Butterfly pork chops come from the loin eye of the hog, making them notably tender and fairly lean. The chops are deboned and sliced horizontally through the center, almost all the way through, so when unfolded they resemble a butterfly. This technique thins the cut so it cooks more quickly. One easy mode of preparation is to bread and fry this cutlet-style pork cut, providing a pleasing textural contrast between the crunchy exterior and the succulent meat. Alternatively, season the butterfly pork chop and quickly grill it for an even simpler preparation.
On the Stove
Beat an egg or two in a shallow bowl. Then, spread enough breadcrumbs out over a plate to coat both sides of the chops and mix in salt and pepper to taste. Japanese panko breadcrumbs are a good pick because they hold up well and crisp nicely when fried. If you like, mix the breadcrumbs with grated Parmesan cheese, citrus fruit zest, dried herbs or finely crushed pistachios, pecans or walnuts for a more interesting breading.
Soak the pork in the egg one piece at a time, letting the excess run off back into the bowl. Press both sides of the meat into the breading, gently brush off the excess, then pile the chops on a plate next to the stove.
Place a large stainless steel, cast iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add cooking oil. When the oil gets shimmering hot, turn down the heat to medium.
Lay the butterfly pork chops in the pan. Don't crowd them; although they're thin, they're also wide, so you may need to fry in batches if preparing more than two. Turn them with a spatula after about 2 minutes, once the breading begins browning, then fry the second side for another 2 minutes.
Turn the pork again and cook both sides about another 2 minutes each. This should be adequate for cuts about 1/2-inch thick. Pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, but a meat thermometer may not work reliably on such a thin cut. To check for doneness, remove a chop from the skillet and cut into its center; if the juice runs out clear, it's done.
On the Grill
Clean the grill with a scraping tool and grease it with cooking oil to help prevent the pork from sticking. Light coals or turn the grill on to preheat it to medium-high.
Brush the butterfly pork with cooking oil, melted butter or citrus juice. Pat salt and pepper onto both sides, as well as any other aromatics, herbs or spices you want to use; citrus zest, minced garlic, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme, parsley or dill are just some possibilities.
Grill one side of the chops for about 3 minutes, until the grill marks are pronounced on the surface of the meat. Turn the pork with a spatula or tongs and grill the second side for about another 3 to 4 minutes. Cook the pork to 145 F, or until its juices run out clear in the center of the chops.
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- Store fresh butterfly pork in the refrigerator to keep it below 40 F. Cook it within 5 days of purchase, or wrap it in airtight packaging and freeze it.
- Uncooked pork spreads illness-causing bacteria to the surfaces it makes contact with. Wash your hands with soap and water after handling and wash all kitchen tools and surfaces the raw meat touched with an antibacterial cleanser.
Eric Mohrman is a food and drink, travel, and lifestyle writer living with his family in Orlando, Florida. He has professional experience to complement his love of cooking and eating, having worked for 10 years both front- and back-of-house in casual and fine dining restaurants. He has written print and web pieces on food and drink topics for Orlando Style Magazine, CrushBrew Magazine, Agent Magazine, Dollar Stretcher Magazine, The 863 Magazine and other publications.