How to Make Po Boy Sandwiches

Before learning how to make Po Boy sandwiches it will help to know something of its origination. Most traditional recipes originating from unique areas of this country have wonderful stories behind them. Like so many delicious recipes from the New Orleans area, the history is as “spicy and well seasoned” as the tasty recipes. Po Boy recipes are a great example of this food culture. 

If you ask locals from the New Orleans area how to make Po Boy sandwiches, most will respond with “There is no specific recipe”. As the story goes and the locals will be happy to tell you so, these sandwiches were created by the Martin Brothers. The following is my understanding of these famous sandwiches. In the early nineteen hundreds, Clovis and Bennie worked as street conductors. After that they opened a coffee shop and restaurant in the French Market.

How to Make Po Boy SandwichesHow to Make Po Boy Sandwiches

When the streetcar employees (all the members of the union) went on strike, the Martin Brothers fed the men for free with large sandwiches. When one was seen coming in the restaurant, someone would yell “Here comes a Po Boy”. This meant for someone to make a large hefty sandwich for one of these workers who could not afford to pay. There was no ONE recipe but the ingredients that were used were determined by what was most available or should I say “leftovers” as I understand it. 

It seems that French bread or large heavy rolls (like Kaiser rolls) were the most commonly used breads. All kinds of foods might be piled on these breads; all kinds of local seafood, leftover roast beef and gravy, meatloaf, ham, cheese or even potatoes. Usually they were dressed with lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise and/or pickles making them even more filling.

As the strike went on things got even worse with the start of the Great Depression. These men along with many other workers, most with families, lost their jobs making buying even essentials like food difficult. The Martin Brothers continued their tradition of trying to feed the areas men and their families. Larger sandwiches were prepared to provide something for families.

As I was learning how to make Po Boy sandwiches, it was wonderful reading about the generosity of these two brothers. This reminded me of the many stories that I heard from my parents and older siblings of that Great Depression time period. It was a very hard time for most and people shared what little they did have. I know these hard times had a lasting effect on my family. After times got better, my family always kept extra food and supplies on hand. When a neighbor or anyone asked to “borrow” something, if available, it was given without expecting it to be returned.

During my search as to how to make Po Boy sandwiches, I thought about making these sandwiches using all kinds of my leftovers. In my area seafood is quite expensive so most of the time there are no leftovers of seafood. I think a great lunch sandwich could be made using a French roll filled with breakfast potatoes, fried egg and sausage gravy. How about a roll filled with meatballs, spaghetti and sauce or even cheesy macaroni with ham? Meatloaf sandwiches are already popular so why not on a roll instead of bread. 

Learning how to make Po Boy sandwiches with leftovers is a great idea. First, it is a good way to use up leftovers. The Po Boys are also quick to make and convenient for those always “on the run”. These sandwiches can actually be served to your kids on a napkin or paper towel eliminating dirty dishes. I can see the variety of sandwiches is endless so let your imagination loose.


Catfish Po BoysCatfish Po Boys

Learn how to make Po Boy sandwiches with catfish.

  • 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon sugar
  • 2 Cups broccoli coleslaw mix
  • 1 Pound catfish fillets (Cut in 2 ½ inch strips)
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1/3 Cup cornmeal
  • 2 Teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 Teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 Kaiser rolls (Split)

In small bowl mix together the mayonnaise and next 3 ingredients.

Add coleslaw mix and toss well; set aside.

In a shallow dish coat the catfish with the milk; set aside.

In a large zip lock bag mix the cornmeal and next 3 ingredients.

Add a few pieces of fish at a time to the bag shaking to coat.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium.

Cook fish 4 to 5 minutes on each side until it flakes.

Spoon coleslaw mixture on rolls; top with fish and serve.

Serves 4.


Fried Oyster Po Boy SandwichFried Oyster Po Boy Sandwich

I learned how to make Po Boy sandwiches mainly because my brother always talked about his favorite, fried oyster Po Boy.

  • 1 Pound loaf French bread
  • ¼ Cup butter
  • 2 Containers (12 Ounces each) oysters standard size; drained)
  • 1 Cup cornmeal mix
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1/3 Cup mayonnaise
  • 2 ½ Tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ Teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 Cup shredded lettuce
  • 1 Large tomato (Sliced thinly)

Preheat broiler.

Cut bread in half horizontally; hollow out bottom and top (Reserve for crumbs).

Spread inside surfaces of bread with butter; place on baking sheet.

Place under broiler until lightly browned; set aside.

Dredge oysters in cornmeal mix; deep fry in hot oil (375F degrees).

