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The Cuban Sandwich: Defined and Simplified

Rebecca is a retired special education teacher. She earned a master's degree at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, GA.

The Cubano, or Cuban sandwich, is a favorite in South Florida.

The Cubano, or Cuban sandwich, is a favorite in South Florida.

What Is a Cuban Sandwich?

The Cuban sandwich, also called the Cubano, is served in restaurants all around Tampa and Miami as well as at street-corner snack bars known as luncherias.

Cuba, where the sandwich originated in the 1500s, is only 90 miles away from South Florida. The sandwich found its way there in the 1800s when Cubans flocked to Florida to escape Spanish rule.

Cuban sandwiches are like submarine sandwiches with roast pork, ham, cheese, dill pickles, and yellow mustard. The ingredients are layered and sandwiched between slices of Cuban bread.

Cubans and Floridians all agree that the key to a great Cuban sandwich is in the grilling. They are grilled in a special sandwich press called a plancha. This method allows the meat and pickles to be warmed in their own steam. The cheese, placed on both pieces of bread, envelopes the meat and pickles. The cheese will melt and fuse the meat and pickles together.

The Cuban Sandwich Simplified

It is said that true Cuban bread can not be found outside Miami and Tampa (except of course in Cuba), but French or Italian bread makes a good substitute.

I came up with my version of the Cuban sandwich when I had lots of leftover pork roast cooked in whole grain mustard, brown sugar, and thyme. I used a thin-sliced deli for the ham. It’s an easy sandwich to make and a quite tasty substitute for the real Cubano.

Grilling melts the cheese into the meats and pickles.

Grilling melts the cheese into the meats and pickles.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pork roast, sliced thin
  • 1 pound deli ham, sliced thin
  • 8-10 slices Swiss or muenster cheese
  • dill pickle chips, to taste
  • Italian bread, sliced
  • mayonnaise, to taste
  • butter, for frying

Instructions

  1. Lightly spread the bread with mayo.
  2. Put a slice of cheese on each side.
  3. Add the meats with pickles and mustard between them.
  4. Grill on each side in a frying pan using plenty of butter.
The Cuban sandwich is put together like a sub sandwich.

The Cuban sandwich is put together like a sub sandwich.

Layer the meats, cheese slices, and pickles.

Layer the meats, cheese slices, and pickles.

Comments

Rebecca Mealey (author) from Northeastern Georgia, USA on August 07, 2021:

They are good! I hope you do try them.

Rebecca Mealey (author) from Northeastern Georgia, USA on August 07, 2021:

You're welcome!

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on August 07, 2021:

Well, I doubt I have ever had Cuban bread, but i am sure there are a number of satisfactory substitutes, and this is my kind of food, Rebecca. Thank you for sharing.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 07, 2021:

I think the Cuban sandwiches are delicious, Rebecca. This is a very good article that simplifies these sandwiches. I will probably make some in the very new future!

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