Butte, Montana may be best known for its copper mining legacy, but it can also boast not one but two regional food specialties. One is the English mining import, the Cornish pasty. The second, which it can perhaps claim as its own, is the pork chop sandwich, a deep-fried, burger-like creation immortalized by a couple of local institutions and with a 90-year history.
In the interests of research, I venture into Pork Chop John’s to sample this invention. It’s a fast-food place, where I approach the counter and order my pork puck, topped with onion, pickle and a thick coat of regular mustard.
The heart of the beast is the boneless pork-sirloin chop, lightly breaded and battered. It’s then flash fried to provide a surface crunch to the softer but still chewy centre. Call it a poor man’s schnitzel. The pedestrian bun’s only duty is to not fall apart.
You can throw a cooked egg aboard for another 50 cents, but why sabotage the pure porcine experience? Overall, it’s quick, reasonably affordable at $4 and small enough to keep the cholesterol levels in check.
Maybe that’s sufficient reason to knock the porch chop sandwich off your culinary bucket list. And if you get hooked, you can always have a box of 50 frozen pork chops shipped to your door.
Pork Chop John’s
2400 Harrison Avenue, Butte, Montana (one other Butte location)
Monday to Saturday 10:30 am-10:30 pm. Closed Sunday