Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Beef Po' Boys

Charlie loves sandwiches. In fact, I would go as far as to say that sandwiches are one of his favorite meals. Because of this, I am constantly looking for tasty new sandwich recipes. I've heard of "Po' Boys," but have never tried one.  I know there are many different recipes, ingredients and ways to make a Po' Boy, and that flexibility was partially what made the sandwich so appealing to me.

Just as an FYI: a Po' Boy is a traditional sandwich from Louisiana.  They generally consist of a good quality bread, some sort of meat (sometimes with gravy), and in general are topped with mayo, lettuce, pickles and tomatoes.  

The other day, we got our latest issue of "Cooks Country" and included was a Po' Boy Sandwich recipe that looked delicious. I modified their recipe to suit our tastes and what we had on hand, and the results were well worth the effort.  

The process was a little time consuming. I brined a beef chuck roast for about 8 hours, then slow roasted it in a pan of gravy for about 4 hours. After pulling it out of the oven, I let the meat rest for a little while before shredding it and adding it back to the gravy.

To assemble the sandwich: slightly toasted Italian sub rolls, the delicious, fork-tender beef mixed with gravy, topped with sliced provolone cheese, a large slice of fresh garden-ripe tomato, and pickles. I know it sounds weird - but it was so delicious.
 


 

Beef Po' Boys

  • 1 (4 or 5 pound) chuck roast
Brine
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons old bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
Meat
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
Sandwiches
  • Reserved meat and gravy
  • 4 (8 inch) Italian sub rolls, split lengthwise and toasted
  • mayonnaise, optional
  • tomato slices
  • provolone cheese slices
  • pickles (I used my bread and butter pickles)

Mix all brine ingredients together and add thawed meat. Let sit in refrigerator for 8-12 hours. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and make sure oven rack is in the lower-middle position. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and add beef roast. Sear on all sides. Remove from skillet and place the roast in a baking dish. Add flour and wine and stir with whisk to dislodge as much of the browned bits in the bottom of the pan as possible.  These browned bits are called "fond" and they pack a powerhouse of flavor.  The process of adding a liquid (the wine) and scraping up the fond is called "deglazing."

To the fond/wine/flour mixture, slowly add the beef broth, whisking all the while to prevent lumps. Bring the mixture to a boil, making sure to continue scraping up all the fond from the bottom of the pan.  Let simmer for four or five minutes, or until a little bit thicker, then pour the mixture over the beef roast. Cover with tin foil or lid, and bake for about 4 hours, or until the roast pulls apart easily with a fork. Internal temperature should be at about 150 degrees F.

Transfer the roast to a cutting board, cover loosely with tin foil and let rest for at least 20 minutes. Save the gravy in the bottom of the pan!  After the meat rests, use forks and shred the meat, adding the meat to the saved gravy. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if needed.

To make sandwiches, start at the bottom. Pile meat and gravy on the bottom part of the toasted sub roll, then, lay the cheese slices right over the hot meat so they can melt. Next, add the tomato slices and pickles and (if desired), spread the inside top of submarine rolls with mayonnaise. Finish with the sub top.  Done!  A tasty, meaty, super-messy sandwich - ready to eat.

Hint: make sure you have at least two napkins.  And if you are like me, maybe a bib.

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