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my endless love

Recipe: paseo cuban roast pork sandwich

I have this thing for sandwiches… but you already knew that! Last year when I was in Seattle for my friends’ wedding, my other friends took me to stand in line at Paseo, home of the best sandwich in the world. With a title like that, it’s only a matter of time before my grubby little hands get a hold of said sandwich.


the cuban roast pork from paseo



That was some sandwich. A juicy, drippy, savory, heady, tangy, spicy mess nestled between toasted bread. It’s one of those deals where you eat it and you have to continue eating it lest you wind up wearing it. Best sandwich in the world? I’m not sure about that. Damn good sandwich? YES. HELL YES. Obviously, the next step was to try to reproduce it myself… I searched online and took a chance on some random recipe because I honestly had little clue where to start.

orange juice, rum, olive oil, salt, pepper, limes, garlic, oregano, pork shoulder

mince the garlic and oregano; juice the lime



The recipe called for mango juice and orange juice, but I live in the sticks. There was no mango juice to be had, so I doubled the orange juice and called it good. The magical pork shoulder is then marinated for at least 3 hours, although overnight is recommended. I went for 24 hours. Why not?

mix the marinade together

place the pork and marinade in the baggy together



When the pork was done soaking, I gave it a pan-sear on each side to brown up some flavor before placing it in a baking dish with the marinade and baked it for a couple of hours. Actually, the recipe has a total baking time of 2+ hours, but I let mine bake for four because the connective tissue just wasn’t breaking down to my liking. I’m picky like that.

pan-seared goodness

braise it



While the pork was transforming into a fall-apart-heap-of-deliciousness in the oven, I began work on the accompaniments. [Ever see "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" Whenever I think of the word accompaniment, I think "gee-tar".] I think more than half of the magic of a sandwich (for me, anyway) rests in the goodies that get stuffed between the bread.

onions, garlic, lime… this is looking good

roast the garlic



I popped the garlic into the oven to roast next to the pork and then set to work on caramelizing some onions. Caramelized onions can turn onion haters into lovers. The pungent sulfurous compounds are traded out for an earthy, sweet, mellow flavor. Right on!

slice the onions

fry them up in the same pan with that beautiful pork fond (the brown bits)

almost caramelized (i did get impatient)



When the garlic was ready, I removed it from the oven and peeled the cloves. The soft and creamy roasted garlic mashed up into a nice paste which I added to some mayonnaise, dill relish, lime juice, and olive oil. The recipe wanted me to pour the lime juice over the garlic before roasting, but I preferred my lime juice straight into the sauce.

chop the roasted garlic

mix the sauce



Eventually, after periodic basting, the pork was done. I kept checking it for that fork-tender stage, but with pork shoulder it really does have to go at least four hours (based on my past experiences) or else it’s just tough and not falling apart at all. Once out of the oven, start breaking down the pork with two forks. If your pork is cooked through, it will be a fun task. If it’s not cooked long enough, it will be really frustrating.

checking the pork

shred it



And now for the home stretch! Be sure to get yourself some good bread with a crusty outside and soft inside. Sounds simple enough, but you wouldn’t believe how hard that is to find around here. I cut the bread lengthwise and slathered that heavenly garlic mayo on it before toasting it in the oven. It’s ready when the mayo starts bubbling. Then pile on the pork and onions, some lettuce, cilantro, pickled jalapeños, and more garlic mayo (MORE!).

slather the garlic mayo – yes, you must

pork, onions…

lettuce, cilantro, peppers, and more mayo



It’s not exactly like the Paseo Cuban roast pork sandwich, but it’s close enough for me here in Colorado. Jeremy (who never had the original) thinks it’s great. And yes, it made a complete mess when we ate the sandwiches. That garlic mayo is worth the price of admission. Considering you’re starting with a 3-4 pound pork shoulder, this makes a lot of sandwiches. Like at least a dozen. Mmmmm, a dozen…

