New Orleans Po’ Boy Sandwiches

Po’ Boy sandwiches are typically made with oysters or roast beef and use Creole remoulade, a Cajun version of the classic French mayo-mustard sauce. Shrimp Po’ boys are also eaten everywhere in Louisiana, but crawfish tails, catfish fillets, and soft-shelled crabs are also common. The bread is the real star in a Po’ Boy, in my opinion. If you can find really good bread, with a crackling crust and soft interior, it makes a huge difference. A French sandwich loaf (like a fat baguette) or a Vietnamese baguette are ideal. Italian sub rolls are good as well.

The sandwich itself has been present in New Orleans since around the late 1800s, when it was then called an oyster loaf (literally, fried oysters on French loaves). The most common attempt at explaining the “po-boy” term, at least locally, comes from the story of the Martin brothers.

In the mid-1910s, Bennie and Clovis Martin moved to New Orleans to work as streetcar conductors. In 1922, the brothers then decided to open up their own restaurant, Martin Brothers’ Coffee Stand and Restaurant specialized in French loaf sandwiches with anything you wanted on them. In 1929, a large streetcar workers union went on a 4-month strike, leaving thousands of workers without pay. The Martin brothers wrote a letter to local newspapers stating that they would give a free meal to all striking members. Legend has it that when the brothers saw a union worker enter the restaurant, one of them would yell, “Here comes another poor boy!”. Since the free meal usually included an oyster loaf sandwich, the name “poor boy” gradually became associated with the sandwich itself.

Three Po’ Boy Sandwiches

These sandwiches make for a perfect lunch or dinner with a side of potato chips or potato salad and a good drink. Warm crunchy shrimp or oysters, or the pulled pork Cochon de Lait, or spicy andouille sausage are matched with a creamy sauce sauce and crisp cole slaw or shredded lettuce, sliced tomato, and pickle chips. Nestle these ingredients inside the soft bread of a crusty French roll for a truly out of body experience.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American, American Deep South, New Orleans, North American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: My Hungry Traveler

Equipment

  • Large skillet or Dutch oven
  • Thermometer
  • 2 medium bowls
  • Slotted spoon
  • Foil
  • Instant read thermometer

Ingredients

Creole Mustard Sauce

  • ¼ cup Creole mustard (or other coarse grained mustard)
  • ½ cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Tabasco (or other hot sauce)
  • 2 tsp Prepared horse radish
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp Ground black pepper

Cajun Slaw

  • ¾ cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 cup Sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Hot sauce, like Tabasco or Crystal

Shrimp or Oyster Po' Boy

  • 1 lb Shelled oysters or shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
  • ¾ cup All-purpose flour, with ¼ cup reserved for egg mixture
  • ¾ cup Cornmeal
  • 2 tbsp Creole seasoning mix
  • 3 large Eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 3 cups Vegetable oil for frying
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper
  • 4 8 to 10-inch Banh Mi or French bread rolls, lightly toasted the sliced almost through
  • ¾ cup Creole mustard sauce
  • 1 Medium tomato, sliced
  • Dill pickle chips, to taste
  • 1/2 cup Iceburg lettuce, shredded

Cochon de Lait Po' Boy

  • 6 portions French bread (6-inch)
  • 3 cloves Garlic, miinced
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp Smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp Creole seasoning mix
  • 3+ lb Boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt)
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 1 small Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup Creole mustard sauce
  • 3/4 cup Cajun slaw
  • Dill pickle chips, to taste

Andouille Sausage Po' Boy

  • 4 links Hot sausage: Andouille, Italian, or smoked kielbasa
  • 4 6-inch French bread rolls (or Italian sub rolls)
  • ¾ cup Creole mustard sauce
  • ¾ cup Cajun slaw

Instructions

Oyster or Shrimp Po' Boy

  • Assemble – Working with a handful at a time, place oysters (or shrimp) in the egg mixture, and then flour mixture. Shake off excess flour and transfer to transfer to wire rack. Repeat process until all the oysters are coated.
  • Fry – Heat oil in deep skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. When oil hits 375°F (190°C), add half of the shrimp and stir occasionally to keep from sticking together. When golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon, about 4-5 minutes. Place onto fresh paper towels to drain. Lightly sprinkle with salt. When oil reaches temperature again, repeat with remaining shrimp.
  • Serve – Open rolls the side. Spread creole mustard sauxe generously on both sides. Cover bottom half of hinged bread with with shredded lettuce, tomato slices, dill pickle chips and finally a row of shrimp. Serve immediately with hot sauce on the side.

Cochon de Lait Po' Boy

  • Make Pork (in advance) – In a small bowl, make garlic paste by combining garlic, salt, paprika, and Creole seasoning. Trim pork of excess fat clumps and cut into 4 equal pieces. Rub pork all over with garlic paste.
    Instant Pot Version – Add vegetable oil to pot and set for SAUTE. When it reads HOT, sear 2 pieces of pork on all sides, Transfer to a bowl and repeat with the remaining two pieces. Hit CANCEL then deglaze bottom of pot with ½ of the chicken stock and a wooden spoon. Add onion, remaining chicken stock, and Worcestershire sauce. Fit the 4 pork pieces along bottom of pot and secure lid with vent set to SEALING. PRESSURE COOK on HIGH for 60 minutes. Let pressure release naturally until the pin drops, about 20 minutes.
    Slow Cooker Version – Place pork pieces, onion, and chicken stock in a 6 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low until meat is tender, 8 to 9 hours.
    Pull Pork – Transfer pork to a large bowl. Skim off fat from reserved liquid in pot. When pork is cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes, shred using your hands or two heavy forks. Return shredded pork to juices in a pot and cook on low until heated through.
  • Assemble – Slice open bread and slather inside halves with Creole mustard sauce. Fill with shredded pork and top with Cajun slaw and pickle slices.

Andouille Sausage Po' Boy

  • Cook – Pan-fry or grill sausage over medium heat until cooked through. Slice open bread and lightly toast if you prefer.
  • Assemble – Generously spread both inside halves of rolls with Creole mustard sauce. Place cooked sausage in roll and top with Cajun slaw and serve.

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