Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Cuban-style pork roast for Cubano medianoche sandwiches

Got interested in making some Cubano medianoche sandwiches this weekend, after reading all about them on TFL. Based on a few recipes online and a video on Youtube, I came up with this version of roast pork that is redolent of garlic and citrus. The marinade is dirt-simple to make and packs tons of flavor. Sour oranges are hard to come by on the West Coast, so the orange/lime/lemon combo is a nice substitute.

Cuban-style Roast Pork for Medianoches

  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 3 sour oranges; OR
    1 orange, zested and juiced +
    1 lime zested and juiced +
    1 lemon zested and juiced.
  • 4 bay leaves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp table salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 c. vegetable or neutral oil
  • 4-5 lb pork shoulder/boston butt (boneless is preferable)
  • Butchers twine for tying the roast
  1. In food processor, blend all ingredients in bowl. 
  2. Poke holes in flesh with sharp knife
  3. Rub marinade all over meat
  4. Let rest covered in fridge for 4-24 hours (I think at least overnight is best, I went 24h)
  5. Tie up the roast using butchers twine. 
  6. Drain and reserve marinade. If desired, cook reserved marinade in small saucepan for 5 minutes with 2 tbsp. honey and 1 tbsp of apricot preserves to make a glaze.  
  7. Preheat oven to 375F
  8. Roast at 375F SKIN SIDE UP, until internal temp reaches 150F. I like to use an uncovered dutch oven for the roasting. If desired, apply optional glaze (see step 5) every 10 minutes during last 30 minutes of roasting. 
  9. Remove from oven and let rest for 30 minutes uncovered before slicing.  
  10. Slice thin for sandwiches.
Really really really good! Super flavorful. I would make this again in a heartbeat. The first time I made it, I cooked it to 140F, which left it rosy pink and juicy in places, similar to roast beef. Delicious but slightly scary if you're squeamish about pink roast pork. Cooking to 150F should eliminate that problem.

To assemble your Cubano, you'll need:

Cuban bread (basically a soft
Butter (for outside of the crust, to press on a grill)
Sliced pork roast
Swiss cheese
Yellow mustard
Pickle chips or strips (dill is traditional, I prefer sweet pickles)

Assemble: ham, roast pork, cheese, pickle chips, then spread yellow mustard on top bun.
Melt butter and paint it on the crust with a brush.
Cook in a grill press, panini press on medium heat about 3 minutes per side.
Slice sandwich at a steep diagonal, so the slices are like two very sharp long triangles.