Not so common anymore, City Chicken was once a frequent comfort food and is still enjoyed in the Great Lakes region of North America. Why not experience a unique part of Polish-American food culture and make your own? Also spoiler alert: it’s not chicken, it’s pork!
You can make your own Seasoning Salt for this recipe as well and dip them into BBQ sauce or my awesome Honey Mustard Sauce! If you like, you can make a pork gravy out of the drippings in the pan at the end as well.
Table of Contents
- City Chicken Recipe (Mock Chicken Legs)
- City Chicken Ingredients
- How To Make City Chicken
- Why Is It Called City Chicken?
- How To Avoid Over Cooking Your “Chicken” In This Recipe?
- Don’t forget to PIN THIS RECIPE to your DINNER RECIPES Board and remember to FOLLOW ME ON PINTEREST!
- City Chicken (Mock Chicken Legs) Recipe
City Chicken Recipe (Mock Chicken Legs)
City chicken sounds like it should be particularly complicated, but it actually couldn’t be easier.
This recipe simply takes some skewered pork that has been heavily seasoned and coated with breadcrumbs, fries it to make it golden brown, and then bakes it to get that signature city chicken texture, as well as cooks the rest of the pork through.
This dish is basically a cheater’s way of enjoying fried chicken, despite the fact that it is usually made from pork.
City Chicken Ingredients
Make sure you look at the recipe card at the very bottom for the exact amounts so that you know exactly what to buy for this recipe.
• Boneless pork shoulder
• Wooden skewers
• Salt & pepper
• Seasoning salt
• Italian seasoned bread crumbs
• Chicken broth
• Vegetable oil
How To Make City Chicken
• Place 3-4 cubes of pork onto each skewer
• Sprinkle with seasoning salt on each of the skewers, and then set the skewers aside
• Whisk the eggs and milk together in a bowl
• In a separate bowl, pour in the seasoned bread crumbs
• Pour 2 cups of chicken broth into a 9×13-inch pan or rimmed sheet pan with a wire rack inside and set aside
• Heat the vegetable oil to medium-high heat.
• Take each skewer and coat with breadcrumbs, then egg mixture, and then repeat one more time.
• Once done, lay the skewers carefully into the hot oil
• Brown until crisp and golden brown, about 3-4 minutes, and then set aside
• Set the skewers on a wire rack in the casserole dish, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and bake at 350°F for 60 minutes
• Remove the foil and bake for 10 additional minutes, trying to dry out the coating, remove and then serve hot
Why Is It Called City Chicken?
City chicken might just be one of the most confusingly named dishes there is. It isn’t chicken, nor does it really have anything to do with any particular city, so what is the reason for its name?
Well, like many North American dishes with odd names, it comes straight out of the Depression-era.
As strange as might be to believe, chicken used to be a lot more expensive than pretty much any other kind of meat at that time. This was especially true for urban locations because they would have been very far from poultry farms.
Lack of availability of food led to making do with other, cheaper meats, and at this time, things like pork and veal for significantly cheaper to buy.
However, missing d the familiarity of poultry, Polish Depression-era cooks invented this recipe to help remind them of chicken drumsticks by using skewers and plenty of breaded coating.
This is why this chicken fried pork recipe is known as city chicken; it is all about making do with whatever meat you can find.
So, if you for some reason cannot find boneless pork to use in this recipe, feel free to shop around and try using something else; it is part of the spirit of the dish, after all.
How To Avoid Over Cooking Your “Chicken” In This Recipe?
Just like with making real fried chicken, one of the most serious difficulties with cooking city chicken is in trying to avoid overcooking it.
While chicken thighs and legs might get tastier and tastier the longer you cook them, many cuts of pork that you would use in this recipe do not.
Try and cook them too long and you won’t just end up with a burnt breadcrumb coating; you will end up with incinerated, tough and chewy meat.
To avoid overcooking it, make sure you are keeping a careful eye on your oil temperature, preferably using an instant-read thermometer. If the oil is too hot, the breadcrumb coating might finish cooking before the meat has a chance to get started.
