Iowa's best breaded pork tenderloin is in Belmond

Iowa’s Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin is in Belmond

BelmondA Belmond restaurant that’s been under current ownership for less than a year is the 2015 winner of the Iowa Pork Producers Association’s Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin contest.

Joe and Jewel McFarland opened the Belmond Drive-in on Oct. 22, 2014, after both worked as cooks in various establishments for more than 20 years.

“This is awesome,” Joe said when contacted by phone this week about the award. It’s a huge honor, an impressive award and I’m very happy.”

The winning tenderloin is a center cut pork loin that Joe sources from a local meat locker. He hand trims and cuts the loins fresh daily. The tenderloin is dipped in an egg wash and then hand breaded with a medium size breadcrumb.

“I have a manual tenderizer that I run the loins through and then I pound them out with a meat tenderizer hammer,” Joe said. “It’s a lot of work, but they are good and [our customers] love it.”

The McFarlands currently sell 20 to 30 breaded pork tenderloins a day. The drive-in is open each day, except Tuesday.

“They start with a 4 oz cut of pork loin and hand pound it to the perfect thickness,” said Chef Phil Carey, an Iowa Culinary Institute instructor and finalist judge. “The end result has true pork flavor that is complimented well by a simple bread crumb breading. They serve it up hot and juicy – eat it plain and enjoy the flavor!”

The IPPA Restaurant and Foodservice Committee is presenting the McFarlands with a check for $500, a plaque and a large banner in ceremonies at the restaurant today. The Belmond Drive-in also will receive statewide publicity for winning IPPA’s 13th annual contest.

Everyone who nominated the Belmond Drive-in was put in a drawing for $100 from IPPA. Karen Busick from Belmond was selected as the winner.

Three C’s Diner in Corning placed second in this year’s contest and will receive $250 and a plaque. Rounding out the top five finalists was the Recovery Room in Ottumwa, the Peru Bar & Grill in Peru and The Office in Lenox. These restaurants will receive a plaque to display in their restaurant.

Tenderloin lovers submitted 1,161 nominations and nearly 40 tenderloin sandwiches were judged this summer on the quality of the pork, taste, physical characteristics and eating experience.

“This contest is all about celebrating the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich – a Midwest favorite – and uncovering one of Iowa’s best for all to enjoy, and we’ve done it again!” said IPPA Marketing and Program Director Kelsey Sutter. “Fortunately, we have a plethora of tenderloins to choose from in Iowa and the sandwich in Belmond is definitely among the best!”

The contest recognizes Iowa dining establishments that support the swine industry by putting pork on their menu. All restaurants, cafes and taverns that serve breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches year round and list them on their daily menu can be nominated for the award.