Cubano Sandwich

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The best way to repurpose leftovers is by throwing them together between two pieces of bread. Or sandwich if you want to get fancy. This Cubano Sandwich using leftover pernil will have you clicking your heels. Foh’ sho’. 

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I’m going make this short and savory (try to, at least).


It’s a sandwich. It’s tasty as hell.

What does a Cubano consist of?

Pernil. Pernil is roasted pork shoulder. Latinos dig it.

Pernil is the jump off point to any and all celebrations.

Birthday parties? Roast a pernil.

Baptism? Roast a pernil.

Baby Shower? Roast a pernil.

Thanksgiving? We don’t eat turkey; instead we roast a big ass pernil.

Christmas? You get the picture.

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It’s about the pernil situation. We’re about that life. We’re also about next day leftovers eaten alongside a heaping plate of arroz con gandules.

But my absolute favorite way to repurpose leftover pernil is in a Cubano sandwich. A Cubano is a pressed sandwich, our version of the classic ham and cheese, but with a lil’ somethin’ somethin’ extra. This remarkable sandwich – Oh yes, it’s damn remarkable – Is what we’re making today.

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You ready?


First, and foremost, Cubanos are a layered situation. To make a bomb ass cubano sandwich the following rules must be observed:

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  • Bread. You need bread to make this jammy. Traditionally it should be made with Cuban bread, but if you can’t find Cuban bread, French or Italian will do. Slice into that situation.
  • Mayo. Seriously. You need mayo here. Mayo goes on one side of your bread. Only one. Why?
  • Mustard. It goes on the other side.

Seriously people – This is key. Mayo and mustard go on two separate sides of bread. Don’t merge them. Don’t even try.

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  • Pork. Some people add their ham first, but I like to get down to the nitty gritty. Sliced or shredded, make sure your pork situation is piled high and all up in there.
  • Ham. You don’t need to get fancy. Unless fancy is your steeze. If that’s the case, go for yours.
  • Swiss cheese. I like to fancy it up sometimes and use Gruyere, but this isn’t a fancy sandwich. Roll with the Swiss. It’s cheaper.
  • Pickles. Pickles people! Pickles provide acidity and a puckery tang which bodes well with mustard and enhances the sandwich.

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Alright, once your sandwich is in place, press the crappies out of it until the cheese melts. This is vital.  The cheese HAS TO MELT.

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You can go the Panini route here. Personally I use a flat sandwich press. I don’t want grill marks on my Cubano. But hey, it’s your sandwich. I can’t tell you what to do.

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Last but not least, plantain chips. You need crunch. You need to keep with the latino flow of things. Buy them or make them yourself. It’s not rocket science.

I am not giving you a recipe for this sandwich. There are no measurements. You don’t need them. Pile it high, don’t pile it high – Whatever floats your Cubano boat.

Just get your players in line, layer them, press the crap out of it and melt that cheese.

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Sit down, take that first savory bite. Pull away and watch that beautiful stringy melty cheese type deal. This is serious, yo. Enjoy it. Don’t come to me saying you didn’t enjoy it. If you say that, you’re doing it wrong. Don’t do it wrong.

And don’t forget the chips.

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