The breaded pork tenderloin sandwich is ubiquitous throughout Indiana and takes many forms, but locals insist that the pork be exponentially bigger than the bun. You can find one of the best in Indianapolis at the Steer-In Diner. They’re not giving up their recipe—“if we told you, we’d have to kill you,” they said with a smile—but we developed this Hoosier-worthy recipe.
- 1 pound center-cut boneless pork tenderloin
- ½ cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 eggs
- 30 crackers (saltine or Ritz style)
- Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
- 2 hamburger buns
Toppings: Shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced red onion, mayonnaise, yellow mustard, sliced pickles.
Butterfly the pork tenderloin. Place each piece of pork in quart-size plastic bag, or between sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap. Pound with meat tenderizer ¼-inch thick (it will be much bigger than the buns).
In container just large enough to hold pork, dissolve ¼ cup salt in 4 cups water. Submerge pork, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
While pork brines, mix flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Transfer to plate. In bowl, whisk eggs and set aside. In separate bowl, crush crackers into coarse breadcrumbs. Transfer to separate plate.
Remove pork from brine, and pat dry. Dredge each piece in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Dip in egg, letting excess drip into bowl. Dredge into cracker crumbs, pressing to adhere evenly.
In deep-bottomed skillet, add ¼-inch oil. Warm over medium-high heat until it “shimmers” (a deep-fry thermometer should read between 360–370°F). Add pork in batches. Fry for 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Assemble sandwiches on buns with desired toppings. Serves 2.
Toad Hollow 2016 Eye of the Toad Dry Rosé of Pinot Noir (Sonoma County); $15, 90 points. A breaded and fried pork tenderloin sandwich requires something refreshing and light. Rosé is an excellent match for pork, and can handle the pickles and mustard, too.