Here are the Top 5 finalists for the 2019 Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin in Iowa contest
A look back at winners of the best tenderloin in Iowa contest by the Iowa Pork Producers Association. Ben Yoder/The Register
It's almost here, Iowa.
The Iowa Pork Producers Association's annual Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin Contest for 2019 is nearing its conclusion and the winner will be announced in mid-October. But for now, the Top 5 have been announced.
Over 5,390 nominations were received for 470 restaurants during the spring nomination period and the list was whittled down to five lucky finalists.
Then, a panel of judges drove to each restaurant and tasted the sandwiches to determine the winner, which will be announced later this month.
"All of the top five finalists scored highly in our first round of judging this summer, which included 40 restaurants from around the state," said Kelsey Sutter, IPPA marketing and programs director. "And we're excited to announce Iowa's Best for 2019."
The yearly contest dates back to 2003 and also coincides with Porktober - An Iowa Pork Celebration
Any Iowa restaurant, café or tavern that has hand-breaded or battered pork tenderloins on its menu is eligible to be nominated. In order to win, the nominated business must be open year-round; however, seasonal restaurants can be in the final top five.
"While we encourage consumers to include pork in their meals all year long, this time set aside for the traditional October Pork Month recognition is an opportunity to remind you about a great product and the men and women who produce it," said Trent Thiele, IPPA president and Elma pig farmer.
An expert panel of industry judges travels around the state to taste each tenderloin and determine the winner based on taste, appearance, consistency, thickness, crunch, presentation, evidence of hand pounding and much more.
The winning restaurant will receive $500, a plaque, a banner to display and statewide publicity that will bring in new business.
2019 Breaded Pork Tenderloin Top 5
Here are the Top 5 finalists in the Iowa Pork Producers Association's 2019 Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches in Iowa contest:
Big Al’s BBQ and Catering
The breaded tenderloin sandwich at Big Al's in Des Moines is kissed with hardwood smoke and then hand-breaded in a southern cornmeal breading and served on a brioche bun with a side of fries ($10.95).
Location: 1810 Army Post Road, Des Moines
Hours: Open daily, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Nite Hawk Bar & Grill
Popular with bikers and bicyclists alike, the tenderloin sandwich at Nite Hawk Bar & Grill in Slater can also be ordered grilled. The sandwich is served hot and crispy on a soft toasted bun ($7.50).
Location: 105 Greene St., Slater
Hours: Sunday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.-midnight; Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m.
The Pub at The Pinicon
At The Pub at the Pinicon in New Hampton, the tenderloin sandwich is called "The P.T." The restaurant starts with a ½-pound portion of butterflied pork tenderloin and serves it on a toasted brioche bun with a choice of side ($9.99).
Location: 2205 S. Linn Ave., New Hampton
Hours: Monday, 4-9 p.m.; Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, 4-10 p.m.; closed Sundays.
The 9-ounce breaded pork tenderloin sandwich called the "Crispy Pig" at Stumble Inn in Bradford can be ordered in full- or half-size ($10; $7.50). This restaurant takes cash only.
Location: 107 2nd St., Bradford
Hours: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-9 p.m.; Saturday, noon-9 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Contact: (641) 648-0053; Facebook
Westside Family Restaurant
Westside Family Restaurant in Grinnell serves its juicy, lightly-breaded deep-fried pork loin on a bun with lettuce, onion and pickle ($6.95). The 5-ounce loins are tenderized twice.
Location: 229 6th Ave. W, Grinnell
Hours: Sunday-Monday, 6 a.m.-2 p.m.; Tuesday-Thursday, 6 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 6 a.m.-9 p.m.
2018: Three C's Diner, Corning
2017: Grid Iron Grill, Webster City
2016: Nick's, Des Moines
2015: Belmond Drive-In, Belmond
2014: Lucky Pig Pub & Grill, Ogden
2013: River Rock Café, Mount Pleasant
2012: Breitbach’s Country Dining, Balltown
2011: Gramma’s Kitchen, Walcott
2010: Buck’s Bar & Grill, Mitchellville (now out of business)
2009: Goldie’s Ice Cream Shoppe, Prairie City
"Nearly one of 12 Iowans has a job connected to the pork industry," Thiele said. "We encourage you to follow great nutrition and cooking information about pork by following #Porktober19 on all your social media channels."