Pork “tenderloins” are an Iowa thing. And Indiana thing. We’ll leave it at that. It’s a boneless pork chop, hammered with a mallet to make it larger and thinner, dipped in batter and deep-fried, served on a hamburger bun about 1/10th the size of the ‘loin. You might also call it wienerschnitzel, of a sort. Or how about “chicken fried pork?”
So I had been out driving around Iowa and Indiana in search of great tenderloin, and it’s so important to the state, that the Iowa Pork Council has come up with the “Tenderloin Trail” so you can hit a dozen of the best the state has to offer.
What sets one ‘loin apart from another is getting it thin enough, but still retaining the juiciness of the pork. The batter. The seasoning. Length of time in the hot oil bath. These are all important.
When I set out to try it at home, I had some cheats, some shortcuts. First off, I didn’t purchase pork chops, I bought pork “cube steaks” which were half the price of chops this week and would work just as well.
I purchased two different dry fry mixes, both Louisiana products, Zatarain’s Seasoned Fish Fry (which I use a lot) and Louisiana Fish Fry Products Chicken Fry.
The latter suggests you mix a bit of it with 1/2 cup of water, dip your meat, and then completely cover it with more mix before frying. I also improvised a bit with the Zat’s, in that I dunked, then dipped in egg wash, and dunked again. This would give the breading a little more depth, thickness.
Then into oil. How long? Til they’re done! LOL (Not long).
On the surface, they appeared about the same when done. I plated them with some sausage gravy and a piece of Texas toast.
I liked the Zatarain’s better, simply because I’m a long time consumer and I like the pre-seasoning in it. Not a fair comparison, but it also had a bulkier breading because of the egg dip.
But I’d buy both again. There must be dozens of these kind of mixes in the grocery. You can also order both brands (and others) online from Cajun Grocer, a Louisiana company I have purchased seafood and other goodies many times.
Zatarain’s was a family owned business for decades, now it’s owned by seasoning giant McCormick and Schmidt (New Orleans area plant (pictured below) . Louisiana Fish Fry is still family owned, based in Baton Rouge. (pictured below)
Pork Tenderloin Recipe
Pork Tenderloin Recipe