“This is trashy Midwestern eating at its finest. You could be on a back road goin’ nowhere, comin’ from nowhere, and haven’t even been anywhere, when all of a sudden you would come upon a roadside dive selling this tenderloin sandwich that was so big and so divine, you’d give up your virginity and your only ride home just for one bite. Men have sold their souls for less. Clearly, I’m not talking about some average-Joe pork sandwich. This tenderloin is pounded thin, dredged, deep-fried, and sitting on a glob of mayonnaise, ketchup, and the cheapest bun you can imagine – all pale and tasteless, taken separately. But put together, this sandwich is something you live for.” – Libbie Summers, The Whole Hog Cookbook
If you’re not hooked yet, then don’t read any further. Most pork lovers I know (myself included) need little coaxing on any occasion to dine on some swine, but when I read this, I wanted to make that sandwich RIGHT NOW. And I did. That same day. For supper. And can I tell you something? That baby totally lived up to expectations.
Hot, moist, tender, juicy, tasty, uncomplicated. Did I mention tender?
This was the sandwich to end all sandwiches. No other sandwich could match this one. I don’t often tell people what to do (regardless of what Meat and Tater Man might say), but here I’m going to advise you to try this sooner rather than later. This is a recipe that will not disappoint.
It’s a bit messy to make (there is some frying involved), but the gastro-reward outweighs the work and effort involved in this case. I say this because I’m known to pass on making a recipe if it’s too fiddly, has too many steps, or involves tons of clean up and dishes. I’m just glad I overlooked my aversion to frying foods (well, it’s more an aversion to the greasy splatter to clean up, the oil to get rid of after frying, and the general pervasive scent of ‘old ramshackle diner’ in your house for a whole day afterwards), and took the plunge to make this sandwich. And then it happened. I experienced joy on a bun. Happiness in my stomach. I promise, you won’t want to make pork tenderloin any other way for the rest of your life. Well, at least not for the rest of this week.
Here’s my version of Libbie’s Colossal Pork Tenderloin Sandwich. You can serve this with a side of potato salad and coleslaw, or my Easy Baked Beans, or get down and dirty and pile it next to a mountain of fries. Your choice. I bet once you try it, you’ll make it again and again.
Like Libbie says, “you may not be a Midwesterner, but there isn’t any harm in eating like one every now and then.” I couldn’t agree more.
This may be the best pork tenderloin sandwich of your life. Heck, it may be the best sandwich of your life. Enjoy.
Adapted from Libbie Summers' The Whole Hog Cookbook. In her recipe, she deep fries her tenderloins. Feel free to do so if you wish.
- Peanut oil for frying
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 4 equal pieces
- 4 sandwich buns (the cheap kind)
- In a deep skillet, pour enough oil so that it's a half inch deep in the bottom of the pan. Heat the oil to 360F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set aside.
- In a shallow baking dish, combine the flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder. In a separate shallow dish, put the beaten eggs.
- Pound each piece of pork tenderloin with a meat tenderizer or wooden mallet. (You can place the piece of meat between two pieces of plastic wrap if it makes it easier for you.) You will want the pieces of meat to be about 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with the remaining pieces of tenderloin.
- Dip one tenderloin piece in the flour mixture, and shake off excess flour. Next, dip in the egg wash and return it to the flour mixture.
- Slide the breaded tenderloin in the hot oil and fry for 4 to 6 minutes, turning it once halfway through cooking. Remove it to the prepared baking sheet, and season immediately with salt and pepper.
- Continue cooking the remaining pieces until all are fried.
- Serve each tenderloin atop a hamburger bun (the meat should be larger than the bun), and spread thickly with mayonnaise and ketchup.