BPT is GR8: Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich – Iowa

The breaded pork tenderloin — or BPT for those in the know — is such a simple thing. Just a piece of pork tenderloin pounded thin, dipped in an egg wash, battered, then fried.


A restaurant in Indiana actually claims to have invented the BPT, but when it comes to pork, Iowa is the country’s top producer, with over 10 billion pounds produced in 2012. Heavens to piggy! The BPT is very close to its German cousin, the schnitzel, the only real difference being that schnitzel is pan fried while the BPT takes a deep oil bath. You can find BPTs all over the Hawkeye State in drive-ins, dive bars, and diners.

We home cooks can master this dish pretty easily, the only special equipment needed is a meat tenderizer (that thing that looks like a hammer) and a deep fat fryer. First start with the tenderloin, trimmed of most fat and the silverskin. Slice it into 4 ounce portions or so, or have your butcher do this for you. DSC_0009

Next take your meat tenderizer, cover the meat with a piece of plastic wrap and pound the heck out it on a solid surface until it’s about a quarter inch thick.



Next prepare your egg wash and also your breading mixture.


Don’t worry too much about which breading is best. Iowans have not reached a consensus. Some like flour, some prefer panko, some like bread crumbs, some like corn flake crumbs. Pick your favorite and know that as long as it’s well- seasoned, it’s all good. We used a flour/panko mix for our BPT.

Dip the meat in the egg wash . . .



. . . then dip into the breading mixture.


Don’t worry if the breading doesn’t adhere, just dip in both again.

Deep fry for about five minutes per side. When done, the coating should be a deep golden brown.

If the meat hangs way off the bun, you’ve mastered an authentic BPT!

Check out the East West Riverfest, a two-week cultural arts festival in the Quad Cities, September 5-21, 2014.

Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


  • 4 pieces pork tenderloin (approx. 4 ounces each)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup panko, bread crumbs or corn flake crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Vegetable oil
  • 4 buns

For condiments:

  • Lettuce
  • White or red onion
  • Pickle spears
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard


Trim meat of any fat or silverskin. Cover one piece of meat with plastic wrap. Pound meat with a meat tenderizer until pork is approximately a quarter inch thick. Repeat with remaining pieces of meat.

Mix egg and milk in shallow dish with a fork until the egg is completely incorporated.   In a separate dish, mix the dry ingredients. Dip each piece of meat into the egg wash, then dip into the breading mixture. If the breading mixture does not adhere, repeat the egg wash dip, and then the breading mixture dip. Repeat with the remaining pieces of meat.

Heat oil until 360 degrees. Working in batches, place meat gently into the hot oil and cook for about 5 minutes on each side or until dark golden brown.

Serve on buns with your choice of condiments.