I was going to make a sandwich.
Think of sweet ham paired with sliced roasted pork, topped with Swiss cheese, mustard, and dill pickles (optional) in Cuban bread, grilled with garlic-infused butter on a plancha until the outside is crispy. In short, I wanted a traditional Cubano sandwich. It’s a bonkers amalgamation of ingredients that combines into an unforgettable experience. And I needed it! After three weeks in social distancing sequestration I’ve had vivid dreams of being around people! I needed a flavor reminder of the Caribbean.
But to get to the sandwich you have to start with roast pork. Really good roast pork. Meat that’s been marinated in tropical ingredients then slow-roasted until it’s nearly falling apart.
So here it is. A mind-bogglingly flavorful pork shoulder that can stand alone on a dinner table paired with Basmati rice, black beans, and maduros. Click the images below to open the gallery.
One More Thing
Watching Season 2 — and re-watching Season 1 — of The Chef Show on Netflix inspired me to jump back into the kitchen and have fun with making great food. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch it. Then watch it again.
- 1 Boston Butt bone-in pork roast (5 - 7 lb)
- 8 cloves to 1 full head of garlic
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 2 - 3 tbsp. oregano, chopped (I used fresh but you can totally use dry, if so, just use 1 tbsp.)
- ½ tbsp. salt (you can add more if you like)
- ½ to ¾ tbsp. cumin
- 2 bay leaves
- ¾ cup lime juice (use fresh, not the bottled stuff)
- ¼ cup orange juice (if possible, use fresh or a packaged juice that's not from concentrate)
- ¾ of a fresh pineapple, diced
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste (adds a sweetness to the mojo)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 cup dry sherry (a cooking sherry will totally work here)
- 1 gallon-sized freezer zip bag
- Take the pork, fat side up, score down to the meat diagonally in a grid, score about one inch apart (see picture in post).
- Combine the lime and orange juices, divide into two equal parts, set aside.
- In a blender or food processor, mash together the olive oil, tomato paste, and one half of the juice the half of the onion, the pineapple, the garlic, salt, oregano, cumin, and pepper.
- Pour into the bag.
- Add the pork.
- Close the bag and work the marinade so that it gets in every nook and cranny, especially where you've scored.
- Re-open the bag, pour in the rest of the juice, the sherry, half of the sliced onions, and the bay leaves.
- Marinate overnight in the fridge, but even just an hour will make a huge difference. Be sure to turn several times while it marinates.
- Remove pork from fridge, let it rest for one hour before roasting.
- Heat oven to 450.
- Place pork on rack in roasting pan, fat side up.
- Roast at 450 for about 20 min or until it begins browning on top.
- Reduce heat to 200 - 225 (depending on your oven) and continue roasting for about 4-5 hours or until internal temp reaches 170.
- Keep a watchful eye, if it gets too brown too soon, tent loosely with foil.
- Remove from heat, let it rest for about 15 min.
- Remove the crispy skin and set aside. Remove any excess remaining fat from the top.
- Slice or shred the pork.
- Skim the fat from the pan drippings, set aside.
- In a skillet, sauté the remaining onions until tender, pour in the pan drippings, simmer for 10 min. Thicken with a slurry if you want. Pour over the sliced/shredded pork or serve at the table.
- Sprinkle the crisped skin over the top.
- Serve with rice and beans or moros, fried sweet plantains, and salad for a real Cuban experience. Or with roasted root veggies and a salad.