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Cuban Pulled Pork Sandwiches

THE Cuban Panini

This Cuban Panini has the perfect balance of complex flavor, texture, and gooey goodness. Trust us when we say, this interesting combo of panini ingredients results in one amazing hot sandwich.

Yield: 8 sandwiches 1x
Prep: 30 minutesCook: 8 hoursTotal: 8 hours 30 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (You can mince the garlic using the zester/microplane.)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (approx. 3 pounds) pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth (for Instant Pot recipe only)
  • About 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
  • 8 ciabatta rolls, sliced open (or Homemade Panini Bread)
  • About 1/3 cup yellow mustard
  • 8 Swiss cheese slices
  • 1/2 pound (8 ounces) thinly sliced honey ham
  • 2 cups all-natural dill pickle chips or sandwich slices

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Make It Now:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the oil, lime zest & juice, orange zest & juice, garlic, oregano, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper.
  2. If making for the Instant Pot, cut the pork into four equal pieces (not necessary for slow cooker version). For both versions, pat the pork dry with paper towels and rub the seasoning mixture over all sides. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  3. Cook the pork using one of these methods:
    1. Slow Cooker: Place the pork in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 7 to 9 hours or on High for 4 to 5 hours, until the meat easily shreds.
    2. Instant Pot: Add the four pieces of pork and chicken broth to the pot. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 45 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes (or longer, if you prefer), then quick release the remaining pressure. 
  4. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and use two forks to shred the meat. Return the meat to the cooker and keep warm in the cooking liquid.
  5. Meanwhile, spread a thin layer of butter over the outside of each ciabatta roll. Open them up and smear the insides with mustard on both sides. Layer 1 slice of Swiss, a couple of pieces of ham, some warm pulled pork (use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove it from the cooking liquid), and a layer of pickles. 
  6. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Grill the sandwiches for a few minutes on each side, pressing down on them with a spatula or a heavy pan as they cook, until the bread is golden brown on both sides and the cheese has melted. Serve warm. 

Freeze For Later: Follow Steps 1-2. Then, do the following:

  • For Slow Cooker: Place the seasoned pork shoulder in the bag. Seal and freeze. 
  • For the Instant Pot: Place the seasoned pork and 1 cup chicken broth in the bag. Seal and set the bag inside a round container that’s about the diameter of the Instant Pot until frozen.

Place the ciabatta rolls, cheese, and ham in separate freezer bags. Seal and freeze alongside the pork. 

Prepare From Frozen: Note: You will need to have butter, mustard, and pickles on hand to complete this meal. 

  • For Slow Cooker: Thaw meal kit. Follow Steps 3-6.
  • For the Instant Pot: Thaw the rolls, cheese, and ham. Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté.” Cook the frozen pork for about 5 minutes to release the liquid. Press “Cancel.” Follow steps 3 through 6. (The frozen pork cooks in the same amount of time as fresh.)


Feel free to use sourdough, French bread, or a whole grain baguette instead of ciabatta rolls.

© Author: Rachel Tiemeyer
Cuisine: Cuban Method: Slow Cooker