One of my favorite foods to eat while growing up in the midwest was a Pork Tenderloin Sandwich. I’m not sure why this sandwich isn’t as widely talked about as something like deep dish pizza or Italian beef sandwiches. It totally should be because it’s delicious and always hits the spot. It’s similar to a wiener schnitzel, expect it’s made with a pounded out pork loin instead of veal and sandwiched between two hamburger buns.
Where Did the Pork Tenderloin Sandwich Originate?
It’s a popular sandwich from the midwest and is said to have originated from a place called Nick’s Kitchen in Huntington, Indiana.
How to Make our Pork Tenderloin Sandwich Recipe
- Start by pounding out the pork loin pieces until they’re about 1/8 – 1/4″ inch thick. Then season each piece generously with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Next, dredge each piece in flour and shake off any excess.
- Dip each piece of pork into the beaten eggs and allow any excess to drip off.
- Finally press each piece of pork into the crushed oyster crackers, on both sides, until completely coated, shaking off any loose bits.
- Allow coated pork pieces to rest on a baking sheet lined with a cooling rack while the oil heats up.
- Fill a large skillet with about 2 inches oil and preheat on the stovetop to 350˚F
- Once oil is hot, carefully slide two of the coated pieces into the oil and fry on each side for 3 to 4 minutes or until each cutlet is golden brown.
- Transfer cutlets to a clean baking sheet lined with a cooling rack. Season with salt.
- Repeat frying remaining pork cutlets and transfer to cooling rack.
- Spread a generous amount of mayo onto the top and bottom of each toasted bun. Top each bottom bun with a pork cutlet. Top with pickles and sliced onion, if using, and press top buns over each sandwich. Serve!
Tools You Will Need
- cutting board
- dry measuring cups
- liquid measuring cup
- meat mallet
- mixing bowls or shallow baking dishes
- wide pan with high sides
- sheet pan
- cooling rack
Using Pork Loin vs Pork Tenderloin
Although the recipe is called pork tenderloin sandwich, we our pork loin in our recipe. Normally the two aren’t interchangeable in recipes, but since we’re pounding the meat out until it’s ultra thin (and tenderized) using either cut here is totally fine!
We specifically use the loin because you can find nice sized, individually cut, boneless loin chops at the market making things just a tad bit easier on the prep end. We also prefer the slightly meatier texture paired with the oyster cracker breading with the loin.
Definitely feel free to use tenderloin though if that’s your preference. Each piece of tenderloin should be about 6 ounces in weight.
Best Breading for Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches
Hands down crushed oyster crackers are the best and most delicious breading option for these sandwiches. The flavor is so good and the crunch is unbelievable!
Alternatively can used crushed saltine crackers for equally delicious results. If you can’t find either cracker options you can use panko breadcrumbs which will still be very tasty, but the flavor and texture will be different.
Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions
These Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches are best eaten freshly fried (as they won’t be quite as crunchy as when they were freshly fried, but they will still be quite good), but they can certainly be made ahead of time and frozen for convenience!
If you’re unable to eat them fresh you can place the fried cutlets into an airtight container, between layers of parchment paper for up to 2 days.
To reheat, preheat an oven to 375˚F. Place cutlets onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray and bake for 10 minutes. Flip each cutlet over and bake for an additional 5 to 7 minutes or until cutlets are heated through and crisp back up a bit.
I recommend freezing them before they are fried for best results. Once the uncooked cutlets have been fully coated, place them onto a parchment lined baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart. Freeze until each cutlet is fully frozen. Transfer them to a resealable freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
When ready to use, fry them as stated in the directions, but for 2 to 3 minutes longer on each side.
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Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
- 4 (6 ounce each) center-cut boneless pork loin pounded until 1/4” thin
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 3 large eggs, well beaten
- 2 cups crushed oyster crackers
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 cups frying oil
- 4 burger buns lightly toasted
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup pickle chips
- ⅛ small red onion, thinly sliced optional
- Generously season the pounded pork tenderloin pieces with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Dredge each pork piece in flour and shake off any excess.
- Dip each flour covered pork into the beaten eggs, until fully covered, allowing any excess egg to drip off.
- Finish by dredging each piece into the crushed cracker crumbs until fully coated, shaking off any excess.
- Season each coated pork piece with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Fill a large skillet with about 2 inches of oil (about 3 cups) and preheat oil to about 350˚F.
- Carefully place the breaded pork into the skillet. Fry cutlet on each side for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Repeat frying remaining pork cutlets.
- Transfer to cooling rack and season cutlets with salt and pepper.
- Spread a generous amount of mayo onto each top and bottom bun. Top the bottom halves of each bun with a pork cutlet and top with pickle chips and thinly sliced red onions, if using. Gently press the tops of each bun onto each sandwich and serve.