Breaded Fried Pork Chops: What are your secrets?
For the past several weeks I have tried my hand at this seemingly simple dish. I've done the flour, egg, bread crumbs route; I've omitted the flour, which didn't seem to matter much. I have tried high heat, medium heat, low heat (awful glass top electric stove--why is this all the rage?! Takes forever to heat up and forever to cool down!). I've used canola oil, olive oil, butter, and combinations. I've cooked both thick and thin bone-in chops.
The problem: either I get a mushy mess or a burnt offering, and the pork chop is either undercooked (thick ones) or overcooked (thin ones). If I happen to get a nice even golden crust, the chop will be overcooked or the second batch will be half black and half mush even after wiping out the pan and adding fresh oil/butter.
What am I doing wrong? Do I need to add so much oil that the chops practically swim in it? What is the secret? Is baking them a better method?
Thank you for your kindness and generosity!
Okay, I use my mom's method. I think the trick is having the oil ready to go when the pork is breaded, and not crowding the pan . Get a large, deep frying pan...do the chops in two or three batches if there's a crowd.
Poke holes in the chops and rub (both sides) with s&p. Flour both sides. Dip in a mixture of milk & eggs (1tbl milk to two large eggs), both sides. Cover in pinko (both sides). Put immediately into medium high/high grapeseed oil in pan. Cook on first side for four minutes, then flip and cook for three more. Take out and place on paper towels, then transfer to baking sheet in 200degree oven if doing batches.
Btw I use about 1/4 inch of oil in the pan. If you have it,you can also use bacon drippings. I don't like butter for frying chops...jmo.
HumbleFoodie, Part of your problem is "the product." That is, finding a good pork chop. Most supermarket chops are dreck. Find a source of "real pork" that is farm raised and not injected with hormones, water and other chemicals. You will be amazed at how simple they are to make and how they come out tasty, tender and flavorful. If you start with a bad pork chop, you end up with a bad pork chop.
Commercial pork including chops contain as much water as the producer can figure out how to get in them.
The secret to making your classic breaded is to start with chops you have put on a rack uncovered in your fridge and dried out for at least two days. Four is better depending on the thickness.
Try this and go with what you were doing before.
Also use medium heat. Start with a hot pan not too much oil. When the chop will lift without sticking keep turning them every 30 seconds until nice and golden on both side then let them rest lightly covered for a while.
producers can add as much water as they wish - but it must be labelled. there's an overview here:
see FSIS Regulations and Policies Relative to Retained Water
as for the OP question, a couple practical points:
breading: egg wash + crumbs stick best if the meat surface is dry. hence the dredge in flour then the wash/breading.
allowing the breading to 'air dry' about 10 minutes on a rack also helps keep the breading intact.
the cooking: as mentioned, the pan and any fats/oil should be up to temperature before starting. if the oil is cold, it soaks into the breading.
next problem is: it takes temps on the order of 350-350'F to 'brown' / crisp up a breading.
which means that a 'too thick' chop will not cook thru before the breading burns
a 'too thin' chop may go to shoe leather by overcooking before the breading browns....
so my approach is to pan fry for color and pretty coating, then put on a rack in a 225-250'F oven to finish cooking thru.... takes roughly 10-15 minutes at low temps - but perhaps just five at higher temps - it will vary with the thickness of the chop and how much cooking they did in the fry pan.
an instant read thermometer is helpful to judge doneness - especially if you're using the oven for other things and don't necessarily have a choice about oven temp.
THANK YOU for asking this question! I've NEVER been able to make this or a similarly prepared boneless chicken breast, and, in fact, had given up.
I'm gonna try the 'dry in the refrig' and then 'finish in the oven' strategy.
I generally make Tonkatsu, which is a Japanese version. I make it like this http://norecipes.com/tonkatsu-recipe/ but I leave the pork out until it is nearly room temperature, and I don't always use ones an inch thick. I also make the oil about 350F. I slice it and serve it over shredded cabbage with tonkatsu sauce sometimes labelled katsu sauce(from the grocery). You don't need to serve them that way, but it is new and different for many folks.
IME, the oil is best when it comes just about halfway up the sides of the pork chop. It will then come near the top of the chops when a second one is added. I use a pan with lots of room so that I don't crowd the chops.
I have also made breaded thin ones by pounding them first and then breading them as in the article. (I do use panko.) I season these with more pepper and some paprika, it then is like Wiener Schnitzel vom Schwein or I will serve it with mushroom sauce and make Jaegerschnitzel. These need less deep oil, but a bigger pan as the cutlets are larger around, but thinner.