The “Tri-Pork-Ta”: Paleo Iowa-Style Pork Tenderloin

Pork TenderloinJosh and I have a favorite restaurant in Denver that we frequent at least two or three times a month. It’s called Freshcraft, and they’ve got a menu chock-full of delicious, handmade foods and a craft beer tap list that would make any beer geek’s head spin.

My favorite menu item is “The Burger”—a half pound of beef on baby arugula, topped with Gorgonzola and caramelized onions, served with a side of house-made aioli. My mouth is starting to water just thinking of it. Josh’s favorite is the Cheese Crusted Iowa Style Pork Sandwich, which comes out as a giant slab of pork tenderloin, breaded and fried in what tastes like homemade Cheez-Its, served on a teeny-tiny bun with a side of house made hush puppies.

Not to say that doesn’t sound delicious, but holy carbohydrates is it loaded with starch and not-so-paleo-friendly ingredients. I’ve always been tempted to just get one of my own, but could never bring myself to try such an abomination without feeling like I’d have to climb a mountain afterward to expend that sudden spike in energy.

Just last night, however, in a rush to find something quick and easy to make before meeting some friends for Happy Hour, Josh suggested I cook up some pork chops on the stove. As I looked around to try and figure out how to prepare them, I found a bag of chicharones, a giant meat mallet, and a Kerr jar full of bacon fat.

So, what did I do? I decided to try my hand at making my own paleo version of an Iowa-Style Pork Tenderloin at home, and I’m here to share the love with you.

Paleo Iowa-Style Pork Tenderloin

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes | Serves: Two

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. bacon fat (or sunflower oil, or coconut oil, but bacon fat is what makes it the “tri-pork-ta”)
  • Two ½-lb pork chops, completely thawed
  • 1 Cup crushed chicharones (pork rinds)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • Coarsely ground pepper

Directions:

  • In a bowl, crack and stir the two eggs together.
  • In another bowl, mix the crushed pork rinds, the salt, the crushed red pepper, garlic powder and coarsely ground pepper together.
  • Using a meat tenderizer, flatten each pork chop until it’s no more than ¾-inch thick; if you can, use a tenderizer with the pointed side and a flat side—smash it down with the pointed edge, then flatten completely with the flat edge.
  • Melt the bacon fat in a large pan on medium-low heat.
  • As the fat is melting, coat each pork chop first in a layer of egg, then in a layer of the pork rind mixture.
  • Put the chops into the melted fat and cook for 7.5 minutes on each side. Add additional seasonings to taste.
  • Serve hot with a dab of dijon mustard and enjoy!

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