NOTE: Oysters should be golden brown and floating to the top.

Drain oysters on paper towels; keep warm.

Combine the mayonnaise and next three ingredients in bowl.

Add shredded lettuce and mix well; spread in bottom half of bread.

Top with tomato slices; pile oysters on top of tomatoes. 

Place top half of bread over the oysters; cut loaf into 4 or 6 servings.

Serve immediately; serves 6.


Shrimp Po Boy SandwichShrimp Po Boy Sandwich
Zesty SauceZesty Sauce

Learn how to make Po Boy sandwiches with shrimp.

Zesty Sauce

  • 1 ½ Cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 Tablespoons Creole sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 2 Teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 Teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 2 Teaspoons hot sauce

Shrimp Preparation

  • 2 Pounds fresh shrimp (Medium size; peel, remove tails and devein)
  • 1/3 to ½ Cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ Cup lemon juice
  • ¼ Teaspoon salt
  • ½ Teaspoon hot sauce
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ Cups flour


  • 6 French rolls (6 Inch size; split and toast)
  • Lettuce (Wash, drain, pat dry)

TO MAKE ZESTY SAUCE combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.

Blend ingredients well; cover tightly and chill.

TO PREPARE SHRIMP combine mayonnaise and next 3 ingredients in a large shallow dish.

Add the shrimp to the dish and toss to coat well; set aside.

Heat 2 inches of oil in a large Dutch oven to 375F degrees.

Dredge the shrimp in the flour; fry a few at a time in the hot oil.

Drain the fried shrimp on paper towels.

TO ASSEMBLE sandwiches spread the zesty sauce over both halves of each roll.

Arrange lettuce on bottom halves of the rolls; top with shrimp mixture.

Top with remaining roll halves; serve with any remaining zesty sauce.

Serves 6.


Learn how to make Po Boy sandwiches with rolled up ground beef.

  • 1 Pound ground beef
  • 1 Can (4 Ounces) chopped mushroom (Drain)
  • ¼ Cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped pimiento stuffed olives
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1/8 Teaspoon salt
  • ½ Teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • 12 Thin slices bacon
  • 6 Round Kaiser rolls or buns

Shape ground beef on wax paper into a rectangle 12X 7 ½ inches.

Sprinkle the drained mushrooms and next 6 ingredients over top.

Beginning at the short end roll up jelly roll style using wax paper to lift.

Carefully slice roll onto a baking sheet seam side down; smooth and shape roll.

Cover roll and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Cut beef roll into 6 equal slices; wrap 2 bacon slices around edge of each slice.

NOTE: Secure bacon with wooden picks.

Broil slices about 8 minutes on each side or to degree of doneness preferred.

Serves 6.


Green Tomato Po BoysGreen Tomato Po Boys

I learned how to make Po Boy sandwiches with green tomatoes because I love fried green tomatoes.

  • 1 Cup cornmeal
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ Teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3-4 Medium sliced green tomatoes
  • ½ Cup milk
  • Vegetable oil and butter
  • 4 French rolls (6 Inch size)
  • 3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 8 Slices bacon (Fry crisply and drain)

Combine cornmeal and next 4 ingredients in a shallow dish.

Dip sliced tomatoes in milk; coat with cornmeal mixture.

Spread a little oil and butter over a griddle; brown tomatoes on both slices.

Spread a little butter on each half of rolls; spread mayonnaise over the butter.

Place 2 slices of bacon on each bottom half of rolls; cover with tomato slices.

Top with top halves of rolls; serves 4.


Learn how to make Po Boy sandwiches with frankfurters.

  • ½ Pound loaf French bread
  • ¼ Cup softened butter
  • 2 Tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 1 Jar (22 Ounces) baked beans
  • 1 Cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 Small onion (Finely chopped)
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 6 Frankfurters (Split lengthwise)
  • 3 Slices (1 Ounce each) Cheddar cheese
  • Cucumber slices

Cut bread loaf in half lengthwise; scoop out inside leaving ¾ inch shell.

Place bead on a baking sheet; mix butter with mustard and spread on surfaces.

In a bowl combine beans with next 3 ingredients; fill hollowed loaf.

Place frankfurter diagonally on top of bean mixture; bake 25 minutes or until bubbly.

Cut cheese slices in half; top each frankfurter with a piece of cheese.

Return to oven and bake until cheese melts; serve with cucumber.

Serves 6.


Learn how to make Po Boy sandwiches using shrimp and catfish.