saving me a flight to seattle



Paseo Cuban Roast Pork Sandwich
[print recipe]
from this recipe

1 baguette (ideally something with a texture more like the bread used in banh mi)
garlic mayo (see below)
roast pork (see below)
2 large yellow onions
olive oil
lettuce
cilantro
pickled jalapeño peppers

roast pork
1 cup mango juice (or sub 1 cup orange juice)
2 cups orange juice
2 tbsps olive oil
1 lime, juice of
2 tbsps garlic, minced
1 tsp oregano, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 oz. rum
3-4 lb. pork shoulder (bone in)

garlic mayo
1 bulb garlic
olive oil for drizzling
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsps olive oil
1 lime, juice of
1/2 tbsp dill pickle relish

Make the pork: Combine the mango juice, orange juice, olive oil, lime juice, chopped garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and rum in a large vessel or ziploc bag. Place the pork in the vessel or bag and marinate for a minimum of 3 hours (but you’d do well to do 12 or even 24 hours). When the pork is ready, save the marinade and preheat the oven to 300°F. Sear the meat on all sides in a lightly greased frying pan or skillet until it’s nicely browned. Remove the pork to a baking dish (BUT DON’T WASH THE SKILLET/PAN – save it for later) and pour the marinade into the baking dish. Tent the meat with foil and bake for 2 hours. The original recipe said 45 minutes, but that didn’t get me to a fall-apart texture. Remove the foil and cook uncovered for another 2 hours, basting the meat with the marinade ever 15 minutes and turning the meat after an hour. Remove from oven when the meat is fork-tender and comes off the bone easily. Shred the pork with two forks.

Make the garlic mayonnaise: While the pork is cooking in the oven, slice the top off the garlic bulb and place it in a small baking dish or on a piece of foil that has been pulled up at the edges (to form a bowl). Drizzle a little olive oil over the top and bake in the oven (next to the pork) for thirty minutes or until the garlic is soft. Peel the skins off the garlic cloves and mash the garlic into a paste. Combine the garlic with mayonnaise, olive oil, lime juice, and pickle relish. Stir until blended.

Caramelize the onions: Peel and slice the onions into 1/4-inch strips. Heat a little olive oil on medium flame in the same pan you used to sear the pork. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Remove from heat when the onions are caramelized.

Assemble the goodness: Cut an 8-inch long piece of a baguette or other similarly shaped bread that has a nice, crusty outside and soft, chewy inside. Slice it in half, lengthwise. Spread garlic mayonnaise on both pieces of bread and bake or toast in the oven until the mayonnaise starts to bubble and puff. Remove from the oven. Layer the pork, onions, lettuce, cilantro, pickled jalapeños, and more garlic mayonnaise on one piece of the bread. Top with the other half of the bread and serve. The pork can probably yield a dozen sandwiches.

89 nibbles at “my endless love”

  1. Allison says:

    *swoon*

    It’s the middle of the night, and I’m now starving. I want that sandwich RIGHT THIS INSTANT. That looks (and sounds) so ridiculously good! I really am going to have to make this soon, aren’t I. ;)

  2. Kim says:

    Oh my gosh!! We have decent Cuban food here in Atlanta, but I really want to make this anyway! Thank you for sharing the wealth.

  3. Margie says:

    I’ll be right over…..

    Coca-Cola, the pause that refreshes……

    oh, and then there’s that sandwich, yum,yum, ummmmmmmmmmmm

  4. Nicola @ unhip squirrel says:

    I also love sandwiches, but I don’t make nearly enough of them! Actually, that’s not true… I make A TON of sandwiches. I just never make sandwiches that aren’t Fairmount Bagel veggie sandwiches. I never make sandwiches that take time to prepare. However, I’ve been inspired by this recipe to try making more sandwiches that have some kind of roasted or grilled meat in them. :) Looks awesome!

  5. noelle {simmer down!} says:

    I see that you cut your onions the same as I do for caramelizing, that is to say, vertically instead of rings. I read somewhere about rings looking “wormy” when cooked and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head ever since!

  6. Melissa says:

    While this looks delicious, I am ever thankful that I live 10 minutes from Paseo and can get the original whenever I have time to stand in line!

