Wild Pig Cuban Sandwiches
Cuban bread filled with seasoned pork, sweet ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard. The ingredients are simple, the taste sublime. Where it originated is a mystery. But the Cuban sandwich is good eats, and anytime we roast wild pork, we save a little for these the next day.
Simple ingredients like smoked wild pork and sliced ham come together in this popular sandwich.
So where did it really come from? Some say Miami, some say Tampa—likely it was both. Interestingly, not many sources claim the sandwich came from its namesake Cuba, but likely from Cuban refugees transplanted to one of the aforementioned cities.
Most recipes call for Cuban bread, a simple white bread that’s similar to a French or Italian loaf, but with a slightly different baking method and often with the addition of lard or vegetable shortening. It is usually made in long, baguette-like loaves. If you have a good bakery nearby, they might make a version. If not, a fresh baked sourdough or French baguette will work in a pinch.
Can’t find traditional Cuban bread? A loaf of fresh French or sourdough will work.
For the pork portion of the sandwich, we used leftovers from the wild pork we smoked for this recipe, but you can substitute any roasted or pulled pork. Below, I’ll show the sandwich assembly in reverse order.
Pulled wild pork makes the bulk of the sandwich filling.
For the ham, I like something smoked with a touch of sweetness.
Choose your favorite sliced ham.
A Cuban sandwich needs Swiss cheese, yellow mustard, and sliced dill pickles.
Sliced dill pickle and yellow mustard give the traditional Cuban sandwich flavor. Don’t forget the cheese!
Once you’ve got it assembled, a traditional Cuban sandwich gets pressed on a hot plancha, a seasoned sandwich press that heats and presses from both sides. Don’t have a plancha in your kitchen? Do what I do and use a couple of cast-iron skillets or a skillet and an iron griddle. Just put the sandwich in the bottom skillet or griddle over medium heat with a bit of melted butter, then use a slightly smaller skillet to press down from above.
Use two skillets or a skillet and iron griddle to toast the sandwiches.
After a few minutes, flip the sandwich and press from the other side. It doesn’t take long, just a few minutes. You want to heat the sandwich through, melt the cheese, and give the bread a nice crispy bite.
Toast until the filling has heated through, the cheese has melted, and the bread has a nice crispy crust.
No matter where the sandwich originated, we can all agree that we’re glad it was invented. It’s a great way to use up roasted or pulled pork leftovers.
1 pound roasted or smoked wild pork
8 ounces thin-sliced ham
1 loaf Cuban or other crusty bread
Sliced dill pickles
2-3 tablespoons butter