Serious Eats

Serious Sandwiches: Crabby Jack's Duck Po'Boy

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Photograph courtesy of Jason Perlow

Hoagies. Subs. Heroes. It doesn’t matter what you call them, they’re delicious. And every week, we honor a Serious Sandwich—or in this week’s case a serious po’boy.

The Po’Boy in New Orleans is a sacred object, like the cheesesteak in Philly, or the pastrami sandwich in New York City. There are many theories as to the origin of the name, but many agree that it dates back to the early 1920s when free sandwiches were given out to striking workers, dubbed poor boys (shortened to po’boy by the thick Louisiana accent).

And while some will argue about where the name came from, nobody argues about how it’s built. You start with a French-style baguette, pile it high with cold cuts, hot roast beef or fried seafood (usually oysters or shrimp), and “dress” it with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo. There have been some more famous variations, but when you want something truly unique, Crabby Jack’s is the place to go.

Located in Jefferson, a few miles west of New Orleans, Crabby Jack’s is Jacques-Imo chef Jack Leonardi’s casual lunchtime take-out shack. It has all the New Orleans standbys—but people in the know go straight for the duck po’boy. It’s served roast-beef style, with a generous heaping of warm duck that’s been slow cooked until it is ridiculously tender and then shredded. The po’boy is then topped with “debris," a brown gravy made from the cooking juices, studded with bits of duck meat and fat.

Don’t let the richness discourage you from getting the thing dressed. A po’boy ain’t a po’boy without lettuce, tomato, and pickles—and the mayo mixes with the gravy to make the perfect sauce. The only trick is to eat the whole thing before the “debris” soaks through the bread and turns the entire thing to mush. Somehow, for me, that's never been an issue.

Crabby Jack’s
Address: 428 Jefferson Highway, Jefferson LA 70121
Phone: 504-833-2722

About the author: As the proprietor of Midtown Lunch, Zach Brooks knows sandwiches inside and out.

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