Believe it or not, I grew up in Indiana. It was a great upbringing. Friends and family lived nearby, parks just down the street, the elementary school in walking distance, and even an inground pool in the backyard. There were so many great memories there, however my folks decided to take a work transfer to Wisconsin when I was entering the second grade. Regardless, it was a great transfer to say the least. We lived in a small town where the population was under 8,000 people, but everything was close by us. The school was a block away, the library about the same, and the swimming pool and ice skating rink was in the same vicinity.
I often say to my kids that they have it great when it comes to their commute to middle/high school, as the walk to our middle school and high (rain, snow, or shine) was a bit of a distance. That did not matter however as that walk built up an appetite, and it was very important that we were always home on time for dinner. I instill that same routine with my family. There is one thing that really satisfied our appetite, and one that is probably the icon of Indiana, and that is the Fried Pork Tenderloin Sandwich and my Dad was and is amazing at making them. I was fortunate to help out on many occasions growing up with the dredge station and learning some of his tips and tricks. I brought that sandwich home to my family and it is noted by all of them ‘this is my favorite sandwich’. After all of the recipes I make for my family, I was not surprised to hear that as it is one heck of a sandwich.
Let’s get started.
- 6 whole eggs
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 sleeves Saltine Crackers, smashed into rough crumbs
- 3 cups flour
- 2-3 lbs pork loin, cut into 1.5 inch slices and about 4-5 inches long
- 2 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp cracked black pepper
- 1 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
- Yellow mustard, to your liking
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 1/2 head of lettuce, cleaned and drained
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- generic hamburger buns
- pickles to garnish, to your liking
- canola oil, roughly 4 cups
- Meat mallet
- plastic wrap
Start by getting your dredging station ready. You can get three bowls out, or two bowls, and one large plastic sealed bag.
To one bow, whisk the eggs, then add the water, and continue to whisk until lightly bubbly. To another bowl, add the flour. Season the flour with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Set this aside.
Add the crushed Saltines to a large plastic sealed bag.
Add the oil to a large pot on medium-low heat.
While the oil heats up, get ready to get some aggression out on the pork.
Take two pieces of plastic wrap, about 1 foot long for each piece.
Lay one piece of plastic wrap onto your working surface. Add a piece of the cut pork, then top with the other piece of plastic wrap. Gently pound from the center outward, being careful not to tear the pork. This will almost double or triple in size. This is one of the beauties of this sandwich.
Repeat with remaining cuts of pork and stack them onto a plate.
Now you are ready to dredge. Check the temperature of your oil if you can. The oil should simmer and be around 350 degrees.
Take a piece of the pork, cover both sides with flour, shaking off any excess flour, then into the egg wash. Let the egg wash drain a bit, then place into the plastic bag with the saltines. Gently push the saltines into the pork, covering completely, then shake off any excess saltines.
Place into your oil, and cook until golden brown on both sides. This only takes about 4 minutes or so per side. Once golden, remove with tongs, and let any excess oil drain bag into to pot, and place the cooked pork onto a baking sheet and place into a 225 degree oven (or make your sandwich right away) to keep warm until all cooked pork is ready to serve.
Repeat with remaining pork slices.
Now it is time to assemble the sandwich.
To the bottom bun, slather on some mayonnaise, and squirt on some mustard.
Add lettuce slices, a slice or two of tomato, thinly sliced onions, and top with the over sized fried pork. Add a bit of mustard to the bottom of the top bun, then top. Place a pickle on the plate to nibble on throughout your sandwich intake.
Dig in. The great thing about this sandwich is eating through the pork even before you make it to the sandwich. It’s crispy and so very delicious. Then you get into the sandwich and the overall combination of all of the ingredients makes this sandwich scream. I now know why my Dad made this Indiana Fried Pork Sandwich for us on a regular rotation, and as importantly realize why my kids have named it their favorite as well.
If you are looking for a great sandwich, give this one a shot. The time and effort totally pays off. Enjoy!