Today we’re making something I’ve wanted to make ever since I first watched the movie: the Cubanos from Chef.
If you’ve never heard of Chef – pause this video and go find a place to watch it. Rent it if you have to. It’s hands down one of the best movies of the decade – and not for the reasons you might think. You don’t even need to be a foodie to appreciate this movie.
While the main plot revolves around Jon Favreau’s character reigniting his love for food, its comedy-drama movie about reinventing yourself, learning to get back to the basics and the overall feel good theme of father-son relationship building, all from the back of a Miami food truck.
The movie itself is loosely based on Roy Choi’s involvement in the food truck industry – and Roy himself sent John Favreau to train in French culinary school just to prepare for his role in this movie. And the training certainly paid off, according to John himself. And you can certainly feel his ease in the kitchen throughout the movie, but especially in the opening scenes where he is preparing some of the most beautifully delicious food I’ve ever seen. You can tell a lot of love and crafting went into each of the dishes so they would be visually stunning – and just from appearance alone you know they all gotta taste good too.
The star of the movie is truly the Cubanos that Martin whips up from a large pork shoulder and a variety of citrus and herbs. In real life, this recipe is based on Roy Choi’s famous mojo pork recipe that he uses on his own real life food trucks.
Since we aren’t cooking for a crowd, we’ll start with a pound and a half of boneless pork shoulder and the ingredients for Roy Choi’s Mojo Pork Marinade:
- Olive oil
- Fresh squeezed orange juice
- Fresh lime juice
- Chopped cilantro
- Chopped mint
- Fresh oregano
- Lots of garlic
- Lime zest
- Orange zest
- And some salt and pepper
I have straight up been craving this cubano sandwich since I first watched Chef way back in 2014. It’s definitely one of my favorite feel good movies – absolutely worth the watch!
What fictional feast should I cook up next? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!
Cubanos from Chef (with Roy Choi’s Mojo Marinade)
- 24 oz boneless pork shoulder / butt
- 1 loaf Cuban bread
- 16 oz leg ham / deli ham thin sliced
- ½ cup melted butter
- Swiss cheese sliced
- thin sliced whole pickles
- yellow mustard
- Place the pork in a large bowl or baggie, along with all of the ingredients for the marinade. Massage the marinade into the pork and then chill for at least 8-10 hours and up to 48 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 425 F. Remove the pork from the marinade and reserve the marinade. DO NOT CONSUME RAW MARINADE. Place the pork on a rack on baking sheet lined with foil. Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes then reduce the temperature and cook at 350 F for an additional 30 minutes per pound. (EDITOR'S NOTE: My 1.5 lb pork shoulder took 15 minutes + 50 minutes to reach 160 F in the center.)
- Meanwhile, pour the marinade into a pot over high heat. Bring to a rapid bowl and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer the sauce while the pork cooks – for at least 30 minutes – until the sauce is thickened. When pork is finished, remove from the heat to cool.
- When the pork reaches 160 F in the middle, remove from the oven and let rest for at least 20-30 minutes. It's important to rest the meat for full flavor.
- While the pork is resting, preheat a flat iron griddle/pannini press. Slice the pork into thin 1/2 inch thick slices. When the griddle is hot, sear the ham and pork slices until heated through then remove from the grill.
- Slice the bread in half down the center. Assemble the sandwich with ham, pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on the top loaf.
- Brush the melted butter down the top of the sandwich as well as on the grill. Place the sandwich on the grill and press down the top. Cook for 8-12 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown.
- Serve with the cooled mojo sauce and Yuca fries on the side. Enjoy!