RECIPE: Roast Beef Po’Boys

A New Orleans recipe, the Po’Boy is, perhaps surprisingly, all about the bread, not the filling. You can put anything you like in a Po’Boy but roast beef is the most common.

It is not a Po’Boy if you don’t get the right bread though. Po’Boy is a bastardisation of “poor boy”, which gives you some idea about the type of bread you need. You’re not going to be using a high quality baguette here. You want something rough and ready.

According to one website we read the closest you’re going to get to a true Po’Boy is a Vietnamese baguette. We kid you not. Time for you to Google Vietnamese shops in your area. If you really can’t find one, then do your best to find a really fluffy on the inside baguette with a light crispy crust.

It’s not as easy as you might think, but do you best to make this as authentic as possible! Now you’re ready for the filling!

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Here’s how you do it all.

Roast Beef Po'Boys
Yields 10
A very traditional roast beef sub - with very specific requirements!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
2 hr 30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
2 hr 30 min
  1. 2 lbs (1kg) top round roast beef
  2. 5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and divided
  3. 1/3 cup of good quality American barbecue sauce
  4. 1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce
  5. 1 tablespoon of sea salt
  6. 2 cups of water
  7. 3 tablespoons of flour for roux
  8. 1 large Vietnamese baguette per person (or as close as you can get!)
For Dressing
  1. Lettuce, pickles, tomato, mayo - all to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C/Gas Mark 5.
  2. With the fat of the roasting joint facing up, cut into two identical pieces.
  3. Turn over, pierce meat and insert divided garlic cloves.
  4. Insert one clove/section per hole, evenly spaced on the bottom of each piece of meat.
  5. Mix the Worcestershire sauce, barbecue sauce and salt together.
  6. Place sections of the meat in a roasting pan fat-side up and pour the mixture over top.
  7. Add one cup of water to the base of the pan and cook uncovered for 1.5 hours.
  8. Turn the meat over, add another cup of water, and cook uncovered for another hour.
  9. Allow to cool. Remove the meat, place in a plastic tub, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  10. Pour the liquid from the bottom of the pan into a jug, and refrigerate as well.
  11. The next day, remove fat from top of liquid.
  12. In a saucepan, melt the fat until bubbling and hot.
  13. Add the flour all at once, and stir to form a roux.
  14. Allow to brown for 2 to 3 minutes.
  15. Slowly add in remaining liquid about one tablespoon at a time, stirring until liquid is absorbed into the roux before adding further liquid.
  16. Once all the liquid is added, allow to simmer on very low heat.
  17. Trim excess fat off the meat. Slice it as thinly as possible, shredding ends that cannot be sliced.
  18. Add shredded bits of beef to gravy and stir.
  19. Immediately prior to serving, slice bread in half and toast crust under a medium grill for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the crust cracks when pinched.
  20. Heat the gravy (adding water if too thick) and warm slices of the beef in gravy (about 6 to 8 large slices per sandwich).
  21. Remove warmed slices with tongs, and place on bottom half of baguette.
  22. Dip the top half of the bread into the gravy, and spoon some debris on top of the slices.
  23. Dress with dill pickle slices, tomato, shredded lettuce and mayo.
  24. Serve with potato chips.
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