Smoking Cubanos

Well, here I am with my contribution to the Cubano Sandwich Post. As you well know, I’m not as eloquent and prolific as Cheryl, so this post will be relatively short and sweet. More like terse and bitter, but that’s just how I roll.  My responsibility for this culinary endeavor was the pulled pork.  I have eaten many Cuban sandwiches over the years and I have always thought the pork could use a little more flavor and definitely some smoke. 
Pork Butt for Cubanos
My inspiration for my pork seasonings was the Mojo Criollo that I’m so fond of but I didn’t want to cop out and just use it, I wanted to make my own version.  First, I wanted to make a rub for the pork so I started with AlbuKirky Seasoning Green Chile Rub and added a few more ingredients…bitter orange adobo seasoning and some extra cumin. If you don’t have or can’t find adobo seasoning, you can substitute lemon pepper. I wanted to add a fruity tang in the rub to match the flavors of the injection. There is some cumin in the Green Chile Rub, but I wanted to add more to bring out that earthy flavor.
Cubano Rub
¼ Cup AlbuKirky Seasonings Green Chile Rub
2 Tablespoons of Goya Adobo Seasoning with Bitter Orange
1 Tablespoon of Cumin
My vision was to infuse the pork with a lot of citrus flavors because when I think of Latin flavors I think of fruits like oranges, limes and lemons. I made an injection of orange, lemon, lime juice and a little bit of the rub. I was really happy with this injection because it infused the meat with a light citrus tang.
Citrus Injection
2 Cup of Orange Juice
1 Cup of Lemon Juice
1 Cup of Lime Juice
2 Teaspoons of the Cubano Rub
I injected the pork butt with  all of citrus Injection.  Injecting is the best way to infuse flavor throughout the meat.  A tip when injecting…use a lot!  Inject the butt on the top, the side and the end.  You want to get as much liquid and flavor into the pork as possible.  It should take about a quart of injection for one butt.
After the butt was injected I patted it dry and then gave it a good coating of jalapeno oil.  I like the jalapeno oil because it adds a bit of heat to the pork, if you don’t have it plain olive oil will work just fine. Now apply the rub to the pork butt.  Give it a good coating but you still want to be able to see the meat.
The pork butt was about 7lbs and I smoked it with mesquite charcoal at 275º-300º for about 7 hours to an internal temp of 195º.  I pulled the pork butt off the smoker and let it rest a good 30 minutes before pulling.  When I started pulling, the butt just fell apart. Although I didn’t add any sugar to my rub, there was enough natural sugar from the injection to form a nice bark around the pork.  The pork was a refreshing change from my typical BBQ’d butts… it was slightly sweet, had a nice subtle fruity tang, followed by a spicy finish from the green chile and jalapeño. This pulled pork was absolutely amazing and I will definitely be cooking this recipe again.

Check back next week and we’ll wrap up the Cubano Sandwich posts.  Cheryl will share her recipe for the bread and the process for making the sandwiches.

One thought on “Smoking Cubanos

  1. I have to try this. I've used the green chile rub on butts before for a southwestern style pulled pork and it was awesome. But I like what you did with the other flavors here too. We did a similar sandwich that we called the BBQuban, but the pork was just regular pulled pork.

Leave a Reply