  7. Janet says:

    Speechless.

  8. Amanda says:

    MAN! I just ate lunch and now I want this too! That looks so delicious I’ll be making those on the weekend. Thank you!

  9. Sarah says:

    SO GOOD! I can literally throw a stone onto the roof of Paseo from my house in Seattle… next time you’re there try the Prawn sandwhich… it’s heaven… Another favorite down the stree is the Pernil Special at La Isla…

  10. Kath says:

    Oh, my! That looks like a fantastic sandwich! You’re so right about the bread. I don’t know why it’s so hard to find. I discovered that Metropolitan Market’s baguettes here in the Seattle area have the crusty outside and soft inside that works perfectly for this kind of sandwich.

  11. Julia says:

    You can get Cuban bread at the Cuba Cuba sandwich shop across from McGuckins. Or, at least, that’s what the sign said when I had the Cuban sandwich there last weekend. The sandwich was good so I would think the bread for sale would be, too.

    I haven’t seen Mango juice around but I haven’t been looking for it either. Might be around. But, really, it sounded like you had the makings of a Mojo sauce. As far as I know, Mojo includes orange juice, not mango.

  12. Russell at Chasing Delicious says:

    Now that is a sandwich! Yum!!

  13. Erika - The Teenage Taste says:

    Whoa…this looks so good! Love roast pork!

  14. Kimberly says:

    This looks delicious! And I adore the O Brother Where Art Thou reference, that movie is great!

  15. April was in CT now CA says:

    This looks….I don’t even have words. It looks damn good. I’m pretty sure I could eat this every day for quite a while.

    I may be totally losing it, but am I missing a way to print recipes? I know I can’t do my normal copy and paste for obvious reasons. If there isn’t I know I can just select the two pages the recipe falls on when I do print preview, I just wanted to try and get it on one page and be able to save it in my recipe files on my laptop.

  16. brenda s 'okie in colorado' says:

    yuh…uhmmmm!

  17. Erika says:

    I’m convinced that there is no way to replicate a Paseo sandwich. I don’t know what the owner puts in that marinade, but it’s unbelievable.

    Also, you know you have good, smart friends in Seattle if they make a point of taking you to Paseo.

  18. Carla says:

    If you can get sour oranges that will make fantastic mojo. Orange juice mixed with lime juice would be way more classic than mango.

  19. Rumpy Drummond says:

    *drools* I wish I was your dog and got to eat the leftovers!

  20. Shut Up and Cook says:

    I love, love, love Paseo’s sandwiches…so will definitely be making this. Thanks!!

  21. Connie says:

    OMG.
    Can’t wait. Running to store for bootie….

  22. swan says:

    there are no words, except i’m drooling. my husband will totally dig this.

    you were in berkeley? that’s 25 mins. from me…GO BEARS!

  23. Andrew says:

    this looks flipping delicious

  24. Sindy says:

    This looks heavenly! I am thinking crock pot!

  25. DeeDee says:

    My husband and I just decided that these sandwiches will be what we have for Christmas dinner. With Bloody Marys. Also some kind of dessert. Thank you!

  26. Michelle says:

    Oh my goodness! I have been wanting a Pasaeo Cuban Sandwich for months now. Here in Japan I havent been able to find any cuban food…oh Seattle I miss you. Thanks for the recipe! :)

  27. Matt says:

    You, my friend, are awesome. I forced the wife to make these for me for our anniversary. We’ve both had the delicious Paseo sandwiches but I have to admit, this is better! I think as long as you find the right bread, this recipe is perfect. I used homemade dill pickles for the relish and next time I will make sure to have homemade pickled jalapenos on hand. Thank you.

  28. KittyT says:

    Finding mango juice might be tricky for me too. I think I will try it with peach nectar, which is more readily available. Or barring that, I might go for squished frozen mango diluted with a little juice of what’s at hand.

