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Cuban Sandwiches with Blonde Ale–Marinated Pork

Pair With
Blonde ale-image
Blonde ale
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Belgian-style white ale (witbier)-image
Belgian-style white ale (witbier)
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  • Difficulty 4
  • Prep Time 30 mins
  • Cook Time 25 mins
  • marinating_svg Marinate Time 3 hours
  • Serves 4
  • Difficulty 4
  • Prep Time 30 mins
  • Cook Time 25 mins
  • Marinate Time 3 hours
  • Serves 4
This isn’t your basic ham and cheese — though it features both! Our beer-infused riff on the classic Cubano sandwich is packed with slices of tender pork that’s been bathed in citrusy, lightly spicy blonde ale. It’s punched up with ham, Swiss, mustard, dill pickle slices and mayo and then grilled till it’s perfectly golden and crispy. And while it takes time to make pork this good, you can prep it ahead for a laid-back meal later.

Ingredients for the Blonde Ale–Marinated Pork

  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) orange juice (see tips)
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) blonde ale
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) salt
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) pepper
  • 450 g pork tenderloin

Ingredients for the Cuban Sandwiches

  • 1 loaf (450 g) soft Cuban, Italian or French bread
  • 1-1/2 tbsp (22.5 mL) mayonnaise
  • 1-1/2 tbsp (22.5 mL) ballpark mustard
  • Pinch each salt and pepper
  • 8 slices deli ham (about 140 g)
  • 8 large thin slices Swiss cheese (about 200 g)
  • 4 to 6 large dill pickles, preferably full- or half-sour kosher pickles, thinly sliced (or sandwich-sliced brined dill pickles)

Directions for the Blonde Ale–Marinated Pork

  1. 1. In a medium bowl, mix together orange juice, blonde ale, lime juice, garlic, cumin, salt, oregano, coriander and pepper until combined.
  2. 2. Using the tip of a paring knife, prick pork all over. Place in a resealable plastic bag and pour marinade overtop. Seal bag and, using your hands, massage marinade all over pork until well coated. Set the bag on a plate and let marinate in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours. (Or combine pork and marinade in a shallow airtight container, turning to coat well. Seal and marinate as directed.)
  3. 3. Preheat barbecue to medium-high (450 to 500°F). Clean and oil the grates, and then turn the burners on 1 side of the barbecue down to low to create cool and hot zones. Remove pork from marinade and place on grill in hot zone. Close lid and cook, turning 3 times, for 2 minutes on each side, until grill-marked all over, about 6 minutes total. (Turn sooner if browning too quickly.)
  4. 4. Transfer pork to cool zone. Cook on 2 widest sides, turning, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 160°F, about 4 minutes per side.
  5. 5. Transfer pork to a cutting board and tent with foil to let juices reabsorb, about 10 minutes. When ready to assemble sandwiches, cut pork crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Directions for the Cuban Sandwiches

  1. 1. Holding a serrated knife parallel to the work surface, cut loaf horizontally partway through like a hot dog bun, leaving attached on 1 long side. Open like a book.
  2. 2. Spread mayonnaise on top cut side and mustard on bottom cut side of loaf. On mustard side, layer sliced blonde ale–marinated pork. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with ham, cheese, and then pickles. Close sandwich.
  3. 3. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and brush with oil. Place sandwich in hot pan. (If you have a small grill pan, simply cut sandwich in half and cook in 2 batches.) Top with a heavy pot, skillet or lid to weigh down. Cook until bottom is grill-marked and crispy, 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. 4. Remove weight from top and flip sandwich in pan. Replace weight. Cook until bottom is grill-marked and crispy, and sandwich is about one-third its original thickness, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and cut crosswise into 4 servings. Serve immediately with more pickles on the side, if desired.

Tips

  • The marinade is brighter and tastier if you make it with freshly squeezed orange juice. You’ll need about one and a half oranges.
  • The pork tastes best when it’s barbecued outdoors, but you can make it inside if you like: Preheat oven to 400°F. Meanwhile, heat an ovenproof grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush pan with oil, remove pork from marinade and place in pan. Grill, turning, until well browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer pan to preheated oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part reads 160°F, about 15 minutes.
  • You could grill the sandwich on the barbecue, but it’s more likely to burn over direct heat. We prefer the indoor grill pan method because it offers more control and ensures the sandwich will come out perfectly crispy and golden.
  • To make sandwich assembly quicker, prep and cook the pork up to 2 days ahead. Wrap the finished meat in foil and refrigerate. To reheat, about 30 minutes before you’re ready to assemble the sandwiches, remove pork from refrigerator and let it come up to room temperature. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325°F. Place pork in a casserole or baking dish along with any accumulated juices. Add 2 or 3 tbsp water to dish and cover with a lid or foil. Bake in preheated oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of pork reads 165°F, about 10 minutes.

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