It was homecoming week at the University of Iowa, and a rousing victory by the Hawkeyes over Michigan was washed down with an Iowa staple, breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches. We made some improvements over our original recipe, which we've shared below. Without question, this was the best pork tenderloin sandwich I've ever made. This serves about 6-8, depending on how many people double up and is best served with Baconnaise, Ranch Dressing, or ketchup/pickles/onions/lettuce.
Bacon Salt Marinated and Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches
- 2-3 pork tenderloins (a total of 3 lbs)
- Hamburger buns
- 1 gallon canola oil if deep frying
For the marinade:
- 1 quart buttermilk
- 2 whole eggs
- 1/4 cup of white flour
- 3 tablespoons any flavor of Bacon Salt (we used Applewood and highly recommend this)
- 1 or 2 cloves of freshly chopped garlic
For the breading:
- 1 package of Japanese (panko) bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup yellow corn meal (fine ground - if you use medium or coarse grinds, it will not work)
- 1/8 cup corn flour (if you can find it - this is optional)
- 1/8 cup white breadcrumbs
- 1/8 cup flour
- 2 tablespoons Bacon Salt (again, we used Applewood)
To get the right cut of meat, tell your butcher/meat counter manager that you're making breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches and ask him/her to butterfly 3 lbs of pork tenderloins and, if possible, run it through a tenderizer to flatten it out. The best pork tenderloin sandwiches are VERY thin, so when you get home dredge the tenderloins in flour so they don't stick and place them on a cutting board. Cover them in plastic wrap on the top, and then use the flat side of a meat mallet or hammer to flatten them until they are as thin as you can make them without making holes in them. Then cut the flattened tenderloins into approximately 5" x 6-8" sections, which should come out to approximately 4-8 ounces each.
Marinate the tenderloins overnight in the buttermilk marinade mixture.
These sandwiches can be prepared in a pan in 1/4 - 1/2" of canola/vegetable oil or in a deep fryer - each of which are equally delicious. If you're using a deep fryer, preheat a deep fryer to 360 degrees F. If you're using a frying pan, heat to medium high.
Then take the tenderloins out of the marinade and let the excess marinade drip off. Dredge them in the breading mixture, and press the breading into the tenderloin. Once the pan or deep fryer is hot enough - it's important not to throw them in before the right temperature is reached - add 1-2 of the breaded tenderloins and fry approximately 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Watch the temperature closely to make sure that the tenderloins are not burning or cooking too fast.