How To Know If Breaded Pork Chops Are Cooked Properly

Homemade chicken nuggets, pork katsu, chicken katsu in curry, southern-style fried chicken, mozzarella sticks...all of these have something in common: all of these are breaded food. 

Food that has been breaded is an ingredient that has been rolled in an outer coating, usually breadcrumbs. The process is easy to do but can be a messy affair. It usually requires a breading station where the three layers are set up in a row to make it into an easier and more efficient process. 

This is how to set up a proper breading station using a boneless pork chop as an example: 

1. Pat each piece of pork dry with paper towels. 
2. Set up a breading station with three shallow plates: flour, beaten egg, and breadcrumbs. 
3. Using one hand, dip each piece of pork into the flour, then shake off any excess. Shaking off any excess flour ensures that the coating doesn't turn pasty or gummy when you do the next step.
4. Dip the floured pork into the egg. Using your other hand, coat the pork lightly with the egg on both sides. Hold the pork chop over the beaten egg to allow any excess to fall from the pork and back into the bowl.
5. Lay the pork flat in the breadcrumbs. Use your dry hand to grab some breadcrumbs and cover the exposed parts of the pork. Press down and then turn it over. Press it into the breading again to make sure that the breadcrumbs coat and stick to the pork. 
6. Place breaded pork onto a tray and repeat with the remaining pork chops. 

These can be cooked immediately after being breaded or stored in the freezer until ready to cook.  

When it is time to cook, it should be simple task: slide the breaded pork into the hot oil, cook until golden brown on all sides, and remove from the oil to drain on a rack over paper towels. 

However, sometimes it's that easy because you can serve pork that hasn't cooked through properly. If you ever experience this, you are not alone.

Stop serving pork that's not fully cooked through again using one or more of these cooking methods: 

1 Take its temperature.   

The best and most accurate way of knowing if the breaded pork chop you're cooking is cooked through is its temperature. Pork should be cooked to 145 degrees F or 63 degrees C as its minimum internal temperature reading.

However, since carryover cooking happens once the food is removed from the heat and can result in the temperature rising another 3 up to 10 more degrees as it rests, you can safely remove the pork when it registers less than that.  

2 Gauge its weight. 

Not everyone has a meat thermometer. For those of us who do not have a meat thermometer, you can do this instead: gauge its weight. We don't mean for you to bring out the weighing scale. What we mean is a more simple weighing procedure: pick up the pork from the hot oil using tongs and then check its weight. You want to see if it's lighter now than it was when it was still raw. That's because there's a big difference in weight between a piece of raw meat and a piece of cooked meat. Cooked meat will weigh significantly less than when it was raw.

While this trick isn't an accurate way to determine if the meat is cooked through, it's a pretty indicative method without having to cut into the meat and seeing yourself that it is cooked through. 

3 Blast it hot in the air fryer or oven. 

The hot air of the air fryer becomes super hot fast. The small space is easy to heat up! You can take full advantage of that. You can "air fry" your breaded pork chops but breading doesn't easily brown without oil. Spray it with oil and air fry it. You can do this same process if you're using the oven. 

However, if you cooked it on the stove and are not sure if your breaded pork is cooked through, you can make sure that your fried pork is thoroughly cooked through without overcooking it by blasting it in the air fryer for 3 to 5 minutes. This will heat up, not just the pork, but the oil, too, that's trapped in the pork and its breading, making it drip out and into the basket. You will not only get perfectly cooked pork that's no longer pink on the inside, but it's got less oil, too. 

To ensure that every piece of fried pork (or fried chicken!) you cook from now on is perfectly cooked and isn't oily, here's what you do: 

1. Place freshly pan-fried pork in the air fryer basket. 
2. Turn the temperature dial to 180 degrees C. 
3. Turn the timer to 5 minutes. 
4. Let it cook the breaded pork. 

Don't let frying be intimidating! You can cook perfectly cooked food, whether it's a chicken roasted in the oven or breaded pork chops fried on the stove, if you arm yourself with the tips to do it right.   



Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

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