๐Ÿ‘An Incredible Recipe For The Perfect Cuban Sandwich



from a really young age all I watched

was cooking shows I have this vivid

memory of standing on a stool next to my

mom as she was deveining shrimp and she

was making risotto from like a clipping

out of the New York Times so I remember

helping her with that and thinking that

was really cool

I kind of found my way to food and like

a backwards path like I have a lot of

interest but I didn't know out of

college what I wanted to do I thought

long and hard about going to culinary

school and it was the right move my name

is Cecilia Jenkins and I am a senior

editor of country magazine

Cuban sandwich recipe was something that

we've talked about for a while because

we all love keeping sandwiches I mean

what's not to love right but for

something that's sort of a sandwich

right which sounds like maybe you don't

really need like an extensive recipe for

we figured the way to get into it was to

really go to the birthplace of the Cuban

sandwich to talk to the people that are

really involved with the history of the

Cuban sandwich and and where it comes

from and so the first step was for Brian

to go with Steve Klaus who is our staff

photographer to Tampa they were able to

access you know all the greatest minds

of Cuban sandwich making in the country

so the thing that all of the acute

sandwiches that we had in Tampa had in

common was that all the Cuban bread came

from Leicester to the bakery they turned

out just like an absurd absurd amount of

Cuban bread every day the bread is

extremely flaky on the crust like we've

got the such legs to like not have it

not have our loads have a skin do

anything

like here they were almost rying to do

it on purpose this is the authentic

version of a Cuban sandwich you with the

ham the roast pork the cheese the

pickles and the mustard on the top

portion of bread only so it doesn't

overwhelm the palate when you bite into

it you know what we got next here see

this is their Cuban people are very

opinionated about the Cuban sandwiches

and like they have hard core rules about

this is correct and this incorrect so

that was the that was the Cuban sandwich

experience great oh thanks yeah thank

you

well so initially when we start talking

about the recipes that we're going to do

we need some inspiration for them you

know my trip is an inspiration but we

need to see something on paper we need

to kind of have a starting point

so what Cecilia does is she gathers all

these recipes from different sources and

we kind of look through them and see you

which is the best you're looking for

like five strong samples of roasted pork

for example and we hope that each of

them is different in some way that we

could really test the variable so at the

end of that meeting we have a good

breakdown of what is out there in the

world what people are doing for methods

and what ingredients are important what

ingredients are outliers but 160 isn't

that really low and we'll pick which

recipes show a good range of what's out

there

well Cecilia is great because she never

quits and I knew this would be a very

difficult process P what's the city is

just a very strong recipe developer or

she's always questioning what the next

move is and what it should be she's just

very thorough in the testing

and if she's not happy with something

she's not gonna let me sign off mine so

she has to love the recipe as much as I

did so our main focus will be on the two

main components here the bread and the

Moho roast pork the pitch meeting is the

proposal at edit meeting which can be

scary because you're sitting in front of

the entire editorial team at ghost

country so everyone from editors to

photographers art directors and stylists

like it's scary because people will ask

you questions that are really good

questions and you should know the answer

to and I try to when I do my proposals I

try to make sure that I've thought about

every possible angle that somebody could

spin this or what questions are people

gonna ask me about why we're doing this

or what makes this special what makes a

significant good we yeah we could use

store-bought bread but that's what

everybody does literally every recipe

that I pulled said if you're in Tampa by

Cuban bread but for everyone else who's

not in Tampa just use this like soft

squishy roll or I bet which is I don't

feel is right at all here but a lot of

recipes just gave substitutes and why

would we want to be like everyone else

my idea for the recipe was that each

component could stand alone so the bread

could stand alone is just a typical

Cuban bread and it would be great to eat

on the side of whatever dinner you're

having and the roast pork would be

equally great on a holiday table as it

would be in sandwiches you know so all

the components would stand alone on

there

I think the biggest concern I have is

whether or not she will be able to

create recipes for the bread and the

pork and the sandwich all of which can

stand alone that's a lot of pieces it's

a lot of moving pieces and to be able to

keep something like you know the Otto

Lee's for your bread and and and the the

proof stages of your bread in your head

along with the marinating of the pork in

your head those are very different

disciplines in the kitchen and so she

has to think with both sides of her

brain all the time and I think with that

many balls in the air

of course it's likely you're gonna drop

on so now that we've picked all the

recipes I've put in all my orders for

everything that I need and I've come up

with the chart that shows basically like

the recipes that we picked and actually

I was hoping that I'd be a little

further along it's just a lot of like

it's a lot of work to get this thing

like off the ground in this scenario and

in most scenarios the the cook in this

case Cecilia will go into the kitchen

