The Roast Beef Po’Boy
Recipe by Emeril Lagasse
When it comes to these tradition New Orleans sandwiches, I usually go straight for the oyster po’ boy, but sometimes you just get a jones for something different.
Today, it’s a gravy drippin’ roast beef!
If you’re going to smoke a brisket, you learn from Aaron Franklin. Nasty Bits? Fergus Henderson. And, if you’re needing some Mardi Gras in you mouth, (in my opinion)… you find out how Emeril does it.
Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 4 1/2 hours Yield: 6 servings
Warning: bring napkins!
1 boneless beef chuck roast (3 to 4 pounds)
10 cloves garlic, cut in half lengthwise
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups strong beef stock, plus more if necessary
Six 6-inch lengths po’boy bread or Italian or French bread
Mayonnaise, homemade or store-bought
10 ounces provolone cheese, grated
Thinly shredded iceberg lettuce
Very thinly sliced tomatoes
Thinly sliced dill pickles
Louisiana red hot sauce (optional)
Using the tip of a sharp paring knife, make 20 evenly spaced small slits, about 1 ½ inches deep, all over the pot roast. Insert the garlic cloves as deep into the slits as possible.
Season the roast on all sides with the salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 300°F.
Heat a 6-quart Dutch oven over high heat. Add the oil, and when it is hot, sear the meat until it is very well browned on all sides, 4 to 6 minutes per side (don’t be afraid to let the roast get very brown—this is where a lot of the flavor comes from). Then carefully add the stock and cover the pot.
Transfer the pot to the oven and cook, turning the meat once or twice during cooking, until the roast is falling-apart tender, 3 to 31/2 hours. Check occasionally to make sure that there is always at least 1 inch of liquid in the bottom of the pot, adding additional stock as necessary.
Remove the roast from the oven and let it rest briefly. Increase the oven temperature to 375°F.
Using two forks, pull the meat apart into thin shreds, mixing the meat with the accumulated drippings in the bottom of the pot. Allow the meat to cool slightly and absorb the juices before making the po’boys.
(The meat can be cooked and shredded up to 1 week in advance and refrigerated until ready to serve; if prepared in advance, it will need to be rewarmed—covered and in a low oven—before assembling the sandwiches.)
Halve the po’boy bread lengthwise, and spread both sides of the bread liberally with mayonnaise. Place the bottom halves of the bread on a baking sheet, and spoon the meat filling over them, drizzling it with extra drippings.
Note: I like to whisk a little roux into my drippings, and cook them down into a thick gravy before tossing it with the meat.
Then top the meat with the grated provolone. Bake in the oven just until the cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles.
Sprinkle with hot sauce, if desired, and top the po’boys with the top halves of the bread.
Laissez les bon temps rouler!
In the late 1800s fried oyster sandwiches on French loaves were known in New Orleans and San Francisco as “oyster loaves.” They were hugely popular.
The most accepted local theory says that the name “po’ boy”, was adopted in New Orleans restaurant, “Martin Bros.,” which was owned and operated by two former street-car conductors. In 1929, during a four-month strike against the streetcar company, the Martin brothers, in a sign of solidarity, served their former colleagues free sandwiches.
The Martins’ restaurant workers jokingly referred to the strikers as “poor boys”, and soon the sandwiches themselves took on the name.
In Louisiana dialect, this is naturally shortened to “po’ boy”, and eventually can to refer to pretty much anything stuffed into a bread roll.
Yes, the story might be apocryphal…but I like it!