If you’ve been reading my blog long enough you know that our family loves pork chops, from fried to broiled, to smoked, to smothered. Southern Fried Pork Chops are somewhere at the top of my most favorite pork chop recipes. They are almost as simple to make as the quick salt-and-pepper pork chops, but the added flavor from bacon fat, that thin layer of crust and a touch of heat from cayenne pepper make them that much more flavorful. A little extra effort here pays off big time. I may be wrong here, but I find breaded pork chops to be a little juicier than un-breaded ones too. It kind of makes sense though: the layer of breading acts as a barrier and keeps moisture inside.
Some of my readers may wonder why I called this recipe Classic Southern Fried Pork Chops so let me clarify before going any further. My rationalization for that was that this recipe captures what I think is the essence of Southern pork chops: seasoning meat with salt and pepper, then dredging it in flour and pan-frying in lard. That said, there are many variations of Southern pork chops, with some interesting additions that don’t overpower pork, too many to count, and every family has one. And unless you really deviate from the general formula, they will still be classic.
To get a beautiful, thick crust on my pork chops are I do two things. Firstly, I use a little bit of thick Dijon mustard to help the spices adhere to the meat. Dijon will also create a moister surface that will help more flour to stick to the meat. Secondly, I double dredge the chops in the flour to make sure I get more flour on the surface and better adherence. More flour equals better crust.
If you don’t like mustard, which you won’t really notice after cooking, you can dip the pork chops in buttermilk like in this chop recipe prior to dredging in flour. Using buttermilk is another great way to get a thick and delicious crust. Some Southern pork chop recipes recommend using self-rising flour with buttermilk for even thicker crust, so if you do use buttermilk, make sure to experiment with using self-rising flour as well.
This recipe uses part rendered bacon fat and part vegetable oil for frying pork chops. Bacon fat adds a lot of flavor. If you don’t care about that extra flavor, only using vegetable oil is fine too, but I believe that a true classic Southern pork chop must be fried in pork fat.
Classic Southern Fried Pork Chops
- 4 bone-in pork chops
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- 1 tsp granulated onion
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper plus more to taste
- 4 bacon strips
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- In a small bowl, combine granulated garlic, onion, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
Pat dry pork chops with a paper towel. Using your hands, rub Dijon mustard all over the pork chops.
Sprinkle the spice mix and evenly rub into the chops on each side.
Dredge in flour really well on both sides and set aside.
Preheat a large, about 12-13-inch, heavy (cast iron is recommended) frying pan over medium-high heat.
Fry the bacon strips, on both sides, until crisp and fat has rendered out. Remove the bacon and reserve for other uses.
- Add vegetable oil to the frying pan. Let the oil warm up to cooking temperature, about 325F.
- Dredge each pork chop in flour again, making sure each side is covered really well. Place in the frying pan and cook over medium heat about 4-5 minutes per side, until deep golden brown and the internal temperature of the pork reached 145F. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the pork chops you are using.
Remove pork chops, place on a platter and cover with foil and let rest for 3 minutes before serving.
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