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JayPo’s Penalty Boxed Lunch: The Polish Boy

French Fries on a sandwich? I don’t know...

Polish Boy... Photo by Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Welcome to JayPo’s Penalty Boxed Lunch where we explore food from around the country! This week’s fourth official entry comes from the great state of Ohio, which draws heavy on the polish/Midwest influences with their...Polish Boy sandwich!

Food History!

While this might this particular sandwich is more local to Cleveland, I’m sure it can be found all around the state? Please don’t quote me on that though. If there is another popular Ohio-specific sandwich, drop it in the comments. The Polish Boy however is constructed with a kielbasa on a bun, covered in fries, coleslaw and BBQ sauce. Yes, this is giving some real Pittsburgh vibes.

How I Made It!

As noted in the tweet below, I stopped by a local Polish Deli to pick up some homemade kielbasa. Like most ethnic delis, I didn’t just stop there and also took home some homemade pirogi among other things. From there it was topped with a homemade mayo-based slaw, shoe-string french fries and topped separately with a spicy BBQ sauce from a local New Orleans company and Hank’s Hot Sauce (located out of Sea Isle City, NJ). This turned out great! Kielbasa is an underrated sausage and this one had the perfect snap to go with the flavor. I might be in the minority though and don’t really see a need for french fries on a sandwich.

What Does a Local Think? (Thanks to Evan Dammarell of Fear the Sword!)

Do you think the Polish Boy represents your state accurately?

I think the Polish Boy doesn’t fully represent the state of Ohio since Cincinnati’s claim to fame is chili on spaghetti. But, for Cleveland, it’s a classic dish. Similarly to how Pittsburghians serve french fries and coleslaw on their sandwiches, Clevelanders slap it on their kielbasa with a little barbecue sauce and fixings. Don’t knock it until you try it and when you do, it’ll change everything.

How do you make your Polish Boy?

I typically make my polish boy the classic way: kielbasa, fries, coleslaw, barbecue sauce and of course a bun. But, if you have the time, toasting the bun and deep frying the kielbasa takes this dish to another level. Just make sure you have some antacids handy!

How did I do?

I think you did great in the grand scheme of things of a Polish Boy! I never thought of using hot sauce but that’s definitely something I want to explore now that I’ve seen it.

Where do you order your favorite Polish Boy?

I’d say Hot Sauce Williams would be the best place to go but, unfortunately, they’re permanently closed. Nowadays, my go-to is Seti’s Polish Boys and their food truck. I mean, come on! It’s literally in their name you know it’s gotta be good. And boy, is it good.

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