I was craving a salty deli sandwich last week but was over sand sandwiches. This toasted Cuban sandwich has a little bit of everything. From warm juicy pulled pork, melted cheese, shaved ham and dijon mustard and pickles to pull everything together.
I've made a similar lunchtime recipe before but in salad form. For the salad version of this Cuban sandwich, check out our recipe here.
Pulled pork is typically fatty using pork butt since it's more tender. I was able to get that same tenderness from a leaner cut- the pork tenderloin- by use of the instant pot. This can also be made in the crock pot but would take 4-6 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low vs the 45 minutes in the instant pot.
Cuban Sandwiches with Instant Pot Pulled Pork
8 Servings | Cook time: 1 hour
Notes: A few levels up from your typical deli sandwich! Note this is higher in sodium as are most deli sandwiches, lower sodium options are provided with nutrition facts.
1.5 lb lean pork loin, sliced into 4 sections
2 tbsp water
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced (~150g)
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper
Optional: 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 lb shaved ham
1/4 lb Swiss or provolone cheese
3 tbsp dijon mustard
16 slices sandwich pickles
8 rolls, wraps or sandwich thins (or 8-16 slices of bread)
Turn into pot on to brown/sauté and spray with nonstick olive oil spray. Sear pork loin sections for about 2 minutes/side until browned on each side. Add in remaining pork ingredients to the pot.
Close instant pot lid and set to cook for 45 minutes, allowing 15 minutes to naturally release.
After 1 hour, open instant pot, drain all but a few tablespoons of excess liquid (you can less more or less but I like to keep it less juicy so it doesn’t make the sandwich soggy).
Transfer the pork, onions and juices to a large bowl/container and use two forks to shred the pork.
Once the pork is shredded, smear mustard on both sides of bun/sandwich roll/wrap of choice. Layer sliced ham on one side and cheese on the other. Top with sliced pickles and 1/8 of pork mixture. Repeat for other 7 sandwiches.
Heat a nonstick skillet and spray with nonstick olive oil spray. Place sandwich on the skillet for 2-3 minutes, flip and repeat until cheese is melted and bread is toasted.
Remove from skillet, slice in half and enjoy!
Note: These sandwiches can be stored, unassembled, for up to 5 days. Store pork in an air tight container and other ingredients separate. When assembling from the fridge, sauté the pork in a skillet to remove excess liquid and to heat it. Then assemble and toast the sandwich. I have also preassembled the sandwich with cold pork, wrapped it in foil and heated everything in a toaster oven or air fryer, both methods work!
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Nutrition Facts are provided as a guideline only. Exact nutrition will depend on quantity, brand and ingredients used. Note this is higher in sodium for some of my recipes due to the deli meat and pork. If you're watching your sodium I recommend opting for a low sodium ham option and a low sodium pork (they exist! read the label). You can also sub pickles for fresh cucumber slices and omit the mustard.