Cuisine Fiend

buttermilk fried pork


buttermilk fried pork

Pork tenderloin or fillet mignon (known in my house as ‘filet de piglet’, just btw), is supposed to be the easiest meat cut to cook. Brushed with a bit of hoisin, plum, honey, half an hour and it’s ready. I find it utterly boring I’m sorry to say – even when herbed, stuffed or wrapped in pancetta, the latter ingredient is the best bit.

It’s dry. Dry meat is not acceptable in my books and however much I long for someone to think of a replacement for the hateful word ‘moist’, that’s what meat should be. Otherwise you feel like you’re chewing on straw. Pork loin and tenderloin, chicken and turkey breast, brisket if badly cooked – no taste, just mastication. All the gravy in the world will not sweeten the roast.

fried pork tenderloin

I like the fillet (filet) best in stir fries, cut into strips, smothered in sweet and salty with a hit of heat. Someone might say it’s a waste of an expensive cut but I do not think so – choice cuts are best for stir fries where the meat is just flash fried. That – and this recipe here, a take on the Southern stateside classic, buttermilk fried chicken.

Seasoning is ad lib but I’ve opted for Southern-ish, little that I know of it. If you can get hold of Old Bay Seasoning, it will work perhaps better than what I was trying to come close to.

buttermilk fried pork

Servings: 2Time: 15 minutes plus brining


  • Serves 2
  • pork tenderloin, about 450g (1 pound) in weight
  • 250ml (1 cup) buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp. mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp. dried marjoram
  • 2 tbsp. sweet chili sauce
  • 200g (1 cup) plain flour
  • 100g (½ cup) fine cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp. fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 250ml (1 cup) groundnut oil
  • salt


1. Trim the pork tenderloin of all fat and silver tendons; cut it into 2cm (1 ½ in) cutlets. Flatten the cutlets on a cutting board with your hand.

2. In a large bowl mix the buttermilk with the mustard powder, chili sauce and marjoram. Toss the pork in the buttermilk and chill for at least 2 hours, best overnight.

buttermilk marinade

3. Preheat the oven to barely warm, 100C/225F with a baking dish inside. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or a skillet.

4. Prepare a mix of the flour, cornmeal, onion and garlic powder in a large bowl or a freezer bag. Lift the pork pieces from the buttermilk, shake off excess liquid and drop them into the flour. Shake the bowl or bag energetically about to coat the meat.

5. When the oil is shimmering (180C/350F), shake the cutlets off excess flour and place them in the pan – don’t crowd it, work in batches if necessary, that’s why you have the warm oven at the ready.

fried pork

6. Fry the pork for 3 minutes on one side until browned underneath. Turn the pieces over and fry for another 3-4 minutes. Lift them with a slotted spoon, drain briefly on paper towels and place in the warm oven while you finish frying.

7. Let the meat rest in the oven for a few minutes even if you manage to fry it all in one batch. Serve with green vegetables, ketchup and lemon quarters.

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