Originally Posted by frozen chosen
The deep fried breaded pork tenderloin sandwich is a midwest thing. They are very, very prominent in Indiana, Illinois and Iowa and bleed off some to the states bordering those three. If you find them elsewhere beyond the borderng states there is a very good chance the restaurant owner is a native of those three "I" states.
The lore is that the pork tenderloin sandwich was invented at Nick's Kitchen in Huntington, Indiana in 1908. Huntington was predominantly settled by German descendants migrating from Pennsylvania through Ohio. The pork tenderloin is very similar in the making to Vienese veal cutlets or Weiner Schnitzel as the Germans called them. I have ancestors from that area so have taken an interest.
So, what are they? Take a pork tenderloin, the tenderest part of a pig that is a piece of lean meat about a foot long and thicker than your wrist. Trim the fat and cross slice about a 1-1/2 inch piece of about 5 oz. Butterfly cut it, spread it and then pound it flat to about 1/4" to 3/8" thick or about 6" x 9" in size. If you want a wimpier version you can use precut pork loins pounded flat but don't use pork chops. Coat it in flour, then coat it in buttermilk (or just milk) and egg batter with black pepper and garlic powder, then coat it in bread crumbs or saltine cracker crumbs. Press the crumbs in good. Then deep fry at about 360 to 375 degrees F for just a little over 3 minutes or until golden brown. Serve on a large sandwich bun with pickle, lettuce, tomato, or onion. You can use mayonaise, mustard or ketchup too. Your choice. A good tenderloin has to overhang the bun.
In Indiana you are not going to be a very successful pub or sports bar if you don't have one on the menu.
Indiana invented them and take great pride in them as the state sandwich. Iowa takes great pride as well because they are the pork state and produce more pork by a 3X margin over any other state. Iowa has to share its claim and fervor loyalty with loosemeat sandwiches. Illinois just happened to be caught in the middle with bleedover from both sides and had no choice but to love them.