There is an old joke about people in Indiana being a little bit confused. It goes, “South Bend is in the north, North Vernon is in the south and French Lick isn’t what you think.”
And so it goes with their beloved breaded pork tenderloin sandwich. Indiana is nuts over this sandwich and not without reason. It’s meaty, crunchy, delicious and cheap. One thing it isn’t though is made from pork tenderloin. This classic sandwich is actually made from a breaded tenderized pork loin. It’s easy to see how this cut shortened to its current form and I am not on a mission to correct people’s pronunciation of a sandwich. This is important if you want to make this sandwich at home because if you start with the wrong piece of meat you are going to get frustrated and not know why.
One of the things that makes the sandwich great is the balance between the meatiness of the loin and the crunchiness of the breading. If you start with a pork tenderloin you will never be able to reach the right balance. The meat will become so thin by the time you get it pounded out to sandwich size that really all you will taste is the breading.
It also does not make much sense to take tender cut like the tenderloin and tenderize it further. The loin is much tougher (and cheaper) and benefits from a nice pounding!
The following is a GREAT documentary on the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich. Watch and enjoy, it really is great.