Cuban Sandwiches {Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker}

Made in the slow cooker OR pressure cooker, the pork for this Cuban sandwich recipe is out-of-this world tender and so flavorful. Plus, the unique and delicious combo of sandwich ingredients makes this one of my favorite sandwiches ever!

You may have noticed things have been a bit quiet around here for the last ten days.

Thanks for your patience as I checked out for a little while with my family traipsing around California (most notably the Redwood National Forest) without cell reception (posted a few pictures here).

The forced unplugging was dreamy, and I think my whole family would agree that this was our favorite family vacation to date.

Of course, now I’m home and piled under a load of laundry rivaling the size of the Redwood trees. So while I unbury, you get started on making these sandwiches for dinner, ok? (My family will not be eating until the car is vacuumed, lawn is mowed, suitcases unpacked, and attitudes are adjusted – ahem, including my own travel-weary one.)

The Best Cuban Sandwich {Slow Cooker/Pressure Cooker}

Have you ever had a Cuban sandwich?

Oh my goodness, they are amazing.

You know how much I love a good sandwich, and I’m telling you, even though I’m a fairly new convert to Cuban sandwiches, they are hands down one of my favorite sandwiches ever.

Quite a while ago, as I was testing recipes, I posted on Instagram about the almighty Cuban sandwich and was surprised at how many of you are fans of this surprisingly delicious combo!

It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside knowing I wasn’t alone in my love.

Cuban sandwiches are sooooo good. So good.

And I’m unapologetically excited to finally be adding a recipe for these dreamy sandwiches here on the blog – cementing this Cuban sandwich recipe into eternal internet permanence.

The Best Cuban Sandwich {Slow Cooker/Pressure Cooker}

I’m not claiming this recipe is the most authentic or classic. I’ve never had a real, live Cuban sandwich other than in the privacy of my own home or a bite of Brian’s one time at Cafe Zupas (which I’m sure is not 100% authentic).

But I CAN tell you that this juicy, tender pork slow cooked (or pressure cooked!) in a flavorful, citrus broth is crazy delicious.

And adding that pork on a soft, squishy roll or bun (more on that in a sec) and layering on mustard, thinly sliced ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and red onions?

Well, it might be the best decision you’ve made all week.

You can serve the sandwiches just like that…or you can live on the wild side and griddle them or cook in a panini press for a golden, toasty, melty, glorious sandwich.

If sandwiches aren’t your thing (who are you??), simply make the pork and serve it in tacos or atop a salad. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

There is all sorts of tastebud magic happening with these Cuban sandwiches (thanks, in part, to the tasty pork that makes up the main foundation of the dish).

The Best Cuban Sandwich {Slow Cooker/Pressure Cooker}

As for bread, it’s probably no surprise that an authentic Cuban sandwich is often served on…wait for it…Cuban bread!

I learned, thanks to a google search, that Cuban bread is long, thin, soft, and often made with lard (so it crisps up without getting super tough and hard).

Since I don’t have a Latin bakery close to me, I haven’t tried my hand at homemade Cuban bread yet. These French bread rolls (whole wheat version here) always do the trick for a delicious Cuban sandwich.

I make them slightly bigger (about 3 to 3.5 ounces of dough per bun) and longer, similar to a hoagie bun shape. I use my baker’s lame – a sharp razor blade – to slash the top of the dough before baking to give that classic split-top shape.

The homemade rolls are soft and super delicious; the perfect vehicle to carry all the yumminess of a Cuban sandwich.

The Best Cuban Sandwich {Slow Cooker/Pressure Cooker}

I’m sure a variety of soft, storebought rolls or buns would work here as well. Honestly, the Cuban sandwich police are not going to show up at your door, so use what you prefer and enjoy every bite.

If you have never had a Cuban sandwich, I hope you end that travesty immediately!

In the directions of the recipe below, I’ve given cooking methods for either a slow cooker or pressure cooker. I’ve made the delicious, flavorful pork both ways, and either one works great.


Fresh fruit and vegetables
Italian Pasta Salad or Loaded Baked Potato Salad
Chips

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Cuban Sandwiches {Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker}

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Ingredients:

Pork:

  • 1 tablespoon coarse, kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper (use less for finely ground black pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • Juice of 2 limes (about 3 tablespoons)
  • Juice of 1 large or 2 medium oranges (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (only needed if using a pressure cooker)
  • 3 to 5 pounds boneless pork sirloin roast or pork shoulder roast, excess skin/fat removed, cut into 3- or 4-inch cubes

Sandwiches:

  • 4-inch (or so) soft sub rolls or hoagie buns (see note)
  • Yellow mustard
  • Deli ham slices
  • Swiss cheese slices
  • Dill pickles, thinly sliced
  • Red onions, thinly sliced

Directions:

  1. For the pork, in a small bowl, mix together the salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes, garlic, lime juice, and orange juice.
  2. For the slow cooker: place the pork in the bottom of the slow cooker and pour the spice mixture over the top, tossing to evenly coat the pork. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 8-9 hours, until the pork is tender and shreds easily.
  3. For the pressure cooker: place the pork in the bottom of the pressure cooker and pour the spice mixture and chicken broth over the top, tossing to evenly coat the pork. Seal the lid of the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 55 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, then quick release the remaining pressure.
  4. Shred the pork into pieces and return to the slow cooker or pressure cooker (with any remaining juices) to keep warm while assembling the sandwiches.
  5. For the sandwiches, slice each roll/bun in half lengthwise and spread mustard on both cut halves. On the bottom half, layer ham, Swiss cheese, shredded pork, pickles and onions. If desired, the sandwich can be grilled or pressed in a panini griddle for a hot, melty version (if doing so, slap cheese on both halves of the bread before assembling). Serve immediately.

Notes:

An authentic Cuban sandwich is usually served on Cuban bread, which, thanks to a google search, is soft and often made with lard (so it crisps up without getting super tough and hard). I don’t have a Latin bakery close to me, and I haven’t tried my hand at Cuban bread yet, because these French bread rolls (whole wheat version here) always do the trick for a delicious Cuban sandwich. I make them slightly bigger (about 3 to 3.5 ounces of dough per bun) and longer, similar to a hoagie bun shape. Soft and super delicious. I’m sure a variety of soft, storebought rolls or buns would work here as well. 

Also, if you make the full five pounds of pork, you’ll get a lot more than eight sandwiches. I almost always make a full five pounds for this recipe because the leftover pork freezes so well – which means easy, delicious sandwiches later, OR, we use the leftover pork in tacos, enchiladas, for salads, etc.

Finally, if your slow cooker tends to cook hot (even on the low setting), you might want to add the 1/2 cup chicken broth, intended for the pressure cooker method, so the pork doesn’t dry out while cooking. 

All images and text ©.

Follow @melskitchencafe on Instagram and show me the recipes you are making from my blog using the hashtag #melskitchencafe. I love seeing all the goodness you are whipping up in your kitchens!

Recipe Source: adapted from a Jeff Mauro recipe on Food Network 

The Best Cuban Sandwich {Slow Cooker/Pressure Cooker}

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