BBQ82/17: The Smoking Cubano

BBQ82/17 – The Smoking Cubano:

I had another Sherwood Foods Pork Butt from Bob’s Butchers in the freezer which I wanted to cook because it was massive and was taking up loads of space! Having done Pork Butt Burnt Ends and Pulled Pork recently I wanted to try something different. It must have been fate because I was watching Chef again one night where he makes Cubanos and then a tweet by Kenji appeared in my timeline for Cuban style roast pork. Decision made!

Kenji’s recipe wasn’t quite what I was after so a quick Google provided me with this recipe. It’s slightly different in that it uses pulled meat rather than sliced which is traditionally used but the author is so positive about how good the recipe is I had to try it! Google also reminded me of the awesome pulled goat Cuban sandwich by Duck & Waffle I had at Meatopia last year which was one of my favourite dishes that day. I will need to do this again with some goat from Cabrito Goat.

The Prep:

I defrosted the pork butt overnight and made the marinade: Apple juice, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, sliced and zested orange, cumin, salt and peppercorns.

I then trimmed the fat cap off the pork butt and tidied up any loose bits or excess fat before putting it into a container then pouring the marinade over the top. I was struggling to find a container that was large enough to take the pork butt and marinade but fit in the fridge overnight! We finally found a square washing up bowl that the kids use for crafts and after a quick clean it was good to go!

smoking cubano

smoking cubano

On the day of the cook I got the smoker ready with 2x 4KG bags of heat beads and poured half a lit chimney of lumpwood charcoal in. I left it a while to light the heat beads then put the smoker back together and left it again for a while to settle at 225F.

I took the pork out of the marinade and rubbed any cumin/peppercorns off the surface before rubbing American mustard in and applying the rub. The rub I used was the leftover Slow Pork Rub by Reds True BBQ from the pulled pork cook the previous week. There is a dry rub linked in this recipe but the ingredients are pretty similar to the Reds rub so I used that rather than make another.

The Cook:

When it was time to cook I added some Oak and Cherry (I know!) and placed the pork butt on the top shelf, fat side up.

smoking cubano

I pretty much left it alone all day until it hit 200F internal temperature at which point I took it off and left it to rest for a bit.

smoking cubano

smoking cubano

smoking cubano

Once it had cooled down enough to handle I started pulling chunks off by hand. As with the pulled pork cook I prefer chunks to strands as it retains the moisture better and doesn’t dry out.

smoking cubano

smoking cubano

When the pork was ready it was time to assemble the sandwiches. I was using a sandwich toaster and sliced the rolls in half length ways then buttered them and placed them on the sandwich press to lightly toast. I then applied Dijon mustard to both sides of the roll, 1 slice of Swiss cheese and a good handful of the pork. I topped that off with a slice of ham, sliced pickles, salt and pepper before putting the top of the roll on and brushing butter on the top and bottom of the roll. I then put it in the panini press and applied a good amount of pressure until the cheese melted and a crust formed.

smoking cubano

smoking cubano

Ready to Eat:

When I opened the panini press up the lid of the roll had shifted a bit during the cook but I managed to move it back. I sliced the sandwich in half and plated it up. Presentation was difficult with this one!

smoking cubano

smoking cubano

Summary:

How was it? Well after I sliced it I wasn’t actually expecting much but the first bite surprised me! The combination of the smoked pulled pork with the Dijon mustard, the ham, the cheese and the pickles was really nice! I thoroughly enjoyed it! The only thing I would change is to add a bit of BBQ sauce to the pulled pork, my wife did that on her sandwich and it was better still. I know it’s not really a Cubano then but that’s ok!

My mother in law asked me: “Did you cook 6KG of meat for 14 hours to make a sandwich” – She seemed surprised lol! 

I have loads of meat in Foodsaver bags in the freezer now so I can see this becoming a regular lunch for a while.

Cook Equipment: Weber Smokey Mountain
Cook Method: Low and slow
Charcoal: 2x4KG Heat Beads plus a half chimney of lump
Smoking Wood: Oak and Cherry
Cook temperature: 225F
Cook time: 14 hours
Internal temperature: 200F
Notes: 1: Add a bit of BBQ sauce to the meat

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