“PO' BOYS are a very basic staple in our deli. They can be either meat or seafood, and when it's seafood, 99 percent of the time it's fried with a cornmeal batter. Anything from the Gulf is great on a Po' Boy — fried shrimp, fried oysters, soft shell crabs, even a crab cake. Shredded lettuce, tomatoes and a remoulade or tartar sauce make for a great Po' Boy.
— PHILLIP MITCHELL, executive chef, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Perkingston, MS
“WE'RE PARTICULAR about the bread in New Orleans. I grew up here, and we always had Po' Boy bread in the kitchen. My mother would make French toast out of it. There are only two old bakeries here that make the bread now.
“The bread has to have a paper thin, shattering crust. It's similar to ciabatta, but less chewy. It has an open, airy interior, perfect for sopping up the flavors.
“After you get the bread right, the rules loosen up a bit. Every establishment customizes their Po' Boy, and if it's good, they build a following based on their signature sandwich. Shellfish Po' Boys can be slathered with mayo or tartar sauce. Coleslaw can be good as a topping. It's most often fried shrimp or oysters, but you could barbecue, too.
“In my opinion, if you're in New Orleans, the best Po' Boys to try are at Mother's, Parkway Bakery and Parran's.”
— JON PETRIE, assistant professor, Delgado Community College, New Orleans, LA