and cook through five recipes that

already exist in the world and see what

she can learn from that I hate making

trips so I'm gonna take all this at once

I know I don't like one of those classic

things touch your face cuz they've been

like all over everything which is gross

okay so this is the first recipe for my

five recipe test so this is the pan de

รกgua which is a traditional Cuban style

bread but without any fat when bread is

done I look for like that you can poke

it in a little spring back that means

you've worked the gluten enough I'm

gonna cover this a classic and it's

going to proof for an hour until doubled

I think I'm most nervous about the bread

because I've done a couple of breads

here but bread isn't really in my

wheelhouse

so first breads in Yemen so I'm gonna

keep making those shaping and proofing

and then baking this one is the pan de

agua so no fat yeah so this one had

butter in it instead of lard you just

brush it with water before you put it in

the oven there's a really easy go to

work with

so chewy on the food drive yeah so this

has three tablespoons of lard that looks

fluffy yeah this one has a sponge and

you the drying method was really

interesting so once you've shaped it you

move it onto a rimmed baking sheet with

sprinkled with cornmeal then you

sprinkle the loaves with flour to dry

out the exterior put a dry kitchen towel

over it and then that was the one that I

showed you when you press it you had you

had a full skin that formed you can

actually like once you slash it the skin

like releases okay we set a pretty high

bar for the pork because for one thing

we've we've braised and roasted a lot of

pork in this house

so the first pork test I think was is

really interesting because we very much

expected a lot of them to be fantastic I

think well most pork shoulder is gonna

be the easiest to find in grocery stores

feel like bowling can be kind of hard

sometimes I don't know I mean maybe this

one is promising the one these are

boneless short ribs these might be good

because they won't take as long

so just to recap today we're doing the

porks we're tasting those but then I

also saved Moho sauces first to try oh

so those are two marinating thank God so

these are the recipe for the bread

recipes yes these are the three bread

recipes that we wanted to look at so

three four and five so I thought number

three despite like some of the other

opinions yeah was the most familiar to

me okay I know when he came out of the

oven on the super crusty but the inside

was really what was like light and

cottony yeah is there anything here I

mean I know you had some room

temperature Lord I mean I kind of feel

like it's it's fun to eat lard go big or

go home I think we should do four

tablespoons and then I can Zone in on

that later

yeah because most of them had four

tablespoons

that cool I'll write this up now great

okay so I'm gonna take the last one of

my five hours we test out I'm following

the recipe they said to put in there

with the marinade but it's good in some

countries slie tis bitter bottoms last

well I think you couldn't know around it

it's not gonna no I'm gonna nuts all I'm

gonna eat it just take the black start I

think it's the lime juice wasn't a

mayonnaise that was two cups of lime

juice overnight I think it's a lot so I

don't know I feel like I'll start with

Sterling numbers oh so it's a boneless

pork but it was like seven pounds so dry

yeah this one is also a boneless pork

but marinated in sour orange juice

inside of is drier than how on the other

side it's kind of nice and moist

well now dry this side is though that

matter I think the marinade is just such

a bad idea

well this is going well this is a ham

bone in well I mean

at least it's dry it is traditional to

have a mo ho marinade for Cuban roast

pork

so that is marinated with a lot of acid

and what I kept finding consistently was

that that acid was drawing out moisture

terrible Aubry disappointing

that's good no one way to go up I mean

there's only one way to it's only one

down which way to go

I think all these have so much acid to

drying the meat out and yeah they're

just chalky I feel like these are all

terrible but I think that's a great

thing because we now know it doesn't

work and there's just I just go up from

here these were all kind of

disappointing mostly just kind of pooped

so we're in the business of constantly

critiquing each other's food and you

have to be able to cuddle that roll up

your back and just take it in stride you

kind of have to be okay with knowing

that you're gonna go home and not know

the answer to this puzzle that you're

working on and you have to kind of know

that like the next day you'll figure it

out you know there's there's no victory

worth having if he didn't have to work

for it a little bit but the great thing

about Cecilia is she's willing to go

into that kaleidoscope because she likes

to find her way back out if you can go

into that mess and get back out cleanly

you really have something special

yesterday was the Cuban bride took her

first seven

making my own version and it didn't

really go so well Brian and I decided

what we wanted to take from certain

recipes and we wrote up a recipe part of

what I'm supposed to do is do some

reading up on the science of bread

making so basically I have like this

whole chapter this whole chapter to read

I worry about getting into the corner of

frustration that takes a little bit too

much work to get out of when I took it

out of the oven I was actually excited

about it because I thought it looked

right but then the crust wasn't right

that probably means that we'd cut too

much out of the recipe you took out the

sponge because it was an extra step that

we didn't know what it was we didn't

know if it was necessary

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he didn't love any of them for the pork

