My mom’s city chicken recipe was a family favorite growing up. It’s an easy to make weeknight meal. The crazy thing is that it doesn’t have any chicken in it! Check out the comments for other peoples comments on their family’s city chicken recipes.
You might also like my low carb city chicken in the air fryer!
I grew up eating city chicken a lot as a child and never once did I wonder why it was called that seeing as there’s no chicken involved. Recently my father in law, who used to be a butcher, explained this mock chicken to me.
City chicken is one of his favorite dishes so I wanted to make this regional meal for him and thought I’d share it with you because it’s easy and tasty!
What is city chicken?
My father in law went on to say that back his day fresh chicken was more expensive than pork and veal in grocery stores. So people made city chicken which is essentially cubes of pork and veal on a stick that is breaded to act as a fried chicken leg or chicken drumstick.
It’s a regional dish and very popular here in Pittsburgh. And from my readers comments below, it is also very popular Ohio, Michigan and parts of New York. To learn more, check out this article about city chicken.
What type of meat to use?
Classic city chicken is usually made with a mixture of lean pork and veal and not chicken. However sometimes I just use pork because it’s cheaper and easier to find. Today I stopped by a great local butcher, Lampert’s, that my friend had told me about. They had great cuts of meat and lots of delicious looking prepared food.
And there in the case was city chicken already cut and placed on wooden skewers as you can see below.
Many grocers in the area carry city chicken packs with skewers made up of a combination of pork and veal cubes ready for you to assemble.
If your grocer does not carry these, do not despair. Just find some wooden skewers and a nice piece of boneless pork and/or veal and cut it into pork cubes yourself.
Sometimes I just use boneless country pork ribs and since they are already cut into thick strips it’s very easy to cut them into cubes.
How to make city chicken.
You can make this dish many different ways but my mom makes it like this:
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the cubes of meat on the wooden skewers.
Step 2: Get out a shallow dish for the beat egg and one for the breading (dry bread crumbs, paprika and parmesan cheese). Dip the city chicken skewers in a beaten egg mixture or egg wash and then the seasoned bread crumbs. Do this with all of the skewers and place on plate and season with salt and black pepper on both sides.
Step 3: Get out a large skillet like a cast iron skillet so you can place it in the oven as well. Or if you don’t have an oven safe skillet, you can also use a baking dish in the next step.
Add the vegetable oil and heat to medium high heat. When the oil is sizzling turn down the heat to medium and brown both sides of the city chicken skewers. This should take just about 2-3 minutes per side.
Step 4: Finally transfer the skillet to the oven and bake them for 20-25 minutes until they are cooked through. The internal temperature should be at least 145°F.
If you don’t have an oven safe skillet, you can transfer the browned meat skewers to a pyrex baking dish and then bake them. Make sure to spray the dish with cooking spray first.
Step 5: You can use the same skillet with the brown bits to make a brown gravy if you want. We usually don’t use gravy but many people do. (Please scroll down to view the printable recipe card.)
If you read the comments below you will see LOTS of ways other people make city chicken and hear about some of their fond memories of this delicious dish.
The final result is tender and juicy city chicken. I have made a bit of gravy at the end with the pan drippings but my mother never really did and my father in law doesn’t like it that way so normally I would not bother to do that.
Low carb version and how to make city chicken in the air fryer.
Because I am mostly a low carb blogger I of course had to make a gluten free, low carb version that you can see below. The breading is made with a blend of almond flour and a few other ingredients. You can see it pictured below.
I made it in the air fryer and it was fantastic. My family liked it just as much as my mom’s recipe. If you are on a low carb or gluten free diet this might be a good recipe to check out.
- To make this recipe in the air fryer prepare the skewers as above. Preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes then spray the basket with nonstick cooking spray.
- Place the skewers in the basket and spray those with cooking spray too.
- Cook in the air fryer at 390°F for 12-15 minutes until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. You can flip them half way as well if you want.
As they say, pork is the other white meat. You can see above how it does look like breaded chicken. And there you have my mom’s recipe for city chicken.
It is a nice and easy weekday meal that I’m sure your family will love. At least that’s how we do it in the ‘burgh and it’s nostalgic comfort food for us. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
How to make city chicken low carb or gluten free?
I have a low carb recipe here but basically you just use a combination of almond flour, parmesan cheese and spice. You can also try crushed pork rinds for the breading.
Where can I buy the wooden skewers or sticks?
Many grocery stores will have the sticks but you can also try Asian grocery stores or they are on Amazon.
What kind of meat is best for city chicken?
It was originally made from pork and veal but I just use pork because it’s easier to find and less expensive. I like to use boneless pork loin country ribs.
What to serve with city chicken?
Plenty of people make a gravy with the pan drippings and serve with mashed potatoes. Really you would treat this as any meat main dish. We eat it with a hearty side dish like mashed potatoes and green beans.
