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30 Minute Meals Main Dish Pork Southern Comfort Food

Fried Pork Tenderloin and Sawmill Gravy

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Fried Pork Tenderloin and Sawmill Gravy is downhome cooking at its finest. This simple dish features tender pork cutlets that have been lightly coated with seasoned flour and pan fried until golden. Smothered with sawmill gravy, it’s a dish that’s complemented beautifully by a heaping helping of mashed potatoes, vegetable of choice and homemade biscuits to round out the meal. The only thing missing is a big glass of sweet tea to wash it all down.

Fried Pork Tenderloin with Gravy is Comfort Food 101

Sawmill gravy, in my neck of the woods, is also referred to as pan gravy or country gravy. It’s what my Mom and Grandmas made most often, and it’s well known as standard Southern fare. This kind of gravy would always have sausage in it when serving for breakfast, and in this instance, it’s simmered right in the pan after cooking the pork tenderloin pieces. Depending on the amount of drippings left behind in the pan, you may add additional butter to make the roux. Typically sawmill gravy is made with milk or cream, and flour is used for thickening. That said, in some parts of the South, cornmeal may be used for thickening in place of the flour. It all depends on the cook.

Gravy in the South

It’s no secret we join with our Midwestern friends in our love of sausage gravy and biscuits . When serving pan gravy, as made in this recipe, it can easily be transformed by adding sausage, and served over fresh from the oven buttermilk biscuits. Of course, you can also serve gravy over chicken fried steak or chicken fried chicken, too. This simple country dish is not a weekly feature at our house, we consider it more of a treat. It’s a meal that takes me back to my roots, and it’s comfort food at it’s best. If you’re a pork fan, after you’ve tried this Fried Pork Tenderloin And Sawmill Gravy recipe you may also like to try this Roasted Pork Tenderloin recipe from Fifteen Spatulas.



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Fried Pork Tenderloin And Sawmill Gravy

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course, Pork
Cuisine: American
Keyword: fried-pork-and-gravy, fried-pork-tenderloin-sawmill-gravy, pork
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Melissa Sperka


  • 2 ½ lb pork tenderloin cut into ¾ inch thick pieces
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp seasoning salt plus additional as needed to your taste
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 6 Tbsp butter divided
  • ¼ tsp dried tarragon
  • ¼ tsp poultry seasoning
  • 2 ¼ cups milk


  • Slice the pork tenderloin into ¾ inch thick pieces.
  • In a shallow bowl, mix together all purpose flour, seasoned salt and black pepper until blended. Reserve ¼ cup for the gravy and set aside.
  • Use the remaining ½ cup to dust both sides of the sliced pork tenderloin.
  • Heat ¼ cup of olive oil and 3 Tbsp of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Brown the tenderloin in batches cooking for around 4 minutes on each side. Adjust depending on thickness. Remove to a platter and keep warm.
  • To make grav: Reserve 2 Tbsp of pan drippings and add 3 Tbsp of butter.
  • Sprinkle the ¼ cup reserved flour into the pan and stir to combine. Cook for about 1 minute scraping any brown bits from bottom of pan.
  • Gradually whisk in the milk, tarragon and poultry seasoning.
  • After all of the milk has been added, bring to a boil to thicken, then immediately lower the heat whisking constantly. Let the gravy slowly bubble for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, over low heat. Adjust salt and black pepper to your taste.
  • You may adjust the consistency adding more milk to thin, if desired. Serve immediately drizzled over pork tenderloin.
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