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Crispy pan-fried Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches are a midwest tradition! Pork tenderloin is pounded flat and wide, then breaded and pan-fried until crispy on the outside and perfectly cooked inside.

Don’t miss these other fantastic sandwich recipes! Try our Crock Pot Italian Beef SandwichesBlue Bayou Monte Cristo SandwichesGrilled Cajun Chicken Sandwiches, and Cubanos [Cuban Sandwich Recipe]!

An image of a homemade pork tenderloin sandwich. 

Indiana Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

It’s Indiana Week on House of Nash Eats! I’m working my way, one state at a time, through the foods that American is known for in my American Eats series. We have been looking forward to these pork tenderloin sandwiches for a while now!

Paul declared these to be one of his favorite things I have made. Given his fondness for things like fried chicken, which we rarely have, it isn’t all that surprising. I can confidently say that if you love chicken sandwiches, or fish sandwiches, or basically anything along those lines, you are going to be a fan of these pork tenderloin sandwiches, for sure.

Here’s the thing I learned when making these pork tenderloin sandwiches: you want to pound the pork tenderloin really, really thin before breading and frying it! It’s supposed to be larger than the bun with the meat hanging over the edges. 

This type of breaded and fried pork tenderloin is basically German schnitzel in sandwich form. By pounding the pork thin with a meat mallet, it gets super tender and cooks really quickly. So even though the prep takes a little bit of work, cooking dinner goes really fast with this approach.

An image of crispy breaded and fried pork tenderloin.

How to Make a Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

Cut a pork tenderloin into 4 equal sections. They are almost always about 1 pound each, so this works out to perfect portion sizes to cut them into fourths.

Place one piece at a time between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound flat using a meat mallet or rolling pin to create a cutlet that is about 1/4-inch thick. The meat will shrink up as it cooks, so it is important to flatten it well. The idea is that it should hang over the edges of the bun when it is done frying, so make it sure to pound it really large and super thin.

Next you are going to create your dredging stations to bread each flattened piece of meat.

In a shallow pan or dish, combine the flour with a little salt and pepper. I like to season both the flour and the breadcrumb mixtures because it builds flavor in a dish rather than having it all in one layer.

In another shallow pan or dish, whisk the eggs and buttermilk together. Set aside.

In a third shallow pan or dish, combine the crushed saltine crackers, panko bread crumbs, and the remaining salt and pepper, along with the garlic powder and onion powder.

Working with 1 pork tenderloin cutlet at a time, dredge it in the flour on both sides, shaking off any excess. The  dip it in the egg and buttermilk mixture, letting the excess drip off before moving it to the breadcrumb and cracker mixture. Coat the tenderloin well in the seasoned breadcrumb and crackers, then transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining pork tenderloin pieces.

A collage of images showing how to make breaded pork tenderloin for sandwiches.

Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a large cast iron skillet or heavy pan over medium-high heat. We aren’t deep-frying the meat, just pan-frying it on both sides until crispy.

When the oil is hot, add two of the cutlets at a time so as not to crowd the pan, frying for 2-3 minutes then flipping and frying another 2-3 minutes on the other side until both sides are golden brown and the meat is cooked through.

Because the tenderloin is pounded so thin, it’s difficult to get an accurate temperature reading with a meat thermometer, but a blush of pink is perfectly fine and safe according to the USDA. Really, because the meat is pounded so thin, it cooks quickly and as long as the crust is golden brown, the meat should be done.

Repeat with the remaining cutlets, transferring the finished meat to a wire rack to drain any excess oil.

An image of flattened, breaded pork tenderloin on a plate.

Set the oven to broil and split the buns in half, laying them cut side up on a baking sheet. Toast them under the broiler until nicely browned, then spread each top bun with mayo and yellow mustard.

Lay each pork tenderloin cutlet on the bottom bun, then top with pickle slices, shredded lettuce, sliced tomato, and the top bun with the mayo and mustard.

An image of a fried pork sandwich on a plate with chips and toppings like sliced tomatoes.

What do I serve with pork tenderloin sandwiches?

A pork tenderloin sandwich goes really well with chips, Homemade French Fries, or Baked Beans. But I think this is also the perfect opportunity to serve a dessert salad like my favorite Cottage Cheese Jello Salad.

An image of an Indiana pork tenderloin sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and pickles on a bun.

More Pork Recipes You’ll Love

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Indiana Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
Yield: 4 Sandwiches

Indiana Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

Crispy pan-fried Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches are a midwest tradition! Pork tenderloin is pounded flat and wide, then breaded and pan-fried until crispy on the outside and perfectly cooked inside.

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. pork tenderloin
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 10 saltine crackers, crushed (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup plain Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 cup oil, for frying
  • 4 soft buns or rolls
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 4 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce
  • Dill pickle slices

Instructions

  1. Cut the pork tenderloin into 4 equal sections. Place one at a time between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound flat using a meat mallet or rolling pin to create a cutlet that is about 1/4-inch thick. The meat will shrink up as it cooks, so it is important to flatten it well.
  2. In a shallow pan or dish, combine the flour with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Set aside.
  3. In another shallow pan or dish, add the beaten eggs and buttermilk, whisking to combine. Set aside.
  4. In a third shallow pan or dish, combine the crushed saltine crackers, panko bread crumbs, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, along with the garlic powder and onion powder.
  5. Working with 1 pork tenderloin cutlet at a time, dredge it in the flour on both sides, shaking off any excess, then in the egg and buttermilk mixture, then in the cracker and breadcrumb mixture. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining pork tenderloin.
  6. Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet or heavy pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add two of the cutlets at a time so as not to crowd the pan, frying on each side for 2-3 minutes until golden brown on both sides. The meat should be cooked through, although a blush of pink is perfectly fine and safe according to the USDA. It's such a thin cut of meat that as long as the crust is golden brown, the meat should definitely be done. Repeat with the remaining cutlets, transferring the finished meat to a wire rack to drain any excess oil.
  7. Set the oven to broil and split the buns in half, laying them cut side up on a baking sheet. Toast them under the broiler until nicely browned, then spread each top bun with mayo and mustard. Lay each pork tenderloin cutlet on the bottom bun, then top with pickle slices, shredded lettuce, sliced tomato, and the top bun with the mayo and mustard. Serve with chips.

Notes

Recipe adapted from AllRecipes.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 896Total Fat: 50gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 40gCholesterol: 182mgSodium: 1327mgCarbohydrates: 65gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 45g

Curious about foods from other states in my American Eats series? Check them out below!

Alabama • Alaska • Arizona • Arkansas • California • Colorado • Connecticut • Delaware • Florida • Georgia • Hawaii • IdahoIllinoisIndianaIowa • Louisiana • Puerto Rico • South Carolina • Texas