I was about to start typing this post when it occurred to me that not everyone may be familiar with the term po’ boy. “Okay,” I thought to myself. “I can come up with a definition.” And then all I could remember was that once I ate a gator po’ boy in Tallahassee and it was pretty good. But what it meant? Nope, not a clue. So I did a little research on all our behalves, to figure out exactly what a po’ boy is. The answer? As I already kind of knew, its origins are based in New Orleans and it references a particular type of sandwich. Read on to learn more (or skip ahead to just read the recipe):
A classic po’ boy is a French-bread sandwich served with gravy and roast beef. The most common origin story is that it was invented by Clovis and Benjamin Martin, who were brothers and former streetcar drivers who opened a restaurant in the roaring 20s. When the streetcar drivers went on strike in 1929, the brothers created a sandwich specifically for the drivers, that was inexpensive: what we now know as a traditional po’ boy. When the drivers would come in to buy their sandwiches, the cry would go out “here comes another poor boy!”Inevitably, this phrase got abbreviated to “po’ boy” and a class New Orleans sandwich was born. (Po’ Boy History)
The hot roast beef po’ boys with gravy are the classic, which is what our recipe is closest too. However, po’ boys can come in any variety–I know at the cafe in Tallahassee, we tried at least gator and fried catfish, if not a sausage one as well! Anyways, these sandwiches in their traditional form a delightfully drippy and incredibly filling, which leads to believe why they’re so popular. Will’s decision to use a slow cooker for the meat guaranteed an even more melt-in-your-mouth goodness and I am thrilled he discovered this recipe on The Kitchn. Will we eat it often? Probably not. But will we eat it when we want something meaty, easy and delicious that will feed us for days? You can bet on that. And next time we make them, we’ll hopefully have the French bread pan that I snuck onto one of our registries the other day!!
Cooking Notes: Will pretty much followed this one to a “t” because the recipe looked so tasty. The meat we used was beef round, which was the closest thing to “beef top round” or “chuck roast” that we could find.
Slow Cooker Beef Po’ Boys (adapted from The Kitchn; serves 6-8)
2-3 lbs. beef round
S&P, freshly ground
1/2 lb. thick cut bacon, diced ~ 6ish slices
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 cups low sodium chicken stock
5 large cloves garlic, smashed
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
French baguettes, for serving
Mayo, for spreading
Other toppings, as desired
Pat the beef dry with paper towels and season generously with S&P. Set a large Dutch oven over medium-high to high heat. Add the bacon and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon starts turning golden brown. Remove the bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and transfer to the bowl of the slow cooker.
Add the beef to the skillet with the bacon grease and sear until golden brown, about 10 minutes per side. Then transfer to the slow cooker bowl. Pour off all but 1-2 tbsp of the bacon fat. Reduce heat to medium then add the onions, cooking until translucent, about 5 minutes. Return the heat to high. Pour in the wine and reduce by half, stirring to loosen any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Transfer the wine mixture to the slow cooker.
Add the stock, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce to the slow cooker and close the lid. Cook on low heat for 7 hours or high heat for 4 hours. When done, remove the meat from the cooker and shred with two forks. Chop to desired texture and set aside.
Once the meat is ready, melt the butter in a Dutch oven on medium heat until foaming. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until it turns a shade of amber and gives off a rusty smell. Pour the cooking liquid from the slow cooker into the skillet with the roux. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook the gravy until thickened, about 10-15 minutes. Season with S&P to taste. Stir the chopped meat into the gravy, taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Slather the bread with a generous amount of mayo. Top with shredded meat and gravy. Add other toppings as desired (lettuce, tomato, cheese, etc.)