Chef Chris serves up “South Beach Cuban Sandwich” with a spicy brown sugar rub

Central Illinois Newsday

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Chef Chris Castro gives step-by-step instruction for making a South Beach Cuban Sandwich with a spicy brown sugar rub.

The South Beach Cuban Sandwich

Serves four


  • 1 lb. roast pork shoulder sliced
  • 1 lb. smoked deli ham thinly sliced
  • 3/4 lb. swiss cheese, thinly sliced
  • 4 each 8″ crusty roll (French baguette works but a little wider is better)
  • 1 cup yellow mustard
  • As desired, hot and spicy or dill pickles (your choice)
  • As desired, melted butter, (add some chopped garlic if you like)

Spicy Brown Sugar Rub:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper

Mix all ingredients and store in an air tight container

Pork Shoulder Preparation and Procedure:

There are many ways to cook pork shoulder, so you may use your favorite. This is an easy preparation:

Rinse the pork shoulder and completely pat dry. Mix four tablespoons of the rub with two cups of water and 1/2 cup of cider vinegar and set aside. Place the pork butt fat cap up in a lightly greased over roaster and rub the pork shoulder all over with the spicy brown sugar rub making sure to completely cover it. Place it in the refrigerator and allow it to rest for one hour.

Remove from the refrigerator and our the water, spice, and vinegar mixture over it.

Place in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes or until it browns up and begins to crust. Remove pan from oven and cover with foil to sea. Reduce heat to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and continue to cook for 2-4 hours or until it reaches an internal temperature anywhere between 165-200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove from over and leave covered and allow it to rest or 20 minutes. Remove the foil and slice or shred the meat.

Procedure and Presentation:

Preheat a large coast iron skillet or griddle over medium heat.

Lay bread, open side up, on a work surface and spread the bottom and top halves with a generous amount of mustard. Layer bottom and top halves with Swiss cheese. The cheese works to glue the whole things together when it cooks. Working only on bottom halves, layer on all the pickles, ham and roast pork. Close sandwiches, pressingly gently.

Butter top and bottom of the outside of the sandwiches. If using a cast-iron skillet or griddle, melt half of the butter in a pan and then add sandwiches. Use a second pan or a griddle press to press on them as the first side crisps. When crisp, flip sandwiches, add remaining butter, swirl to coat, and continue cooking while pressing unit crisp on both sides (about 10 minutes in total). Slice sandwiches in half diagonally and serve immediately.

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