4 Thin boneless pork chops
1/4 Cup Wondra flour
2 Large eggs
1/2 Cup breadcrumbs, unseasoned
1/2 Cup panko
1/3 Cup Canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fresh flat leaf parsley to garnish
1) Set up your breading station in three shallow bowls. In the first bowl, add flour and some salt and pepper. Mix. In second bowl, beat eggs with a tablespoon of water and a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. In the third bowl, add the breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt and pepper.
2) Prepare your pork cutlets by removing any excess fat from the pork chops. Place one chop at a time, in-between two sheets of plastic wrap. Pound with the flat side of a meat tenderizer, a rolling pin or a heavy bottom sauce pan until really thin. It will get really large but be careful not to tear the meat. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
4) Heat oil in a large frying pan. Once the oil is hot enough (Test with a few breadcrumbs in the oil. If they immediately sizzle, bubble and fry, your oil is ready.), you are ready to cook the meat.
5) Depending on the size of your pan and your meat, you might have to fry your cutlets one or two at a time. You don’t want to crowd the pan. If doing in batches, you can keep these warm on a rack set over a baking sheet in a 200 degree oven until you are ready to serve. Fry the cutlets on medium heat for around 3-4 minutes, then carefully flip it over and fry for another 3-4 minutes until fully cooked.
6) Let the cutlets drain on a paper towel lined plate for just a minute to remove excess oil. Sprinkle with salt and serve on a plate or platter with slices of lemon.
NOTES: This dish screams OKTOBERFEST! The perfectly crisp and super thin pork cutlet is a German staple. If you can’t get to Germany this year, let this be the star on your dinner table for your own festival.
The classic German Schnitzel is made with pork. You’ll also hear of the Weiner Schnitzel which is made exactly the same way using veal cutlet. Now, I love veal and I love veal cutlets but that cut of meat can be hard to find and is also very pricey. If you can find it, I recommend making the Weiner Schnitzel version too. Try both and you can decide which is your favorite.
The key to this dish is getting those cutlets super thin. If you start with a thinly cut pork chop, it makes this job just a little easier and faster. Not to worry if you only have a regular sized pork chop. Those chops will give you more meat and will just take a little more pounding. It is pretty easy (and pretty satisfying) to beat the meat into submission. LOL Just use any heavy item you have on hand (meat mallet, rolling pin and heavy bottomed pan all work). Putting the meat in-between two sheets of plastic wrap (or inside a really large baggie) will keep the meat from spattering and will keep the cutlet intact. Start in the middle of the cutlet and work your way out to keep it uniformly thin. You are going to be surprised by how large this piece of meat becomes if you are using a thick chop. That’s another reason why I chose the thinner cuts. I usually have to fry one or two at a time in my skillet and just keep them warm in a 200 degree oven. I put them on a rack on a baking sheet to keep them crispy.
A couple of notes on “good” frying:
1. This is a shallow fry so only have about a 1/2 inch of oil in the skillet.
2. Make sure it is really hot and ready to fry. If the oil isn’t hot enough, the cutlets will suck up the oil and be greasy. If the temperature is right, the cutlets will fry fast and get crispy. So be sure to do the “fry test” with a couple of breadcrumbs. (see above)
3. Draining the cutlets on paper towels is another must. Get rid of that excess oil.
4. Make sure you salt the cutlets as soon as they come out of the oil. They will soak up the salt and be perfectly seasoned.
This is a very simple dish so be sure you are seasoning every layer of the dish including the pounded meat and all stages of the dredging station. It does make a difference. I use plain, dry breadcrumbs when making this rather that seasoned crumbs. I find a mix of plain breadcrumbs and panko make for the perfectly crispy exterior we all want. I sprinkle them with salt as soon as they come out of the oil so they are perfectly seasoned at the end. I just serve with wheels and/or wedges of lemon. That is it. Apple sauce on the side is a pretty traditional side too. So feel free to add it as a side with this dish.
While this may be the star of your Oktoberfest, you’ll probably want other sides. I recommend a Homemade Chunky Applesauce and a German potato salad or my Tri-Color Roasted Potatoes. Want to round out the meal with another entree? Try my Knockwurst and Sauerkraut recipe. Add some homemade pretzels and beer-cheese dipping sauce and you’ve got a feast that won’t be forgotten. Don’t forget the beer! Is there anything better than a Pilsner with a German meal? Enjoy!