Breaded in crushed oyster crackers and fried, this Iowa Pork Tenderloin Sandwich is extra crispy on the outside and ultra juicy on the inside.
Why you'll love this recipe
Similar to a Pork Schnitzel, this Midwestern delicacy consists of pounded out pork tenderloin, dredged in seasonings, eggs, and crushed oyster crackers, and fried to crispy, golden perfection. Then, we take it a step further and sandwich it between two buns and add all the fixins. YUM.
Did I mention it takes less than 30 minutes to make??
If y'all have never had the chance to try this sandwich, you are missing out. Here in Iowa, these sandwiches are generally found in bars and a few restaurants. In my opinion, it tastes so much better homemade- and it's super easy!
Pork tenderloin origin
So many great foods have originated in the Midwest. Tator Tot Casserole, Buckeyes, and of course: the Pork Tenderloin Sandwich. This comforting sandwich is said to have come from Nick's Kitchen in Indiana- created in 1904. Thank you, Nick!
The ingredients for this breaded tenderloin are quite simple and easy to find. Here's what you will need:
- Pork tenderloin (usually found in a two-pack)
- Oyster crackers
- Garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
Heat a large deep fryer to 375 degrees.
Slice the pork tenderloin completely in half crosswise. Slit the tenderloin lengthwise down the center. Do not cut all the way through, but just enough to open it like a book.
Place the butterflied pork tenderloin between two pieces of parchment paper. Pound the pork loin until it is ⅓-inch thick.
Create a dipping station with three large bowls (or dishes). In the first bowl, add the flour, salt, garlic, paprika, and pepper. Add the eggs and whisk them up in the second bowl. In the last bowl, add the crushed oyster crackers.
Dredge the first tenderloin into the seasonings and shake off the excess. Next, dip into the eggs and allow the excess to drip off. Finally, firmly press the tenderloin into the crushed oyster crackers.
Repeat with the second tenderloin.
Carefully place the breaded tenderloin into the preheated fryer. Fry for about three minutes, flip, and fry for another two to three minutes, or until golden brown.
Repeat with the remaining tenderloin. Transfer to a cooling rack and build your sandwich!
My favorite breading has to be crushed oyster crackers. It's also delicious on Steak Fingers. The breading turns out golden and crispy- and downright delicious!
Alternatively, crushed saltine crackers can be substituted for the same delicious crunch.
Are you wondering what delicious topping can go on a breaded pork tenderloin sandwich?
Whenever I craft these sandwiches, I like to stick to the classics: mustard, white onion, and lettuce. So simple and so delicious!
If you're feeling adventurous, give these condiments a try: pickles, tomato, purple onion, and mayonnaise.
Tips & tricks
Substitute saltine crackers. Swap out the crushed oyster crackers with two cups of crushed saltine crackers (should be about 56 crackers).
Pound the pork loin until it is ⅓" thick. Try to get this as even as possible. If some parts are too thick or too thin, it may not cook correctly.
Make smaller tenderloins. These tenderloins are huge. If you want to make smaller sandwiches, cut the pork loin crosswise into thirds (3 sandwiches) or fourths (4 sandwiches).
- Large Deep Fryer. If you're making large tenderloin patties, you'll need a large deep fryer. This one works so well for this recipe, as well as Beer Battered Onion Rings and Boneless Hot Honey Wings.
Storing and reheating
As with most fried foods, fresh is best! If you have leftovers, store the cooled fried tenderloin (patty only) in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
To reheat a pork tenderloin patty, bake it for 10 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
Sandwich side dishes
Iowa Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
- 1 lb pork tenderloin
- ½ c flour
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 eggs
- 2 c crushed oyster crackers
- 2 hamburger buns
- Heat a large deep fryer to 375 degrees.
- Slice the pork tenderloin completely in half crosswise. Slit the tenderloin lengthwise. Don’t cut all the way through, but just enough to open it like a book.
- Place the butterflied pork tenderloin between two pieces of parchment paper. Pound the pork loin until it is ⅓” thick.
- With three large bowls (or dishes), create a dipping station. In the first bowl, add the flour, salt, garlic, paprika, and pepper. In the second bowl, add the eggs and whisk them. In the last bowl, add the crushed oyster crackers.
- Dredge the tenderloin into the seasonings and shake off the excess. Next, dip into the eggs and allow the excess to drip off. Finally, firmly press into the crushed oyster crackers. Repeat with the second tenderloin.
- Carefully place the breaded tenderloin into the preheated fryer. Fry for about 3 minutes, flip, and fry for another 2 to 3minutes, or until golden brown.
- Repeat with the remaining tenderloin. Transfer to a cooling rack and build your sandwich!
The nutritional information provided is only an estimate. For accurate results, we recommend calculating the nutritional information based on the ingredients and brands you use.
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