Midwesterners love their tenderloins and the winner of the Iowa Pork Producers Association’s 2017 Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin contest is now learning just how popular they are.
Tenderloin lovers come from near and far to enjoy Iowa’s best and the day after IPPA announced the winner on Oct. 13, the Grid Iron Grill sold 238 of its award-winning tenderloins and nearly 1,000 over the first four days. The Webster City restaurant normally sells anywhere from 300 to 400 a week.
Owner Burke Risetter couldn’t be happier about winning the contest.
“I’ve been in food service my whole life and I always wanted my own business,” Risetter said. “I feel like this is a little bit of a reward and I’m thrilled to death.”
The Grid Iron Grill has been in business since 2008 when Risetter and his uncle opened the restaurant. Now the sole owner, Risetter and his staff cut fresh pork loins daily into seven to eight-ounce masterpieces. They are tenderized twice, tapped out instead of pounded out and given a light egg wash.
“A wonderful golden brown, center cut, cooked to perfection breaded pork tenderloin,” commented judge Phillip Carey, executive chef and professor at the Des Moines Area Community College Culinary Institute. “The even thickness of the pork loin made this sandwich very enjoyable to eat. A true test of a good breaded pork tenderloin is you can eat it with just a bun. This one was that type of sandwich and I’m ready to go back for another.”
The day of the announcement, the Grid Iron Grill purchased a new fryer that is now a dedicated tenderloin fryer. The restaurant had used one fryer for all of its pork items.
The IPPA Restaurant and Foodservice Committee presented Risetter with a plaque, large banner and $500 cash at the official presentation on Oct. 18.
“We wouldn’t be here without the great community, great surrounding community, excellent customers and just great team members that are still here,” Risetter said in accepting the award. “Iowa’s best tenderloin, I didn’t ever have that in the back of my mind. What an honor and hopefully we won’t disappoint anybody. I just appreciate the honor and the opportunity to be 2017’s, Iowa’s best.”
Ryan Cushman of Webster City won $100 in a drawing for nominating the Grid Iron Grill.
IPPA judges selected the Northside Café in Winterset as the runner up in this year’s contest. IPPA will present the café with a check for $250 and a plaque. The Buffalo Tavern in Burlington, Lake View’s Thirsty Carp and the Double Dip in Chariton rounded out the top five finalists. These restaurants will receive a Top Five Plaque to display in their restaurant.