PS Please read through the comments below. I guess this dish is a beloved recipe of people in this area and many people have variations on the recipe that you may remember or enjoy. And if you have any questions, please just ask.
Mom's City Chicken Recipe
My mom's city chicken was a family favorite growing up. It's an easy to make weeknight meal.
- 1 ½ lbs city chicken (pork or veal pieces cut into cubes)
- salt and pepper
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup chicken stock, broth or water
- 1-2 tablespoons flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Add your eggs to a shallow bowl and beat
- In a separate bowl add your breadcrumbs, paprika and Parmesan cheese.
- If your pork and veal are not already placed on skewers, do so by alternating pork and veal pieces.
- Sprinkle the chunks of meat with salt and pepper.
- Dip the skewered meat in the egg and then the bread crumbs. Set aside and finish the rest of the meat.
- Heat your skillet to medium high and once hot, add your oil.
- Once the oil is hot, place your meat in the pan and turn the skillet down to medium. Brown skewered meat on all sides. About 2-3 minutes on each side.
- Once the meat is browned, place in a baking dish and cover with aluminum.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the pork is no longer pink inside.
- To make the gravy turn the skillet on to medium heat.
- Add the broth or water to the skillet and break up all the browned bits.
- Add the flour a little at a time and whisk well so there are no lumps.
- Pour over cooked meat. (this did not make much gravy for me but it was tasty.)
Nutrition Information:Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1 skewer
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 593Unsaturated Fat: 0g
Hi, I live in Northeastern Pa. My Mom used to make this, She was Lithuanian, and my Dad was German, we all loved City Chicken. I’m making it Sunday, for my Sons Birthday.
The only difference is, she made a rue of, chopped celery, onion, and carrots for the roasting pan, covered the bottom of the pan with the rue. She then placed the city chicken on top of the rue. Added water to top of the rue, salt, and dill weed. Baked for 1 hour at 350•, and turned half way through. Awesome… Thank you for bringing this favorite, to other people’s attention. Mary
I love to hear how everyone makes this recipe. Thanks for sharing yours!
I, too, grew up with City Chicken. No Eastern European roots. Both sides were Irish. I wouldn’t be surprised if my mother learned the recipe in 7th grade Home Economics back in the 19’teens. She used to make all kinds of good things she had learned in that class. I grew up in late ’40s early’50s. I remember City Chicken was loved by whole family. Reading through all your comments I’m delighted to see all the references from western PA. I grew up in Flint, MI but met my husband in college. He was from New Kensington, PA. However, I doubt his mom made it. His family was Italian/Jewish background. After marriage we spent many enjoyable visits to NewKen as well as to visits to the Strip in Pittsburgh on Saturdays. I plan on making the “C C” this week for my daughter & daughter-in-law where I live in Royal Oak, MI now. I’m 88 yrs. old and still cook! Thanks, Hamtramck, MI is a gift to the Detroit area.
Hi Ann, it’s so nice to hear everyone’s story including yours. How great that you are still cooking at 88yrs. I bet that makes you a fantastic cook!
I was wondering if you could tell me if you use a tenderloin or shoulder pork for the recipe?
Hi Justine, not sure if you are asking this question to me for the reader who commented on this post.
I used country style boneless pork ribs I got at Aldi. I believe it is pork shoulder. Pork tenderloin would work too but it’s more expensive and I think it is usually a shoulder cut of meat. Hope that helps.
I grew up in a suburb of Cleveland and this was a weekly staple in my home . My mom used seasoned flour, dipped it in egg and browned them in butter in a cast iron skillet then transferred to the oven. She made a gravy from the drippings and cooked them covered on about 325. I been making them for about 38 years now for my family. We are having a Christmas Eve Brunch and the theme is to make a dish from a loved one that is no longer with us and this is what I’m bringing in remembrance of my mom Beverly Magic❤️. I stumbled on your recipe when I was looking to show my daughter that it really isn’t chicken and started reading the comments.
That is a lovely idea to make something from a loved one no longer with you! Thanks for sharing your story and tips!
Denise, thank you for sharing the idea of making a dish from a loved one no longer with us. I’m sure the memories that were shared were precious.
C-town. Slavic village. That’s how my mother and father used to make them as well, with mashed potatoes and gravy or rice pilaf.
Sue Charlton McEndree
I grew up with this in Ohio . My mom didn’t use paprika, just plain bread crumbs. I have tried it with a lean beef roast in place of the veal.Thank you for this awesome reminder of my growing up years..
So glad it brought back good memories. This recipe seems to do that for a lot of people! I’ll have to try that beef roast idea!
I live in Pittsburgh!!!
What a small world!
I grew up with city chicken in Johnson City, NY. We used both veal and pork cubes, flour/egg bath/breadcrumbs. Fried in oil to brown on all sides, then baked to cook through at 350 degrees. No gravy. Delicious!
You are making me hungry Pat! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience!
