Midwesterners do two things really well: grow big bucks and cook wild hog.
I discovered both of these on a deer hunt in Pike County, Illinois, when the outfitter took me across the state border for an all-you-can-eat pork tenderloin feast.
I didn't kill a deer on that trip, but I did manage to discover one of the best ways to enjoy a wild pig's tenderloin — pounded into thin cutlets and fried to a golden perfection.
A lot of folks put these platter-sized pieces of wild hog on a bun, but I prefer them as is, served with some sweet potato fries and sliced green apples.
You will need:
1 wild hog tenderloin
Canola oil for frying
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbs. kosher salt
1 tbs. celery salt
1 tbs. pepper
1 tbs. dry mustard
2 tbs. paprika
2 tbs. garlic powder
2 tbs. onion powder
1 cup milk
1 large egg
1 sleeve saltine crackers
Trim the tenderloin of all fat and sinew.
Cut tenderloin on the diagonal into ½-inch slices. Place each slice between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound until approximately 1â„8-inch thick.
Combined seasoned flour ingredients and mix well.
Whisk together milk and egg.
In a large zip-top bag, crush crackers with rolling pin or empty wine bottle into fine crumbs.
Add canola oil to a heavy pan to a depth of about 1 inch. Place over medium-high heat.
Dredge pounded tenderloin cutlet in seasoned flour followed by the egg wash and cracker crumbs. Transfer to wire rack to rest while you dredge remaining cutlets.
When oil reaches 350 degrees, carefully add one cutlet to the frying pan. Cook approximately 3 minutes per side, or until the crust is a golden brown.
Transfer to another wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet and place in warm oven while you finish cooking remaining cutlets.