You are ready to cook!
  6. If you have a smoker, heat it to 210 degrees.  The meat will cook for approximately 7 hours at this temperature. we like our pork lightly smoked, so we use a handful of mesquite chips at the beginning of the cook. If you don't have a smoker, you can easily cook it in an oven as well. If cooking in the oven, add 2-3 drops of liquid smoke to the marinade in step 2. There is a huge variety of quality in liquid smokes available, we prefer Lazy Kettle's for its subtle natural flavor. Put your oven on 210, and cook for 7 hours.
  7. When the time is up, remove the finished meat and allow it to cool for 1-2 hours at room temperature covered with a piece of foil. Then chill the meat down in the freezer for 2-3 hours covered in foil or in a bag. This will make slicing much, much easier and cleaner.  
  8. Slice thinly, either by hand with your sharpest knife or with a food slicer. You can easily seal the leftovers and freeze for up to 3 months.
  9. For Cilantro Sauce: Place all cilantro sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until you achieve an even consistency.   When the sauce is finished, we like to transfer it to a squeeze top bottle to allow for easy smearing on our sandwiches.  This sauce will keep for 1-2 days refrigerated.
  10. For Sandwich Prep: Spread the bottom half of the buns with mustard and top half with generous amounts of cilantro sauce.  Layer the sandwich with sliced pork, cheese, and pickles.  Using a grill, panini press, or skillet, cook the sandwiches until heated through and the cheese has melted. Serve immediately.