Discover more from The Bittman Project
Anatomy of a Po'Boy
How to make a proximity of the classic New Orleans sandwich at home
It’s not difficult to come by a good po’boy in New Orleans. It’s a sandwich equally revered by locals and tourists alike. And like just about every dish in New Orleans, it’s because each and every ingredient plays a key role.
Many places outside of New Orleans try to mirror the po’ boy. The reason they so often fail is because they don’t have access to New Orleans French bread. In the 1700s, bakers developed po’ boy bread that’s known for its crunchy exterior and soft, fluffy interior — a noticeably different texture than the baguettes some people try to use in other parts of the country to recreate the sandwich. Leidenheimer Baking Company is a trusted French bread brand, and they do ship nationally (albeit their shipping options are for large, industrial orders).
A fan of hot sausage? Go for it. Got a love for crawfish? It’s all yours. Wanting something true to the Gulf Coast? Go for the alligator. Feeling indulgent and want some fried shrimp smothered in seafood bisque? Oh yeah, there’s that too. With dozens of options across New Orleans, a po' boy can be stuffed with whatever meat or seafood you like (even veggies and tofu). As long as it’s well-seasoned, you’re in business.
Do you want yours dressed?
Your answer to this question should always be yes. Lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, and pickles are the standard dressings for a po' boy. It balances the flavors between the meat and the bread, and adds some additional texture for each bite.
Popular spot NOLA Poboys doesn’t mind irking visitors with their spice-level descriptions. “Yankee” is mild (sorry New Yorkers), while “Cursing Murray in the Morning” is very spicy. For the most part, a standard po’boy is going to be at least slightly spicy. Feel free to play with the spice levels, though, and do understand that very spicy does indeed mean very spicy.