Bifana (Portuguese Pork Cutlets)

Bifana (Portuguese Pork Cutlets)

The bifana is a traditional Portuguese sandwich that comprises of a bread roll filled with marinated pork cutlets. The secret is in the marinade and how its cooked. It's deliciously Portuguese and simple, made from garlic, white wine, and a few spices.
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Marinating Time 3 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine Portuguese
Servings 6


  • Gallon Zip Loc Bag
  • Large Skillet to fit the pork cutlets


  • 1 1/2 LBS Boneless pork cutlets, cut very thin
  • 1 1/4 Cup Dry white wine, divided into two. Sauvignon Blanc, Madeira if you have one. NEVER use a cooking wine from the grocery aisle.
  • 1/4 Cup White wine vinegar. I only have red wine vinegar so that's what i'm using.
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Bay Leaf, crumbled slightly
  • 3/4 TSP Pimento paste, divided–available in Portuguese/Brazilian stores
  • 1/2 TSP Spanish Paprika-divided I'm using half smoked paprika
  • 1/4 TSP Whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 TSP Whole cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 TSP Piri-Piri Sauce or Tabasco if necessary I'm using Tabasco
  • 2 TBSP Lard, Bacon or duck fat. I'm using duck fat
  • 1 TSP Coarse salt
  • 1/2 TSP Fresh ground pepper


  • Rinse the pork cutlets and then pat dry with paper towels.
  • Place pork in a large heavy plastic bag (like a freezer ziploc bag) and place in a large bowl.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine one cup of the wine, the vinegar, garlic, bay leaf, 1/2 tsp of the pimento paste, 1/4 tsp of the paprika, peppercorns, cloves and piri-piri sauce.
  • Pour this over pork, make sure all meat is coated, and seal the bag.
  • Refrigerate for several hours or overnight, turning bag over in bowl frequently.
  • Bring meat to room temperature before cooking.
  • To cook, remove pork from marinade and lightly pat pork dry with paper towels.
  • Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and melt lard, then cook pork in batches in hot lard; if your pork is thin it will likely only take a minute per side, at the most.
  • When all the pork has been sauteed, drain off the fat and add the remaining wine (1/4 cup), remaining pimento paste (1/4 tsp), remaining paprika (1/4 tsp) to the skillet, as well as salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bring this to a boil, stirring the pan to get up any brown bits.
  • Return all the pork to the skillet, reduce heat to low, and cook for about another minute.
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