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Course: Mains
Keyword: New Orleans, Oyster Po Boy, Seafood, Shellfish

Oyster Poor Boy

Fried Oyster Poor Boys on buns with Iceberg Slaw
ACTIVE TIME: 30 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 50 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
The poor boy, which may actually be the original submarine sandwich, is simplicity itself: A soft French loaf, a meat filling which can be roast beef, shrimp or dipped and dredged oysters — the reigning champ. And that’s it, unless you want it “dressed,” which in New Orleans means lettuce, tomato, mayo and the like.
Here's how I do it at home.
This recipe first appeared in Season 1 of Good Eats: The Return.
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  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 24 farm-raised oysters, shucked
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoon dill pickle brine
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sumac
  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce, cut into 1/2-inch ribbons
  • 1 quart peanut oil
  • 3/4 cup finely ground white cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 6-8 inch banh mi or French bread rolls

Specialized Hardware

Sheet pan with a rack
6-quart Dutch oven
Deep-fry thermometer
Fried Oyster Poor Boys on buns with Iceberg Slaw
ACTIVE TIME: 30 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 50 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


  • Combine the buttermilk and 2 teaspoons of hot sauce in a small bowl. Add the oysters and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • While the oysters are soaking, whisk the mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, the remaining tablespoon of hot sauce, pickle brine, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, parsley, black pepper, cayenne, garlic powder and sumac together in a medium mixing bowl. Add the iceberg lettuce and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Heat the peanut oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over high heat until it reaches 350 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer. Then lower the heat to slowly bring the oil up to 375 degrees F.
  • Meanwhile, combine the cornmeal, panko, the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and nutmeg in a medium bowl
  • Remove each oyster from the marinade and shake off the excess moisture. Dredge in the cornmeal mixture, then move to a cooling rack set over a half-sheet pan. Allow the oysters to sit for several minutes afterwards to allow the breading to set.
  • Transfer 6 oysters at a time to the hot oil and fry until golden brown, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. (Watch your thermometer because the introduction of cold food will likely pull the temperature down a bit.)
  • Carefully transport the fried oysters to a clean cooling rack. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Bring the oil back to 370 to 375 degrees F and repeat with the remaining oysters.
  • Split the rolls in half lengthwise. Tear out a bit of bread from the center of each roll, creating a trough. (If you wish, lightly toast the rolls in a 375 degrees F oven for 3 minutes.)
  • Line the bottom of your roll with slaw and top with 5 to 6 oysters.
  • Consume. Notice how the slaw is kind of gooshy (in a good way) and how that contrasts with the crunch of the oysters. Pulling some of the bread out of the middle will help the sandwich stay together, but you're still going to need a roll of paper towels to eat this thing.
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