Food Stylist: Stephana Bottom 
Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin

Tampa Cuban Sandwich

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr 5 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Cook: 2 hr 35 min
  • Yield: 1 sandwich (plus extra roast pork)
In any Cuban sandwich, garlicky marinated pork is key. This recipe from Tampa's legendary Columbia Restaurant calls for marinating and slow-cooking pork shoulder in a mojo-style mixture of orange and lime juices, garlic and oregano. The tender cooked pork gets layered into a loaf of soft Cuban bread along with ham, pickles, cheese, salami and mustard---ingredients the restaurant says reflect the culinary contributions of Tampa’s diverse immigrant population---then grilled and pressed in classic Cubano style.


For the Pork:

For the Sandwich:


  1. Prepare the pork: Cut small slits all over the meat with a knife and put skin-side down in a roasting pan. Mix the lime juice and orange juice in a measuring cup. Transfer 1/4 cup juice mixture to a food processor; add the garlic, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and pulse to make a paste. Rub over the pork and into the slits. Pour the remaining 3/4 cup juice over the pork; press the bay leaves on top. Cover and refrigerate 3 to 6 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Turn the pork skin-side up and roast until a thermometer inserted into the middle registers 160 degrees F, about 2 hours, 30 minutes. Cool completely before slicing. (Refrigerate leftover pork in an airtight container up to 1 week.)
  3. Make the sandwich: Cut the bread in half lengthwise. Layer the ham, 3 thin slices roast pork, the salami, cheese and pickles on the bottom half. Spread the mustard on the inside of the top half. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Butter the outside of the sandwich, then add to the pan and put a heavy skillet on top to weigh it down; cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes per side (or cook in a sandwich press). Cut in half on the diagonal.
  4. In any Cuban sandwich, mojo-marinated pork is key. Look for bottled marinade in Latin markets, or try this recipe from Tampa's legendary Columbia Restaurant.