I’m reinventing Cuban sandwiches because sometimes bread just needs to take a vacation, you know what I mean? It’s hard for me to be saying this to you right now, because of my deep life long love affair with bread, but bread doesn’t always need to be invited to the party. Bread can sit one out every now and then and share the spotlight. Whenever this happens, the next best thing to do is to break out those egg roll wrappers and think outside the box. You’d be surprised just how many different things you can stuff into an egg roll, while still remaining the most delicious treat you’ll ever have. So with that being said, I’ve taken all of the classic Cuban sandwich flavors and ingredients and stuffed them into an egg roll wrapper and deep fried them because as well all know everything is one hundred times better when it’s deep fried. Of course, I’ve taken a few shortcuts with the pork, because none of us really have time to slow roast a pork shoulder until tender. It’s okay to cheat in the kitchen every once in a while. It’ll be our little secret. I won’t tell if you won’t. Cross my heart and kiss my elbow.
I grew up eating Cuban sandwiches all the time, and not because I’m Cuban or anything (because I’m not) but mainly because they’re my all-time favorite sandwich. I’m a big fan of warm sandwiches in general (like these Grilled Chicken Pesto Panini Sandwiches). The idea of toasted bread filled with mustard—my favorite condiment—pork, ham melted cheese and pickles just really floats my boat. I don’t think there’s anything better than that. Sometimes though, we don’t have the time to eat an entire sandwich or sometimes we just want a quick on-to-go snack. So when those cravings arise, these Cuban Sandwich Egg Rolls are here to save the day. Just grab a crunchy egg roll and eat it as you drive around town, or as you work or as you do your chores around the house. They’re the perfect appetizer or snack to any party and they’ll definitely get people talking. They’ll be like, “WOW! I never would’ve thought to make a Cuban sandwich style egg roll!” And you’ll be like, “I know, right?! I’m a genius!” But maybe tone down all the genius talk because most people don’t like when you brag about yourself, but that’s okay because you can brag about yourself on the inside. That’s what really counts. The important thing is that these egg rolls need to make an appearance at your next dinner or party ASAP. It’s a must.
Start by marinating the pork chops for the filling. Cuban sandwiches are usually filled with slow roasted pork, but no one has time for all that work, so I’m using boneless thin pork chops for this.
**Note: To achieve some of that great flavor like we would in a slow cooked pork roast, I’m marinating these chops in oil, vinegar, lime juice, orange juice, garlic, salt, pepper and fresh oregano. These are all seasonings that you can use in a pork shoulder or pork butt roast as well.**
Let the chops marinate for at least 1 hour, at minimum, or for up to 6 hours. You don’t want to do anything more than that before the lime juice, vinegar and orange juice will began to cook the chops slowly and then they’ll have a weird cool to them. Grill the chops a few minutes on each side, on an outdoor or stovetop grill pan.
**Tip: To keep these chops flavorful and juicy, all them to cool down completely on a cutting board before slicing. It’ll ensure that the juices stay in the meat.**
To assemble the egg rolls, spoon a little bit of mustard onto the center of each egg roll wrapper. Top with a few slices of cheese, a couple slices of pork, a slice of black forest ham and a couple pickle chips. Try not to over fill the egg rolls or else you wont be able to roll them properly and they mind end up tearing.
Have the egg roll wrapper in front of you in a diamond position, so that one of the tips is facing you. Then roll that corner over the filling and begin rolling the egg roll tightly, fold the edges in and continue to roll until the end. Brush the the tip, opposite you, with a bit of egg wash to seal them. Continue filling and rolling until all of the filling ingredients have been used.
Set the egg rolls off to the side to allow to set for a bit. Meanwhile, fill a large pot or cast-iron skillet with vegetable or canola oil, about halfway up. Bring to about 360 degrees F, using a candy thermometer to keep an eye on that temperature. Once hot, fry the egg rolls in batches, until golden brown and crispy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
**Note: If the oil doesn’t fully cover the egg rolls, make sure to flip them over halfway through frying so that both sides get fully crispy and brown.**
Transfer the fried egg rolls onto a wire rack set over a baking sheet, while you continue frying the rest. This will ensure that the egg rolls don’t get soggy. You can keep them warm in a 250 degree F oven until ready to serve.
Serve the egg rolls with extra pickles on the side (great for snacking on) and with more honey mustard for dipping and dunking. You could really eat these with whatever kind of mustard you like or have on hand. There are so many great flavored mustards now at the store, for you to choose from. Try switching things up.
You can definitely freeze these egg rolls before frying them. Just fill, roll and place them on a baking sheet in a single layer. Then freeze them until fully frozen. Transfer them to a freezer storage bag or airtight container and keep the egg rolls in there until ready to fry. You can fry them straight from the freezer, just keep in mind that they’ll take a bit longer to cook.
As with any egg roll (or anything fried for that matter) they’re best eaten right away, but if you by chance have any leftover, you can rewarm them the next day on a wire rack, set over a baking sheet, in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes. They won’t get super crispy but they’ll be way better than just microwaving them. Although, I do have to admit, that I ate these cold the next day and they were still very tasty.
These egg rolls are great as an appetizer or snack for parties, but they’re also awesome for kid’s lunches. Give them two of these with some fruit and a little salad and they’ll be good to go. I love serving them because people never know what to expect inside and then when they bite into them, they’re always surprised. It’s like a cuban sandwich stuffed inside an egg roll.
Because the filling ingredients are a bit bulky, the egg rolls will be slightly more difficult to roll than normal, and they won’t be perfectly smooth. That’s okay though, because they’re going to taste just as good. I promise.
- 2 pounds thin boneless pork chops
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 orange, juiced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons fresh chopped oregano
- 12 to 18 egg roll wrappers
- ½ cup honey mustard
- 12 to 18 slices black forest ham
- 6 to 9 slices swiss cheese, sliced into thin pieces
- 1 cup pickle chips, drained
- 1 large egg, whisked with splash of water
- In a large resealable bag, or a large bowl, combine the pork chops, oil, vinegar, garlic, lime juice, orange juice, salt, black pepper, and oregano until evenly combined. Chill in fridge for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours.
- Set a large stove top grill pan over high heat. Grill the pork chops, in batches, for about 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest until cooled down completely. Cut into thin pieces.
- To assemble each egg roll, spread about a teaspoon or two of honey mustard into the center of each wrapper. Top with a few slices of the pork chops, ham, cheese and pickles. Fold the corners in and then roll tightly into a log. Brush the end with a bit of egg was to seal and set on a baking sheet. Continue fill and rolling the egg rolls until all of the filling has been used.
- Fill a large pot or skillet about halfway up with vegetable or canola oil and bring to about 360 degrees F. Once hot, fry the egg rolls, in batches, until golden brown and crispy all around, about 4 to 5 minutes. If the egg rolls aren't completely covered by the oil, make sure to flip them over halfway through frying to ensure even browning. Drain and set on a few paper towels to soak up any excess oil. Transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet to keep them from getting soggy as you fry up the rest. Serve immediately with honey mustard on the side for dipping, or cool down completely and then freeze for later. Just rewarm in a 350 degree oven when ready to eat. Enjoy!