The New Cubano Upgrade (Featuring Prosciutto!)

By The Workshop Kitchen


Part of Esquire's comprehensive coverage of the American sandwich, available in full in their September issue

Related:The Best Late-Night Food In the U.S.A.

Transported originally from Cuba to Tampa to feed cigar-factory workers, the Cubano found its true home in Miami, where the salty, sweet sandwich is an essential part of the late-night landscape. The distinctive Cuban bread, traditionally made with lard, is slathered with butter and layered with sugar-cured bolo ham, slow-roasted marinated pork, Swiss cheese, mustard, and pickles. It’s all compressed in a hot plancha, which flattens the sandwich, toasts the bread, and lets the meat and cheese warm in their own steam. Our take uses mild Italian prosciutto cotto; a roasted pork butt rubbed with dried orange peel, which echoes the citrus juice in the original marinade; and slightly sweet potato rolls.



• 4- to 5-lb boneless pork butt
• 6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
 spice mix: 2 Tbsp dried oregano, 2 Tbsp ground cumin, 2 Tbsp sea salt, 1 Tbsp granulated garlic, 1 Tbsp granulated onion, 1 tsp dried orange peel, 1 Tbsp ground black pepper
• 1 large onion, peeled and sliced thickly crosswise into ¼-inch slices
• 6 slices Swiss cheese
 6 slices prosciutto cotto
 6 potato rolls
 kosher dill pickles
• Dijon mustard

Related: 13 Top Steak Recipes to Make Now


• Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

• Using the tip of a paring knife, make a crosshatch pattern on the fatty side of the pork, then make six small slits on the meaty side and insert garlic cloves.

• Coat the pork with the spice mix.

• Layer the bottom of a roasting pan with the onions, then place the pork in the center and fill the pan halfway with water.

• Place in middle of hot oven and roast until the meat is browned nicely and sputtering on top, about 1 hour. Reduce temperature to 300 degrees and roast for an additional 4 hours, checking every hour or so and adding extra water if necessary.

• When pork is cooked through but still moist, turn off heat and let cool in the oven.

• When ready to serve, place slices of pork on the bottom half of each roll, layer Swiss and prosciutto, and then add pickles and mustard as desired. Close with top half of roll.

• Lightly brush top and bottom of sandwiches with vegetable oil and press between two skillets over medium heat until the cheese melts.

Makes 6 sandwiches.

Related: The Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in America


1. On 7-grain with tomato jam.

2. On sourdough with refried beans.

3. On a Portuguese roll with sliced provolone and arugula.

The Workshop Kitchen is a Philadelphia-based cooking and publishing company started by Francine Maroukian and Chef Tony Aiazzi.

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