I love using the slow cooker. I also love when I can use the slow cooker to make sandwiches! Add the Slow Cooker Cuban Sandwich to next week's menu plan. They are filled with unique flavors yet so delicious when paired together. Slow-cooked tender flavorful shredded pork layered with smoked ham, swiss cheese, tangy pickles, and yellow mustard!
I spent a summer in Tampa, Florida, for my college internship. This Minnesota girl headed south during the best weather months in Minnesota to what felt like a hot, humid sauna that wouldn't quit, not even when it rained. It was in Tampa that I discovered all sorts of new flavors.
My taste buds left behind hotdishes and learned about great flavor combinations like the Cuban pork sandwich! My first bites of the tender pork, with the salty ham on top of pickle slices, with slathered mustard, between what looked like French bread. It quickly became one of my favorite sandwiches!
Ingredients for Shredded Pork
Start with a high-quality pork shoulder roast. Grab some oranges and limes from your fruit bowl. Pull cumin, oregano, pepper, red pepper flakes, kosher salt, and a safe garlic salt from your spice cabinet. If you have an open container of chicken broth feel free to use that otherwise water will work too. Nobody wants dried-out, overcooked pork.
- Pork Shoulder Roast - This can also be called pork butt, Boston Butt. I do not recommend pork tenderloin or pork loin. They do not contain enough fat to withstand the long cooking time.
- Oranges - Used for fresh orange juice. For a more intense flavor add the orange zest.
- Limes - Fresh squeezed lime juice.
- Chicken Broth - Or use chicken stock. Low sodium will help control the salt.
- Spices - Cumin, Oregano, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, Garlic Salt (Low FODMAP if needed), Salt and Pepper
See the recipe card for the exact measurements and complete instructions. Selected ingredients are based on current serving sizes measured by the Monash FODMAP App at the time of publishing. As always, follow your gut and modify as needed.
Measure out the spices and put them in a bowl. Mix to combine.
Squeeze the oranges until you have enough fresh orange juice.
Cut up the limes into easy-to-squeeze sections to be sure you get all the lime juice.
Place the pork roast into your slow cooker. Make sure it is at least 6-quart capacity. Pour the chicken stock in, then the orange and lime juice. Pour the juices and broth over the roast so the spices will stick. Then sprinkle your spice mixture over the roast and into the liquid. Set it to low and cook for 8-9 hours or until easy to shred.
INGREDIENTS To Build Sandwiches
After you have shredded the Cuban pork, you will need to layer your sandwich ingredients.
- Bread Options- Texas toast, bolillo rolls, French bread, French rolls, hoagie rolls, slider buns, or gluten free bagels.
- Yellow Mustard - Yellow mustard adds a tangy flavor.
- Mayo - Adds a creamy element to the sandwich.
- Sliced Pickles - I like to use the sandwich pickles.
- Deli Ham - Find an oven-smoked ham, not a sweet ham.
- Swiss Cheese - Love this flavor with the pork and ham.
- Shredded Cuban Pork - Slow cooker Cuban pork
My family eats Cuban sandwiches on Texas Toast. It is the best budget option. We use the Texas Toast leftover bread for French toast or cheesy garlic bread. For my sandwich, I use gluten-free bagels. The bagels have enough bread to support all the sandwich ingredients.
Toasted Texas Toast for a budget-friendly option for Cuban Sandwiches.
Toasted gluten-free, garlic-free, Low FODMAP Cuban sandwiches.
Substitutions For Ingredients
Mayonnaise - I do not recommend using Miracle Whip. In its ingredients listing, Miracle Whip has high fructose corn syrup.
Cheese - Use provolone, pepperjack, or skip it.
Pickles - Replace pickles with pickled green beans.
Dijon Mustard - Want to skip the bright yellow mustard of your childhood and Grey Poupon your sandwich with some Dijon mustard? If you are fancy like that and want to give it a whirl, try it!
- Chicken Breasts - Cannot have pork, try using the spice mix with chicken breasts in the slow cooker. Cook the chicken breasts for a shorter amount of time.
- Genoa Salami - Some folks from Tampa, FL, will say you need to add Genoa salami to your Cuban sandwich. Who are we to say no? Go for it if you can find a salami without garlic or onion. I have found a version in the WalMart deli section.
- Steak Cuban Sandwich - Want to try marinating steak in a herby delicious marinade, with lettuce, tomatoes and shoestring potatoes? It is another tasty Cuban sandwich option!
To Store: Keep the shredded pork in an air-tight container in the fridge. Keep all the sandwich ingredients separate until you are ready to prepare a sandwich. It will last up to four days. Then, either use it or freeze it.
To Reheat: Heat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, stiring halfway between cooking time.
To Freeze: Frozen Cuban shredded pork makes amazing nachos for a quick lunch! Defrost before reheating.
The Cuban Sandwich can also be referred to as a Cubano.
If you want to be a Cuban sandwich purist and can eat gluten, I highly recommend finding the nearest Latino bakery and grabbing a loaf. If you live in the middle of nowhere like my family, you can grab soft French or Italian bread from the grocery store. In the past, we have used ciabatta buns from Aldi too.
There really are only two types of Cuban Sandwiches. The classic combo hails from Miami and has bread, ham, shredded Cuban pork, Swiss cheese, and pickles. However, Tampa adds Genoa salami to take it up a notch. Many say it is because the Italian immigrants wanted to add their stamp to the Cuban sandwich.
Which one is better? Only your taste buds can truly declare a winner for you! Try them both and decide if you want to be on Team Tampa or Team Miami. Either way, you are a winner because this sandwich is so good!
Low FODMAP Cuban Sandwiches
- 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
- 1 teaspoon Ground Pepper - coarsely
- 1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano
- Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 teaspoon Essence of Garlic Salt
- 3 Oranges - ½ cup of Juice
- 2 Limes - 3 Tablespoons of Juice
- ¼ cup Chicken Broth
- 3-5 pounds Pork Shoulder Roast
- Yellow Mustard
- Deli Ham Sliced
- Swiss Cheese Sliced
- Dill Pickles Sliced
- 1 loaf Texas Toast
- 1 package Gluten-Free Bagels
- In a small bowl mix together salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes, and garlic salt. Set aside
- Squeeze the oranges and limes. Set aside.
- Place the pork roast into the slow cooker. Pour the chicken stock, orange jucie and lime juice over the roast. Making sure to get it covered so the spices have a chance to stick.
- Cover the roast with the spice mix and in the liquid.
- Cover the roast and cook on low for 8-9 hours, until the pork is tender and shreds without much effort.
- Shred the pork into bite-size pieces. Place pork back into the liquid while you get out the sandwich fixings.
- For the sandwiches, toast the bread option you are going to use. Then spread a thin layer of mayo, add Swiss cheese, ham, shredded pork, pickles, mustard and then another piece of Swiss cheese.
- If you want to make this into a panini, put the sandwich in the panini press and smash it down. No panini press, use a heavy skillet on top of your sandwich and press it down in the skillet over gentle heat.