hoagie rolls in our standard 5-6 inches-ish length, rather than making something 8-10 inches like they do in New Orleans. My debris gravy is definitely not authentic. And, while we got them "almost" dressed, there's no such thing as a good tomato in Ohio in February, so they were missing a shirt.
But, yes, that IS gravy dripping down the side!
What is a Po' Boy? A sandwich filled with goodies by another other name is still a sandwich filled with goodies. Your area of the country might call them hoagies or submarine sandwiches or grinders. In New Orleans, Po' Boy is the local lingo. Of course, the most famous versions are usually filled with breaded and fried seafood - shrimp, catfish, crawfish, or oysters. To me, a Roast Beef Po' Boy (poor boy for those who prefer to spell the whole word) is like an open-faced roast beef sandwich all wrapped up in a bun.
Technically speaking, the debris floating in the gravy are bits and pieces of meat that have naturally fallen off the roast while it is braising. I didn't technically braise (slow cooking in liquid) my roast, but it's close enough for rock 'n roll when you're using a slow cooker. When I'm cooking with chuck roast, I prefer to use my slow cooker - turn it on in the morning and around supper time the meat is fall-apart tender. But, when I trimmed the fat, there were a few pieces of meat left in the rind plus a 3-ish ounce piece of roast. I pulled these little bits and pieces out of the fat and added them to my gravy.
Finally, a lesson in dressing your sandwiches in New Orleans. You don't have to say you want "lettuce, tomato, pickles and mayonnaise" on your sandwich, whether it's a po' boy, burger or muffuletta. All you have to do is say "dressed" and your sandwich miraculously comes laden with that specific quartet of goodies. Be warned: if you are in NOLA and you ask for your muffuletta to be dressed, they'll look at you funny.
Roast Beef Po' Boys for the Slow Cooker - serves 6
2 1/2 to 3 pound beef chuck roast, trimmed of large fat and rind
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon ground paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 ounces amber beer or porter (yes, you can use wine or water or beef broth)
1 cup sliced onions
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cold water, divided
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon butter
6 hoagie rolls or submarine sandwich buns, toasted
shredded iceberg lettuce
dill pickle slices
tomato slices (if available)
hot pepper sauce (if desired)
lots of napkins
In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, granulated garlic, paprika and ground oregano. After trimming the chuck roast, rub both sides of the meat with the rub ingredients.
Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. When heated add the olive oil and swirl around, then place the roast, flat-side down, in the skillet. Allow to sear until a nice crust forms on the bottom, about 3-5 minutes. Turn the roast over and sear the other side. Remove from heat and set aside for a moment.
Layer the fat trimmings in the bottom of your slow cooker, then place the seared chuck roast on top of the trimmings. Cover the roast with the onion slices then add the 6 ounces of beer. Cover the cooker and let roast for 6 to 8 hours or until very tender.
Remove roast to a plate and cover with foil to keep it warm. Remove any small pieces of meat that might remain in the slow cooker or the fat and set aside in a bowl. Strain the cooking liquid into a saucepan, add 1/2 cup of water and the bits and pieces of meat, then bring to a strong simmer.
In a cup or bowl, mix 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour with one cup of cold water until smooth. Slowly add the slurry to the simmering liquid, whisking to prevent lumps, until the gravy is thickened. Add the red wine vinegar and continue to cook for 5 minutes until the flour taste is gone. Whisk in the tablespoon of butter and the gravy is finished.
To assemble the Roast Beef Po' Boys:
Thinly slice the reserved roast beef. On each toasted hoagie roll, spread mayonnaise on the top half. Pile several slices of roast beef on the bottom half of the bun and then ladle on some gravy. Top with tomato, pickle, hot pepper sauce and shredded lettuce and serve with several napkins.