  29. Lara says:

    I saw the sandwich photo on Pinterest and immediately thought, “That’s a Paseo sandwich!” My husband and I recently relocated to Seattle and have fallen in love with Paseo. I’ve been wondering how I might be able to create the sandwich. So glad to have found this post! Thanks!

  30. Kimberly says:

    Good god… this looks amazing. Now if someone could only invent a good crusty gluten-free bread like that, I’d be in heaven.

  31. Joy says:

    So excited to try this! We were in Seattle last Christmas and the day we stopped by Paseo they were closed. :( We were totally bummed, but not we can at least have a sample of how amazing their sandwiches are!

  32. Tia G says:

    Looks amazing! I love roast pork!

  33. Jenna says:

    I’ve been craving Paseo for weeks now. Even though it is literally down the street from me, its so pricy, but so freaking good. Might just have to make this for my family when i go home to California for Christmas =D thanks for posting =D

  34. Recipe Genesis says:

    This looks awesome. I am going to have to try it. Roasted pork like that is one of my favorites.

  35. jenyu says:

    Allison – I feel that way about so many sandwiches :)

    Kim – you’re welcome!

    Nicola – it’s totally worth it (in fact, it’s great to make enough for several).

    noelle – the rings seem to get all wrapped around and tangled which makes me nuts.

    Melissa – lucky you!

    Amanda – hope you guys enjoyed it.

    Sarah – thank you for the tips!

    Kath – you people in Seattle are SO SPOILED! ;)

    Julia – oh, okay. I’ve never been, but maybe I should try it out.

    Kimberly – I love that movie.

    April – Yeah, sorry about that. I have right-click turned off which seems to trouble a lot of people. The thing is, if you use your mouse to highlight what you want (i.e. the recipe) and the press CTRL-C or APPLE-C (essentially, copying the highlighted material), you can then paste it wherever you like. I just don’t have the time to make printable versions. There’s a lot of work to be done on the blog and it is going to take time before it’s addressed.

    Erika – my friends in Seattle are definitely good and smart!! :)

    Carla – yeah, that’s what folks seem to be saying. I’ll save myself the trouble of looking for mango juice.

    Rumpy Drummond – our dog doesn’t get to eat leftovers :) Unless we want to clean it up in the form of vomit at 3 am…

    swan – yup, bezerkeley is great!

    Andrew – thank you, it was awesome :)

    DeeDee – wow, you guys are definitely my kind of Christmas dinner eaters!

    Michelle – you’re welcome!

    Matt – really?!?! I thought it was good, but not better! You’re awesome :)

    Lara – thank you!

    Joy – oh, I would have been heartbroken :(

    Jenna – you are sooooo lucky!

  36. Sharing is caring. « All I Eat Food! says:

    [...] Cuban sandwiches pack a lot of flavor into two slices of bread and this version will have your mouth [...]

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  38. Joy says:

    My mouth is just watering by looking at the images.

  39. Grant says:

    Thanks for the recipe! I moved from Seattle about 2.5 months ago and can’t find a decent Cuban in Nashville. My fiance and I will be giving your version a try this weekend.

  40. Pulled pork in oregano flatbread « jibuyabu says:

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  41. Bruce says:

    I will try this it looks lovely

  42. Andi says:

    Making this right now- even though I live in walking distance to Paseos! Awesome. One thing, though- Paseo’s onions are beautiful. I have never liked onions before, but wow- slow cooked and sweet. So good you can get a sandwich made of onions. Don’t scorch them at all! Also- I use smoked salt and pepper, which is just enough smokiness to make you think you are on the beach at Golden Gardens.

  43. Week In Review (and an awesome cuban roast pork sandwich recipe) « One Sheep Thrill says:

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  44. pdx1138 says:

    I’m pretty sure the relish is sweet not dill.

  45. Laura says:

    thanks for posting this! we <3 paseo sandwiches! the fish of the day is my fav, but the cuban is my husbands other love. a quick word to the wise: if you're ever in seattle again, call ahead and you can skip to the front of the line and pick up your sandwiches. i know waiting in line is really great fun, but sometimes you just don't have 3 hours to do so…

  46. Julia says:

    How many sandwiches does this recipe make, on average?

