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.
Add some cornstarch to the flour for perfect breading. This was on an Alton Brown show, but if you Google "cornstarch fried pork chops" there are numerous recipes.
I made these last night. Here is what I did:
1) I started with two 1/2 - 3/4 inch thick boneless chops and trimmed them of excess fat.
2) I used a Jaccard and needled the pork chops and then pounded them to break down the fibers.
3) I coated them in AP flour seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic granules (not powder), and smoked paprika with a little baking powder.
4) I coated them completely in beaten egg.
5) I coated them well in panko seasoned like the flour.
6) I let them rest on a cake rack over a plate for 15 minutes (a step not to leave out)
7) I heated about 1/8 - 1/4 inch vegetable oil in a 12 inch cast iron pan until ripply and bread added sizzled (360 or so, probably)
8) I fried each on one side until golden and then turned them over and repeated.
9) I removed each from the pan and let drain on a rack over a plate for about three minutes.
10) I then re-fried each for about a minute per side to heat and crisp them.
11) I drained them again and served them and we gobbled them up.
1. overnight cure (salt, soldium nitrite)
2. flour, egg wash, breadcrumbs
3. deep fry till it floats <-- that's when it's done, color is more a question of how old and used your oil it.
Yes, locally raised, hormone free hogs make better pork chops. But that alone is not likely the reason for having mushy chops.
I feel ya on the electric top stove (will never go back)but it sounds like you aren't doing the simple things.
1) Making sure the oil is hot enough.
2) DONT CROWD THE PAN!
Never have problem with mushy, breaded chicken or pork using these two rules.
for crispy thin chops:
I use a tenderizer and pound pound pound until the chop is thin and twice its original size
coat the chop with a thick slater of mayo or mustard or both
coat in breadcrumbs or seasoned flour
fry one at a time in carbon steel wok - slide it into the hot oil fry hot and fast
the wok makes this work so much better for me that previously in fry pan
For thicker "steak" like chops I dredge lightly and pan fry in a skillet til lightly browned and then finish in oven til just pink
I was raised on things like fried pork chops. Although I rarely make them now, I went on a bender last night and fried a nice, thick, bone-in chop. What I learned from my grandmother is not fancy, but it works. Coat the chop in seasoned flour only. Just whatever amount naturally sticks to it. Vegetable oil (instead of her Crisco) half the thickness of the chop. Heat to medium-high before you start to fry (test with a little drop of flour to see that it bubbles). Don't crowd the pan (like everyone else says). Don't try to fry super-hot, which results in burned outside, raw inside. BIG TRICK - that also applies to fried chicken - PUT THE LID ON the skillet. Somehow this creates pressure that helps it cook through better (at least that's the theory). Cook for 3-4 minutes until it releases easily from bottom of pan and is nicely browned. Flip once. Repeat. Adjust timing a minute or so either way for thickness of the pork chop. I'd recommend trying a simple method like this with a not-super-thick chop, and then working up to fancier coatings and thicker chops. Good luck and happy eating!