Credit: Will Hayes

When it comes to hearty meals, there is nothing quite like a thickly breaded pork chop.  Whether you're old or young, man or a woman, everyone likes digging into these juicy cuts of meat.  In short, it's a crowd pleaser.

I wrote an article about how to prepare lightly breaded pork chops, and you can consider this the upgraded version of the recipe, for those nights when you are in the mood for the "VIP" treatment.

The main difference is that you will be using egg this time.  This method allows more breadcrumbs to hold onto the pork when we bake it.  But that's getting ahead of ourselves.  Let's start with step number one, the brine.

Step 1: 1-hour brine

Credit: Will Hayes

Brining is when you submerge your chops in water seasoned with salt and other flavors.  You want to make sure the meat is fully submerged so that the salt can break down proteins inside, which will actually make it juicier when you eat it.

In the picture above, I brined three thick cuts of boneless pork with water mixed with salt and garlic powder.  You don't need to brine for a full hour, or even at all.   However, because this is a meal cooked in the spirit of indulgence, I do recommend brining if you have the time.

When the brining is almost complete, pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees and get out your ingredients which include: pork chops, eggs and breadcrumbs (seasoned to taste).

(I could mention salt and pepper, but if you're cooking anything, I'm going to assume you have salt and pepper laying around.  If that's overstepping my bounds as an author, my apologies.)

Credit: Will Hayes

Cooking is a very aesthetically pleasing endeavor, in my opinion.

Step 2: Form an assembly line

Credit: Will Hayes

Like in my picture above, you will want to form a tidy assembly line, preferably in an easy to clean location, because a little egg and/or breadcrumb may spill in the preparation process.  I usually do my prep work right by the sink since that's the easiest place to clean up afterwards.

The order goes: pat and dry your brined meat, season to taste (I used a garlic rub above), dip into eggs (whisked), pat in breadcrumbs (all sides), place on oven rack.  

Here are some essential tips for this process:

 First, definitely pat dry your pork chops.  Nothing will stick to them if they are sopping wet.  Second, let excess egg run off first before dipping in the breadcrumbs, for the same reason.  Third, hold the pork chop in one hand and use the other to sprinkle bread crumbs over it like sprinkling an ice cream cone.  I've found that to be the easiest method for best bread-crumb coverage (say that five times fast).  Fourth, lightly press the crumbs into the meat at the end to make sure they fully congeal into a delicious crust in the oven.

Credit: Will Hayes

Oh yeah, we're looking really good over here.

3. Bake for 20-40 minutes

Credit: Will Hayes

As you can see, I really like using these little oven racks on top of baking trays when using the oven.  They allow for much better heat circulation, and cleanup is easy.  Simply line a baking tray with aluminum foil and place it underneath to catch any crumbs that may fall off.

How long you bake these for will depend on the thickness of the cut.  I was dealing with some very thick chops in these pictures, and ended up cooking them for almost 40 minutes.  However, I do tend to err on the side of over-cooking.

I should also note:  it is hard to truly over-cook these when they are thickly breaded, as the juices will stay locked in better than when cooking traditional, un-breaded chops.

Credit: Will Hayes

Take out of the oven and let the pork chops tent on a plate for five minutes before serving.  These also taste great as leftovers the next day.  Enjoy!