  47. jenyu says:

    Julia – The last line of the recipe states, “The pork can probably yield a dozen sandwiches.”

  48. Julia says:

    Yep, just saw that – sorry! Next time I’ll finish reading the whole recipe before becoming so excited and leaving unnecessary comments!

  49. Paseo’s Cuban Sandwich | foodie wants to cook says:

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  50. Lea says:

    Mmmmmmazing! Made this for a party lastnight and I was a star all because of this. I live in Seattle and FINALLY tried Paseo last week. I can’t get that beautiful sandwich out of my head ever since. Thank you for the awesome adaptation!

  51. Jennifer says:

    What is the best meat to substitute the pork (I don’t eat pork products). Thank you for your feedback!

  52. jenyu says:

    Jennifer – Oh, I dunno… Maybe beef?

  53. Valery says:

    I’m considering making this for a family dinner this week. I’m wondering how well the meat reheats if I make it a day ahead? Does is dry out?

  54. jenyu says:

    Valery – it should reheat fine if you wrap it in foil to keep the moisture from evaporating away! :)

  55. Robin says:

    Hi Jennifer.. love your talent.. recipes and fabulous photography !! i there any way to be able to copy some of your recipes? They are so great with play by play description I feel like I am in your kitchen !! but so much to have to copy by hand… My what a beautiful place you live… the photos really capture the heart and soul of it all.. keep up the beautiful work, stories and recipes.. Thanks for sharing it all !! Robin H from the NC Mountains..Banner Elk.. we have ski resorts here too !!!

  56. jenyu says:

    Robin – I have “print ready” recipes starting in 2012, but haven’t had the time to go back and do this retroactively for previous recipes/years. Someday… In the meantime, you can highlight the recipe itself, ctrl-C or apple-C to copy, and paste it into your favorite word processor. Hope that helps! xo

  57. Things I like Thursday | Crazy Jamie's Blog says:

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  58. Rachael says:

    Saw this on Pinterest. OMG, dying over this amazing recipe and awesome photos!!!

  59. Alan says:

    We love these sandwiches. We have to drive 40 minutes to get there. They only take cash, are closed Sunday and Monday, when they are out of food they close. Long lines but you can order ahead and skip the lines.

    I wondered what was in these. The meat is definitely sweet. I’m gonna try this. Thanks for doing the heavy lifting userealbutter.com

  60. Kristie says:

    Wow, I don’t eat pork but if I did, I would try this. It looks sooooooooo delish!!! Thanks for sharing

  61. Jennifer says:

    Oh my gosh, I am from Seattle and now live in Colorado as well. Whenever I go back I always go to Paseo’s. Love the chicken sandwhich as well, did you figure out how to make that? ;)
    Thanks so much for this!

    Jenn

  62. jenyu says:

    Jennifer – I’ve never had the chicken sandwich before. I’ll have to try it out :)

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  64. Chris says:

    This sandwich looks great and I plan on trying it but it’s not a Cuban sandwich. Not even close. Where’s the ham and the cheese? The pickles? Mustard? This is just a roast pork sandwich with cilantro and onions, neither if which are components of a Cuban sandwich. Same goes for the jalapeños.

  65. jenyu says:

    Chris – Dude, this is what Paseo lists as their Cuban Roast Pork Sandwich. Take it up with them.

  66. Kris says:

    Holy crap, that was delicious. I didn’t have time to let the pork get fall-apart tender, but it was still pretty awesome sliced instead of shredded. Thanks for the recipe!

  67. Vicky says:

    OMG I LOVE Paseo Sandwiches!!!! Thank so much for posting this. It’s definitely going to go on my rotation really soon! :D

  68. Tom says:

    You have GOT to try the cuban at Max’s in Hotel FIVE. As real as it gets…..also the Piggy Fried Elvis and the monte cristo are amazing!!!!!!

  69. Nicole says:

    Have you ever tried this in the crockpot? I’d love to know!

