Here in Hamilton County, we have more than 500 miles of trails to explore by foot or bike. But we’re also home to a rather tasty trail unlike any other: the Tenderloin Trail, a meandering path that celebrates the uniquely Hoosier specialty sandwich.
We take our tenderloins seriously here – in fact, we made our own semi-holiday called Tenderloin Tuesdays where foodies can feast on tenderloins and take advantage of great deals at 25 participating local restaurants on Tuesdays June 27-July 25, 2017.
But before we send you off on your dining adventure, read through our Tenderloin 101 crash course so you’re in the know on what’s between the bread.
What is it?
When someone refers to a tenderloin anywhere in Indiana, they’re probably talking about the pork cutlet served on a bun - but go anywhere else and clarification will be needed. Pork tenderloin is pounded thin with a mallet and then hand-breaded, fried and served in jaw-dropping proportion to a toasted bun.
What goes on it?
Typical toppings include mayonnaise, ketchup and onions. Often, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles and mustard are added. As for sides, most are served with chips, onion rings or French fries – take it from us, the chive fries at Dooley O’Tooles are out of this world.
How do you eat it?
Devouring the tenderloin is an art all its own. While there’s no wrong way to tackle a tenderloin, read up on some common techniques so you don’t look like a novice.
Are there different varieties?
While the tried and true version is hand-breaded and fried, you can go the “healthy” route and order a grilled tenderloin. Local restaurants offer different spins, like the Upland Brewing Co. seitan tenderloin, Nickel Plate Bar & Grill Cajun tenderloin, Rosie’s Place pork tenderloin benedict and Woodys Library Restaurant kettle-chip encrusted or blackened version.
Why is it so big?
Don’t be alarmed if you can’t see the plate, and if it seems the bun is far too small for the size-of-your-face tenderloin. This is normal. For those with smaller appetites, check out Dooley O’Tooles mini option.
Why is Indiana so famous for tenderloins?
As legend has it, Nick Freienstein added a pork tenderloin sandwich to the menu at Nick's Kitchen in Huntington, Indiana in 1908 and started it all. Breaded in cracker crumbs and soaked in buttermilk, his recipe is still popular today. Restaurants all over Indiana have their own varieties of the famous sandwich, including over 50 eateries right here in Hamilton County, Indiana.
Now that you've been taught the tenderloin ways, it's time to try one for yourself!
For the beer lover: Pair your tenderloin with a local brew – Four Day Ray Brewing is offering a free 5 oz beer pour with purchase.
For the bargain hunter: Take a friend with you to enjoy a tenderloin at Sahm’s Restaurant and Bar – they’re offering a buy one, get one half off deal.
For the epicurean: divvy’s Hoosier pork minis are a spin on the classic with two panko-encrusted mini sandwiches with roasted tomato aioli.
For the sweet tooth: end your meal on a sweet note at Courtney’s Kitchen – enjoy $2 off their tenderloin and receive a free sugar cream pie bite.
Hungry yet? To see all participating #TenderloinTuesday restaurants and deals, visit TenderloinTrail.com. Happy eating!