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  • Taryn Varricchio: Garlicy lechón

  • marinated for 24 hours

  • paired with sweet ham brined for seven days

  • topped with two slices of Swiss cheese and pickles

  • for a punch of vinegar and extra crunch.

  • All layered onto plush Cuban bread,

  • brushed with lard and pressed until warm and crisp.

  • It's this classic combination of flavors

  • pressed between Cuban bread

  • that made the Cuban sandwich a legend in Miami.

  • Ham and cheese is one of those classic combinations.

  • It's straightforward,

  • but you may see it served differently

  • depending on where you go.

  • Like down in Miami, where Little Havana

  • is a haven for Cuban cuisine.

  • And this classic marriage

  • of meat and protein defines their go-to sandwich.

  • Customer: Cuban sandwiches in Miami

  • are like pizza to New Yorkers.

  • The Cuban sandwich is the pinnacle,

  • and if you meet the top,

  • then you are meeting us at Sanguich de Miami.

  • Rosa Romero: For Cubans, we can make anywhere,

  • on a slow day 80 sandwiches,

  • on a busy day 150 Cubans alone.

  • Taryn: At Sanguich de Miami,

  • Daniel and Rosa spend the most time preparing the meat.

  • To make a true Cuban sandwich,

  • they prepare ham and roasted pork called lechón.

  • Rosa: Our lechón and our ham,

  • we use the same part of the pork,

  • which is a boneless pork butt.

  • For us, we find that it tends to be

  • one of the most tender parts of the pork.

  • One gets cured and the other one gets marinated,

  • is really the only difference between the two.

  • Taryn: The curing process starts like this.

  • Each ham is wrapped

  • and injected with a salt and water solution

  • made with spices, like garlic,

  • allspice, cloves, and coriander.

  • Then it sits for seven days,

  • building flavor by soaking up that brine.

  • Whereas the lechón marinates for one to two days

  • before it goes inside the oven to roast.

  • And when it's finished...

  • Rosa: You end up with this beautiful crust on the outside.

  • The gold that obviously has

  • contributed through the roasting,

  • with all of the sugars

  • and the honey that's in the ham.

  • And so it's nice and tender,

  • it's definitely juicy,

  • really creates a power of flavors

  • when you pair it up particularly with the ham,

  • which is a little bit sweeter.

  • Taryn: What may be as important as the meat

  • is the loaf of bread it sits between.

  • A Cuban sandwich simply wouldn't be the same

  • without Cuban bread.

  • Rosa: Cuban bread for Cubans

  • is what the tortilla is to Mexicans, right?

  • What the arepa is to the Colombians

  • or the Venezuelans, right?

  • It's just part of our DNA.

  • Taryn: But what makes this bread different

  • than, say, French or Italian bread?

  • It's gotta have fat.

  • Rosa: There's a lot of people who may make Cuban bread,

  • but they only use water.

  • For us, it was really important to be authentic

  • and to make sure that we didn't take

  • the lard out of the process,

  • 'cause it truly does make a huge difference

  • with the Cuban bread.

  • With flavor, texture, everything.

  • Taryn: And while other spots may opt for yellow mustard,

  • Sanguich de Miami adds a drizzle

  • of its homemade spicy mustard.

  • And if customers catch themselves craving mayo...

  • Rosa: I tell them that Cubans

  • are not made with mayonnaise,

  • that I'll be happy to put it on the side,

  • but that I will not be a part

  • of ruining the Cuban sandwich with mayonnaise.

  • Taryn: After a drizzle of mustard

  • comes equal parts lechón and ham,

  • two slices of Swiss cheese, and pickles.

  • Customer: I love the Cuban sandwich because

  • there's something about the mustard,

  • the pickles, the fattiness of the pork.

  • There's something about that combination of flavors

  • that's really layered that hits home for me.

  • Daniel Figueredo: It's the way you really

  • palatize it correctly.

  • Most people put mustard and pickles together,

  • and you don't do that.

  • It's too much vinegar.

  • It punches you in the face.

  • It's overpowering.

  • You need to separate them

  • and give it a complementary meat.

  • Taryn: And finally, the whole sandwich

  • heads to the plancha, where it's pressed

  • and finished off with one more thing.

  • Rosa: Once it's being warmed, we glaze on lard,

  • and the lard that we use is the same lard

  • that's rendered from the ham and the lechón that we make.

  • Daniel: The lard is what really helps

  • kind of diffuse the heat.

  • It has a very high heat index,

  • so it doesn't burn, like butter.

  • Customer: The meat's nice and tender.

  • The bread is nice and crisp.

  • Gives you that crunch.

  • This is how I remember it.

  • OK, so how do they open up a shop like this

  • up in Wisconsin?

  • Taryn: More than 60% of the US's

  • Cuban population lives in Florida,

  • and a third of Miami-Dade County

  • in particular, where Sanguich calls home,

  • is made up of Cuban Americans,

  • hence why the Cuban sandwich has become a mainstay here.

  • Customer: I have people all the time, everyone comes

  • into town and that's the one question they have,

  • "Where can I get a Cuban sandwich?"

  • Daniel: It's part of generations

  • and generations and generations of food.

  • So, here in Miami, it's only natural --

  • Rosa: When we migrated here, it was only natural that --

  • Daniel: For that to be inherited.

  • It's part of our culture. It's part of our DNA.

  • It's part of the fabric of our culinary landscape.

  • That's my Cuban.

  • Customer: No one's ever really elevated the sandwich.

  • It's been like a traditional staple

  • with, you know, store-bought ingredients,

  • but no one's really taken it to that gourmet level

  • of making everything from scratch,

  • down from the pickles, to the mustard,

  • how they brine everything.

  • You taste it. You taste all the quality.

  • Rosa: I think the Cuban sandwich

  • with time has kind of become

  • something we put on the back burner,

  • where it's like a really affordable fast food

  • that you kind of just grab and go.

  • But we wanted to take it back to the old school

  • where people really took the time

  • and care to create their meats

  • and to really curate a beautiful sandwich

  • that you can truly enjoy.

  • Taryn: And that sandwich they've mastered

  • is one of the best Cubanos you'll find in Miami,

  • with customers coming from across the world to try it.

  • Rosa: We've had people come in and show us --

  • Daniel: Like, a magazine. Rosa: Magazines.

  • Their magazines from Europe

  • says that we must try this Cuban sandwich,

  • and it's surreal.

  • And we're humbled by the whole thing.

  • Honestly, you know, you put something in motion,

  • you put all of your effort and love.

  • You feel like it's something that

  • is going to be appreciated.

  • And then once they try it,

  • the gratitude and enjoyment that you see in their eyes

  • when they're actually trying it.

  • Honestly, it makes all of it worth it.

  • Customer: Everybody loves a good sando,

  • and every culture has a sandwich.

  • This is our sandwich and our culture in a bite, you know?

  • Customer: It's kind of the whole package.

  • You get the different flavors,