pie recipe

oh I pulled a bunch of Compton recipes

that we know that they're gonna yield

pork that's like juicy the method is

right so then it's a matter of like

working in the flavor and seeing how

that'll work with it I have faith in

Cecilia I know she she wants to find the

way she believes in the finish line I

think the trick will be to keep

everything moving in a positive

direction as much as possible

unfortunately we hit the weekend I had

to change gears to do TV stuff Wednesday

I needed a day to take in everything

that happened about with bread last week

and pork last week

IRA's 90 pages took four pages of notes

chatted with him about ideas of avenues

we could take

[Music]

so I was reading the bread Bible and she

said your son should be like 151 yeah so

it's my sponge okay EJ's work he was a

biochemist and now he's you know our

bread guru so I just wanted to get a

quick answer from him to proceed just be

really Connie and light airy on the

inside we're gonna try this right now

a was my working recipe at 375 and it

went 27 minutes internal temperature of

210 yeah so we were having relatively

hard time getting that crispy exterior

crust that room we really wanted and

that was just the you know the iconic

version of Cuban bread that we were

after so we talked to Andrew ginge again

whose test cook over on Cook's

Illustrated and he's basically the bread

and master and he suggested covering the

the loaves for the first several minutes

of baking because as the loaves cook

they evaporate moisture and with the

cover on that that moisture gets trapped

condenses and it falls back down on the

loaves and gelatinize the starch and is

you're more likely to get that crispy

exterior

the Cuban Moho sauce has a ton of garlic

oregano cumin and a lot of citrus juice

traditionally it's sour orange juice

made three company recipes of Moho

sauces and they're way better than what

we had prior with the fibers we just one

of the ones that we had in our archives

from the past included pineapple juice

that we found it was a really nice

addition because it balanced out some of

the sharp acidity of of the Moho of the

other ingredients the acid was just too

powerful I think it was drying out the

meat and these just taste more balanced

cuz they have the fat in there to help

round out the harshness of the acid so

what I'm gonna do is take these company

recipes and marinate some boneless pork

butts overnight and then tomorrow I'll

come in and roast them off and then

we'll try them and hopefully the moles

will be exactly flavors that we want or

get us on the right track

his bar is very high his palate is sharp

there's no scenario in which Bryan's

gonna make you do work that just for the

sake of doing work he's going to make

you do work because he wants it right so

what I did was we to get to that end

result I mixed a combination of orange

juice lime juice and pineapple juice the

pineapple juice really helped in this

case because those citrus juices can be

so acidic you needed something to kind

of take the edge off

yeah a little scary a little scary

hi so the pork work 1 & 3 have been

resting for 30 minutes so I was gonna

see if you guys want to try them I did

this recipe so many times that I had

enough data collected with the method

that I landed on that I was really

confident yeah that is cool still every

decision damn sure I knew that he was

excited about it and it was great that

he was there and and I was really happy

that he liked it cuz after so much after

so many wrong turns and and then you

think you're on a right one you want you

want to make sure that people like it

like I know when a recipe is on a good

track when you like you had people try

it and everyone kind of like you're like

oh whoa

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I cooked them covered all the way

