Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

By pete, Apr 23, 2016 | | |

  1. On a number of the cooking sites and forums I belong to, the topic often comes up about great local and regional sandwiches. Sandwiches that always get mentioned are Muffulettas (New Orleans), Philly Cheesesteaks, Kentucky Hot Browns, Chicago style Hot Dogs, Italian Beefs, Brats, along with some lesser known sandwiches. But there always seems to be one missing from this list, and that is the Pork Tenderloin Sandwich. Found sporadically around the Midwest, this sandwich reaches its apex in Iowa and in central Indiana. I remember, as a kid, coming back to Indiana (both my parents were born there, as was I, before we moved out East) and being treated to this regional delight. What fascinated me, at the time, was how big the sandwich was. And by big, I mean huge. While served on a standard sized hamburger bun, the meat in a Pork Tenderloin Sandwich is pounded into a thin disk about the size of an average dinner plate!

    The Pork Tenderloin Sandwich, of Indiana, is a simple affair. Pork tenderloin, or sometimes pork loin, is pounded thin, dipped in seasoned flour, egg wash and then breadcrumbs before being deep fried. It is then placed on a bun and served, most often, with lettuce, tomato, onion and mustard. My grandfather, from what I remember, like any self respecting Old Timer, would forgo the tomato and once home with the sandwiches, would slice up some of his own homegrown, sun ripened tomatoes to place on top.

    There’s a chain of burger joints, up here in Wisconsin, that serve a pork tenderloin sandwich, but it just seems to lose something when the pork “patty” is massed produced and frozen. It just can’t compare with the real deal, freshly cut, pounded and still dripping with hot oil as it is placed on the bun.

    I encourage everyone to, not only make this simple recipe, but to tout the joys of the Pork Tenderloin Sandwich. I want to see it take its rightful place, listed among the great sandwiches of our nation.

    Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

    makes 4 sandwiches

    1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound) or 1 pound of pork loin
    3/4 cup flour
    1/4 tsp. garlic powder
    3 eggs
    1 Tbsp. water
    1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
    vegetable oil

    Remove all the fat and silverskin from the tenderloin.

    Cut into 4 portions, each weighing 4-5 ounces. Place 1 portion, cut side down, between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound until about 1/4″ thick and about 8″ in diameter or more.

    Season the flour with salt, pepper and the garlic powder. Make an egg wash by beating the eggs with the water until well mixed. Fill a large skillet (at least 10-12″ in diameter) with about 1 1/2 – 2″ of oil. Preheat to 350°F. Bread the tenderloins by first dredging them in the flour, then dipping in the egg wash and then coating in breadcrumbs. Allow to rest for about 4-5 minutes to allow the breading a chance to stick.

    One at a time, fry the tenderloins until golden brown on both sides and cooked all the way through, about 3 minutes on each side. Drain and season with salt while still hot.

    Place in a 150°F oven to keep warm as you fry up the remainder. When done place on burger buns and serve with the condiments of your choice.

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  1. pete
    @Planethoff I love the idea of using the dry stuffing mix as breading.  I am going to have to try that the next time I make them!!!
  2. jimyra
    The local grocery store sells pork cube steaks as a cheap alternative to beef.  They make a good sandwich.  I have never seen one one a menu in the southeast.
  3. teamfat
    I lived in Indianapolis during my high school years, and I seem to recall the Steak & Shakes had this on the menu.
  4. planethoff
    Funny to see this now.  Just last weekend was my friend's birthday and he is a transplant from Indiana.  He asked his girlfriend to make "Hoosier Pork Sandwiches" for his party to which she complied.  They were quite tasty, I must say.  However she did them a little different.  She marinated them in buttermilk and used crushed ritz crackers for breading.  She actually ran out of crackers mid way through the pork and thinking on the fly used dry stuffing mix for the rest.  Most people thought the ones made with the stuffing were better.  I agreed.
  5. pete
    @chefbuba It may not be traditional but if it sells then who really cares?!  I often put ketchup on my brats and/or hot dogs, when I make Philly Cheesesteaks I cook my steak with onions, etc.  In other words, there are a lot worse things that you can do to a "traditional" sandwich then dress it wrong.
  6. pete
    @Nicko I didn't see them in northern Indiana all that often, but in central Indiana you can find them at a lot of places.  My grandfather used to take me with him, when we came to visit from the East Coast, to pick up sandwiches to bring home.  I don't remember the name of the place, but that is what they specialized in.  They had a few other things on the menu but not much.  What I really remember, as that young kid, is how huge these things were.  They had to be almost as large around as my head!!!!
  7. chefbuba
    Out here in the West, it is rarely seen. I do one as a special from time to time using 50/50 panko & bread crumbs.  Instead of the traditional burger bun, I use a toasted hoagie roll dressed with mayo, lettuce ,tomato & onion and a liberal dousing of Frank's wing sauce.
    Not a traditional sandwich, for which I was chastised in a forum by BPT purists for even offering anything but meat on wheat, but it sells so I go with it.
  8. nicko
    Man does this bring back some memories. In Indiana where my Mom is from we used to go to the local drive in Dor-tee's Drive In and get a pork tenderloin sandwhich her favorite. 
  9. berndy
    When I was a little boy growing up I Germany right after WW!! and just about everything was rationed there was a Schweine-Schitzel  Sandwich made from Pork Butt and the more fat if had the more it was said to be really tasty .  
  10. pete
    Up here in Wisconsin I do.  I'm pretty sure they were often included on ones in Indiana also, but I can't clearly remember.