Recipe: Southern Fried Pork Chops
Boneless pork loin chops (approximately 1/4" thick)
3 to 4 cups all purpose flour
1 to 2 tsp ground black pepper
1 to 2 T onion powder
1 to 2 T garlic powder
1 to 2 T rubbed dried parsley
1 tsp celery seeds
1 tsp chili powder (or to taste)
1 to 2 T paprika
salt to taste
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 T hot sauce
1 to 2 quarts cooking oil
First things first, I allowed my hubby to slice the loin into chops for me, which meant that I had to then pound them out to get the proper thickness (or thinness, as it was). This was easily accomplished by placing the chops, one by one into a plastic baggie and pounding them with a mallet. If you don't have a meat pounder/tenderizer a small iron skillet or heavy bottomed pot will work just as well (believe me, I've tried both, they work).
Next, assemble your other ingredients.
In one large bowl mix together the flour and dry spices/herbs.
In another large bowl beat together the buttermilk, eggs, and hot sauce. (remember that if you don't have buttermilk on hand you can make a passable substitute by putting one teaspoon of lemon juice or distilled vinegar into one cup of regular milk and letting it sit for 5 minutes before using) The hot sauce I use is like Tabasco, I just prefer the flavor of Texas Pete brand. You can leave this out if you don't like it or don't have it on hand. You can tell by the size of the bottle that I use it quite frequently. :)
Ooo, I almost forgot the paprika and chili powder (see the previous picture)
Next step: Pour cooking oil into a large, steep sided frying pan or dutch oven. Use a good, heavy bottomed pan for this, or cast iron. A thin bottomed pan will not work right and your stuff will scorch. If you have something like a Fry Daddy, that will work too. Also, use a quality cooking oil for deep frying. I personally prefer Wesson brand vegetable or canola oil but I will use Crisco brand if it is on a really good sale.
Anyhoo... heat the oil over a medium flame. You will just have to experiment with your own stove to get the heat right. I don't have a clue what the temperature is supposed to be, I've never tested it. I just hold my hand over it until it feels right, then I do a drop test: Test your oil for proper heat by dropping a pinch of flour into it. If it hisses and bubbles up you're ready to rock-n-roll.
Now then... dust a chop with the flour mixture, then dip into the egg mixture, then back into the flour mixture. You will have to turn it over several times and press the flour into the meat. You can fry the chop now or give it another turn in the egg mixture and then back into the flour for an extra crunchy coating. (I wanted to get a picture of this for you, but it's hard to snap pictures when your fingers are all covered in flour/egg mixture.
Carefully place your coated chop into the hot oil. Do not over-crowd your pan or you will cool your oil too much and the thing won't fry properly and you'll have a greasy, icky, yucky... um... thing.
When your chop begins to look a little browned on the edges turn it over. You may need to flip it more than once until you get the level of brownness and crunchiness you desire on both sides. Remove from the oil and drain on several sheets of paper towel or use a draining rack. (I find that draining on paper towels gets more oil off)
Ta-da! You now have a sinfully delicious, totally unhealthy piece of deep fried heaven. Every Southern cook has their own variation of this recipe. Personally, I think my version is one of the very best I've ever tasted and believe me I've tasted a LOT of fried foods in my lifetime. This is the basic recipe that my Grandmother used, although she didn't use the chili powder or the hot sauce. You can use this technique to fry most anything. Chicken, shrimp, fish, veggies, cheese... just alter the seasonings to suit the food. I use this to make fried chicken for chicken parmigiana, only I use Italian herbs for the seasoning.
Thomas had his chop over a green salad with Caesar dressing.
My hubby had the full traditional Southern meal: Chop, mashed potatoes, mixed greens.
And of course... he had to have gravy all over it:
Myself, I had a chop, sans mash & gravy, with the rest of the greens. I don't much care for mashed potatoes. I know, I know... mashed taters are an American tradition. But growing up rice was cheaper and flour, so we ate rice a lot as a staple and also biscuits. Lots and lots of biscuits... I think mashing is a horrible thing to do to a perfectly good potato. But that's a whole other blog post...
BTW, deep frying is a thing you have to commit to. You need to prep your stuff, hang up the phone, make sure you have a tall glass of iced tea nearby, and just do it! You can't worry about making a mess, or getting your hands all icky. If you try to keep your counter all neat while you do it you will fail. If getting your hands all covered in flour and raw egg and just, just... goo, disturbs you, you won't do it right. You have to forget all that and just be in the moment. Like I said, you have to commit to it. Totally.
Also, don't be stingy with the flour mixture or the egg mixture. If you worry about all the flour you will be throwing away when you're done and try to use less, you won't get a good coating and you will fail.
Another thing, please don't use store brand oil. Use the good stuff. And don't be stingy with it, either. I don't advocate eating fried foods very often, so... if you're going to do it, you might as well do it right.
I learned this way of coating foods for deep frying from my Granny, my mother's mother. She was the champion deep frying pro of the Universe. No kidding. The skill eluded my mother. She wasn't good at it at all (mostly because of the warnings I posted above). But I, thank goodness, inherited my Granny's knack for it. Yes, I am bragging on myself. Everyone has certain skills they are proud of and the fact that I can make deep fried foods (chicken especially) that everyone raves over is one of mine.
Let me know if you guys try this or if your methods are different or similar.