Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Hoosier Roots: Gluten Free Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

Full Disclosure, I know, I know, this is my 2nd food blog this week.   So here is what happened, my husband loves pork so a couple of months ago I started making Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches for him and O.  Funny thing is that O isn't really a big pork fan in spite of the fact that her father has spent a lot of time with her hunting wild hogs on our land. I swear sometimes, this kid is so much like me, I can't believe I didn't give birth to her.     (Don't hate me because of the hunting.  Trust me these creatures are incredibly destructive and you don't want to meet one alone, without protection!).  
Oddly, growing up my grandfather raised pigs and I wasn't a big fan of anything pork either, outside of bacon and sausage and come on, with the amount of fat in those things, who wouldn't love them. 

Alas, I am from Indiana originally and the unofficial, or maybe it is official, food of Indiana is Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches.  These things are magic. Go to any county fair in Indiana and you will find these things.  When I go home, I am forever trying to fit all the family visits in with my quest to get my Hoosier family to take me to the best Pork Tenderloin sandwich place they know.  These things are so freaking good!  Not a bit healthy but amazing. How they have managed to keep them from going global is beyond me.  My husband and kid both completely fell in love with them the minute I started making them.  Even more, they accused me of holding out on them because in the 2 plus years we have been together, I never thought to make them before. 

Now the original food is not gluten free.  In order to pull this off gluten free, I had to do some modifications but apparently from the text I received this morning from hubs who was eating a leftover sandwich for lunch, I hit the nail on the head:
 "Good gracious honey, that sandwich is so good!  Thank you very much."  

Alright, so let me start by telling you a few things about this sandwich.  Traditionally, you put pickles and mayo on the sandwich and pretty much that is it.   I prefer them traditional style.  Hubs, on the other hand, leaves off the mayo.   O likes to make these into Chick-fil-a type sandwiches by adding my homemade Chick-fil-a style sauce.   She calls them fake CFA sandwiches.  Truthfully, you can add just about anything you want to this sandwich. Tomato and lettuce would be good starters.  Some folks add onion and cheese.   I prefer the simpler version because the tenderloin is the star.  Also, you have to understand, the meat is suppose to hang way off the side of the bun.  The bun is basically something to hold on to while you enjoy your amazing pork tenderloin.  When you get them at the fair, the meat will easily be between 2 and 3 times the size of the bun. 

If you want to keep these gluten free you will need to add your favorite gluten free hamburger buns.  You can also serve these with gravy if you don't want a sandwich, again a gluten free gravy if you are living a GF life.  

For those of you that aren't living a GF life, you can use regular flour and Panko bread crumbs instead of the Rice and Almond flour in the recipe.   

One last warning:  I don't use a recipe when I make this sandwich.  I like to think that I am an intuitive cook.  I use the same ingredients each time and about halfway through I end up having to make some extra flour mixture up or add more egg/milk wash to get by.   I also don't have any idea how big the meat is most of the time so I did my best to provide you with a reasonable estimate but really, this recipe is easy and you kind of just add stuff together, dip, and fry so if you run out of coating, don't panic, just throw some ingredients in a bowl and keep going.   I promise you about the only thing you can do to really ruin this is to add too much salt.  


2 pounds center cut pork loin.  (I have also made these with thick cut boneless pork chops)
2-3 eggs 
1/4 cup milk
1 Tablespoon Season Salt.  
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/4 cup rice flour
1 1/4 cup almond flour
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning or Parsley Flakes
Fresh ground pepper to taste 
Vegetable Oil for frying (I didn't say this was healthy or low fat, just GF and yummy!) 


Somewhere between preparing the pork and breading them, start to heat about 1/4 inch oil in a large skillet.   I admit I eyeball this and don't measure because the size pan will make a difference on the amount of oil.   Also, if you have a chicken fryer, that is the perfect size pan for these large pieces of meat. 

Cut the pork loin into about 3/4 inch wide pieces.  Now here is the fun part.  Get your kitchen mallet out and start beating that pork.   I call mine "The husband beater".  Whatever works. 
Pound them thin.  The thinner the better. If your meat is tough you may have to use the tenderizer side a little first to break down the meat but the goal is to use the flat side and just thin this puppy out.   Don't worry if you pound a few so thin they fall apart.   These make amazing dippers with your favorite dipping sauce).   They should be about 1/4 inch thick or thinner if possible,  when you are done.   Remember, the meat is suppose to hang off the sides of the bun, a lot.   Don't worry if they are too big for your rolls.  That's how it is suppose to work.

Mix together Season Salt, Garlic Powder, Parmesan Cheese, Rice Flour, Almond Flour, Italian Seasoning, and pepper.   Set in a bowl.  

Egg Wash:
Beat together eggs and milk to make a wash. 

Putting it together:  
(Now is the time to get that oil heating over medium-high heat)

Get a flat bowl to put the egg wash in and paper plates for the flour mixture and the coated pork.  Throw some flour mix on the plate and start assembling.  First dip your thinly beaten meat in the flour then the egg wash and back in the flour.   Coat each side liberally and place on a paper plate until your oil is hot enough to fry.  When you have 2-3 coated you are ready to start frying.   Place the pork in the hot oil and cook until the first side is golden brown.  Flip and repeat the cooking.  When the entire thing is golden brown remove from oil and start over until all the pork is cooked.   I usually get about 4-5 breaded before I start cooking.  This way I can complete the breading on anything left while the first 2-3 are cooking.  

Cleaning and serving:

Once all your pork is done, obviously you are going to turn off the oil and set aside to cool.  Also, now is a really good time to clean up the flour you probably got all over your counters, if you are anything like me. :)  My husband refuses to help me clean the kitchen whenever I make fried chicken or pork tenderloin sandwiches because the flour concoction ends up coating any flat surface in the area.  Seriously, one day my black and tan dachshund had a layer of flour dust all over her when she was sitting in the kitchen while I cook.  I am like some mad scientist in the kitchen.  

Place your Pork on the bun with your toppings of choice.  These go great with a pickle on the side and some chips or you can add a healthy veggie side to feel better about eating a fried pork sandwich. I serve them with potatoes because I am a farm girl at heart and meat and potatoes are what I was raised on.  However, if in season, you couldn't go wrong with an ear of fresh picked corn.

Alright folks, that is me, sharing one of the traditional foods of the great state of Indiana.   I hope you enjoy and as always, thank you for reading and sharing this blog.  


Fake Chick-Fil-A sauce:
I almost forgot, if you want to make a chick-fil-a style sauce at home just throw together equal parts Mayo, BBQ sauce, and Mustard.   (Add a little more Mayo if it is too spicy).   That's the big secret.  I know, I  know.  REALLY?

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