Classic Iowa Pork Tenderloin SandwichIt’s National Pork Month! Want to know how to make the perfect pork tenderloin? Leon Sheets has all the deets. Leon lives in Northeast Iowa and is a past recipient of the National Pork Board’s “Pig Farmer of the Year” award. Check out his tips:

  • Fresh, never frozen tenderloin, cut to the chef’s (or home cook’s) specifications.
  • Handmade on site.
  • Tenderized at least once, hand pounded, or both.
  • Batter dipped at least once.
  • Frying time and temperature are key. The tenderloin should come out golden brown, not too dark, not too light, with uniform even coloring and texture.
  • Breading should be moist, not dry, not brittle and not falling off.
  • Condiments are optional. It all comes down to your personal preference or taste.

To help you celebrate October Pork Month celebration at home, we’re sharing a recipe for Food & Swine’s Classic Iowa Tenderloin, which is available from the Iowa Food & Family Project.


Classic Iowa Pork Tenderloin Sandwich


1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup cornstarch

2 teaspoons seasoned salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 eggs

3 tablespoons milk

1 sleeve Chicken in a Biskit crackers, crushed

1 cup panko bread crumbs

4 boneless pork loin chops

1 quart peanut or vegetable oil

4 large sandwich or Kaiser rolls, split and buttered

Dill pickles, ketchup, mustard, thinly sliced sweet onions


Combine the flour, cornstarch, seasoned salt, and pepper in a shallow baking dish. Remove and reserve 2 tablespoons of this mixture. In a second shallow baking dish, whisk the eggs and milk together until well-blended. In a third dish, combine the crushed crackers and panko, plus the reserved flour/cornstarch mixture.

Butterfly each pork chop and pound between sheets of plastic wrap with a meat mallet to ¼-inch thick.

To coat, first dredge each piece of pork on both sides in seasoned flour, shaking off any excess. Dip into the egg mixture to coat both sides, then dredge in the crumb mixture, pressing gently to coat both sides evenly. Transfer the pork to a clean plate and repeat the process with the remaining pork. Allow the pork to rest for 20 minutes to give the breading time to adhere to the meat.

In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet heat the oil to 350°F. Fry the breaded pork until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. The pork is cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F on an instant read thermometer. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate.

In a skillet, toast the buns over medium-high heat. Serve pork loin on buns with condiments of choice.