Wednesday, September 23, 2009


My husband has been talking about wanting to make cuban sandwiches for the LOoOooOOoongest time. Ever since I discovered my love for cooking with a crock pot and started making this really yummy pulled pork recipe I found in the book that came with one of the crock pots we have. (I'm pretty sure that qualifies as a run-on-sentence)

Anyway, I have no idea what exactly makes a "cuban sandwich" a "cuban sandwich", so I referenced the almighty google to find a recipe for preparing the pulled pork that goes in it. And I still don't know what makes a "cuban" a "cuban."

But what I did do was go WAAAaaaAaaAAy out of my comfort zone. I found about 3 recipes online for cuban pork, but I didn't have the right ingredients for any one recipe. Well, if you remember back when I first discovered my love for cooking with a crock pot, I mentioned that I have a VERY hard time deviating from a recipe. You tell me 1 cup, by gosh, I'm gonna put in 1 cup. You tell me butter - there is no way I'm using margarine, unless of course it says one or the other.

But gosh darn I was planning to do the cuban sandwiches on Monday, and there was no way I'd be able to make it to the store. So my only option was to make it up as I went. Wow, was it hard to step out of my shell on that one. But I just pulled the flavors out of each recipe based on what I had in my kitchen and attempted to make cuban-flavored pulled pork. I had convinced myself it was going to taste disgusting, but in the odd chance it actually tasted good, I wrote it all down...

So I thought I'd share.

4-ish lbs pork shoulder, fat trimmed off
1/2 onion chopped in large chunks
2 cloves of garlic (peeled, but thrown in whole - and from what I have learned about garlic, you want to make sure you take the whole cloves out before you eat, but I couldn't find them - I guess they disintegrated into the meat??)
1 tsp jamaican jerk seasoning
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup apple juice
sprinkles of sea salt
1 cup-ish of bbq sauce

I put this in my 6 qt crock pot, but it probably would have fit in my 4 qt. I put the onions on the bottom, the meat on top of that, rubbed all the dry ingredients all over the meat, then poured the juices in. I had no idea how long it should cook for so I put it on high for about an hour, then I remembered Dan saying something about using sea salt, so that's about the time I remembered to sprinkle a little on top of everything. Then I turned it to low and it was there for about 4 more hours. One of the recipes mentioned putting some bbq sauce in towards the end, so I went ahead and put 1 cup of Montgomery Inn bbq sauce in, shredded the meat, and kept cooking for another 30 minutes or so. I never know how long to cook things for, and it always seems like my crock pots cook faster than any of the recipes call for, but I guess this was in for a total of 5-1/2 hours.

I was very happy with how this turned out. Very surprised, I must say. It's not like it was drop-dead, holy cow, yummy - but it was good!

And I'm certainly not posting the "recipe" so you can run out and make it as soon as possible. My goal is to hopefully inspire any of you who read this to try and think outside the recipe. I never thought in a million years I'd actually do it, but I did! And don't get me wrong, I still probably won't venture outside of tried and true recipes too much, but hey, I did it!

So I guess what I am saying is, if I can do it, so can you!!!!!!!

Oh, and before I forget, the way we ate the meat:

We threw it on a bun with a couple slices of ham, swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard. As far as Dan knows, THAT is how you make a cuban sandwich!

And let me say, that WAS drop-dead, holy cow, yummy!

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