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Cubano Steam Bun

Marcus Meacham

Your average ham and cheese just got steamy.

Cubano Steam Bun


  • 1 pound pork tenderloin

  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika

  • 1 tablespoon cumin

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

  • 2 mantou steam buns

  • 1/2 pounds honey ham, sliced

  • 1/3 pounds Gruyère, sliced

  • Thick pickle slices

  • Celery seed

  • For the cilantro-lime mustard:

  • 1 cup mustard

  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine paprika, cumin, and chili powder. Coat pork tenderloin generously with the spice mixture. In a hot cast-iron skillet, sear pork on all sides. Transfer entire pan to oven and cook for about 20 minutes. Let rest before slicing.

  2. Steam buns in a bamboo steamer for about 5 minutes.

  3. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for the cilantro-lime mustard.

  4. In a skillet lightly coated with oil, add two slices of ham. Top each with a slice of Gruyère, another slice of ham, another piece of cheese, and another piece of ham. Spread cilantro-lime mayo over the top, then cover the pan and allow cheese to melt, about 3-5 minutes.

  5. Place the meat and cheese stack in a warm bun, then top with sliced pork, mustard, more cheese and pickles.

  6. Torch the outside to give the bun a crunchy, crust-like finish.

Cubano Steam Bun




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- This Chinese take on the Cubano is the best of both worlds. It includes juicy pork tenderloin, nice honey baked ham, creamy gruyere cheese, spicy mustard and a steam bun. Let's make this. So I'm going to take this beautiful pork tenderloin, and do a nice spice rub on it. My spice rub is a little bit of cumin, some smoked paprika, some chili powder, salt and pepper. Just gonna mix this around. Put a little bit of oil on my tenderloin. Just so the spice mix sticks. And so now I'm gonna apply this spice rub pretty heavily to the tenderloin. Just a nice coating. And this is gonna go right into my cast iron pan. Going to add a little oil, so I can get a nice sear. And I'm a cook this for about two minutes, each side. And then pop it in the oven to finish it off. So now I'm just moving this around, right now I can smell the cumin, the chili powder, everything just really getting nice and toasted. A nice hard sear on here. You can see this color is getting nice an dark and crusted. So now I'm ready to put this in the oven. It's gonna stay in the oven for about 15 minutes, at 350. Alright, so now my pork tenderloin's in the oven, let it cook. And now we're gonna go back over to here to my ham. So I'm making a Cubano, so it's ham, it's tenderloin, it's gonna be some Swiss cheese, mustard and pickle. Nice small pieces 'cause I want them to be able to fit on to my steam buns. Before I start my ham, I'm gonna get my buns steaming. Take this little steamer, set it in my water. And a tiny bit of oil on top of these. I'm just gonna cap that. Let 'em steam for about five minutes. While those are working, I'm gonna start to build the layers of my ham and cheese. So again a little bit of oil. So I have my ham in, some nice gruyere. Another piece of ham. Another piece of cheese. We'll top this off with a cilantro lime mustard. This really adds a nice bite. The brightness of the lime really plays into the ham, the richness, the creaminess of the cheese, everything works together. I'm not really trying to put a hard sear on the ham, I just wanna really melt the cheese, get it nice and gooey. So I'm gonna take my other cast iron pan flip it over top, and steam these guys. Kill my heat, let the heat of the pan do the rest of the cooking for me. Alright, so now my tenderloin should be done. I'm go over and check this. Nice and done, nice medium. Take this out right here. Check on my buns. The buns are nice and soft and pliable. Giant pillows of deliciousness. Melty cheese and ham is looking good. Now all we have to do is assemble. Start by slicing my tenderloin. It's nice and medium, juicy inside. That spice rub I can still smell all those spices just coming off of this. And next, I just need to slice my buns. Then I'm a take my gruyere, my mustard, and my ham, slide that right into here. And I wanna top it with some tenderloin. And the one thing about a Cubano that you always know it's a Cubano, it's pressed, it has a char, it has nice bite to it. These buns don't have that. They're nice and soft so, for me to give it that effect, I'm gonna char the top of it. And give it a nice crisp look. And there you go. Steam buns, Cubano style. Look at this. What's not to love. Enjoy.

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