My Pressed Cuban Sandwiches combine pulled pork roast, deli ham, Swiss cheese, dill pickles, and a zesty mustard aioli – all piled high on crusty bread of your choice. A great sandwich for hungry peeps!
Try our Italian Grinder Sandwich next!
Best Cuban Sandwich
While the original Cuban sandwich obviously originated in Cuba, the sandwich began to become popular in Florida, specifically in Tampa and Miami, among Cubans living there. These two cities even started a rivalry over credentials, and the main difference in the sammie was that Tampa used salami in theirs.
Regardless, this tasty sandwich is very popular in the states and in our home too. We’ve adapted it to suit our taste buds. This is NOT what I’d call an authentic Cuban but it is delicious!
Why This Recipe Works:
- SIMPLE – While the list of ingredients looks a little long, these sandwiches are very simple to make.
- FILLING – This hearty sandwich is full of smoky pulled pork and salty ham that fills you up. A perfect recipe for hungry people!
- TASTY – We often order a Cuban Sandwich when we’re out on our bike rides. We have a favorite spot and these go great with a beer (or two).
- MAKES GREAT LEFTOVERS – Make plenty of pork and you can enjoy these sammies for days on end.
What You’ll Need:
- Pork Shoulder – I bought an 8-pound pork shoulder and smoked it. We used some of the meat for Cuban Sandwiches and will use the remaining pork in tacos and nachos. The pork freezes well too so that is always an option.
- Seasoning Mix – A simple mixture of sugar, kosher salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. You can also mix up a large batch of my Dry Rub Seasoning and keep it handy for all of your needs.
- Hoagie Rolls – I’ve got my homemade hoagie rolls on the blog, or you can definitely buy your own bread/rolls. However, if you are a bread baker, these are pretty easy and worth the extra step. They freeze well too!
- Deli Ham – Use your favorite deli ham. I usually go with Boar’s Head Tavern Ham.
- Swiss Cheese – I prefer thinly-sliced baby Swiss cheese.
- Dill Pickles – Using the pickle stackers are the easiest to use in these pressed sandwiches. Make sure you pat them dry before adding them to sandwiches.
- Butter – You’ll need some butter to get a nice golden crust when pressing the sandwiches in your cast iron skillet.
- Mustard Aioli – A combo of mayo, stone ground (or whole grain) mustard, yellow mustard, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon.
How to make Pressed Cuban Sandwiches:
Cook the pork. There are several different methods to cook pork for these Cuban sandwiches. I prefer to smoke it but here are three different methods.
- Make it in the Instant Pot. Use the method I use for my Crispy Carnitas Recipe – the quickest way to cook pork.
- Bake the pork in the oven. Follow my Slow-Baked Pulled Pork recipe for a simple “make it while you sleep” method.
- Smoke it. Try our Smoked Pork Butt Recipe for the tastiest pork with a delicious smokey flavor.
Make the mustard aioli. Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl – mayo, stone ground (or whole grain) mustard, yellow mustard, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. Stir well to combine.
Assemble sandwiches. Split a hoagie roll in half and layer the mustard aioli, deli ham, pulled pork, swiss cheese, dill pickle stackers, and the top half of the hoagie roll. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.
Grill Cuban sandwiches. Heat up a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Melt some butter in the skillet and place the sandwich in the middle of the skillet. Place a smaller skillet on top, and use your hands to press down. Cook for a few minutes, or until golden brown. Then carefully flip the sandwich and repeat with the remaining Cubans.
Serve. Serve the sandwiches with some extra mustard aioli and some crunchy chips.
Cubans are best pressed to get a nice crunchy exterior with melty cheese and warm meats on the insides.
Use either a panini maker or two cast iron skillets (one to grill the sandwich and one to press on top).
Any pulled pork will work great for these sandwiches. We like to smoke pork butt and use the meat for a variety of things, including Cuban sandwiches.
Other Hearty Sandwiches:
- Beef Au Jus Sandwiches – A hearty sandwich that my mother used to regularly make for our family.
- Roasted Vegetable Pesto Panini – This is quick and easy, and you won’t miss the meat!
- Open-Faced Tuna Melts – Tuna melts are a thing of my childhood, so I’m always game for this one.
- BLT Sandwiches with Pesto Sauce – A simple sandwich taken up a notch with the addition of pesto sauce.
Pressed Cuban Sandwiches
- 4 french bread buns – or any crusty bread
- 1 pound smoked pork butt – see homemade recipe
- 10 oz deli ham – two slices per sandwich
- 5 oz swiss cheese – two slices per sandwich
- 8 large dill pickles – sliced thin
- butter – for cooking in skillet
- mustard aioli – see below
- some barbecue sauce – add some sweet bbq sauce to the finished pork for another flavor punch!
For the Mustard Aioli:
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic
- 1/2 cup mayo with olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons stone ground mustard
- 2 Tablespoons yellow mustard
- kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper – to taste
- a squeeze of lemon juice
For the pulled pork:
- Make the dry rub by combining the sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, and garlic powder. Mix ingredients and coat liberally over the pork shoulder chunks.
- For instant pot: Sear the pork shoulder in some neutral oil (like avocado oil or canola oil) in the instant pot on "SAUTE" function. Brown it on all sides – you may need to do this in batches. Then pour in the chicken broth and juice from the citrus. Clear instant pot and change setting to "PRESSURE COOK". Set it at 45 minutes. When the 45 minutes are up, let it do a natural release for 15 minutes. Then release the pressure carefully, and remove the pork from the IP. Shred the pork when it's cool enough to handle, and then pour a bit of the cooking liquids over top (for storing purchases).
- You can also make the pulled pork in the oven, slow cooker, or on the grill.
For the mustard aioli:
- Saute the garlic and let cool slightly. Then mix it with the remaining ingredients – the mayo, stone ground mustard, yellow mustard, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
For the sandwiches:
- You can make your own hoagie rolls for these sandwiches, or use store bought bread. See blog post for the details for how to make the bread!
- Make the sandwiches. Take a hoagie roll and slice in half. Add a smear of mustard aioli, followed by a couple of slices of deli ham, pulled pork, some dill pickle slices, swiss cheese, and the top half of the hoagie. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.
- Heat up a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Melt some butter in the skillet and place the sandwich in the middle of the skillet. Place a smaller skillet on top, and use your hands to press down. Cook for a few minutes, or until golden brown. Then Flip the sandwich (carefully) and repeat. You may need to add a bit more butter. Repeat.
- Serve the sandwiches with some extra mustard aioli and some classic salt and pepper chips!