The Classic Cubano

A.C.F. Certified Executive Mark Shoopman, CEC, CFBE of Lutheran Hillside Village

Serves 4


  • 1 pound Roast pork Shoulder sliced, (recipe follows)
  • 1 pound Deli ham, sliced
  • 8 each Peppered bacon, (optional)
  • 16 each Swiss cheese slices
  • 4 each 8-inch Cuban roll. Sweet Italian loaf works also but a little wider is better
  • 1 cup Yellow deli mustard
  • As desired Hot and spicy or classic dill pickles slices (your choice)
  • As needed Melted unsalted butter

Chef Mark’s Spicy Brown Sugar Rub

  • 6 tablespoons Brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon Good quality smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher 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 them in an airtight container.

Pork Shoulder Preparation and Procedure

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

Rinse the pork shoulder and completely pat dry. Mix 4 tablespoons of the rub with 2 cups of water and ½ cup of cider vinegar and set aside. Place the pork butt fat cap up in a lightly greased oven roaster and rub the pork shoulder all over with spicy brown sugar rub making sure to completely coat it. Place it in the refrigerator and allow it to rest for 1 hour.

Remove from the refrigerator and pour 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 seal. Reduce heat to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and continue to cook for 2-4 hours or until it reaches an internal temperature of anywhere between 165-190 degrees F. Let the roast rest for 20 minutes before slicing.

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

Cook bacon, drain on paper towels, and keep warm for service.

Sandwich Procedure and Presentation

Preheat a large cast 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 the bottom and top halves with Swiss cheese. The cheese works to glue the whole thing together when it cooks. Working only on the bottom halves, layer on the roast pork, ham, bacon, and pickles. Close the sandwiches, pressing gently.

Butter on 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 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 until crisp on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Slice sandwiches in half diagonally and serve immediately.

Alternatively, you can use a Panini press grill. When using a Panini grill, only heat it to medium heat as you want it to toast slowly so the heat works through the sandwich.

When the sandwich is done, cut it in half and serve it with chips and pickles on the side and enjoy!