If you’re getting ready for your 4th of July bash and just can’t face tending the barbecue in 105-degree heat, executive chef Jason Diaz of Social Hall offers an alternative. Instead of barbecue grub, try making Cubano sandwiches with house-made pickles.
Diaz, former executive chef at the Wrigley Mansion, devised this crowd-pleasing recipe for Social Hall, but says it’s easy to duplicate at home. Just make sure you give the pork butt a good sear before simmering in a pan that you can transfer to the oven, and don’t forget the can of Coke, which adds a hint of sweetness to the meat, he says.
To make the pickles, Diaz slices cucumbers and soaks them overnight in red wine vinegar laced with bay leaves, peppercorns, brown sugar and salt. Store bought pickles will also work with this dish.
For those who want to try the sandwich first before making it at home, stop by Social Hall for a taste test. The sammie is on the menu, but they call it the "Tony Montana."
4 lbs. pork butt
3 tbsp. kosher salt
3 tbsp. fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. minced garlic
½ tbsp. dried oregano
½ tbsp. ground cumin
2 quarts water
1 can cola
1 French roll
2 slices ham
1 tsp. yellow pub mustard
1 slice Swiss cheese
2-3 pickle slices
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut oranges in half. Season pork with kosher salt. Heat oil in a pan and sear each side of pork butt until golden brown. Reduce temperature on stove to a simmering temperature. Add onions, garlic, lime juice, water, cola and oranges to pan and simmer for 2 ½ hours. Remove pan from stove and place in oven for an additional 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove from oven and meat should be fork-tender. Shred pork while still hot.
Building the sandwich
Split a French roll in half. Spread yellow mustard on inside of both halves of French roll. Split the slice of Swiss cheese in half and add to both pieces of bread. Add two slices of ham to the bottom half of your sandwich. Add pickle slices on top of ham. Add shredded pork on top of the pickle slices.
Place a fresh pan over medium heat and add a tablespoon of butter. Once butter is mostly melted, place sandwich in the pan. Press sandwich firmly into the pan (If you use your hand, be careful not to burn yourself.) Repeat on other side of sandwich until both sides are golden brown and Swiss cheese is melted.