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The Ultimate Guide to Making the Perfect Pulled Pork Sandwich

There are few things in this world that are as delicious as a pulled pork sandwich. And, while there are many ways to make them, my personal favourite is the Cubano. In this blog post, I’ll show you how to make the perfect Cubano (with a difference) using sourdough bread. If you don’t have a sandwich press, don’t worry – I’ll show you how to do it without one!

Cubano pulled pork sandwich cut in half with the two halves stacked on top of each other on a wooden chopping board

There are a few reasons why pulled pork sandwiches are so great. Firstly, the pork is usually cooked low and slow until it’s fall-apart tender. This results in an incredibly flavourful and juicy meat that’s perfect for sandwiches.

Secondly, the addition of the sweet and smoky flavours takes the sandwich to a whole new level. And finally, the bread – whether it’s a bun, baguette or sourdough – is the perfect vehicle for all that delicious porky goodness.

In this guide I’ll be using my recipe for Slow Cooker Smoky Pulled Pork.

What do you put in a pulled pork sandwich?

The most important part of a pulled pork sandwich is, of course, the pork. My recipe for Slow Cooker Smoky Pulled Pork is a great way to make the perfect pulled pork for your sandwich (if I may say so).

However, if you don’t have a slow cooker, you can also make it in a dish and oven – instructions for that are in the recipe.

Once the pork is cooked, it’s time to assemble the sandwiches. Slice the bread (I’m using sourdough) and spread some mustard on both pieces. Then, layer on the pulled pork, pickles, cheese and ham. I like to do the cheese first, on top of the bread because it’s melts perfectly there, but I’m not sure the order of everything else really makes a difference.

Close up the sandwiches with another slice of bread and press down gently. Spread butter on the outside of the bread. If you have a sandwich press you’ll want to get it in there, pressing down gently as it cooks, so in the end the thickness reduces by half.

This is a very substantial sandwich, so one of those tiny little toastie makers isn’t going to do it. If you don’t have a sandwich press, you can use a pan to cook it in, with heavy skillet or pan to press down on the sandwich as it cooks. In the pictures and video below I’m using a burger/bacon press, which I also find really useful for getting crispy skin on salmon or using to get any meats like duck breast to cook evenly.

What goes well with a pulled pork sandwich?

Some great sides to go with a pulled pork sandwich are coleslaw, potato salad, or macaroni salad. You could also try serving it with some barbecue sauce or apple sauce for dipping. My UK friends might also like to try tomato ketchup or brown sauce (philistines 😉 ).

Does cheese go in a pulled pork sandwich?

The answer to this question is, of course, up to you. However, I personally like to include cheese in my pulled pork sandwiches. It adds a nice creaminess and saltiness that goes well with the other flavours. Some great options for cheese are Swiss, cheddar or pepper jack. Although I really don’t like melted stronger cheese like cheddar. I seem to be alone on this with everyone I mention it to, so if you love cheddar unmelted, but can’t stand it melted, let me know I’m not alone in the comments section below.

Do you put condiments on a pulled pork sandwich?

The answer to this question is also a personal preference. However, some great options for condiments are barbecue sauce, honey mustard, or apple sauce.

Cubano pulled pork sandwich cut in half being held next to each other by two female hands

What is a Cubano sandwich made of?

The Cubano sandwich originated in Cuba. It is made with a long, flat bread and is traditionally filled with roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard. I’m keeping it fairly traditional, but with the addition of tomatoes (which I understand is more of a Key West variation) and using my favourite sourdough instead.

Is a Cuban Sandwich the same as a Cubano?

Yes, a Cuban sandwich is better known as a Cubano. Also known as “Cuban mix”, “Cuban pressed sandwich”, or a “mixto”.

What bread is closest to Cuban bread?

The best bread to use for a Cubano is a long, flat bread such as baguette, ciabatta and focaccia. For mine, I’m using sourdough.

Sourdough bread is a type of bread that is made with a sourdough starter. This means that the bread is fermented for a longer period of time, which gives it a tangy flavour and slightly chewy texture, perfect for this type of sandwich.

