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The Cuban Sandwich: An Epic Feast Between Bread

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Rochelle Bilow, photo by Zach DeSart


This sandwich is more like an epic feast between two slices of bread: pickles, onion, carrot, celery, pepper jack cheese, soppressata, and -- oh -- did we mention the braised pork shoulder? Yeah, you're gonna need an extra napkin.

SEE MORE: Common Quick Pickling Mistakes

Park 121 makes its own zucchini pickles for these messy (in a good way) sandwiches; substitute with thinly sliced dill or bread-and-butter pickles if you like.

Ingredients Zucchini Pickles:
  • 1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced into ⅛"-thick rounds, preferably on a mandoline
  • ½ large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
Shredded Pork and Assembly:
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 sprig oregano
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 3-lb. skinless, boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 8 brioche buns, split
  • 8 ounces soppressata, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces pepper Jack, thinly sliced


Zucchini Pickles: Bring vinegar, sugar, turmeric, mustard powder, and mustard seeds to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Let cool.

Toss zucchini, onion, and salt in a large bowl and let stand until zucchini releases moisture, 30-35 minutes. Pat zucchini and onion dry and transfer to a large jar. Pour pickling liquid over vegetables to submerge. Cover and chill at least 12 hours.

DO AHEAD: Zucchini can be pickled 4 days ahead. Keep chilled.

SEE MORE: 7 Fried Chicken Mistakes You're Making, and How to Avoid Them

Shredded Pork and Assembly: Preheat oven to 300°. Combine onion, carrot, celery, oregano, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and broth in a Dutch oven or other large pot. Place pork on top of vegetables and drizzle with oil; season pork with salt and pepper. Cover and braise, turning pork occasionally, until pork is just falling apart, 3½-4 hours. Let cool.

Transfer pork to a large bowl, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid, and shred with a fork. Add cooking liquid as needed to moisten pork (you may not use all of it).

Meanwhile, increase oven temperature to 400°. Mix mayonnaise and mustard in a small bowl and set aside.

Place both halves of buns, cut side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Layer soppressata, pork, and cheese on bottom halves of buns and bake until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Top bottom halves of buns with pickles; spread top halves of buns with reserved mayonnaise mixture and form sandwiches.

DO AHEAD: Pork can be braised and shredded 3 days ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.

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