Recipe: Mendocino Farms’ Summer Cubano

Pork tenderloin meets plantains in the new seasonal sammy

Summer makes its grand debut this Friday, and with it comes the season of picnics, beach blanket feasts, and Hollywood Bowl noshing. Just in the nick of time, L.A.’s bread-stuffing heavyweight, Mendocino Farms, is out with its summer menu of new, on the go sammies to throw in your wicker basket. The chain’s Summer Cubano features grilled pork tenderloin along with the classic combo of honey ham, mustard, and plantain chips. “Everyone grills burgers and hot dogs because they are delicious and hard to screw-up,” says ‘Mendo’ founder Mario Del Pero. “I challenge everyone to branch-out and try an actual cut of the pig instead of a ‘nose & feet’ dog—the pork tenderloin.” Alrighty, Mario, challenge accepted.

The Summer Cubano
By Mario Del Pero, Mendocino Farms

Serves 2 to 4 


1 pork tenderloin

¼ cup olive oil

3 tablespoons spoons dijon mustard

8-10 honey ham deli slices

1 jar of pickles

1 bag of plantain chips or thick plain chips

Mojo Sauce (see ingredients in step #1)

Standard hot dog or burger bun

1. Make my non-longer secret Mojo Sauce: Get a blender, throw two big scoops of mayo into it, one pinch of sugar, and a pinch of salt, a bunch of cilantro, a jalapeno pepper, a few slices of ginger, small clove garlic, a quarter cup of OJ, and a squeeze of lime. Blend.  I like to make extra of this Mojo Sauce and keep it in the fridge to use as a spread on any sandwich.
2. Cut the tenderloin in 3/4 inch medallions (like thick silver dollar coins), marinate it in a zip lock bag with some olive oil mixed with dijon mustard for three hours before grilling.
3. Grill on your BBQ. The great part about grilling pork tenderloin is that it cooks fast and the smoke and char gives the Other White Meat some real flavor. After you cook each side through, set your Pork Coins aside. 
4. Very quickly set your sliced honey ham deli meat on the grill- it will be quick, but you can get the sugar in the honey marinate to caramelize- set it aside for assembly.
5. I like to toast my store-bought hot dog or burger bun because the bread lacks any quality and toasting it makes it a little stronger.  If you have access to a great artisan hoagie roll, I recommend it.
6. Assemble your toasted hot dog bun then set your pork medallions at the base, then pile on the grilled honey ham, dump Mojo sauce aggressively over the top, and crown with pickles. I like the ones that are a little sweet and cut like quarters. Lastly jam some plantain or potato chips in the side fold of the bun for some crunch and salt. Done!