Recipe courtesy of The Grilled Cheeserie

Cuban Melt

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  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 2 days 17 hr 30 min (includes pickling and brining time)
  • Active: 1 hr 30 min
  • Yield: 1 serving
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Pork Brine:

4 cups orange juice

1/2 cup rice vinegar 

1/2 cup Tennessee whisky, such as Jack Daniels

3 ounces salt 

4 ounces sugar 

4 ounces garlic, pureed 

1/2 ounce black peppercorns 

1/4 ounce thyme, whole 

1/4 ounce rosemary, whole 

1/4 ounce oregano, whole 

1/4 ounce sage, whole 

8 bay leaves, fresh 

One 6- to 8-pound pork shoulder

Chile Honey Pork Glaze:

2 pounds honey

4 limes, juiced 

.1 ounce chile de arbol, toasted and ground 

Mojo Pork:

1/4 pound cilantro

1/4 pound mint 

4 cups orange juice 

1 cup lime juice 

1/2 cup olive oil 

2 tablespoons ground black pepper 

1 tablespoon toasted coriander, ground 

1 tablespoon toasted cumin, ground 

1 teaspoon clove, ground 

2 ounces salt 

1 ounce fresh oregano 

1 ounce fresh rosemary 

1 ounce fresh thyme 

8 to 12 garlic cloves, smashed 

8 fresh bay leaves 

Mojo Mustard:

8 ounces yellow mustard

1 teaspoon Italian herbs 

1 teaspoon garlic salt 

1 ounce honey 

1 ounce roasted garlic oil 

Cubano Melt:

1 ounce (or generous slathering) butter, melted

1 hoagie roll, preferably Bobby John Henry Lard Cubano Hoagies, sliced in half lengthwise 

4 ounces Swiss cheese, sliced

1.2 ounces (2 slices) shaved ham

2 House Garlic-Dill Pickles, recipe follows, sliced lengthwise

House Garlic-Dill Pickles:

1 1/2 ounces chile flakes

1 1/2 ounces mustard seeds 

1/2 ounce coriander seeds 

.1 ounce bay leaf 

4 gallons white distilled vinegar 

10 ounces fresh garlic cloves 

14 ounces salt 

10 ounces sugar 

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

40 pounds cucumbers, sliced lengthwise 

1 pound fresh dill, chopped fine (stems included) 

Toast chile flakes, mustard seeds, coriander seeds and bay leaf


  1. For the pork brine: Whisk together orange juice, vinegar, whisky, salt, sugar, garlic, peppercorns, thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage, bay leaves and 3 1/2 cups water. Add pork to brine and add water to cover if necessary. Refrigerate for 12 hours.
  2. For the chile honey pork glaze: Cook down honey, lime juice and chile in a saucepot until mixture is thick.
  3. For the mojo pork: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Combine pork, cilantro, mint, orange juice, lime juice, olive oil, pepper, coriander, cumin, clove, salt, oregano, rosemary, thyme, garlic and bay leaves together in a large roasting pan with the pork skin-side up. Cover tightly with foil and roast 3 1/2 hours. Remove foil and cook until skin starts to crisp up, another 30 minutes.
  5. Turn oven to 450 degrees F.
  6. Remove pork carefully from braising liquid. Strain braising liquid and set aside for mojo mustard. Pull pork off the bone into large chunks, discarding excess fat. Place pork on a sheet pan and toss in chile honey glaze. Add a little more glaze on top and roast until it starts to caramelize, about 5 minutes.
  7. For the mojo mustard: Whisk together the yellow mustard, herbs, garlic salt, honey and garlic oil in a bowl.
  8. Whisk together 2 ounces of this mixture with 2 ounces mojo braising liquid (save the rest for another use).
  9. For the Cubano melt: Place 2 1/2 ounces mojo pork in a foil pouch and place on a hot griddle weighed down with a hot cast-iron press on top to reheat. Remove from foil.
  10. Butter bread. Layer 2 pieces Swiss cheese one side of the bread, followed by ham and the heated mojo pork. Add a heavy squeeze mojo mustard, 2 Pickles, 2 more pieces Swiss cheese and top piece of buttered bread.
  11. Griddle on a flat top or griddle on medium-high heat with a heated cast-iron press on top until cheese is melted ooey gooey, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes on each side. Slice on a bias. Enjoy!

House Garlic-Dill Pickles:

Yield: 1 quart
  1. Heat 1 gallon vinegar in a pot with the toasted spices, garlic, salt, sugar and peppercorns. Whisk until dissolved. Combine add the remaining 3 gallons vinegar and the dill. Layer the cucumbers with the brine so herbs, garlic and spices evenly get distributed. Brine, refrigerated, for 2 days.

Cook’s Note

Glaze by itself is spicier on the back end, but when combined with the pork it really mellows out quite nice.

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