When I'm in Florida, the top of my "must eat" list is an authentic Cuban sandwich featuring roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and crunchy bread.
After returning from one of these trips, I decided to amp up the Cuban sandwich game by replacing the roast pork with sliced of slow smoked, mojo marinated pork belly then finishing the sandwiches on the grill.
The result? Pure pork awesomeness!
SMOKED PORK BELLY CUBAN SANDWICH
Smoked mojo marinated pork belly (recipe follows)
2 crusty Italian baguettes
¼ cup yellow mustard
1 lb. thinly sliced deli ham
1 lb. sliced Swiss cheese
Kosher dill sandwich slices
Heavy duty aluminum foil
Cast iron skillet or brick
Prepare a charcoal chimney full of briquets. Once the briquets have begun to ash over, spread in an even layer the grill’s charcoal grate. Adjust bottom vents to bring the grill temperature to approximately 450 degrees.
Using a sharp knife, cut pork belly into ½ inch slices. Place slices on the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes per side until nicely browned. Remove slices from the grill and set aside.
Slice baguettes in half horizontally. Spread yellow mustard on each side of the baguettes. Place Swiss cheese slices in an even layer across each bottom section and top with 2-3 slices of smoked pork belly, 3 Kosher dill sandwich slices, 4-5 slices of ham, additional slices of Swiss cheese, and the top of the baguettes.
Wrap the pork belly Cuban sandwiches loosely with a double layer of aluminum foil.
Place foil wrapped burgers on the grill one at a time and place a cast iron skillet or brick on top of the packet.
Grill for approximately 3 minutes per side while pressing down on the skillet or brick until the cheese has melted and the bread is browned and crunchy. Unwrap sandwiches, cut in half, and serve immediately.
Smoked Mojo Marinated Pork Belly
½ Snake River Farms Kurobuta pork belly*, approximately 3lbs.
2 cups orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
10 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 disposable aluminum half pan
1 baking dish
Combine orange juice, lime juice, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and dried oregano in a large mixing bowl and blend well. Using a sharp knife, make ¼ inch deep vertical incisions in the pork belly’s top layer of fat, approximately 1 inch apart. Make similar horizontal incisions to create a diamond pattern. Place pork belly in a large baking dish and cover the bottom 2/3 of the pork belly with marinade, leaving the upper layer of fat dry. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
After the pork belly has marinated, light a chimney starter full of Kingsford® charcoal. Place a water filled aluminum half pan in the center of the grill’s charcoal grate and add ashed over briquets to both sides of the pan for indirect grilling. Add 3-4 chunks of your favorite smoking wood to the charcoal and adjust the grill’s bottom vents to bring the temperature to approximately 300 degrees.
Remove pork belly from the marinade, rinse and pat dry. Season liberally with Kosher salt and pepper. Set the pork belly scored side up in a large ceramic baking dish or roasting pan. Place the baking dish in the center of the grill, cover, and allow the pork belly to cook for approximately 4 hours until extremely tender. Remove the pork belly from the grill and allow it to cool for 20-30 minutes (note: pork belly can be prepared a day or 2 ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to make the sandwiches).
* Pork belly was supplied by Snake River Farms for recipe testing purposes