Clarence & Lefty's Roast Beef Po-boy Recipe
Don Roberts, whose stepgrandfather 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.
After Clarence died in 1972, Lefty retired. Terms and a price were agreed upon, and Roberts, at around age 19, became the owner. He ran the restaurant from 1972 to 1977. When he got engaged to be married, he sold it to Fat Ron's, a company that had run delis in California. It lasted another 18 months or so.
"It was basically a neighborhood hangout spot," Roberts said. "They started serving po-boys and short-order food, and the reputation of the roast beef grew and grew.
"There were times when I remember on Friday and Saturday nights you couldn't get in the place, it was so crowded."
It was tiny, with only six tables, but it did a lot of take-out business. Roberts said they sold roughly 600 po-boys on Fridays and another 600 on Saturdays. "People would pull up and have a beer and a sandwich and had a good old time."
The recipe everyone wants, of course, is the one for the roast beef. He thinks maybe it was Lefty's recipe.
It takes two days to make. For home use, the amounts are given in parentheses.
Roberts 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.
Clarence and Lefty's Roast Beef for Po-Boys
(Note: This is a recipe for restaurant portions; see the portion in parenthesis for making this at home.)
50 to 60 pounds (5 pounds) top round roast beef
Many toes of garlic, peeled
30 ounces (¾ cup) Horseshoe brand barbecue sauce
20 ounces (½ cup) Horseshoe brand worcestershire sauce
10 ounces rock salt (2 tablespoons)
2 gallons (3 ¼ 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 (1½ cups) 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 (1½ cups) of water into the bottom of the pan. Return to oven and roast another 1½ hours, for a total of 3½ 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.
Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune