Tuesday, April 8, 2014

City Chicken – Hey, Nice Legs!

This fascinating pork on a stick recipe is American cuisine in a nutshell. City cooks, who couldn’t get chicken, would take scraps from much-cheaper-at-the-time pork, and build something similar to what you see here; but that’s not what makes this delicious mock drumstick so American.

Why this represents the true spirit of American food, is that long after chicken became cheap and plentiful, people kept making and eating this anyway. Yes, in cities across the Rust Belt, people decided that the only thing better than one kind of fried chicken leg, was two kinds of fried chicken leg. It’s hard to argue.

As you’ll see in the video, I like to lay out my pork slices so that the larger slices will be in the middle of the skewer, and smaller pieces at the bottom, to maximize the drumstick effect.  Of course, I guess you could poke the pork in any old order, but there just won’t be as many oohs and ahs.

I used pork tenderloin, which is fantastic for this procedure, but traditionally pork shoulder trimmings are used. Regardless of what you make this with (just please don’t use chicken), I hope you give this American classic a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 6 City Chicken drumsticks:
1 whole trimmed pork tenderloin (not loin), sliced as shown
6 bamboo skewers (6-inch are best)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
cayenne to taste
dried thyme to taste
flour, beaten eggs, and panko breadcrumbs as needed
vegetable oil for frying


Moggy Kubota said...

Very yummy stuff. I had never heard/read that it should be shaped like a chicken drumstick, very interesting.

I just love regional recipes like this and I know every family makes their own version.

It may be a family thing, but the main difference according to my S.O. (who grew up eating City Chicken at home) is that they always used a combo of beef and pork and lots of poultry seasoning. They also boil chopped onions in water (or broth), arrange the skewered cooked meat in a stack in a roasting pan, dump the onion/broth/water mixture over the cooked skewered meat. Then they cover and bake in the oven until everything is hot and the meat is super tender.

TBG said...

The whole time I was thinking, "Please use your hands, please use your hands..." And you did! Ha! I've never had "city chicken" but, wouldn't that be ironic if you actually used chicken? LOL

Capt Chris said...

at 2:18 "and after our chicken is skewered" LOL...you even have yourself convinced it's chicken!

Capt Chris said...

Again at 5:28 "Kids skewering raw chicken" Are you drinking all the cooking wine again?

Vanssmomc said...

Grew up outside of Akron, Ohio and we ate City Chicken, always loved it and have not had it in years. Thanks for the recipe. Will definitely be making!

headie mung said...

And not a single South Park reference...

Franken Stein said...

Looks very good!

mekman said...

WE check out the new recipes at work and all the guys were dumbfounded, city chicken? thats pork! And of course have the kids help skewer the chicken!? wink wink!
awesome recipe we all want some soon!

Really have never heard of "City Chicken" west of the rockies!

Kris said...

@headie mung - I had a hard time not thinking about City Wok, that's for sure

Thomas J said...

I grew up eating city chicken. In fact, they used to sell it packaged in the grocery store as 'city chicken' and the skewers were included. The only difference from this recipe is we fried ours in butter til golden brown and finished them in the oven. Plus served with a squeeze of lemon (which is great on any breaded meat!).

Boozy Tooth said...

Wow! City Chicken! Takes me back to my childhood, which was long, long ago. My mom was not known for her excellence in the kitchen, but she did make the BEST City Chicken ever. I will have to try your recipe. Looks pretty authentic. Thanks for posting the recipe.

Laura W Kline said...

City chicken, and spiedies. I lived in Johnson City New York while in grad school. My teen son found your youtube channel last year and last night I made city chicken. Spiedies are next (yeah, Google, it's not misspelled...).
Love your videos!