Secrets to Tender Breaded Pork Chops

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Looking for a quality chop is a good way to get tender meat.
Looking for a quality chop is a good way to get tender meat. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Pork chops are cut from the loin area of the pig, which runs from the shoulder to hip. This large section can be broken into many different areas, including rib chops, sirloin chops, top loin chops and blade chops. Whatever the exact cut, there are many secrets to creating tender breaded pork chops. From your initial selection of the chop to your final resting period, everything you do can affect the tenderness of your meat.

Select

Look for pork chops with a deep red-pink color to indicate a fresh, blood-filled cut. Select chops with ample fat, especially if it’s lightly marbled among the meat. Fat adds flavor and moisture to the pork as it cooks. Avoid cuts that are sitting in a large pool of liquid, as that means the juice has run out from the meat. Consider buying chops with the bone, as the bone can help lock in moisture by slowing the cooking process.

Tenderize

The fastest way to tenderizing pork is to break down the muscle fibers so the meat is less chewy. The fastest way to break down the meat is to flatten it with a meat tenderizing mallet or the bottom of a frying pan. You can also use a meat tenderizing powder on the chops, although this usually requires some resting time. Marinate the pork if you’re looking to add moisture to the overall meat. You can marinate it in a simple brine solution to help tenderize and moisturize the meat or marinate it in a sauce to add moisture and flavor.

Prepare

The way you prepare your breaded pork chops can alter more than just the taste, it can alter the tenderness. For the best results, you toss the chop in flour, drench it in egg and roll it around in the breadcrumbs. The flour provides a glue to help stick the egg to the meat. The breadcrumbs provide flavor and texture to the pork. Together, the three ingredients provide a tasty barrier that helps keep the chops juicy and tender.

Cook

There are several different ways to cook breaded pork chops, but the most common are pan-fried or baked. Pan-frying requires heating oil in a skillet and frying the chops on each side. Baking requires heating the oven and baking the chops in a pan to desired doneness. Regardless of how you cook them, breaded pork chops must register an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit on a meat thermometer to be safe to eat. Once done, you remove the chops from the oven immediately to prevent overcooking, which leads to tough meat.

Rest

Let the meat rest away from the heat source, such as on a serving platter, for at least 3 minutes after cooking. This rest time lets the meat to finish cooking and start the cooling process. As the juices cool, they thicken up so that they stay inside the chop when it‘s cut.

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