Got a crowd of hungry folks coming over and not quite sure what to serve? Well, we've got you covered. Cuban Sandwiches, or "Cubanos", are the perfect crowd-pleasers - especially if you happen to have some leftover pork roast sitting in your fridge. If you don't have leftover pork roast, there is certainly no harm in making and eating more pork.
A Cubano is basically a grilled ham and cheese with a Latin twist. But the Cubans showed a streak of genius in adding a meat-lover's best friend: PORK. These nicely compact, toasty and portable sandwiches are thought to have been a common lunch in the Cuban cigar factories and sugar mills. But as far as we are concerned, cubanos are the perfect sandwich for any or quite possibly every meal.
PREP TIME: with leftover roast - 5 minutes, otherwise marinade overnight plus 5 minutes
COOK TIME: with leftover roast - 20 minutes, otherwise 1 hour 20 minutes to 2 hours
SERVES: 6 hungry adults
RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Apple
For the marinade and pork:
1 3-pound center cut pork loin roast
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, thickly sliced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup lime juice
1-1/2 teaspoons Traeger Pork and Poultry Rub, or salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil or olive oil
For the sandwiches:
6 hoagie rolls, split
3/4 pound (12 ounces) thinly sliced roast pork
Thinly sliced dill pickles or pickle chips, drained
1/2 pound mild Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
3/4 pound (12 ounces) thinly sliced cooked ham
Softened butter for spreading on the sandwiches
Roast the Pork:
If you don't have any leftover pork roast, follow these instructions to Traeger a tasty pork roast.
Put the pork roast in a large resealable plastic bag or large bowl. Make the marinade: In a mixing bowl, combine the chopped onion, garlic, orange juice, lime juice, Traeger Pork and Poultry Rub, oregano, and black pepper. Slowly whisk in the vegetable oil. Pour over the pork, seal the bag, and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
Arrange the sliced onions in a rough line in the middle of a roasting. Drain the pork (discard the marinade), and lay it on top of the onions. (The onions make a natural roasting rack.)
When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 350 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.
Roast the pork, uncovered, for about 1 hour, or until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat reads 160 degrees F. (If you like your pork slightly pink in the center, roast it to 145 degrees F.)
If you intend to make the sandwiches immediately, leave the grill on. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing thinly. The pork can be roasted up to 3 days ahead, covered and refrigerated.
If you cooked the pork in advance, restart your Traeger as instructed above. (preheating to 350 degrees F)
Make the Sandwiches
Open the hoagie rolls and lay them on a rimmed baking sheet. Working assembly-line style, spread the cut halves of the rolls with mustard. Arrange the pickle slices on the bottom half of each roll. (Be generous.) Continue to build the sandwiches with the pork, cheese, and finally, the ham.
Replace the tops. Butter the bottom and top of each sandwich.
Leave the sandwiches on the baking sheet. Put the baking sheet with the sandwiches on the grill grate. Top with a second baking sheet. Put something heavy and heatproof—such as a large cast iron skillet or two, or fireplace bricks—on top of the second sheet to compress the sandwiches.
Bake the sandwiches until the bread is slightly toasted on the outside, the meats are hot, and the cheese has melted, about 20 minutes.
Slice each sandwich in half on a sharp diagonal and serve immediately while they're still warm and crispy.