  • 1 Pound medium size shrimp (Peel and devein)
  • 1 Catfish fillet (10 Ounces farm raised)
  • 2 Teaspoons Creole seasoning
  • ¼ Cup lemon juice
  • 1 Teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ Cup roasted red peppers (Cut in thin strips; pat dry)
  • 1 Jalapeno pepper (Seed and chop)
  • ½ Cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons Creole mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Clove minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons sliced green onion
  • Non stick cooking spray
  • 8 Slices tomatoes
  • 8 Lettuce leaves
  • 4 French rolls (Split and toast)

Cut fish crosswise into 1 inch slices; combine with shrimp in shallow dish.

Sprinkle seafood with Creole seasoning; cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Combine the lemon juice and oil; pour over the seafood.

Combine red pepper strips and next ingredients in a bowl; set aside.

Spray large skillet with non stick spray; heat skillet over medium high.

Drain seafood and add to the skillet; cook about 10 minutes turning one time.

Divide fish and shrimp among rolls placing on bottom halves.

Spread top halves of rolls evenly with mayonnaise mixture; place on sandwiches.

Serves 4.


Learn how to make Po Boy sandwiches with spicy meatloaf.

  • 2 Beaten eggs
  • 1 Can (11 Ounces) tomato bisque (Divided)
  • ½ Cup seasoned bread crumbs (Fine; dry)
  • 1 Medium onion (Finely chopped)
  • 2 Teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 Pound lean ground beef
  • 1 Pound bulk pork sausage
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • ¼ Cup water
  • 6 French rolls (6 Inches long; cut in half lengthwise)
  • Sliced banana peppers OPTIONAL

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

In large bowl combine eggs, ½ CUP of bisque, bread crumbs, onion and curry.

Add ground beef and sausage to the bowl; mix well.

Shape mixture into a flat loaf about 2 inches high and 6 inches wide.

NOTE: Shape to fit sandwich rolls you are using; the width will fit the length of the rolls.

Place in 9X13 inch baking pan; bake about 1 hour or until done and cool to warm.

MAKE SAUCE by combining 1 tablespoon of the pan drippings into a saucepan.

Stir in the flour; add REMAINING tomato bisque and water all at once.

Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly; set aside.

Place meatloaf on cutting board; slice into 6 slices.

Spoon a little sauce on each top and bottom of rolls.

Place a slice of meatloaf on the bottom halves; top with peppers.

Place top halves of rolls on the sandwiches; serves 6.

BLACKENED GROUPER PO BOYS with Creole mayonnaise

Learn how to make Po Boy sandwiches with blackened grouper.

Creole Mayonnaise

  • 2/3 Cup low fat mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped shallots
  • ½ Tablespoon parsley
  • 1 Teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 Clove minced garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon lemon juice

Blackened Grouper

  • 4 to 6 Grouper fillets
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 Teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 Teaspoons paprika
  • 2 Cloves minced garlic
  • ½ Teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ Teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ Teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 4 to 6 French rolls (6 Inch)

FOR MAYONNAISE combine and mix all ingredients.

Cover and refrigerate.


FOR GROUPER rinse and pat dry; set aside.

Melt the butter and stir in olive oil; gently brush over the grouper fillets.

Combine the paprika and next 4 ingredients in a small bowl mixing well.

Sprinkle half of the seasoning mixture over the grouper fillets.

Place under broiler until golden; carefully turn fillets over.

Coat the other side with seasoning; place under broiler until blackened on top.

NOTE: Fish should flake when tested with a fork if done.

TO SERVE place fish on rolls and top with Creole mayonnaise.

Serves 4 to 6.


Learn how to make Po Boy sandwiches created from another Louisiana traditional sandwiches; the Muffaletta.

  • 6 French rolls or sub rolls (Split in half lengthwise)
  • ½ Cup mayonnaise
  • 2 ½ Tablespoons olive juice
  • 12 (Or more) Ham slices (4 Inch square)
  • ½ Cup pimiento stuffed olives (Finely chopped)
  • 12 (Or more) Sliced salami
  • ¼ Cup ripe olives (Finely chopped)
  • 12 Slices Mozzarella cheese

Preheat the broiler.

Blend together mayonnaise and olive juice; spread over each roll half.

Fold ham slices in half; place 2 or more on each bottom half of rolls.

NOTE: Depending how thick the ham and salami slices are determines how many slices you will like on each sandwich.

Top ham slices evenly with the pimiento stuffed olives.

Place the salami slices over the olives; top with ripe olives.

Place the TOP halves of rolls on a baking pan

Arrange the cheese slices on the roll tops.

Place tops with the cheese under broiler until melted and bubbly.

Place cheese halves on the sandwiches; cut and serve.