This iconic Midwest crispy pork tenderloin sandwich is easier to make than you think! For optimum results, make sure to marinade the pounded pork in the buttermilk for at least 2 to 3 hours. But even if you only have an hour for the pork to sit in the buttermilk, the pork tenderloin will benefit from the acidified liquid. Use whatever vegetable oil that you have on hand, though my preference is peanut oil, rice brand oil, avocado oil and corn oil for their relatively neutral flavor and high smoke point.
Course brunch, dinner, lunch, Main Course
Keyword fried, pork, sandwich
Prep Time 10minutes
Cook Time 16minutes
Rest time 2hours
candy thermometer (recommended)
1 1/2poundspork tenderloinnot pork loin
1cupbuttermilksee substitution above
1cupall-purpose flour140 g
3cupsfresh bread crumbssee note above
2 1/2teaspoonskosher saltdivided
2 1/2teaspoonsblack pepperdivided
Vegetable oilsee headnote for recommendations
Hamburger or bread buns
Cut the pork tenderloin lengthwise into 4 equal pieces.
Take one piece and partially cut it horizontally, leaving about 3/4-inch still attached. Open the piece so it lays flat, like a book.
Take a piece of plastic wrap, lay it over the pork and then pound the piece flat with a meat mallet or a heavy skillet, until it is about 1/2-inch thick and about 8 to 10 inches long. Repeat with the remaining 3 pieces of pork.
Combine the buttermilk, salt, pepper, garlic, onion, paprika and cayenne into a glass measuring cup.
Place the pork in a 1-gallon resealable Ziploc bag, then pour the marinade into the bag. Seal it and then “massage” it until all four pieces of flatten pork are properly coated. Refrigerate for at least an hour (though 2 to 3 hours is optimum).
Once the pork is ready, place the flour in a large shallow dish (I like to use a pie pan or small casserole baking pan). Place the eggs in a second shallow dish. And place the bread crumbs in a third shallow dish or baking pan. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper in the flour and in the bread crumbs. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper in the eggs. Remove one piece of pork from the plastic bag and place it in the flour, turning it to coat completely.
Beat the eggs until slightly frothy. Move the pork to the egg dish and turn it to coat.
Then place the pork in the bread crumbs, pressing firmly on the pork to adhere the bread crumbs to it, then flipping to make sure the other side is coated as well. Move the coated pork to a rimmed baking sheet and repeat with the remaining 3 pieces of pork.
When the pork is ready to be cooked, place a wire cooling rack on a rimmed baking sheet. In a large saute pan (at least 10-inches wide) pour enough oil to come up 1/2-inch. Heat the oil until it is 350°F. If you don’t have candy/deep frying thermometer, place a 1-inch square bread cube in the oil. If it turns golden brown in 60 seconds, it is at the right temperature.Pick up one piece of pork and place it in the oil. Put one side of the pork in the oil, then let go gently, allowing the pork to gently slide into the hot oil. Do not drop the pork from a distance because that will cause the oil to splash and potentially burn you. Just make sure part of the pork is in the oil and then let go.
Cook the pork about 2 minutes on each side, or until it is deep golden brown and the center of the pork reads 145°F. Move the pork to the wire rack and then repeat with the remaining pork. Serve on a hamburger bun with the fixings of your choice (like lettuce, tomato, red onion and condiments)