through basically and then took the top

the lid off and broiled it but we didn't

like how it looked it looked really

uneven and parts work kind of burnt

tasting so everyone's broiler is

different it's kind of an uncontrollable

variable this recipe was particularly

complicated because she's making

elements that need to stand alone but

also need to sing perfectly together in

the final sandwich that process of

taking that working recipe dissecting it

pulling every piece of it apart and

really zeroing in on every detail to

make sure it's exactly right that's a

process you're gonna go back to the

cupboard and then uncovered but maybe

less time covered not as much as I did

two days ago where it was wasn't covered

very long and then it dried out and then

everything over reduced and then for as

far as bread goes we were also thinking

about as the bread proofs once it's

shaped sprinkling the top of flour so

that it dries out but then in theory

there's more flour on the exterior so

that if you are able to trap the steam

in the oven there's more starch to

gelatinize even you oppressed so that's

a theory that we have we feel pretty

good about where the bread was yesterday

hopefully today some of the stuff hands

out all things considered the fact that

she's working on three very intensive

recipes the pork and the in the bread

simultaneously I mean usually the cooks

are signing one of these recipes that's

pretty intense I think she's doing a

great job at the timeline she's so

thorough she every day she's been

thinking about what the next test is

she's talking to me every day and she's

yeah she's a champ

I did that test where I was covering the

bread to get an initial steam we went

the higher Arbonne temperature

they have worked not sure but she

uncovered it she stuck to her times and

so with the last one at 400 degrees I

was pulling it out and then AJ I was

like well why is it so pale and I was

like well suppose we pale and then he

was like if it's not pale you know you

can just leave it back in you can leave

it in and let it get to the right color

you know you want to put your hands on

things and picks them right away but

honestly the very end the test went kind

of awry should have just made a

game-time decision and kept them in

longer and then I wouldn't be redoing

this now so I've lost like five hours

this is taking a lot longer than I need

it to I'm here early I'm staying late

and when you have a test that goes awry

and like the last five minutes I mean

each component takes so long no problem

I will wash that punishment punishment

this one went to 190 the other two went

to 205 they were all the same wait five

seven yeah the thing about pork butts

boneless and bone and pork butts is they

come in all different shapes and sizes

they can all way very similar weights

but some can be skinny and long others

can be fat and wide and tall and they

will as a result cook at different rates

when Cecilia is cooking five different

roasts at the same time yeah in theory

they're all 5 pounders but it sucks when

you do all this work and then the tests

of the go right and then you don't even

bother to call your team so which is

what I did I didn't bother calling them

because it was all dry

I got Brian's opinion which is what I

needed and I think you know it's like

why drew why have them tried fried pork

I can do it better

she's not a rule follower at all she has

a an understanding of what would work or

what won't work

she studied she knows the traditional

way to do things our classical way to do

things but she gets I think like a

thrill of thinking about a different or

a better way to do things

so it's Tuesday I've been working on

this for about 15 days I should just say

20 because I've been thinking about it

on the weekends too so

a timer for all four of those are

staggered by like two minutes each and I

have two pork roast ones at 189 and ones

at 182 no I understand that Moho is very

traditional but like I just keep

thinking like pork roast that we've done

with the cure and the salt overnight so

much better season than this we've had

so much success in the past with just

like a sugar salt rub overnight because

the salt deeply penetrates the meat

better than a marinade if it's just in a

rub so it wasn't until we decided okay

we're really not getting anywhere with

this Moho marinade let's try it versus a

Moho inspired sure salt rub overnight

did you try a Cuban roast pork just by

itself when you were in Tampa not under

sandwich just like yeah okay so is that

the general practice people just put it

in an acidic marinade and leave it there

for like a time and then this is how it

always tastes but this is better

Ryan has a really big heart he is an

incredibly supportive partner in these

things he wants it right honestly it was

something that I thought of immediately

when I got this recipe but as a group we

decided it was not traditional and we

were trying to stay very close to what

was traditional we had a lot of people

to make happy and if I didn't have a

very strong argument to diverge from

that I wasn't gonna do it so this is

covered for 50 yes this is also for 50

but uncovered so obviously getting more

height than this one which is nice and

the crime is still good but this one is

spreading out wider rather than as tall

so we should consider a few different

options well I feel like the slashing

I'm real nervous about because I feel

like people like I wasn't going super

deep yeah I watch that so I feel like

peep

would be in kinda like really like get

in there I can I can say go like a

quarter of a ninja we like some kind of

shower go pretty shallow but I think it

might still be a problem she said one at

450 which is what I have I've been doing

yeah I mean if you want to start at the

baseline I would do one in 40 exactly if

you're doing but with only a 30 minute

yeah not gonna be you're like on a

baseline okay

sorry am i slashing these is that one

point I said maybe hold back yeah I mean

but maybe just make a real effort to go

very light very light

[Music]

cecilia is doing a great great job

trying to manage both these recipes that

said we're just a week away from

deadline I'm not sure she's gonna hit

both of them and then when she gets done

with the pork and the bread no she's got

to focus on the sandwich which seems

like it's gonna be pretty easy easy and

straightforward but we've got to start

making I'm gonna start getting through

the process and figure out if there are

any hurdles to kind of get over she's

got to stay focused on it and make sure

every test counts from this point on

cheese pickles

I can make you mine see us

we've written up so far did I get that

order right ham pork salami cheese

pickles mustard writing a sandwich

recipe is like ridiculous way too many

steps and words the bread I feel like

took a long time in the beginning and I

had to do a lot of research more so than

normal and then we were trying to get a

specific interior and a very specific

exterior I didn't expect her bread to be

as it is like especially the crust

that's on the outside I didn't think was

possible these ovens we've been trying

for years to do something like that yeah

I'm pretty excited

this pork came a really long way it took

me a while to get to the decision that

we weren't gonna marinate it in citrus

it was dry and the acid was acting on it

too much and drying out moisture and now

we have this moist really porky

delicious

I'm really happy where I landed with

that Cecilia put together a working

recipe is what we call it and it's kind

of a sketch for a recipe that she will

cook through

[Music]

