Cuban style pork sliders

Sometimes an idea weasels itself into you mind and you just can’t shake it. It becomes some crazy fascination that you hope will be just crazy enough to work. The end product is there in your mind and all you have to do is build it. That’s the tricky part though. All this expectation, and you aren’t even sure how to get to that goal. My goal was some cuban style pork sliders. And when you think about it, combining that tasty, slightly tangy marinated pork with some caramelized onions and a bit of pineapple isn’t all that crazy. In fact, it’s downright tasty

Cuban sliders, black beans, and tostones

Cuban sliders, black beans, and tostones.

So with all that on my mind, I assembled my army of ingredients. Pork chops, lemon juice, OJ, a pineapple, some small buns, and a handful of herbs and spices. I had all the tools I needed. I just had to assemble it correctly. Fortunately, the end result was just as amazing as I could have hoped.

Cuban sliders, black beans, and tostones

Cuban sliders, black beans, and tostones.

It probably also helped that I served it with tostones and some black beans. I’ll talk about those tostones next time. For now, lets focus on making these delicious sandwiches. Click through for the recipe and a few tips.

1 onion (red) sliced
3 cloves of garlic
4 boneless pork chops (excess fat trimmed off, each chop cut into two equal pieces and pounded down a bit)
2 cups OJ
3 limes, juiced
2 limes, juiced (need lime juice at separate times, hence listed twice)
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons dried oregano
fresh black pepper
kosher salt
1/4 cup white wine
pineapple slices (Fresh is best, obviously. Cut on the thinner side, if possible, they are going to be used as garnish in the slider.)
olive oil
8 dinner rolls (I used small potato rolls)

1. Prepare the marinade/brine: In a small skillet, heat a half up of water with about a quarter cup of salt until it dissolves. Remove from heat and mix with the following in a gallon zip lock bag: a half cup of ice water, one cup of OJ, the juice of 3 limes, the vinegar, 1 tbsp cumin, and 1 tbsp oregano. Add the pork to the brine and soak for about an hour.
2. In a large skillet, heat a splash of oil over medium-high heat and add the onion and garlic to it. Saute it until the onion softens. Remove the onion from the skillet and set it aside.
3. Drain the pork (discard the brine), pat dry and sprinkle both sides with cumin, oregano, and black pepper.
4. Wipe out the skillet if you need to, heat over med-high heat and add a splash of oil. When hot, add the pork chops and sear over high heat. When one side is golden brown, flip it and sear the other side. It’ll only take a minute or two per side.
5. Re-add the onions and pour in the remaining OJ, lime juice, and white wine (don’t use any of the juice from the brine). Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes more. Set the pork aside (tent with foil). Continue to simmer the juice and onion mixture until it thickens and cooks down. It should be a fairly thick sauce chock full of cooked onions at the end.

To assemble the sliders, cut the buns in half. Add a piece of pork to the base, then a helping of the onion paste mixture, then a slice of pineapple.

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