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Slow Cooker Roast Beef Po-boys – crusty french bread stuffed with juicy, fall-apart tender roast beef that’s been slow cooking for hours, topped with lettuce, mayonnaise and lots of gravy. Good and sloppy, just like they make ’em in New Orleans.
Ever since I pulled together a few of my New Orleans inspired recipes for my Mardi Gras post, I’ve been thinking non-stop about traveling back there. All of my friends from back home are still posting their fun Mardi Gras pictures on Facebook and seeing them all is making me a little homesick. What’s not to miss – great food, wonderful music and a vibe in the city that is unmatched.
When I go back to New Orleans, food, friends and family are at the top of my list. Best case scenario, all three together – that’s a win-win! But no visit is ever complete without getting a juicy and sloppy Roast Beef Po-Boy. Po-boys originated in New Orleans years ago and are still very popular. Everyone has their own favorites too. Seafood po-boys are perhaps the most popular but my favorite has always been a drippy, saucy, fully-dressed roast beef po-boy.
The po-boy was created during the New Orleans streetcar strike in the 1920’s. Two brothers, who had first found work as streetcar conductors, later opened a sandwich shop and made the first po-boy out of a loaf of french bread. The sandwich was made inexpensively with gravy and roast beef. When the streetcar strikers entered their shop, the brothers would call out, “Here comes another po-boy”. That name transferred to the sandwich.
To make a really great roast beef po-boy, you just need to remember a few things, First, you can’t be stingy with the roast beef. You have to pile it on.
Second, you have to decide whether or not you want your po-boy dressed or not. This is a question that can leave a tourist wide-eyed. Dressed means with lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise added.
Finally, you need to make sure you add lots and lots of gravy. When the gravy mixes with the mayonnaise, it tends to fall out of the bread and become a wonderfully sloppy, messy meal. In fact, if you don’t need more than a few napkins, you haven’t made a po-boy right.
To make slow cooker roast beef po-boys, you start with a beautiful roast, I like to use chuck roast. Instead of cooking it in the oven as I often do, I decided to cook the roast in in my new slow cooker. The TODAY show sent me a brand new All-Clad Slow Cooker a few weeks ago and I couldn’t wait to test it out. In fact, this is the first of many recipes coming up that I’ll me making in my new slow cooker. TODAY wanted to thank me for being a contributor to their new TODAY Food Club. If you haven’t visited the site yet, you really should check it out. The TODAY Food Club is filled with tons of recipes, cooking tips and a question and answer section. A really fun feature is that you can create an account and submit your own recipes to share. It’s a wonderful site and I hope you check it out.
One of the things I love about this slow cooker is that is has a 7-qt. cast aluminum insert that goes from stovetop to slow cooker to table. You can use the insert alone to cook and serve a wide variety of one-pot dishes.
Cooking a roast in a slow cooker allows the meat to cook at a low temperature very slowly. This process gives you juicy, extra tender meat. I season my roast with Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning. I grew up with Tony Chachere’s and am thankful I can find it in my Texas grocery stores. If you can’t find Tony’s, any good creole seasoning will probably do. You can even make your own. Emeril’s Essence Creole Seasoning is a great replacement and you can find his recipe here.
After I season both sides of the roast, I heat a heavy skillet over a medium-high heat and add a little oil to the pan and give it a swirl. Then, I add the beef to the skillet and sear both sides until it’s golden brown, this helps to lock in the flavor of the spices. After the beef has been seared, I transfer it over to the bowl of the slow cooker. One thing I always do is cut 5 or 6 slits in the meat and stuff each one with a garlic clove. I love the wonderful garlic flavor this imparts.
Alongside the beef, I add sliced onions, celery, carrots, beef broth, a bay leaf, salt and pepper. Simple ingredients which yield a magnificent flavor. As the beef cooks slowly, it absorbs all of the wonderful flavor of the vegetables. I cook my roast either on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours.
If you’re ever in New Orleans, there are two places I suggest you visit if you want a really great po-boy. Mother’s Restaurant is arguably the best in town. Another favorite is Parasol’s in the heart of the Irish Channel.
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Slow Cooker Roast Beef Po-Boys
- 1 pound chuck roast (2 1/2 to 3)
- 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 celery rib, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic
- 3 1/2 cups beef broth
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 crushed black pepper
- 1 large loaf of french bread (or 6 small baguettes)
- lettuce, shredded
- tomatoes, sliced
- Pat the beef dry with paper towels and season both sides with the creole seasoning.
- Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil to the pan.
- Place the roast in the pan and sear until golden brown on both sides; about 8 minutes per side. Remove the roast from the pan and transfer to a plate.
- Place the sliced onions, celery and carrots in the bowl of the slow cooker.
- Put the roast on top of the vegetables.
- Using the tip of a sharp knife, make five small slits about 1-inch deep all over the roast. Using your fingers, insert the garlic cloves as deep into the meat as possible.
- Add the beef broth, salt, pepper and bay leaf to the slow cooker and cover with the lid. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
- *TO ASSEMBLE*
- Spread a generous amount of mayonnaise on both pieces of bread. Top with shredded meat and gravy. Serve with shredded lettuce and tomatoes, if desired.
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