Pulled Pork Cubanos (well sort of)

When I conduct BBQ demonstrations in our School of Fire it never ceases to amaze me how many of us Brits have only ever cooked sausages and burgers on their barbecue.

When I conduct BBQ demonstrations in our School of Fire it never ceases to amaze me how many of us Brits have only ever cooked sausages and burgers on their barbecue. I strongly believe this is because they are using a gas grill and not a barbecue at all where fire and therefore temperature management is much easier (yes you read it right, easier) using a proper barbecue and therefore you will have the confidence to cook more varied foods (yes including chicken) and life becomes much better.

Barbecue is easy, inexpensive, unbelievable tasty and totally life changing. Strong statement but if you embrace the outdoor lifestyle, warm or cold then barbecue is life changing. The cooking experience, the eating experience and the shared experience will all enhance your life and that of your friends and family. Enough of that, let’s get cooking!

So what is a Cubano? A delicious cooked sandwich bursting with flavour is a Cubano or Cubano style sandwich. In fairness the one I made with this cook isn’t a pure Cubano as I didn’t prepare the pork the way I would for a proper Cubano as it didn’t occur to make one until I had pulled the pork. There are plenty of excellent video’s on YouTube showing you haw to prepare the pork properly, I suggest looking up Chuds BBQ on YouTube, he is entertaining as well as informative.

So for my cook I rubbed a bit of avocado oil onto the shoulder and covered in Tubby Toms Smoky BBQ rub and let it set (absorb moisture and glaze up) and put it in my new favourite barbecue, the Masterbuilt 800 Charcoal Gravity Barbecue / Smoker / Grill / Oven / Griddle. I set the temperature at 274 F (130 C) and left it there for an hour before I opened the lid to ensure it was getting smoky (which it was). I then left it at least another hour before spritzing the shoulder with apple cider vinegar around every 20 minutes. I quick note, the Masterbuilt never moved more than a few degrees away from 275 F and a stable temperature is much better for soft, juicy, delicious, tender meat.

The beauty of running The Barbecue Shack is I get to cook at work, the down side is when we have customers in which funnily enough now is most of the time you don’t always stay on top of your cook! In this instance the pork shoulder got away from me a bit so I wrapped it a bit late and lost some (not all) of the moisture. Am I complaining? Not al all as you can always add sauce to pork and moisten it up again. This did cook to 207 F internal (95 c) and it pulled beautifully as you will see. It was only whilst pulling it that I thought of lovely, tender, tasty, tangy, cheesy, meaty Cubanos so I decided to make this style (don’t get all uppity with me I did say style) of sandwich when I got home which I have to say was almost as good as the real thing.

So what’s stopping you? Set you barbecue to 275 F (130 C), chuck a seasoned piece of pork shoulder or neck, or leg on and let heat and time do it’s thing. You need to spritz occasionally to stop it drying out and you need to wrap ideally at 165 F (75 C) to hold the moisture and leave it to break down the fat and collagen until it pulls, usually at 205 F (92 C). Then you can make pulled pork sandwiches, Cubanos, pulled pork Mac n Cheese, pulled pork on baked tatties, pulled pork queso, pulled pork…….

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So with the introduction of The Coffee Shack to The Barbecue Shack business I thought I would run a quick demo on making an Americano on our Gaggia Classic demo machine.

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