Attempt #1 at Paseo's Cuban Roast
My attempt at this sandwich was pretty loosey-goosey in terms of the non-meat components. I suspected (and continue to believe) that the meat is going to be the hardest part for me to replicate and wanted to focus on trying to get that right this time round. So, I don't have exact preparation methods or proportions for the other ingredients (or the meat really -- I prepared three pounds of it and snacked on it for the rest of the week). I think this is fine as everyone likes slightly different proportions of the ingredients on their assembled sandwich(es). As a warning this meat is not very labor intensive but it takes a while -- there is an overnight brining and a slow cooking in the crock-pot.
Components of the Cuban Roast Sandwich from Paseo
- Cilantro (to taste -- probably about 7 or so sprigs per sandwich)
- Jalapenos (to taste)
- Caramelized Onions (again to taste)
- Aioli (I used this recipe and thought it work pretty well, though I added some relish and hot sauce. I put about a tablespoon on each sandwich)
- Romaine Lettuce (probably about 2 lettuce leaves per sandwich)
- 1 Baguette (I used Grand Central bread and it worked really, really well)
- Cuban Style Pulled Pork (my adaptation below)
Cuban-Style Pork Roast
adapted from Cook's Illustrated, August 2006
Pork and Brine
- 6 quarts cold water
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 cups table salt
- 2 medium garlic heads (separate the gloves and gently crush them)
- 4 cups orange juice
- 3 pound hunk of Boston Butt pork
Mix the first 5 ingredients together in a large stock pot, making sure to dissolve the sugar and salt. Cut 1-inch-deep slits in the meat (seperating them by about 2 inches) and place the roast in the brine. Let it hang out there at least overnight and up to 24 hours (this long in the brine + the crock-pot might make the meat too tender though).
- 12 medium garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 1/2 tsps ground black pepper
- 6 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Process the first 5 ingredients in the food processor. Pulse until these ingredients have formed something resembling a coarse paste. Add the liquid ingredients (starting with the orange juice) while the processor is running. Once all the liquids are added, the mixture should be a smooth paste. Set aside.
Remove the pork from the brining solution and cut into 2-3 inch chunks. Coat the pieces of pork with the delicious smelling garlic paste and place in crock-pot. Cover the pork with water (only add as much water as necessary to cover the pork -- about 4 cups) and cook on low for 8-9 hours.
Remove the pork from the crock-pot, let cool slightly, and pull apart using two spoons. In order to get a nice, crispy texture on the pork, fry the pieces of pulled pork in a medium-sized pan (If, like I did, you plan on eating sandwiches throughout the week, only fry up what you are going to immediately use).
Once the meat has nice and crispy parts go ahead and assemble the sandwiches to your liking. Yummers!