Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

Posted by johngl

Back in the olden days, when I was in my late teens and lived in Des Moines, IA, there were these two drive-in style places that had just awesome breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches.  The first, a little place called Millie’s, where I had my very first one, and the other, George the Chili King, which was close to where I lived. George’s has been in the same spot since 1952.  Sadly, Millie’s went away many years ago.

Anyway, both of these eatery’s served up crispy breaded ‘loins that actually had meat in them.  Lot’s of other places had what they called a pork tenderloin, but it was really breading with a sliver of meat in the middle.

Here’s my version:

breaded pork tenderloin

Breaded Pork Tenderloin with Brown Mustard, Ketchup, and Dill Pickles, on Toasted Challah Bread

I really hope that no one is offended that I paired a pork tenderloin with a Jewish egg bread. It just happened that this was the only bread we happened to have at the time.

So, since I usually start with real ingredients, lets get to it.  Clean the silver skin off of a couple of pork tenderloins:

Real pork tenderloin

Since there were only two of us, I sliced off a couple of four ounce chunks. The rest will go back into the fridge for grilling later today.

A four ounce tenderloin

If this looks like the porcine version of a tenderloin filet, you would be absolutely correct.

Notice that it is resting upon a piece of plastic wrap. This is very important.

fold over the plastic and get ready to beat your meat

Lay another layer of plastic over the top of your helpless tenderloin. Note the rubber mallet. I’ve had that thing for at least 20 years.

Guess what we all get to say now?  That’s right, it is time, once again, to beat your meat!

A light touch is better than heavy handed strokes.


Pound the little guy into submission or at least until is about 3/8″ thick throughout. It will be misshapen, but it’s nothing to worry about.

Season with salt and pepper, then cover it with the plastic wrap again.

seasoned and pounded a second time

Yes, we are actually going for round two.  With a very light touch, go over the meat once again. We’re trying to embed the seasonings into the meat.

Once that is done, it’s time to start the breading process. The white stuff is corn starch that I sifted over the tenderloin. Just take a tablespoon of corn starch and place it in a sifter. Tap lightly with a spoon.

tap on some corn starch

Some of you may wonder why I sift this on instead of dredging the meat in the corn starch. The primary reason is that I don’t like a heavy breading. I use corn starch instead of flour because it crisps up nicer and doesn’t leave a doughy taste behind.

Now, prepare for the the full-on breading:

egg and cream

That is one egg with a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream.  Put on some Devo and Whip it!

Then, dip it:

dip it

and flip it:

flip it!

Note that nice, even coating of the creamed eggs?  You wouldn’t get that without the thin layer of corn starch.

Time now to dip this into a layer of Panko bread crumbs. I’m using Panko crumbs for all of my breading needs these days.

Get a nice, even coating and lightly press them into the surface of the meat with your palm.

I also got about a 1/2″ of olive oil (not extra virgin) heating up to about 350° in a wide, flat bottomed pan.

Carefully, lay the breaded tenderloins into the fat.

into the pan they go

Just before these are ready to turn, juices from the meat will start to migrate toward the surface. The edges of the tenderloins will start to turn a nice golden color. Carefully, give them a flip.

Golden brown and delicious looking

These are about as close to perfect as they are ever gonna get. Don’t overcook them! The meat is nearly fully cooked at this point, so just get some color on the other side and pull them from that fat, allowing the extra oil to drain off.

Prepare your toasty bread:

toasty bread

I schmeared on some brown mustard, applied the loin, schmeared on some more brown mustard, a bit of ketchup, and added some dill pickles.

yummy tenderloin

We served this up with some pearl cous cous (remember, cous cous is a pasta, not a grain!) that was hydrated with some beef stock.

pork sandwich and cous cous

We popped open a bottle of 2008 Terra Noble Reserva Pinot Noir from the Casablanca Valley in Chile. For a $10 bottle of wine, this stuff was really pretty good. Soft with abundant flavors and scents of cherry along with a hint of strawberry, made this a good match with the sandwich and cous cous.

quite tasty!

Although Millie’s is long gone and George the Chili King is several states north of here, I believe I have hit upon a simple way to bring back some memories of youthful exuberance; memories of simpler times.

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