Go Back

Iowa-Style Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 4 - 8 sandwiches, depending on size


  • 1 pork tenderloin 1 to 1-1/2 pound trimmed of fat and silver skin
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 sleeves saltine crackers processed to crumbs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons Lawry's Seasoned Salt
  • 4-8 tablespoons slivered sweet onions
  • 16-32 oval dill pickle slices see notes
  • Mustard to taste
  • Oil for deep frying quantity varies by frying vessel
  • 4-8 large hamburger buns see notes
  • Butter optional, for toasting buns


  • Pre-heat enough oil for deep-frying to 350° F in either a deep fryer or a heavy pan.
  • Cut the trimmed pork tenderloin into 4 equal-weight portions.
  • Butterfly a portion by cutting it 3/4 of the way through.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and pound with a steel mallet until 1/8-inch thick or thinner. Meat may start to look transparent.
  • Repeat with remaining tenderloin portions.
  • Season the flour with the seasoned salt.
  • Dredge both sides of a piece of pork in the seasoned flour.
  • Shake off the excess, then coat both sides with the buttermilk.
  • Allow excess buttermilk to drip off, then dredge the pork in the saltine crumbs.
  • Press gently to coat all sides thoroughly. No meat should be exposed.
  • Repeat with remaining cutlets.
  • Fry until lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes, flipping once about 2/3 of the way through.
  • Lift the cutlet out of the oil and allow to drain, then transfer to a paper-lined dish to continue draining.
  • Repeat with the remaining cutlets.
  • Heat a large frying pan to very hot.
  • Toast the insides of the buns in the pan, adding a little bit of butter, if desired.
  • Assemble the pork tenderloin sandwiches, garnish with slivered onions, pickles, and mustard.
  • Serve.


The cutlets for these sandwiches are traditionally pounded so thin as to make one portion very large. They are often served that way, with the pork significantly overlapping the bun on all sides. For portion control, you may choose to make 8 cutlets instead of 4 by cutting the pounded pork in half before breading it for frying.