THE ENTREE – Iowa’s favorite sandwich

By Ashley Buckowing

Chefs, put down your knives. The war for the honor of the state with the greatest pork tenderloin is over. After talking to different chefs and searching for some of the best sandwiches, Iowa is the clear winner.

Pork tenderloins come in all shapes and sizes, and can be found at many Iowa restaurants, including Jethros, Chicago Speakeasy, B-Bops and John & Nick’s Steak & Prime Rib.

Pork tenderloins come in all shapes and sizes, and can be found at many Iowa restaurants, including Jethros, Chicago Speakeasy,B-Bops and John & Nick’s Steak & Prime Rib.

All hail the Iowa classic: pork tenderloin sandwiches. Most meat-eating Iowa residents have indulged in their fair share of the breaded sandwich, and for those who haven’t, well, you’re missing out.

The key to a great tenderloin is in the preparation of the pork itself. Family-run and three generations deep, Smitty’s manager Ben Smith, explains just how they make their award-winning tenderloin: “We get the pork loin in a whole tube, and then we hand-trim that down. We cut it up into pieces, and then we have a tenderizer that we run it through that spreads it out. We run it through a milk wash — cracker meal breading — then form it into a big oval circle,” said Smith. Smitty’s tenderloin is twice breaded with special cracker meal from Chicago.

A hop, skip and a large jump away is Nick’s Tenderloin and Italian Beef. Boasting specialties in pork tenderloins, Nick’s provides a plethora of options for the tenderloin sandwich. The white pork loin is served thick and moist on a lightly toasted bun. The breading rivals many a savory, crunchy patty. On top of the tenderloin itself, Nick’s gives customers the option to add ham, cheese and/or chili. The restaurant even holds eating competitions for its famous sandwiches, because they know just how good they are.

With two locations in the metro, Saints Pub + Patio also serves up a fulfilling and delicious pork tenderloin. They make their masterpiece either breaded or grilled, with all the traditional toppings — mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles — sandwiched in a warm, toasted bun. To accompany it, customers have a choice of regular or waffle fries, potato chips, veggies or an upgrade to sweet potato fries, pasta salad, cottage cheese, soup or a half salad. All pair perfectly with a tenderloin.

With Facebook pages dedicated to Iowa’s great loin sandwiches — there’s even one website called “Des Loines” — it’s clear Iowa knows a thing or two about making the best tenderloin. RELISH

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Categories: The Entree

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