It works really well and I always like sourdough for sandwiches as it feels a bit healthier because of the probiotics.

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Cubano pulled pork sandwich cut in half with the two halves stacked on top of each other on a wooden chopping board

The Ultimate Guide to Making the Perfect Pulled Pork Sandwich

There are few things in this world that are as delicious as a pulled pork sandwich. And, while there are many ways to make them, my personal favourite is the Cubano. In this blog post, I’ll show you how to make the perfect Cubano (with a difference) using sourdough bread. If you don’t have a sandwich press, don’t worry – I’ll show you how to do it without one!

  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 1 sandwich 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/8 recipe Slow Cooker Smoky Pulled Pork
  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • 4 slices ham
  • 2 slices swiss cheese
  • 1 tbsp American mustard
  • 1 dill pickle
  • 2 slices of beefsteak tomato
  • 1 tbsp butter

Instructions

  1. Spread the mustard on each side of your bread.

    Two pieces of sourdough with mustard on a wooden chopping board

  2.  Place the two pieces of Swiss cheese on one of the pieces of bread.

    Two pieces of sourdough with mustard and Swiss cheese on a wooden chopping board

  3. Heat up your pulled pork.

    Smoky pulled pork in a black cast iron pan on a hob

  4. Place your pulled pork on top of the cheese.

    Two pieces of sourdough with mustard, Swiss cheese and pulled pork on a wooden chopping board

  5. Place your tomato slices on top of the pulled pork.

    Two pieces of sourdough with mustard and Swiss cheese on a wooden chopping board

  6. Season your tomato with a little salt and pepper.

    Beefsteak tomato slice seasoned with salt and pepper.

  7. Slice your pickle and lay on top of the tomato.

    Two pieces of sourdough with mustard and Swiss cheese on a wooden chopping board

  8. Arrange your slices of ham in ‘nests’ (instead of just laying them flat) on top of the pickles.

    Two pieces of sourdough with mustard, Swiss cheese, pulled pork, tomato, pickles and ham on a wooden chopping board

  9. Place the other piece of sourdough on top to complete the sandwich.  Spread butter on the top, so that when you place it in the pan, the sandwich is butter side down (buttered side on the pan).

    Cubano sandwich before cooking with butter spread on the top slice on a wooden background

  10. Place the sandwich in the pan butter side down.

    Cubano sandwich in a black cast iron pan

  11. Place an iron press on top, but don’t press down too much, that will come when we turn it over and the whole sandwich has been warmed.  If you don’t have one of these presses (they are great for also cooking meat evenly and getting crispy skin on fish) you can use a heavy pan, which you’ll have to hold in place for a few minutes.  You could also use a house brick covered in foil.

    Cubano sandwich in a black cast iron pan with a burger press on top

  12. keep checking under the sandwich as it cooks, to make sure you get the perfect colour for you.  A deep golden brown is good.  Once you get there, butter the top piece of bread.

    Cubano sandwich in a pan

  13. Turn the sandwich over so it’s ready to cook on the other side.

    Cubano sandwich in a pan with the browned side showing

  14. Place the iron press back on top, but push down a little this time.  You’ll be checking to make sure the underside is cooking to golden brown, but you’ll also be applying enough pressure intermittently so that the sandwich reduces by half the thickness.

    Cubano sandwich in a black cast iron pan with a burger press on top

  15. And that’s it!  Once it’s golden brown get it on a cutting board, cut in half and serve.

    Cooked Cubano on a wooden chopping board. 

Notes

  • I like using sourdough for health reasons, but a long thin bread would be more traditional to a Cuban sandwich.  Something like a baguette or ciabatta, or even focaccia.
  • The tomato is a nice addition that gives some extra freshness, but can be left out if you’re not keen on tomatoes.
  • Author: Russell James
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Cuisine: South American

Keywords: pulled pork sandwich cubano

Pulled pork sandwiches and the Cubano specifically is an amazing mix of flavours. If you’re looking for a new and exciting sandwich to try, this is definitely it.

Be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below after trying the recipe – it’s one of the most incredible things I’ve eaten (not hyperbole) so I can’t wait to hear what you think.

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