Kirsten's Fried Pork Chops with Country Gravy

Kirsten Goldberg was one of the pantry cooks at Boulevard. One night when I was eating at the counter opposite her station, I asked her if she had a favorite pork recipe to contribute to my book. She didn't hesitate a second and replied, "The pork chops with country gravy my mom served for breakfast." null Most times when I've had fried chops, I've been disappointed because the meat is always ends up dry from overcooking. The solution is to give the chops a quick soaking in a simple flavor brine of salt, sugar and water. If you're serving them for breakfast, brine them the night before for 2 to 4 hours. Remove the chops from the brine and keep them, wrapped, in the refrigerator until you're ready to cook them. Otherwise make breakfast a little later ? 2 hours in the brine should be enough to make them succulent. null Serve these chops in true Midwestern style with warm biscuits ? some folks spoon the gravy over the biscuits as well as the chops ? and fried or poached eggs. If you're really feeling like going "whole hog", serve up a mess of grits, too.

Recipe courtesy of Bruce Aidells, Complete Book of Pork, HarperCollins, 2004
TOTAL TIME: 4 hr 35 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive Prep: 4 hr
Cook: 20 min
YIELD: 4 servings


  • 3 cups cold water
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups ice cubes
  • 6 bone-in pork rib chops (each 1/2-inch thick) or 6 boneless pork chops
    • 1/2 pound bulk fresh sausage, such as Brown Sugar and Sage Breakfast Patties
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 2 cups half-and-half, plus additional if needed
    • Freshly grated nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    • Kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • Hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
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    To make the brine: Put the water in a large bowl and stir in the salt and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add the ice cubes and cool the mixture to at least 45 degrees F. Submerge the pork chops in the brine. Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 4. Remove the pork chops from the brine, pat dry, and wrap in plastic wrap. Store in refrigerator until ready to cook.

    To make the gravy: In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium heat, breaking it up with a spatula or fork. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat and discard. Reserve the fat in a cup for cooking chops.

    Sprinkle the flour over the cooked sausage in the skillet; stir to coat. Gradually stir in the half-and-half, nutmeg and Worcestershire sauce. Cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add more half-and-half if the sauce becomes too thick. Season, to taste, with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Cover the skillet and set aside while you cook the chops.

    Sprinkle the chops generously with pepper. Dredge then in the flour, shaking off excess. In a large, heavy skillet, heat the reserved fat plus additional oil to a depth of 1/8-inch over medium-high heat. Put the chops in the pan, as many as will fit without crowding, and fry until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side, 2 to 3 minutes. If you're cooking more than one batch of chops, keep the fried chops warm in a preheated 250 degrees F oven.

    To serve, put 1 chop on each diner's plate (you will have 2 remaining for second helpings) and spoon the gravy over them. Serve extra gravy on the side to pour biscuits or grits.

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