Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sliders from Midwest ~ USA

by ....RaeDi

From the heartland, USA a wonderful sandwich that may not be the healthiest, but it sure is good!  I am not for sure where the tenderloin sandwich was born or when.  I know that for some this sandwich comes from Iowa, but those from Indiana will say it is from there, go to Illinois, Minnesota or Missouri you will hear the same thing.   What I do know is that when I moved from the Midwest a few years(!) ago… that I have not seen it on a menu anywhere that I have lived since, East Coast from Connecticut to Virginia to South Carolina.  Living here in the Pacific Northwest and all the travels in between (I have been to all fifty states) and the only place you will find it on the menu is the Midwest.  The sandwich originated in the Midwest and I guess stayed there ~ for reasons I do not understand.  People act strange if you ask if they make a tenderloin sandwich, always with a puzzled look on their face.  I do know that it origins are in the Midwest and that it is a very good sandwich, need I know more?

If someone asked me to name some victuals from the American Midwest, this first to come to mind would be the tenderloin sandwich.  What is a tenderloin sandwich some may ask… it is breaded pork tenderloin that is deep-fried and served on bun with fries.  Not the healthiest of meals, but I do have to add,  it is lip smacking good ~ scrumptious.   One of those things that once it is gone, you wish you had taken a few more minutes to consume (chow-down.)  As a child into young adulthood when I had the chance to get one it was always with mustard and dill pickles, which to me was all that it needed.

I will mention at this time, it was not something that Mom made at home; we only had it when eating out, usually at a quick restaurant of some kind.  It is just one part of the Mid Western unique settings where so many other things make up the whole of the cuisine-fare there like: apple pie or all fruit pies, jello, fried chicken, and homemade bread to name just a few.

We had Pork Tenderloin yesterday eve for dinner, roasted.  I cannot even remember the last time I ate pork tenderloin?   But it was a nice piece of meat that I decided to roast part of it leaving the other part so I could make some pork tenderloin sliders for the next evening.  When finding out I was saving a piece for the pork sliders the immediate question was what is a pork tenderloin slider? Again, I was surprised to know that there was someone who had no idea of what I speak… I remarked you will have to wait and see tomorrow night.

I have been thinking about when the last time I had this sandwich was, I could not even remember.  I know that I have made them a couple of times when I first left the Midwest because of not finding them on anyone menus, but I just could not remember when was the last time I had one.   I now wonder how I could forget about these wonderful sandwiches.

I hope they are as good as last night’s roasted pork tenderloin.  It was so moist; the flavors were something I had not had in years.  I find myself asking why I do not cook this more and I have no answers.  I think that when I have my tenderloin slider tonight I will feel the same way, why did I wait so long to cook these wonderful sliders/sandwiches (I think I know why this is a once in every dozen or ‘more’ years dinner, it is not the healthiest meal, but boy is it good) ….


  • Cut Tenderloin to about ¾” disks ~ 4
  • Crackers Crumbs ~ depends on how much you want to use to bread each tenderloin
  • Beaten Eggs ~ 2
  • Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
  • 4 Slider Buns, toasted  ( I used Potato Slider Rolls)

Once you have your disks of tenderloin cut, take the meat tenderizer and apply to each side of the meat until about 1∕8 and 1/4   inch thick.  Dredge in eggs and then coat well with cracker crumbs, pressing the crackers into the meat as you go.  They should be will breaded. Salt and Pepper them once you have them breaded.

Heat your oil, I use Canola and fry each to golden brown and turn, when it is golden brown on all sides I put on paper towels to absorb the extra oil.  I even patted them with the paper towels to get as much of the oil that lingered off, they were not as greasy as I thought they would be.

I browned the top and bottom of the rolls ( I did not butter or put olive oil, just plain browning) on the cut sides, once the tenderloins were made I used romaine lettuce leaves, thin cut red onion slices, thin cut tomato slices and mustard to finish the slider/sandwiches.  I like to put a dill pickle and pickled pepper on top of each held in place with a toothpick.

We had Bloody Marys and I put together a nice ‘healthy’ salad to go with this.  I too baked some fries for those that wanted.  The tenderloin slider/sandwiches (they were sliders, just the meat was a lot larger than the bun!) were delicious and a rare treat I probably will not make them again for at least as long as it has been since the last time I had them (still cannot remember!) They were a special treat from my childhood; I will admit I enjoyed the slider/sandwich very much.   I realized as I was putting everything together for dinner that it is rare that we eat like this.  I have been very health conscious foodwise for many years now, but I too believe in having a treat every once in a great while.

I do love-making tarts and such, using cream, butter and such, but just a few bites is all that I consume, so it is not so unhealthy, if all would eat just a sampling of these special treats instead of gorging themselves it could be healthy eating for everyone (most everyone.) I no longer bake the normal size cupcakes, they are all minis, the same with tarts it is seldom that I make a large tart, and they are usually no larger than six inches or smaller.  Most times left overs go to friends, makes a nice sweet treat/gift.   I will only take a quarter slice of one six-inch tart for dessert.  That is more than enough to enjoy.

The sliders were a lot smaller than the average size tenderloin sandwich from what I remember, as a child they seemed to be dinner plate in size, my sliders were indeed a small portion of what was once served to me.   I feel that sized down they are a lot healthier ~ will I can think they were!  I loved revisiting my childhood through food the past couple of nights, the pork whether roasted or made into tenderloin sliders was finger-licking good, to some scrumptious, to others very tasty but thoughts would be on how healthy is the fried pork sliders?  The roasted pork will definitely be a repeater.  Once every couple of decades I think it is okay to partake in this mouth-watering breaded, fried meal….