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We love a theme. Today’s theme, of course, is the Iowa caucus. While other sites are Bob Dole-ing out football themed recipes, were going straight to the heartland for Iowa’s absolute best food – bar none – the Breaded Pork Tenderloin sandwich. You heard me right, we bread them, then put them on some bread. They are delicious. We have two options here, baked and fried – fried rules the tastebuds, baked rules the waistbuds.

Did I ever tell you the one about the time I ran an Iowa caucus?

I moved to Iowa for a job, already discussed here, and like any young, single person in a new town, I asked what’cha got to do here? We have some great restaurants, we have a gay bar, we have an incrediblebiking event, we have festivals, we have a prestigious writers workshop, we have butter cow, we have the Amana Colonies, we have a nuclear power plant, we have the nicest people on Earth to talk with, and we have caucuses every two years. So, after I got to wear a hazmat suit on a tour of Duane Arnold Energy Center, given by some of the nicest people on Earth, I say to the nice people, tell me more about those caucuses?

And then all of a sudden, I was in a small grade school classroom, tallying votes on a chalkboard, as another registered Republican read off names from paper-scrap ballots…Dole, Bush, Dole, Dole… Bob Dole won the Iowa caucus that year, beating out Pat Robertson and H-Dub, who eventually became the Republican nominee and President. Caucus does not a President make. Note, I grew up quickly to be a Democrat. Remember I was young, my parents were R-Wis (birthplace of the diminishing party), and the guy I liked was a Republican. Don’t judge. Like I said, I was young, young like a little pork tenderloin…Segue.

I learned in writing this post, that Indiana also claims the breaded pork tenderloin, but we favor BPTs from a state that has a Pork Producers Association.

All eyes are on Iowa today. Here’s to hoping they kick off the election season in the right direction. And if they don’t, remember, a caucus does not a President make.

iowa’s breaded pork tenderloin sandwich

Toppings for most BPTs are similar to those on hamburgers (ketchup, mayo, mustard). We preferred mayo, mustard, lettuce and pickled red onions. Sriracha might also be nice. We found a variety of breading options, yet liked basic breadcrumbs with seasoning best.

preptime: 15 min 4-6 servings

frytime: 10 min or baketime: 30 min


  • 1 2-lb pork loin
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoon butter (baking) or 2/3 cup peanut oil (frying)
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp seasoning salt (anything you have or just 1.5 tsp salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • toppings: lettuce, ketchup, mayo,


  1. Preheat oven to 350° for convection or 375° for conventional.
  2. Trim fat and silver-skin from pork tenderloin. Slice the loin into 3/4″ slices.
  3. Working with individual slices, wrap a slice with plastic wrap or place in a zip lock bag. Pound to 1/4 – 1/2″ thickness. Repeat with remaining slices.
  4. Set up two pans for your breading coating stations. In the first pan, mix the egg and milk with a fork until entirely mixed.
  5. In the second pan, mix the flour, breadcrumbs, seasoning salt and pepper.
  6. Place 4 tablespoons butter on a large baking tray and place in oven for a few minutes to melt the butter.
  7. Dip one pork slice into the egg mixture, letting excess drip off, then place into breading pan, well-coating the pork, shake off excess breaking. Repeat with the remaining slices.
  8. Place the slices onto the pan with melted butter and bake for 20 minutes. Turn over slices and bake for another 10 minutes.
  9. Serve on soft buns, with condiments.


  1. Follow steps 1-5 above.
  2. Heat oil in a cast-iron or heavy bottomed pan on medium-high.
  3. When the oil is hot, add fully-breaded slices (step 7) to the pan.
  4. Cook for about 7 minutes (watching carefully not to burn the coating). Turn over and cook for another 3-4 minutes until golden brown.

Recipe inspired by 101 Cooking for Two and provided by your friends at crunchtimefood.com


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