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One way to start a really good argument in New Orleans is to
ask a group of
locals about the origin of the po-boy. (If you're wondering about
sure to cause some sparks to fly, try
and the clincher: "What's the difference between Cajun and
There are those who insist that the po-boy originated at Clarence and Lefty's.
For example from
La Vida JazzFest):
"This leads, of course, to a general round
table discussion of po’ boys in general, ingredients in particular, whether to eat dressed or undressed
(no, not as in naked, but as in condiments), and other mat-
ters of great
import. Eventually, the gentleman of the French fry po’ boy asks if
are familiar with the origin of the po’ boy. I tell him I think I am, but
love to be enlightened nonetheless...
'Well it happened because of the strike…'
'Oh, I thought it was when they were working on the canal…'
'No, it was the bus strike, streetcar strike, back in the 1920s.
At Clarence and Lefty’s…'
'Not Martin Brothers' Grocery?'
'Clarence and Lefty’s. The name came to be because they would say,
‘Here comes another ‘po boy…’ ”
I had been told by someone who spoke with relative authority that he KNEW
the po-boy originated at Martin Brothers Grocery.
"Were you there?"
"Well, hell no, but neither were you!"
See what I mean...
Ian McNulty makes a
very good case for Clovis and Benjamin Martin.
You decide. In any case, they are some kind of scrumptious!
Clarence and Lefty's
Roast Beef for Po-Boys
by Judy Walker
The Times-Picayune, New Orleans LA
"Don Roberts, whose step grandfather was Clarence Scheeler of Clarence & Lefty's, shared the recipe for Roast Beef Po-Boys as served in the iconic Almonaster Ave. dive that opened in 1932 and closed in 1978. He also gave directions for how the restaurant's hamburger steaks, shrimp salad and fish fry were made.
Roberts grew up at Clarence and Lefty's, and owned it for five years after Clarence died and
Lefty retired. Roberts thinks maybe the roast beef recipe came from Lefty.
It takes two days to make. For home use, the amounts are given in parentheses.
says he has no idea if Horseshoe barbecue sauce is still made; he hasn't seen it
in years. At home, he uses Kraft original. As for the rock salt, Morton's kosher
salt is crushed rock salt."
50 to 60 pounds (5 pounds)
top round roast beef
Many toes of garlic, peeled
30 ounces (3/4 cup) Horseshoe brand
20 ounces (1/2cup) Horseshoe brand
10 ounces rock salt (2 tablespoons)
2 gallons (3 1/4 cups) water
Flour for roux
Cut beef into about 10 pieces. Put several toes of garlic into each piece, making a hole in the meat with a knife and inserting the garlic cloves. Put beef into an industrial-size baking pan.
Pour on the barbecue sauce, the worcestershire sauce and the rock salt.
Pour 1 gallon (1 1/2cups) water into the bottom of the pan. Roast at 375 degrees for 2 hours.
Remove pan from oven and turn the meat over. Pour another gallon (1 1/2
cups) of water into the bottom of the pan. Return to oven and roast another
1 1/2 hours, for a total of 3 1/2 hours cooking time.
Remove meat and allow to cool. Refrigerate beef. Pour the broth in the pan into gallon (quart) jars.
The next day, slice meat on a slicing machine.
To make gravy, remove the fat that has accumulated on top of the broth. Melt it and combine it with an equal amount of flour to make a roux. Add
the rest of the broth to the roux to make gravy.
Warm roast slices in the gravy.
The po-boys were served dressed with mayo, lettuce, tomato and an
optional pickle, on bread from Alois J. Binder, Roberts said.
Featured Archive Recipes:
New Orleans Po-Boys
Chicago-Style Italian Beef Sandwiches
French Quarter Muffuletta
Garlic Meatball Po-Boy (Emeril)
Italian Sausage Grinder
Texas Beef Brisket
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