Ok. If I were to say "pork tenderloin" to you, most likely you'd picture this:
Apologies for the vaguely phallic nature of this cut of pork
And, yeah, this is a pork tenderloin. A tender boneless cut of the pork loin intended for cooking, slicing, and serving with some steamed vegetables and perhaps some flavorful rice side dish.
Now, suppose I sliced it in its raw form, probably three or four hunks? And then took each hunk and beat it to death with a tenderizing mallet. The more I beat it the wider its footprint would be, until it pretty much covered the entire surface of the cutting board, above.
Then, I coated it in a flour breading. Then deep fried it and served it as a 'sandwich' with one single solitary standard hamburger bun perched on top as a ridiculous spectacle:
Oh yeah, gotta have some fries, too.
If you go to any restaurant in Iowa, Indiana, Illinois and the surrounding areas, and order a 'pork tenderloin', they'll bring you one of these bad piggies.
I remember the first time I ate at a German restaurant. Within a minute a server was bringing out a pork tenderloin, sans bun...what the hell? I asked her if they forgot the bun. Oh no, I was told. This was weinerschnitzel. I figured a weinerschnitzel was some sort of sausage, you know, 'weiner'?
A true gentleman slices his pork tenderloin sandwich in two or more pieces.
It is impossible to maintain any sense of dignity if you attempt to raise the entire 12 inch pork disc to your face. Hey. I said "disc". What did you think I said?
As with most of the deep fried 'gems' to be found in the Land of the Free, several parties claim to have invented this pork patio. None of the so-called originators can explain why they thought it necessary to pound a section of pork to nearly the thickness and width of an LP record, then immerse it in 350 degree fat, only to top it off with a ridiculous hat.
The tray does double duty. They use it at Oktoberfest to bring 10 or 12 steins of beer
In our investigation in why Americans are the, um, curviest people on Earth, this would be Exhibit B, and you might think that was enough. But, no.
Some people did not feel that the deep-fried pork tenderloin sandwich, with its 90 grams of carbohydrates and 900 milligrams of salt, was filling enough.
Behold, the pride of Springfield, Illinois, the Pork Tenderloin Horseshoe:
The Horseshoe: a topic for another post
Take your sandwich, stack the fries on top of it, then pour spicy beer cheese sauce all over it.
I hope I am entertaining some of you, and horrifying others. See you next time.