Iowa chops are the king of all pork chops. They are the traditional, thick-cut pork chops that originated in Iowa, but prepared all over the Midwest. What separates Iowa chops from other pork chops is the cut and the size. Iowa chops, by definition, are bone-in, center-cut loin chops, and they must be between 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 inches thick. You can serve Iowa chops in many ways, but the two most common are grilling and sautéing them.
Grilled Iowa Chops
Allow the Iowa chops to come to room temperature before you grill them. This will ensure that the thick chops stay juicy on the grill. Coat the pork chops with olive oil and rub them liberally with the seasoning of your choice, such as barbecue or garlic seasoning.
Preheat the grill to medium-high, or 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grill the Iowa chops for five to seven minutes, and then turn them and grill for five to seven minutes more.
Remove the Iowa chops from the grill with a grill spatula and insert a meat thermometer in the center of one of the chops, avoiding the bone. The chops should register 160 degrees Fahrenheit when they are fully cooked. Serve the Iowa chops with mashed potatoes or applesauce, or the sides of your choice.
Sautéed Iowa Chops
Cut the bones off the Iowa chops and cut the resulting pieces of meat in half lengthwise. Place the meat between two pieces of waxed paper. Use a meat mallet to pound the chops to about 1/2-inch thickness.
Heat olive oil over high heat in a skillet. The oil is ready when it is sizzling.
Remove the waxed paper and dredge each Iowa chop cutlet through the beaten eggs and then the seasoned breadcrumbs.
Place the breaded pork in the skillet and sauté for five to eight minutes on each side.The breaded Iowa chops are ready when they are golden brown and when a thermometer that you insert into the middle registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the breaded Iowa chops from the skillet and serve them hot on a bun or with mashed potatoes.
- Do not eat undercooked pork. Raw pork may cause trichinosis, an illness that stems from a roundworm called Trichinella spiralis. Infections from this worm can cause serious illness or death.
Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.