How to Make the Perfect Cubano Sandwich

By Zagat Staff  |  May 1, 2014

In the movie Chef, the Cuban sandwiches that Jon Favreau serve out of his food truck, El Jefe, are so good that they revitalize his career and repair his failed marriage. We aren't promising that these sandwiches can do the same for you, but they are damn good. The recipes are courtesy of Los Angeles chef Roy Choi, who was a consultant on the movie and serves a similar sandwich at his restaurant Sunny Spot.

Mojo Pork Cubanos


6 oz. thinly sliced boiled ham
Softened butter, for brushing
Six 6-inch-long soft baguettes or heros, split lengthwise
Yellow mustard, for brushing
¾ lb. thinly sliced Mojo-Marinated Pork Shoulder (recipe follows),
½ lb. thinly sliced Swiss cheese
3 half-sour dill pickles, thinly sliced lengthwise

1. heat a large cast-iron griddle or panini press. Add the ham slices to the griddle and cook
over moderate heat, turning once, until browned in spots, about 1 minute. Transfer the ham to a plate.

2. Generously butter the cut sides of each baguette and toast on the griddle over mod-
erate heat until lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the baguettes to a work surface and generously brush the cut sides with mustard. Layer the ham, pork, Swiss cheese
and pickles on the baguette and close the sandwiches.

3. Generously brush the outside of the sandwiches with butter and set them on the griddle or press; if using a griddle, top the sandwiches with a large baking sheet and weigh it down with heavy cans or a cast-iron skillet. Cook the sandwiches over moderate heat until they’re browned and crisp on the outside and the cheese is melted, 3 minutes per
side on a griddle or 3 minutes total in a press.

Mojo-Marinated Pork Shoulder

Serves 6 to 8

¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup lightly packed cilantro, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. finely grated orange zest
¾ cup fresh orange juice
½ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup lightly packed mint leaves, finely chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. minced oregano
2 tsp. ground cumin
Kosher salt and pepper
3½ lbs. boneless pork shoulder, in one piece

1. In a bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients except salt, pepper and the pork. Whisk
in 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Transfer the marinade to a large resealable plastic bag and add the pork. Seal the bag and turn to coat; set in a baking dish and refrigerate overnight.

2. Preheat the oven to 425° and set a rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer the pork to a work surface; discard the marinade. fold the pork under itself, into thirds if necessary, and tie with string to form a neat roll. Season all over with salt and pepper and set it on the rack.

3. Roast the pork for 30 minutes, until lightly browned. Reduce the oven temperature to 375° and roast for 1 hour and 30 minutes longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 160°; transfer to a carving board and let rest for 30 minutes. Discard the string before slicing across the grain.

(Both recipes are by Roy Choi.)

For more stories about and inspired by the movie Chef, head here. Chef opens in select theaters May 9.