The second annual Poboy Fest on Oak Stree in Carrollton (a neighborhood of Uptown New Orleans) yesterday featured dozens of varieties of our native sandwich. Pascale’s Manale restaurant dished up a barbecued shrimp poboy, bursting with juicy shrimp stuffed into a hollowed-out nose end of a poboy loaf. I sampled hot sausage, chicken sausage with an onion & mushroom ragout (kudos to the Crescent City Pie & Sausage guys for using Binder’s french bread), hamburger w/applewood smoked bacon, barbecued pulled pork, and cochon du lait poboys, as well as hazelnut and chocolate gelato from Gelato Pazzo.
Lest you think I’m a glutton, most vendors sold $2-$5 “sample” size mini poboys, allowing for a greater variety of tastes–a definite improvement since last year’s inaugural event.
Traditionally, cochon du lait is a smallish pig, roasted skin-on over or in front of an open fire; it delivers the platonian ideal of crispy skin and juicy, succulent meat. Like lechon in the Philippines, or a shiny, cracklin-skinned movie pig with an apple tucked inside its mouth. It isn’t wet-cooked, pulled pork, nor is it a slow-cooked pork butt. Where I’m from, slow-cooked pork seasoned simply and self-basted in its own rendering fat is another dish entirely: it’s called routee (a departure from the more orthodox French spelling of roti).
Ah, well, language is a living thing….too bad that the city folks sucking down $7 cochon du lait poboys don’t know the true joys of the real thing. If you’d like to see how cochon du lait is really made, check out this website, complete with photos & recipes.