Grilling and Smoking Make a Cuban Pork Sandwich Even Better

Cuban sandwich lovers will rejoice after their first bite of this grilled version featuring smoked pork loin.

To whoever invented the Cuban sandwich: I am forever grateful. No visit to my parents’ Florida home would be complete without at least one of these miraculous creations.

There is something truly remarkable about the way that six ingredients – roast pork, ham, pickles, Swiss cheese, yellow mustard, and Cuban bread – come together in a perfect union of dynamic flavors. The bread is a big part of what makes a Cuban sandwich (a.k.a. Cubano) so special. Cuban bread is similar to a French baguette but with sugar and butter (or lard) in the dough, which make the bread softer, sweeter, and richer tasting.

My trips to the sunshine state are limited, so I recently turned to the grill in search of a fix for my Cuban sandwich habit. While not 100% authentic, using smoked pork loin instead of roast pork resulted in a sandwich that is even more addictive!

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Grilled Cuban Sandwich

Slow smoked pork loin provides a unique twist on a Florida favorite in this grilled Cuban sandwich recipe.

Course. Lunch. Dinner. Entree. Sandwich.

Cuisine. Cuban. American.

Makes. 2 sandwiches

Takes. 5 minutes prep. 2 hours and 10 minutes total cook time.

Serve with. A mojito

Ingredients

1 pork loin filet such as one from Hormel or Smithfield

2 8-inch sections of Cuban bread or French baguette

Yellow mustard

6 slices Swiss cheese

1/2 pound sliced ham

4 kosher dill pickle sandwich slices such as those from Claussen

About the pork loin filets. Most packaged pork loin filets have already been marinated and/or enhanced with a salt mixture. If not, simply season the filet with Kosher salt.

Method

1) Fire up. Prepare a grill for indirect cooking by placing a chimney full of pre-heated charcoal briquets on one side of the grill’s charcoal grate in order to create direct and indirect cooking zones. Adjust the grill vents to bring the temperature to about 225°F on the indirect side. Add 2 to 3 chunks of your favorite smoking wood to the charcoal for flavor. On a gas grill, adjust the temperature knobs so that one half of the grill is off and the other half is heated enough to maintain a temperature of approximately 225°F on the indirect side.

2) Cook. Place the pork loin filet on the indirect side of the grill, positioning the vent directly above it in order to force the smoke over and around the meat. Cook the filet until it reaches and internal temperature of 145°F, approximately 2 hours. Remove the pork loin filet from the grill and adjust the grill temperature for high heat cooking (Warp 10), approximately 450°F.

Smoking Pork Loin

3) Prep. Cut the smoked pork loin filet into 1/4-inch slices. Split the bread horizontally. Begin assembling the Cuban sandwiches by laying the bread out cut side up. Spread yellow mustard on the top halves of the bread. Cut the Swiss cheese slices in half, and add three half-slices of cheese to each half of bread. Add slices of smoked pork loin filet to both bottom halves of bread. Top the pork slices with sliced ham and pickles. Crown the sandwiches with the top halves of bread.

Spread Mustard on the Bread

Add Swiss Cheese to the Cuban Sandwich

Add Sliced Pork Loin to the Cuban Sandwich

Add Sliced Ham to the Cuban Sandwich

Add Sliced Pickles to the Cuban Sandwich

4) Loosely wrap the sandwiches with foil. Press the tops of the sandwiches with your hands to flatten them.

5) Cook again. Place the foil wrapped sandwiches on the hot side of the grill and top with a brick or cast iron skillet. Grill the sandwiches until the bread is crispy, approximately 4 minutes per side.

Press the Foil Wrapped Cuban Sandwich on the Grill

6) Serve. Gently remove the sandwiches from the foil and cut in half. Serve immediately.

Grilled Pork Loin Cuban Sandwich

"Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body."George Carlin

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