Our son, James stayed with us for a day on his way to SoCal. Before he left yesterday afternoon we all went to R&D for a sandwich. A friend of ours, Stephen, raved about the R&D Cubano. Jim and I have heard of the Cubano but we have never eaten one until yesterday. Wow, what a great surprise. Made my eyes light and my stomach go Howdy!!!
Although there is some debate as to the contents of a “true” Cuban sandwich, most are generally agreed upon. The traditional Cuban sandwich starts with Cuban bread. R&D uses Ciabatta, which was delicious. The loaf is sliced into desired lengths, lightly buttered or brushed with olive oil on the crust, and cut in half horizontally. A coat of yellow mustard is spread on the bread. Then sliced roast pork or pulled pork, glazed ham, Swiss cheese, (I like Provolone, see I’m causing trouble already,) and thinly sliced dill pickles are added in layers. The sandwich is then cooked in a Panini press.
James makes his Cubano at home because he has not found one that suits him in Portland. To actually make one at home is hardcore. You have to roast the pork, Ideally you need an Instant Pot and to grill the sandwich you need a Panini maker. He shared that it took him three days to eat the sandwich. If you are intrepid, try making your own Cubano. We have included the recipe for the pulled pork below.
James had several bites of mine and professed it the best he’s ever had. He liked how soft and moist the pork was. The ham was just spot on with a nice hint of smokiness, the pickles he pronounced perfect briny and not too salty. Since he knows there’s no business in Medford that makes Cuban bread he applauded the choice of Ciabatta as excellent. He liked it so much he didn’t even bust my chops about bastardizing the sandwich with Provolone.
We’ve also had their Reuben – delicious and meatball – astoundingly good!!!
R&D Sandwich Factory is a great little place to get the perfect sandwich, you can eat in or take out, but be aware they close at 4:00. Great place to stop for lunch or just driving thru make plans on eating lunch in Medford at R&D.
Pulled Pork for Cubano Sandwich
2 tablespoons butter
4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed, cut in 3 pieces
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
10 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1. On 6-quart Instant Pot, select SAUTE; adjust to normal. Melt butter in insert. Add pork; sear 2 to 4 minutes on all sides or until browned. Select CANCEL.
2. In small bowl, mix broth, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic and salt. Pour over pork in insert. Secure lid; set pressure valve to SEALING. Select MANUAL; cook on high pressure 90 minutes. Select CANCEL. Keep pressure valve in SEALING position to release pressure naturally.
3. When cool enough to handle, shred pork, and toss with 1 cup of the cooking liquid; discard remaining cooking liquid.