Furthermore, to avoid any overcooking or having to deal with dried-out meat, definitely do not skip the step of the water in the casserole dish.
By cooking your city chicken inside of some tented aluminum foil over the water, you ensure a moist cooking environment that not only results in more tender meat but also helps to avoid it overcooking.
Looking for more delicious Pork recipes? Try these out:
Enjoy! Now, in all honesty, how many of you have ever heard or eaten this recipe? It’s quite unusual and I was so excited to share it with you!
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City Chicken (Mock Chicken Legs)
- Prep Time
- 20 minutes
- Cook Time
- 55 minutes
- Main Course
- American, Polish
- 14 skewers
- Karlynn Johnston
- 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder cubed (1 to 1.5 inches in size)
- 14 wooden skewers 4 inches in length approximately
- seasoning salt
- 4 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1-2 cups vegetable oil for frying
- Place 3-4 cubes of pork onto each skewer. Use the seasoning salt to sprinkle each of the skewers, then set the skewers aside.
- Whisk eggs and milk together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, pour in the seasoned bread crumbs.
- Pour 2 cups of chicken broth into a 9×13-inch casserole / rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack inside, and set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Heat 1/2 inch oil in a large saucepan.
- Take each skewer and coat with breadcrumbs, then egg mixture then repeat with another layer of the bread mixture one more time. Once done, lay the skewers, carefully, into the hot oil. Brown until crisp and golden brown (about 3-4 minutes) then set aside.
- Once the skewers have been browned, set them on the wire rack in the casserole dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
- Carefully place into the preheated oven, and bake for 60 minutes.
- Remove the foil, and bake for 10-15 additional minutes to dry out the coating. Remove and serve with dips or make gravy from the drippings in the pan.
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.
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Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!
Thank you so much for this city chicken recipe. I moved to South Carolina when I went to college and stayed here. No one here has heard of City-Chicken. This is what I always asked for my birthday dinner. I loved it so much because it was so tender. You could buy it already put together at the meat market!
I also grew up eating what we called city chicken. We used two meats-chicken and pork, alternating on the stick. Coated in the normal way with seasoned flour, egg, and breadcrumbs. We then browned them in oil, in a fry pan and then turned down heat, put on lid, and simmered until cooked through (about 20 minutes. I am from Cleveland Ohio, and half Slovak and half Hungarian. It seems easier my way, but I am going to try this recipe, and also Julie’s version. The city chicken was delicious and not soggy at all.
robert l storey says
My mother used to make the Mock Chicken Legs with beef. Is the recipe the same with beef as with pork??? where do you get the 4 inch skewers?? I can only find them 12 inches long at my stores.
Julie F says
Hello Karlynn. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. It opened up a floodgate of wonderful memories. I’m of Ukrainian descent and there was wasn’t a wedding or special occasion where these where not served. By the way, I am of the first generation to be born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, during the early 1950’s.
Weddings were always held at a hall, with a team of women volunteer cooks who prepared all the special dishes we were all familiar with. I didn’t ever hear this dish called mock chicken, until I first met my son in law who is from Hamtramck, Detroit. We called them patyczki, translated means sticks or in English meat on a stick.
Your recipe differs a little from how we traditionally made them. The main difference being, is we would use two types of meat, usually pork and beef or veal cubes which would be skewered alternatively on the stick. After all the meat was cubed , it was placed into a large plastic zip locked bag or large bowl, to which a good deal of grated fresh garlic, salt and pepper and a couple of well beaten eggs were added. It was then placed in the refrigerator for a minimum of 24 hours, before being skewered and breaded.
As well, we didn’t use a rack, instead we lined the bottom of an oval navy with white spotted type of roast pan with a bed of ribs of celery and sliced onions. This avoided the bottom layer of prepared patyczkies from scorching, while at the same time adding moisture. As well, we baked the patyczkies with the lid on the the roast pan.
I so love following your recipes, Karlynn and wish you and yours all the best. Thank you, blessed little dove.
I have a question. Does finishing the city chicken over liquid in the oven Make The bread and gooey?