Salt-Pressed Grilled Cubanos

Salt-Pressed Grilled Cubanos

Salt-Pressed Grilled Cubano

Cubanos are usually encased in foil prior to grilling and pressing— it helps to keep the edges from crumbling and falling away. But when you’re grilling between hot salt blocks, wrapping is counterproductive. The bread toasts up beautifully, with the moisture lurking in the butter that’s slathered on picking up just enough salt to push flavor into this sandwich from the outside in. The effect is not unlike an explosion, a Cubano supernova.


Serves 4 hungry people

  • 4 salt bricks
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 loaf Cuban (or Italian) bread, halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 12 ounces thinly sliced boiled ham
  • 12 ounces thinly sliced roasted pork
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced Swiss cheese
  • 1 large dill pickle, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup mojo


  1. Half an hour before you are ready to start grilling, put the salt blocks on an unheated gas grill. Heat the grill to low, cover the grill, and warm the blocks for 10 minutes. Raise the heat to medium and wait another 10 minutes. Raise it to high and wait another 10 minutes. A laser thermometer aimed at the center of a block should register around 450°F.
  2.  If using charcoal, bank a chimney of red-hot charcoal briquettes to one side of the firebox. Put the blocks on the grill grate away from the fire and cover the grill. In 20 minutes, using grill gloves, move the blocks so that they are over the coals. In 10 minutes, your blocks will be 450°F and ready for grilling.
  3. Spread 2 tablespoons of the butter on one half of the loaf and the mustard on the other half.
  4. Make layers of ham, pork, cheese, and pickles on the buttered half; top with the mustard-spread half. Use both hands to press down on the sandwich to flatten it slightly. Smear the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter all over the outside. 
  5. Using grill gloves, arrange 2 blocks end to end. Put the sandwich on the blocks and top with the other 2 bricks, pressing them down to balance them on top of the sandwich. Cover the grill and grill for about 10 minutes, until the bread is toasted and the cheese has melted. Remove the sandwich to a cutting board and cut on an angle into 8 thick slices.
  6. Serve with mojo for dipping. Enjoy!

Original recipe from Mark Bitterman's Salt Block Grilling - Grab your copy and get grilling!

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  • Kaitlin Hansen
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