Impress your friends and family with the best of the Midwest
Recently, as I was preparing to host friends from out of state for the weekend, a conversation took place about meal “must haves” during their stay. As is usually the case, pork tenderloins were one of the “local” foods requested. When these discussions occur, I’m always told, “We can’t get them where we live,” which always astounds me. Fried pork tenderloins are made from boneless pork chops, and, since you can buy those anywhere, I can’t help but wonder why you can’t get a fried pork tenderloin sandwich outside of the Midwest. While having this discussion, I came to the realization that not everyone knows how relativity simple these delicious Midwest delicacies are to make at home. If you’ve never made homemade pork tenderloin sandwiches, believe me when I tell you that you can do this.
In sharing the recipe, I’ll give you my step-by-step instructions, including a few tips.
10 Boneless center-cut pork chops
3 sleeves of saltine crackers
I start by choosing a family pack of lean boneless pork chops and immediately give them to an employee in the meat department and ask that they run them through their tenderizer twice. (This eliminates you having to pound them out at home.)
When I’m ready to begin the process, I beat the eggs well in a shallow baking dish (a pie pan works great), and I finely crush the saltines. A food processor will make quick work of this step; otherwise you can place the crackers in a heavy zip lock bag and use a rolling pin to finely crush them. It’s best to do this in three stages rather than trying to crush them all at once. Put the crushed crackers into a separate shallow pan.
Now it’s time for the real process. One at a time, dredge the tenderized loin in the cracker crumbs, covering both sides. Next, dip the meat into the beaten egg mixture, making sure both sides are moistened. Then return the chops to the cracker crumbs, covering both sides again. This is called “double breading.” Place the breaded tenderloin in a single layer on a cookie sheet and repeat this process with the remaining pieces.
When you’re finished with the breading process, you have two choices. You can either put all of the tenderloins into the freezer to flash-freeze for later, or fry some fresh. Any of the tenderloins you freeze should be taken off the cookie sheet after a few hours and placed in a freezer safe zip lock bag and stored in the freezer.
When you’re ready to fry the tenderloins, the process is the same whether fresh or frozen: Heat about a 1/2 inch of vegetable or peanut oil in a heavy skillet to 360 degrees (make sure you use a thermometer). Carefully, lower pork loin into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove from hot oil and drain on a paper towel. Repeat frying process for each piece of pork.
Serve on a good bun with condiments of your choice. Impress your friends and family with the best of the Midwest in your very own kitchen. ♦