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[Music]

yeah bread is really flaky

I like how I like other crushes really

like yeah you know yeah but it's so much

better than anything you could have

store-bought yeah all right pull your

eating's period I think we're getting

closer

tell me your feelings on the flavor and

stuff can you eat Swiss cheese okay

that's more surprising to me is Tomoko

yeah yeah bread like makes a sandwich

for me I'm really trying to look at

every single step and analyze if I need

somebody else's eyes on it do I need

another opinion does this feel weird you

don't want any spillover I don't really

like doing this patting the fork arm I

feel it gets like you get these bits

that roll off much better if you just do

slices I think

[Music]

this whole thing here

too far down it's okay but I can see

some mechanical issues where it doesn't

sit flat oh my god

bump Jim - boom hold on right there we

worked hard to make that what was that a

coke right now inevitably there are you

know loose ends

there are imperfect instructions there

are ways to refine that working recipe

to make it better in every case that is

always true smelly enough yeah I know

it's not supposed to be stringy melty

the challenge for her is to take that

working recipe look at every single

element from the amount of salt in the

bread to the exact sort of structural

architecture of the sandwich I don't

even know how many batches this is fido

one two three four

this is the color we want

so too much ham yeah flaw ham sorry each

piece she needs to look at individually

different amounts of salt different

amount of time in the oven whatever the

thing is and determine which is sort of

the best within the context of the

recipe I just really wanted to be then

oh okay so I'm gonna call and fingers

crossed

I put eight pickles in here you were

doing four per side but the team thought

that it needed more pickles

well because hold on because this

because of this photo that happens and

you use so few and that's the question

she has to measure every decision

against is this the right way to go

about this so you were on like medium

low and when I flipped it

yeah

[Music]

I'm taking a hard look at every single

word of every line and making sure that

everything that's in here written down I

can back up basically this is a bread in

the sandwich on Jeopardy test so a this

made today B is a day-old bread C is two

days old

I'm putting pictures in my log as a

reminder what they looked like I could

do different kinds of pickles I could do

like what I mean like dill just versus

the stackers yeah we also have I know

this is like crazy but we have the baby

but I know I'll see a butter cookie well

we have a ton of those oh you bet say it

for you hi I have sandwiches okay I want

to see Justin my sandwiches okay I'll

see you're gonna put the sandwich down

yeah okay of course all right then maybe

we should strongly tell people cool it

frigerator for an hour and then slicer

[Music]

so what I'm doing is I'm getting pork

ready then I'm gonna make bread and then

when this is done hopefully in about

four hours

I'm gonna let this cool slice it so I

get super thin slices and then hopefully

I can use that and make sandwiches and

hopefully I'll be done with sandwiches

just taking down some of the fat cap

because you don't need like really chewy

pieces of fat I kind of want them to be

rendered so you got to take it down a

little bit so the rub is kosher salt

brown sugar orange zest lime zest cumin

dried oregano red pepper flakes garlic

just a salt as it's all

I keep snacking on this so I think

that's a good sign

[Music]

before the sliced pork it pressed better

it was easier to manage and our solve

for slicing it thinly was to take the

roast that you made and chill it down so

that it was more firm and easier to get

a clean slice so yesterday I had a

problem because the pork was really

thick this has been cooled pork and

sliced thin as we want

Sinclair super pointy Gordon pointed

[Music]

[Applause]

like a but we don't know to go with the

world see what they say

yeah pushing it out of the nest

actually I did I did some totaling up

everything so it was 80 loaves and it

was 34 pork butts 34 5 bucks

- all right you guys tell me what you

think I am very happy today that

everything went well people snapped him

up there was nothing left so that's

always a good sign

I really hope that people make it I

really hope that people like it being

done I hope it gives people like

confidence in the kitchen to make

something really good that's ultimately

what I want

[Music]

so how does it feel when you were doing

it the pork was easy yeah everything

went pretty smoothly I was a little bit

more scared of doing the bread because I

never do that but it was interesting to

see how sandwiches should be layered I

usually just throw everything together I

[Music]

leave a cat and I'm a contributing

editor at cooks country magazine I get

sent recipes after they've been

developed they come to me and I get them

one last round of testing and today I am

testing a Cubano sandwich

you

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