In the weeks leading up to World Food Championships, I posted very few new recipes. Not because I was lazy and not working, but because I was busy prepping, testing, and practicing new recipes for the World Sandwich Championship.
This year’s World Food Championships was held in Orange Beach, Alabama, but the opening round of sandwiches came straight from Florida. Yep, we were REQUIRED to make a Cuban Sandwich. As a native Floridian having grown up in Tampa, Cuban sandwiches are simply a part of life. The Cuban sandwich originated in Ybor City, aka “Cigar City”, a cigar manufacturing area of Tampa in the l800s, so to be given the challenge of creating one on the world stage was exciting and a bit daunting.
Being from the Tampa area, I knew that I had to do it right. My Cuban sandwich had to be based on the traditional sandwich, but pork needs HOURS to cook and I would have one. My Cuban sandwich had to be made properly, but pressing it with bricks would take too long and using a panini press seemed like cheating. No, my Cuban sandwich would need to be traditional with a modern twist. In the end, I created a Cuban sandwich that would have made the Ybor City cigar workers of the 1800s proud, and I served it in a cigar box, and scored a 90/100!
Cigar City Cuban Sandwich (featuring Cigar City Brewing)
1 lb. think sliced pork steak
Salt & pepper
12 oz. Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale
3 TBSP minced garlic in olive oil
2 onion powder cubes (with more time, I would use fresh onion, but with only an hour from start to finish, I didn’t have time to chop onions)
Salt & pepper pork steaks generously on each side. Place pork in a pressure cooker. Add beer, garlic, and onion powder cubes. Turn on pressure cooker. Cook for 30 minutes.After 30 minutes in the pressure cooker, remove pork and chop. Place chopped pork on a foil lined cookie sheet. Drizzle with Maduro glaze and broil for 1-2 minutes.
12 oz. Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale
2/3 c. brown sugar
1 bay leaf
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 onion powder cube
1 tsp garlic powder
1 TBSP butter
While the pork cooks, combine beer, brown sugar, bay leaf red pepper flakes, onion powder cube, garlic powder, and butter. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and continue boiling for 20 minutes to reduce. Remove from heat and allow to cool while waiting for pork.
Green Tomato & Red Onion Pickles:
2 medium green tomatoes-sliced thinly on a mandolin
1 large purple onion-sliced thinly on a mandolin
12 oz. Cigar City White Oak Aged Jai Alai IPA
1 c. Apple Cider Vinegar
½ c. white vinegar
1 TBSP minced garlic
2 TBSP pickling spice
½ c. sugar
1/8 c. pickling salt
Combine all ingredients except tomato and onion in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add tomatoes and onion, cover, and remove from heat. Allow tomatoes and onion to pickle for 20 minutes. When ready to make sandwiches, strain pickles into a colander to remove excess pickling liquid.
Add sliced tomatoes and onions to pickling liquid after it comes to a boil. Cover and remove from heat. Allow to sit for 25-30 minutes. Drain before assembling sandwiches.
1 loaf Cuban Bread
½ lb. shaved Serrano ham
¼ lb. thinly sliced salami
½-3/4 lb. Maduro Pork
¼ lb. imported Swiss cheese
¼ c. spicy brown mustard
¼ c. mayonnaise
Green tomato & Red Onion pickles
Remove ends from Cuban bread and divide into 4 equal portions.
Split each bread portion.
On bottom slice, spread a thin layer of mustard, and on the top, spread a thin layer of mayonnaise.
On top of the mustard, place 2-3 green tomato pickles, several pickled onion slices, 2 slices of salami, a generous portion of chopped Maduro pork, a generous portion of shaved ham, and 2 slices of Swiss cheese.
Press each sandwich for 3-4 minutes or until flattened and crispy. Cut sandwich on the bias and serve warm with a side cup of the pork cooking liquid (like an au jus).