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I have a mustard-crusted pork tenderloin recipe that I really like, but I have a presentation problem. Basically coat the tenderloins in a honey mustard sauce, then bread with panko. These are fried for a few minutes in a large skillet in clarified butter. Once brown on all sides, the loins are finished in the oven.

The problem is I always loose most of the breading while turning the loins to brown them or when I take them out of the pan. The ideal is that each medallion should be evenly coated around the outside. Instead I end up with a platter of saucy (and tasty) crumbs underneath my half-crusted meat. The challenge is that each piece of meat is quite large, about a pound, and pretty long. How can I turn and lift these tenderloins without ruining my crust?

I have tried both metal and plastic tongs, with no better result. I have tried some of the tips here: How can I get breaded chicken to stop from sticking to the frying pan?. Though my problem was not quite the same.

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    Sometimes a spatula works better, as you can make sure that you've released any breading that might've stuck to the pan. At the very least, give the pan a gentle shake, and see if they move in the pan or not. Also see cooking.stackexchange.com/a/13878/67 – Joe Dec 30 '14 at 22:43
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    Can you clarify on tenderloin? It should be a fairly small (1/4 to 1/2 pound or so). Are you sure this is not a piece of the main loin (like pork chops are cut from)? – Phrancis Dec 30 '14 at 22:59
  • The meat is labelled as pork tenderloin. Seems like it was about a pound, or a little over. Each was about 3 to 4 inches across and maybe 28 to 24 inches long. I cut in half to make two pieces fit into a 12" skillet. – vpipkt Dec 30 '14 at 23:06
  • @Joe both tips worth a try. Also thanks for the dry/wet pointer. So perhaps things will work better if I dry the meat before applying the wet sauce. – vpipkt Dec 30 '14 at 23:08
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Here are a few ideas which might help:

  1. Toss the meat in some flour first, then put it in the sauce, then breadcrumb it. The flour will help everything stick better
  2. I haven't seen your honey sauce recipe, but if you can incorporate an egg or egg yolk in it, give it a go: it will work with the flour to make the sauce far stickier for the crumbs and you won't taste it
  3. After breadcrumbing the meat, leave it in the fridge a few hours or overnight before frying
  4. Don't try moving the meat until the surface in contact with the pan is genuinely cooked and golden - it will naturally start to unstick from the pan as the cooking surface caramelises so this is your best shot at keeping your crust. Before getting your spatuala under the meat, shake it loose first, and once it is moving you can go in for the flip
  5. If 4. just isn't working, you can even put a piece of siliconised greaseproof paper in the pan, put the oil on the paper and fry the meat on that - you can then flip it just by lifting the paper (I sometimes do this with fragile fish)

Hope it works out for you!

  • I have never done #5. Could you use parchment for that? Or foil? – Jolenealaska Dec 31 '14 at 1:30
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    I haven't tried foil before. Parchment should work provided that it is oven-worthy and won't burn - the reason I use siliconised paper is for its non-stick properties and heat resistance (I use it for most baking purposes so I always have some on hand). I'd recommend testing your paper in the pan a few minutes to make sure it doesn't burn. – Shai Dec 31 '14 at 1:34
  • #5 is how I'd do it, helps you use less oil apart from anything else. – Doug Dec 31 '14 at 15:10

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