The Top 5 breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches in Iowa was just announced by the Iowa Pork Producers Association and we can't wait to try each of them.

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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.

Three C's Diner in Corning took top spot in the Iowa Pork Producers Association's Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin Contest for 2018. (Photo: Iowa Pork Producers Association/Special to the Register)

"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." 

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.

The breaded pork tenderloin from Nick's in Des Moines was named the best of 2016 by the Iowa Pork Producers Association. (Photo: Special to the Register)

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.

Here are the Top 5 finalists in the Iowa Pork Producers Association's 2019 Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches in Iowa contest:

The tenderloin sandwich from Big Al's BBQ and Catering in Des Moines. (Photo: Brian Taylor Carlson/Des Moines Register)

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). 

The tenderloin sandwich from Nite Hawk Bar & Grill in Slater. (Photo: Brian Taylor Carlson/Des Moines Register)

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).

The tenderloin sandwich called "The P.T." from The Pub at The Pinicon in New Hampton. (Photo: Brian Taylor Carlson/Des Moines Register)

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).

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 breaded pork tenderloin sandwich from Stumble Inn in Bradford. (Photo: Brian Taylor Carlson/Des Moines Register)

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.

The breaded pork tenderloin sandwich from West Side Family Restaurant in Grinnell. (Photo: Brian Taylor Carlson/Des Moines Register)

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. 

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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.

"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."

For more information about the Iowa Pork Producers Association's annual Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin Contest for 2019 and Porktober - An Iowa Pork Celebration, visit

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