Fried Shrimp Po’ Boy Sandwich (loaded with pickles and pickle remoulade)


I had been having a serious craving for a Po’ Boy sandwich recently, so I decided to go full force at it, including making my own remoulade (the accompanying sauce/dressing) and being sure to include lots of my homemade garlic dill pickles in both the sandwich and the remoulade.

For the benefit of anyone unfamiliar with this New Orleans & Louisiana icon, I will give a brief rundown of the history. For everyone else who’s ready to get to cooking, just scroll down to the recipe! The remoulade recipe is linked above and below.

There is no state in the US more influenced by French culture and cuisine than Louisiana. So it’s not surprising that sandwich shops were opening up in the early 20th century using baguette as the bread. And this is really the essence of the original sandwich; it needed to have good, long, French-style bread.

All kinds of New Orleans sandwich shops, including and especially of two brothers – Benny and Clovis Martin – had already been gaining local popularity with thick baguette sandwiches incorporating all manner of ingredients, many of which we’d be surprised by today, from juicy roast beef, to baked ham & cheese, meatballs, duck, French fries, boudin, and more. Some had offerings such as fried catfish, alligator, and all kinds of seafood and combinations thereof.

Nowadays, the sandwich is probably most associated with fried seafood such as shrimp, crabs, crawfish, oysters, or combinations of these, and this probably has to do with the popularity of fried oyster sandwiches as early as the late 19th century, even before the days of Benny & Clovis Martin. They were called “oyster loaves,” which is a term still sometimes used. (A fried oyster and shrimp sandwich, called a Peacemaker, was also already known before the 20th century and the phrase “Po’ Boy.”)

Indeed, nowadays it’s almost assumed Po’ Boys will have some kind of fried seafood (along with the French-inspired New Orleans-style remoulade sauce), so this variant of the sandwich is what has become the dominant one, although non-seafood ingredients like chicken fingers can be popular too.

If sandwiches like this already existed before the Po’ Boy, how did it get its name?

Benny & Clovis Martin had been streetcar conductors before their days as restauranteurs. The Martins created their eatery in 1921, but it was not until 1929 that the bakery of John Gendusa first baked the bread to be used for their now iconic sandwich. In 1929, during a long strike that had been taking place against the streetcar company for which they once worked, the Martin brothers, as they later claimed, served their former colleagues free sandwiches. The Martins relayed this information when they were interviewed much later – in 1969 when the sandwich had already become a living legend – regarding its origins.

Benny Martin reminisced that they jokingly referred to an incoming diner as “another poor boy” if he was one of the streetcar strikers. However, some historians have considered this telling a little dubious, since the Martins never mentioned the story before this interview and others claimed that in prior years the brothers themselves simply said the sandwich was meant for poor local laborers.

And lastly – why are they pronounced “Po’ Boys?” The reason today it is simply referred to as “Po'” has to do with the iconic and distinct (“non-rhotic”) southern accent of New Orleans natives.

Congratulations! You are now quite a Po’ Boy aficianado. Now let’s have a go at the recipe and then you’ll really be a world class Po’ Boy expert.

Yield: A 1 lb. bag of large shrimp will give around three or four 5″-6″ sandwiches depending on how loaded you want them. The recipe below is based on a 1/2 lb. of shrimp. If using very large shrimp such as jumbo size, they may be cut into smaller pieces as well, depending on your preferences and needs.


  • Knife & cutting board
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Medium/large mixing bowl
  • Large ziptop bag to fit flour mix and all shrimp (e.g. 1 gallon)
  • Measuring cups & spoons’
  • Whisk
  • Garlic press (suggested)
  • Tongs or kitchen gloves (suggested)
  • Plate or bowl to place battered/floured shrimp
  • Deep frying pan or deep fryer
  • Food thermometer (suggested)


For the sandwich:

  • Baguette or hoagie bread (or comparable), cut along the side
  • Thin tomato slices (~4-5 per sandwich)
  • Thin red onion slices or diced (optional)
  • Lettuce (Iceberg or Romaine is common but I opted for arugula in the featured photos; feel free to dress lettuce with a little olive oil and lemon juice)
  • Pickles of choice (optional)
  • Remoulade (my recipe here or it can be purchased)

For the fried shrimp:

  • 1/2 lb. shrimp, thawed, shelled, and deveined
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 TBSP beer (e.g. pale lager or pilsner recommended); sub with soda water if desired
  • 1 TBSP Cajun seasoning (or Creole seasoning, or a mix)
  • 1 TBSP Creole mustard (or Dijon, or even yellow mustard)
  • 1 TBSP Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Optional: 1 tsp Cayenne powder if you prefer a stronger kick
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (95g)
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal (sub with flour as needed) (40g)
  • 1 tsp corn starch (recommended)
  • Neutral cooking oil (such as canola, peanut oil, corn or sunflower oil) sufficient to fill pan 1/3″ to 1/2″
  • Optional: lemon wedge to squeeze juice on shrimp just before serving


1.) Start by prepping all the add-ons to the sandwich, including slicing the tomato, onion, and pickles, and chopping the lettuce. Omit or add items (such as hot pepper slices) depending on your personal preference.

2.) Beat the egg and add to the mixing bowl. Prepare and add the other ingredients to the bowl, not including the flour, cornmeal, or cornstarch. Whisk the ingredients together well and evenly, then add the shrimp and mix to cover all the shrimp. Place in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.

3.) Meanwhile, in the large ziptop bag, add the flour, cornmeal, and cornstarch and mix well. After the allotted time, remove shrimp with tongs or kitchen gloves one at a time from the egg mixture, giving a little shake to remove excess liquid, and place in the flour bag. Turn well in the bag until the shrimp is completely coated, then transfer to a clean plate or bowl. Repeat the process until all the shrimp are coated. (Alternately, it’s okay to place all the shrimp in the bag at once but just be sure they all get evenly and completely coated.)

4.) Place plate or bowl of shrimp in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes or the freezer for around 5 minutes. This will help ensure the coating stays adhered to the shrimp once placed in the hot oil.

5.) If desired, now is a good time to toast or prepare the bread. (It can be served untoasted at room temp if preferred, but I like to cut open the baguette, apply a layer of butter to both sides and toast it in a pan, buttered-side down for a few minutes, until golden and very slightly charred.)

6.) Meanwhile, a couple minutes before frying the shrimp, preheat the oil in the pan and heat on high until it reaches of temperature of 350F. If without a thermometer, the oil should be hot enough that the shrimp will immediately begin bubbling when placed in. Cook time depends on the size of the shrimp, but usually a minute or two per side is sufficient. Slightly reduce the heat if the shrimp crust is browning too rapidly. (They should appear golden and crisp but not charred.)

7.) Remove from the pan and place on paper towels on a plate to absorb excess oil and cool a bit.

8.) Meanwhile, assemble the sandwich with your desired ingredients. Start by generously adding the remoulade to one or both sides of the bread. Some prefer to place all veggie add-ons on the bottom, and top off with the shrimp. Others place the tomatoes atop the shrimp. The featured photos show everything layered under the shrimp but I kept the pickles on the other side, thinking it would accentuate out their flavor more. You may also want to add an extra helping of remoulade or Louisiana hot sauce directly to the shrimp (along with the a good spritz of lemon juice) when serving.

Whatever you choose, I hope you love it and hope you’ll post it at one of my two Facebook groups!

Rate My Sandwich

Insane in the Brine: Fermenting, Pickling, Hot Sauce, and More! (make sure it has some pickles or fermented items on the sandwich for this group!)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *