Just one bite of this ground beef po’ boy sandwich (aka – the Godfather sandwich) makes it an instant favorite! A ground beef and olive mixture in a toasty bread loaf with melted cheese makes this sub a must for game-day menus or anytime!
“Get you a girl that can cook!” That’s what Christy, the friend who shared this recipe, posts every time she shares one of her fabulous creations on social media. And that girl can cook! From Louisiana, Christy and her family were my first inspiration to start learning and preparing dishes from Louisiana. But have you had the food though? It’s amazing.
Anyway, she posted a picture of this sandwich for a recent game day and instantly got requests for the recipe. It went on our menu that same week!
After one bite, the Godfather (mine), dubbed it an instant favorite. He claimed the remaining sandwich for lunch the next day and requested a repeat in the near future.
So I got permission to take pictures and post the recipe here for sharing and safe keeping.
Christy called it The Godfather Sandwich, and that’s what we call it. On internet searches though, The Godfather Sandwich brings up this wide variety of recipes, none of which look like this one!
My closest guess to an alternate name would be a ground beef po’boy sandwich (ground beef poor boy sandwich). It seems to fit the general category of poor boy sandwiches, which are common in the Gulf region of the United States, and absolutely delicious.
What makes this a po’boy sandwich?
From my understanding, what makes a poor boy (po’ boy) sandwich is the kind of bread used. The type of bread is a soft and fluffy baguette loaf. If you live outside the Gulf region, Italian bread is an excellent substitute.
Po’boys typically have some sort of meat or seafood filling. Some have lettuce, tomato, and a remoulade sauce or mustard, depending on the protein. But the basic idea is meat and bread.
So by that definition, I think this ground beef sub is a po’ boy because of the bread. What do you think?
Ingredients for The Godfather Sandwich…
First, you’ll need a loaf of soft bread. If you can find the soft poor boy sandwich bread, grab that. Otherwise, look for a loaf of Italian bread. You want something soft and light that will crisp just enough in the oven to hold all the filling!
The recipe is for the entire loaf. Don’t try to scale it for fewer people. Just make the whole recipe and thank me later for the leftovers! If you scale the recipe you’ll just be sad you didn’t make the whole thing, trust me.
Second, you need ground beef. It’s not exactly a ground beef po’ boy without the ground beef because, well, it’s in the name! I use a 93/7 or 90/10 depending on what’s at the store. You’ll be draining off any fat from cooking.
In the couple times I’ve made this sandwich, I’ve noticed that there isn’t really anything to drain from the 93/7 ground beef. Because I’m all for skipping steps, this is what I look for when available.
The third ingredient you’ll need is jarred olive salad. It’s the same olive salad you’d put on muffulettas. Even if you’re up North, most grocery stores typically have at least one brand of muffaletta olive salad tucked away in the olive section.
Fourth, you’ll need cheese. Provolone was the original recipe recommendation, and I concur! If you don’t like provolone, use any complimentary cheese that melts well.
That’s it! It’s beautiful how a few simple ingredients come together to make one totally epic sandwich!
You can see how easy it is in this fun little infographic:
A few recipe notes…
Before I leave you with the recipe, I want to share a few tips I learned.
Always scoop the bread! You might think it’s an okay step to skip, but if you don’t scoop, the sandwich is challenging to assemble! Since the Godfather is all about the meat, we always scoop the loaf a bit on both sides before layering the cheese.
The scooped bread is eaten at our house.
If you want to serve sandwich slices at a get together, save time and cook the beef and olive mixture in advance!
We aren’t exactly having parties now, but Godfather sandwiches were on the menu one busy weeknight for dinner. The day before, I had more time to cook, so I mixed up the filling and stored it in the refrigerator.
The next day, I assembled the sandwich with my cooked filling and baked! It took about 3-5 extra minutes for baking, but the final result was just as good as making everything at the same time!
Finally, leftovers are phenomenal! This sandwich reheats just fine in the office microwave per the Godfather, but reheating in a toaster oven keeps that freshly-toasted crunch on the bread.
I hope you enjoy this recipe, darlings! I’m so grateful to have friends that can cook!
p.s. – If you come across this recipe while looking for menu inspiration for your Mardi Gras celebration, be sure to visit my king cake recipe. People will ask which bakery you had it flown in from!
- 1 large Italian or French bread loaf (see notes)
- 1 pound lean ground beef (see notes)
- 1 16-ounce jar olive salad mix (see notes)
- 8 slices provolone cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Optional: 1 tablespoon melted butter for brushing the loaf
- Preheat your oven to 425 F and place a sheet of aluminum foil on a rimmed baking sheet.
- In a large skillet, cook the ground beef, seasoned with salt and ground pepper, over medium heat until browned.
- Drain the oil from your jar of olive mix and pour all the olives into your ground beef. Cook another 3-5 minutes until heated through. Set aside.
- Cut your loaf of bread in half, horizontally, and hollow out each side.
- Line each half with 4 slices of provolone cheese, pressing the cheese into the hollowed-out bread.
- Fill each half of the bread with as much of the ground beef filling as you can, then press the two halves together.
- You probably could use a crusty loaf for this sandwich if you'd prefer, but I recommend looking for a large, soft loaf of bread as it will absorb the flavors of the filling best, and be easier to eat.
- The exact amount of beef varies. I've used between a pound to a pound and a half. Any filling that doesn't fit into the loaf is usually eaten pretty quickly.
- I typically use a 93/7 ground beef, but your preferred percentage will do. If you have higher fat ground beef, use a little over a pound to account for shrinkage after cooking and the fat you'll drain. If you'd like to avoid ground beef altogether, you may substitute with a ground chicken or turkey, but the final result will taste a little different.
- Provolone is our preferred cheese for this sandwich, but any cheese you like that melts well will do beautifully!
- Look for olive salad labeled for use in muffuletta sandwiches. You can find it in the olive section at any grocery store in either 16 or 32-ounce jars. If for some reason you can't find it, you can order online. It's usually far less expensive at your local grocery store.
- Brushing the loaf with butter is optional. My friend who gave me the recipe does it, but I forgot the second time I made it and nobody really noticed. It does make for a prettier brown top on the loaf of bread.
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