Weiner Schnitzel

Easily one of my favorite German meals. Weiner Schnitzel is the national food of Austria and is served in many small restaurants all over Germany and Austria. In those parts of the world it’s just about always made with veal. But in the US people have some major, and reasonable, ethical problems with veal. So I’ve found making it with pork to be just as good if not better.

But most importantly. Making it at home is both delicious, and much easier than it looks. So here’s how I do it. This is a short recipe because it doesn’t need a lot of precision and is best done right before it is eaten.  A sign that you did this well is the breading pulling away from the pork when it’s done. You can make your own bread crumbs (recommended) or just use Panko.

Notes: Technique – Need for oil and proper equipment
The two cups of oil called for in this recipe may seem like a lot – but they’re necessary to achieve a wrinkled texture on the finished cutlets. When properly cooked, the cutlets absorb very little oil. To ensure ample cooking space, a large Dutch oven is essential. In lieu of an instant-read thermometer to gauge the oil’s temperature, place a fresh (not dry) bread cube in the oil and start heating; when the bread is deep golden brown, the oil is ready.

Technique – Cutting pork tenderloins for cutlets
Cutting pork tenderloin on an angle yields a pounded cutlet that fits easily in the pan. Cut the tenderloin in half at about a 20 degree angle. Using the same angle, cut each half in half again, cutting the tapered tail pieces


For Schnitzel
7 large high-quality sandwich bread slices (should produce about 4 cups), crusts removed, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon, vegetable oil
1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin , trimmed of fat and silver skin and cut on angle into 4 equal pieces (see notes)
salt and ground black pepper
1 lemon, cut into wedges
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1 large egg, hard-boiled, yolk and white separated and passed separately through fine-mesh strainer (optional)


1. Place bread cubes on large microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high power for 4 minutes, stirring well halfway through cooking time. Microwave on medium power until bread is dry and few pieces start to lightly brown, 3 to 5 minutes longer, stirring every minute. Process dry bread in food processor to fine crumbs, about 45 seconds. Transfer bread crumbs to shallow dish (you should have about 1 1/4 cups). Spread flour in second shallow dish. Beat eggs with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in third shallow dish.

2. Place first cutlet, between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound to even thickness between 1/8 and 1/4 inch. Season cutlet with salt and pepper. Repeat until all four cutlets are pounded and seasoned. Working with 1 cutlet at a time, dredge cutlet thoroughly in flour, shaking off excess, then coat with egg mixture, allowing excess to drip back into dish to ensure very thin coating, and coat evenly with bread crumbs, pressing on crumbs to adhere. Place breaded cutlets in single layer on wire rack set over baking sheet; let coating dry 5 minutes.

3. Heat remaining 2 cups of vegetable oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it registers 375 degrees on instant-read thermometer. Lay 2 cutlets, without overlapping, in pan and cook, shaking pan continuously and gently, until cutlets are wrinkled and light golden brown on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer cutlets to a paper towel-lined plate and flip cutlets several times to blot excess oil. Repeat with remaining cutlets. Serve immediately with garnishes.

Start by pounding you cutlets flat. About 1/4-1/3 inch even. The real star is the breading so you want to maximize that part of it. Season the pork generously with salt and pepper before applying flour. Then double batter by dipping in a beaten egg, and then your choice of bread crumbs.

Fry in hot oil until golden brown. give the pan a careful shake while doing this to to cook the bread crumbs quicker. When brown remove from oil and let dry on wire rack or paper towels. Serve with typical German/Austrian sides like potato salad or sauerkraut.

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