Did You Know That City Chicken Is Actually Pork? Here’s Why

Given its name, one would think that city chicken is a meal that contains a lot of chicken, however this could not be farther from the truth. So what does the recipe entail and why is there no chicken in it?

By Cookist

City chicken is traditionally made up of cubes of pork, veal, or both, that have been threaded onto skewers, battered with flour and breadcrumbs, then baked or deep-fried to a certain degree. Cooks are known to shape the skewered meat in the form of chicken drumsticks, and the dish does taste like chicken.

Why not just use chicken? 


It has everything to do with cost. Beef, veal and pork are less costly than chicken and thanks to

mock poultry recipes, people learned to use more affordable meats and even repurpose scraps to achieve the taste of chicken or duck.

In the past, people only ate chicken for special . occasions. In the early 1900s, families would only raise chickens for eggs so it was important to find alternatives.

The chicken industry started to develop in the 1920s and 1930s thanks to the invention of the broiler but packaging and selling ready-to-cook chicken meat did not start until the 1940s. After their industrialization, chicken became more available and affordable.

Unlike chicken, veal was cheaper and people took to using it as a replacement for chicken.

Where did it originate? 


City chicken is thought to have originated from the Polish and Ukrainian communities who set down roots in the Great Lakes region just before the Great Depression.

Since many of the immigrants lived in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, the dish was linked to the two cities. By 1926, the dish had been named the city chicken, according to a newspaper from Binghamton, N.Y.

In Cleveland, the dish became popular among people of all nationalities.

City Chicken Recipe 

Ingredients you'll need include:

  • 2 pounds boneless pork, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 14 (4 inch) skewers
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • seasoned salt (such as LAWRY'S®) to taste
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 cups vegetable oil for frying.

Directions to follow:

  1. Thread 2 or 3 cubes of pork onto each skewer. Sprinkle the pork on all sides with salt, pepper, and seasoned salt then set the skewers aside.
  2. Whisk the eggs and milk together in a bowl. Put some bread crumbs in a separate bowl. Then pour 2 cups of water into a 9×13-inch baking dish with a wire rack set in the dish; set it aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and heat the oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  4. Dip each pork skewer into egg mixture, then press into bread crumbs to get them coated; repeat it a second time, this time into egg mixture and then the crumbs.
  5. Lower the pork skewers carefully into hot oil in batches. Fry until crisp and golden, it should take about 3 minutes for each side. Afterwards, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat the process with the  remaining pork skewers. Arrange fried pork skewers on the wire rack in the baking dish then cover it tightly with aluminum foil.
  6. Carefully move the baking dish into the preheated oven and leave it to bake for 20 minutes. After that, remove foil and bake 10 minutes more to dry out the crumb coating.


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