Garlicky Roast Pork Makes the Best Sandwiches

April 30, 2018

As Food52 gets older (and wiser), and our archive of recipes grows, we’re making the effort to revisit some gold recipes from our community. Sdebrango’s Portable Pork Sandwich caught our attention years ago when it inspired a Food52 Community Potluck in Brooklyn. Members wssmom, queensashy, Cristina Sciarra, and Fig and Quince met at sdebrango’s brownstone for a feast of pickled asparagus, chicken wings, cocktail cookies, and (of course) these perfect pork sandwiches. Below, sdebrango tells us a little more about her dish.

Messy, but in the best way. Photo by Ty Mecham

The Brooklyn Flea is not just a flea market—it has some of the best street food in Brooklyn. And I used to live only a few blocks away. One weekend, I noticed a small stand and the irresistible aroma of meat. I followed my nose, and found two guys and huge pork roast. They sliced the juicy, tender meat right in front of you, laid it on a crusty ciabatta roll, and there you had pork heaven. I had to try it.

The next week, I developed my own to honor their tasty pork sandwich. I made a few changes—using warmed flatbread instead of ciabatta, and added simple, tasty sauce and slaw. I tend to make straightforward food that is not overly seasoned, but wanted this a bit more aggressive with lots of garlic and rosemary.

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When making this sandwich, get a quality cut of pork shoulder or butt with plenty of fat. Don’t have the butcher trim it because the fat makes the meat more flavorful and tender. Also, don’t skimp on the seasonings. You want every bite of your sandwich to taste like garlic and rosemary.

To serve, I set everything out on a big butcher block or cutting board. The meat tastes best warm, so I like to leave the roast whole and slice off pieces for each sandwich. If using flatbread, put it right on the gas burner and use tongs to get both sides a bit charred. Also have lots of napkins at the ready. This sandwich can be a bit messy, but in the most wonderful way!

I last made this recipe two years ago at a Fourth of July party. For me, slow-cooked food is the ultimate comfort food. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but a simple slow-cooked meal makes me feel like I am home.

What's your favorite dish that feels like home? Have you made it recently?

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I have loved to cook for as long as I can remember, am self taught learning as I go. I come from a large Italian family and food was at the center of almost every gathering. My grandfather made his own wine and I remember the barrels of wine in the cellar of my grandfathers home, I watched my mother and aunts making homemade pasta and remember how wonderful it was to sit down to a truly amazing dinner. Cooking for me is a way to express myself its my creative outlet. I enjoy making all types of food but especially enjoy baking, I live in Brooklyn, NY, and I share my home with my two dogs Izzy and Nando. I like to collect cookbooks and scour magazines and newspapers for recipes. I hope one day to organize them.