Step-by-Step Recipe: How to Make a Cuban Sandwich with Wild Duck

This wild game sandwich is a tasty twist on the traditional pork version
wild duck cuban recipe
Jamie Carlson

One of my goals for this year was to try and find ways to incorporate wild game into some of my favorite sandwiches. At the end of last year, I had corned a venison roast and made some beautiful Rueben sandwiches that were out-of-this-world delicious. So that got me thinking that I need to try to rework more classic sandwiches.

So for my first attempt of the new year, I picked one of my favorites: the Cubano. This sandwich is traditionally made with ham and roasted pork on special Cuban bread and topped with a yellow mustard, pickles, and Swiss cheese. The obvious choice here would be to get some wild boar, but I live in Minnesota and there are no wild pigs here. But I have had great success substituting duck for pork in past recipes, and I have also cured a duck ham on several occasions, which is absolutely amazing. If you want to skip the cured duck ham, I totally understand—any kind of deli ham will work well as a substitute. For the more adventurous cooks, I have included the recipe at the end.

wild duck marinade
The first thing you need to do is make a marinade. (See below) This is basically a recipe for lechon asado, or Cuban roast pork. I just used duck breasts instead of pork. Marinate the duck breast overnight. Jamie Carlson
roasted duck breasts
Then transfer the duck breasts and the marinade to an oven-proof pan and roast at 350°F (covered) for 90 minutes. You will know the duck is ready when it easily shreds apart with a fork. Chop the duck meat and mix in any leftover marinade to moisten the duck. Taste the duck at this point, and season as needed. Jamie Carlson
cured duck
Thinly slice the duck ham if you are using it, otherwise break out the deli ham here. Jamie Carlson
making mustard and mayonnaise
Pick your favorite mustard. I like to make a yellow mustard and mayonnaise sauce for my Cubans, and I also add a little homemade habanero spice blend to give it some kick. A little cayenne pepper would work here, if desired. Jamie Carlson
mustard and bread
I don’t have access to Cuban bread so I used ciabatta bread; a French loaf would work, too. Cut the bread in half and spread a liberal amount of mustard on both sides of the bread. Jamie Carlson
cheese and duck on bread
Lay out the pieces of ham on one side of the bread, and place two pieces of Swiss cheese on the opposite side of the sandwich. Jamie Carlson
duck and pickles on bread
Pile the chopped duck meat one side of the sandwich and sliced pickles on the other. Jamie Carlson
homemade panini press
In a lightly oiled pan, place the sandwich over medium heat. Weigh the sandwich down to compress the ingredients, and also so the bread gets crunchy on the whole surface. Cook for 3-4 minutes and flip over to the other side and cook for 3-4 minutes more. Jamie Carlson
duck cuban sandwich
Remove you sandwich from the pan and cut in half. The outside of the bread should be crunchy and the inside should be soft and chewy. Serve this alongside a lime daiquiri or a cerveza, and enjoy. (See below for roast duck and cured duck ham recipes.) Jamie Carlson



  • 4 duck breasts
  • Juice from 2 oranges
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon of chipotle powder


Combine the marinade and pour over the duck breasts and let sit in the fridge—preferably overnight, or at least 4 hours.



  • 2 duck breasts, skin removed
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • ½ cup maple sugar
  • 1 tablespoon crushed juniper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder


Mix the salt, sugar and spices together and cover the duck breasts on all sides in a non-reactive container (like glass). Let the duck sit for 48-72 hours in the fridge. Rinse the breasts completely, pat dry with a paper towel, then wrap in cheesecloth and place (or hang) back in the fridge for two more days to dry. When ready use, slice thinly and enjoy.