  70. jenyu says:

    Nicole – I’ve never tried it, but looking at the recipe, I don’t see why not (just make sure there is enough liquid).

  71. Thani says:

    For Seattlites, Im pretty sure Paseo sources their baguettes from Macrina Bakery.

  72. Rob says:

    Thani – you’re right. I’ve seen the Macrina logo when they were being delivered once.

  73. Faith says:

    Are you sure this makes a dozen sandwiches? I feel like you might need about half a pound of meat per sandwich. How many pounds or ounces are you putting in each one? I’d love to know since I’ll be making pulled pork for about 15 people this weekend! :) Thank you!

  74. jenyu says:

    Faith – Uh, 8 ounces of meat in a sandwich is A LOT of meat. Generally you are looking at 3-4 ounces per sandwich.

  75. Faith says:

    Thanks for the quick response. Hmm interesting. A lot of recipes I’ve seen for pork sandwiches call for about 8 or even 9 oz per person. I slow cooked 2 lbs last week and was able to make about 8 small tacos (4 people). I’ll have to try it out this weekend! Thanks for your input!

  76. Multi-Way Pork Shoulder | Cookbooks for Two says:

    [...] Monday night I made up a marinade based on Use Real Butter’s Cuban Roast Pork Recipe found here:  http://userealbutter.com/2011/11/10/paseo-cuban-roast-pork-sandwich-recipe [...]

  77. Brandy says:

    My 9 year old daughter found these on my Pinterest page and insisted I make these. We all loved them. The mayo is awesome. Making them again for Memorial Day. BTW I used mango nectar that I found down the hispanic food aisle at my local grocery store. Thank you so much!

  78. Sara says:

    Haven’t had breakfast yet, but I really want this! Drooling!!
    Would you mind if I pin this recipe?
    Can’t wait to check out the rest of your posts :)

  79. jenyu says:

    Sara – no problem pinning!

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  82. D-Squared T-Squared – Week 8 says:

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  83. kate says:

    Made this a few weeks ago and it was every bit as mind-blowing as it looks in the picture. Thank you so much for sharing!!

  84. Chicken, Bacon, and Mushroom Sandwich | Never Enough Thyme — Never Enough Thyme - Recipes with a slight southern accent. says:

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  85. Rachel says:

    I live in Colorado too, but I visit my boyfriend every month in Seattle. Every time I go we split the West Carribean bowl and this sandwich. SO AMAZING. I dream about it! If you ever get back out to Seattle and visit Paseo, be sure to try their chicken thighs. I dare say they might be better than the pork :)

    Anywho, I’m going to experiment with a pulled pork paseo bowl recipe (no bread for me!) starting with your recipe here. Thanks for the inspiration! When I (eventually get to and) finish a fake-out recipe for those chicken thighs, I’ll be sure to let you and our fellow Paseo-lovers know!

    PS – for the locals, you can call ahead so you don’t have to stand in (as long of a) line. We do it every time.

  86. RamonM says:

    Nice job on reverse engineering this recipe. I lived next door to Paseo for years and know this is the closest anyone has gotten to the real thing. May I suggest adding cumin to the marinade? Try it and see if you like it.

  87. Dave says:

    From Chris-
    “This sandwich looks great and I plan on trying it but it’s not a Cuban sandwich. Not even close. Where’s the ham and the cheese? The pickles? Mustard? This is just a roast pork sandwich with cilantro and onions, neither if which are components of a Cuban sandwich. Same goes for the jalapeños.”

    Paseo calls this sandwich a Cuban and if you have never had it you don’t understand…the Paseo sandwich is the best sandwich you will ever have. Esquire mag rated it #2 in the US with a Boulder CO place taking the top position. I live in Boulder and Paseo is MUCH better.

    I only get to Seattle a couple times a year so thanks for the recipe…will try it soon.

  88. Jason says:

    The URL for the recipe doesn’t appear to work anymore. Do you happen to know where to find the recipe now?

  89. jenyu says:

    Jason – you’re right. I found the link and updated it.

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