So glad to have found this recipe! It sounds exactly like my mum’s. I am making this for dinner this evening as my grown, 25-year-old daughter asked me “Mum … can you make shit*y chicken again”? We have called it Shit*y Chicken since she was small because that is how she would ask for it! It’s been about 5 years since I have made it and I couldn’t find mum’s recipe anywhere (she passed away 2 years ago). Mum would also make fried shredded potato pancakes with it. I never cared for those, and neither does my daughter, so I make roasted parmesan potatoes, asparagus, and Brussel sprouts with mine. I loved reading all the comments about childhood memories. I am from the Irwin area and remember this in the common rotation of dinners as a child. I always loved them and my children do too. It takes me way back, and I have the “special” electric skillet that my mum used to make hers in. I love Lampert’s Reuben sandwiches! They do have the most delectable meats!!! We also go to the strip regularly to visit Wholey’s, Stamooli’s, Labad’s, Enrico’s, WFH Oriental market, Lotus food company, Allegheny coffee and tea exchange, and so many other places! We also LOVE Mullaney’s Harp and Fiddle Irish Pub! I could go on and on about Pittsburgh and her surrounding areas! This is my home! I have traveled far and near, and always come back here! Thanks again for the memories, great comments to read, and a recipe that so closely resembles my mum’s!!!!
Hi Roni, I agree with all those places! My sister and my friend and I used to go to the Strip at least once a month for the day. Covid kind of put a damper on that but we are ready to do it again. I need to go back to Lamperts again. My son said their fish sandwiches are his favorite and we bought some lovely thick pork chops there. Glad you found this recipe and I hope you enjoy it!
Sweet memories of Moms and meals- in Ohio this was a staple – we put them together ourselves ( we learned to cook by doing !) A local market has them packaged on skewers – very convenient ,but for a crowd I make them up- usually use pork tenderloin- buy on sale- and make a thin gravy to bake them off in the oven. Great for a crowd – get an assembly line going to make the prep easier. Oh, and make more then you think you need – they go fast !!!
I’m still always amazed at how many people have good memories of this dish. Thanks for sharing!
I enjoyed reading your comment. You write from your heart. I knew you are from Pittsburgh when you said your Mum❣️ I’m originally from Greensburg, long gone from there now, but I visit relatives when I can.
So many great foods and markets in the area. I live in Texas now to be near my only child, and I sure miss all the good places I shopped for meats, etc in Pennsylvania and Ohio. There’s no comparison here in the Austin area.
I live in North Huntingdon right now!! I’m from Swissvale though!
I was raised in Irwin live in NC now miss my home town still visit my family there
I am originally from Pittsburgh, I can remember my aunt making city chicken. It brings back so many good memories but she did not do a gravy, she made her homemade spaghetti sauce with it. Of course, it was served with pasta and a salad!
I glad so many people enjoyed this special dish!
Oops, misspelled Lampert’s!
I knew as soon as I saw Lambert’s in your post that you must be from Pgh! I am too, and this is exactly how my mom made it as well! We were just talking about city chicken at work- you don’t hear of it much anymore, but it was in the regular rotation of meals I grew up with, along with Banquet fried chicken and breaded ‘veal patties’- which they apparently do not make anymore! I am glad I stumbled upon your website and! Have a great weekend!
Hi Maggie, I remember the “veal patties” too! Thanks for stopping by!
Revised to correct… (ignore/delete previous comment)
I grew up in Detroit MI, my parents were Italian. Mom would make this occasionally, we loved it! Years later, I decided to make it for my son’s graduation party, it was a huge hit. My friend kept saying it’s a Polish dish, I argued that it was Italian. No matter, it’s delicious. Mom used dry onion soup mix to make the gravy, I use a can of consommé to make a tasty gravy. Pour it on, then bake additional 15 minutes. We’re having it for Easter dinner – just to have something out of the ordinary / traditional. Loved reading the comments.
Hi Carol, it’s a simple recipe so I’m guessing many nationalities make similar dishes. Regardless it is a good one. Thanks for sharing your tips and memories!
I’m from Detroit too. Dad Polish/mom Italian. My fiancé just asked if I could make City Chix for him. I wasn’t sure which side it originated from but my mom used to make for my Dad! Thx for recipe so I knew measurements timing- in the oven now!
Thank you for your recipe! I never had this dish my whole life. Asked my husband what he wanted for his Birthday dinner. “City Chicken” was his reply. I have to say, I am not known for my cooking abilities. But the look on his face when he replied, “You nailed it!” Was music to my ears!!
Aw thanks Michelle! That made my day. 🙂
Hi Denise, thank you for sharing your families story & recipes. My husband introduced me to Lampert’s many years ago. He grew up close to there & I’m from the other side of Pittsburgh & Irwin area that never heard of Lampert’s.
He bought me a beef tenderloin so I can make my Beef Wellington for Christmas. He’s been bringing 5lbs+ every year. This morning he went there to buy City Chicken & I’m on here trying to find a good recipe & I found yours which sounds a lot like my moms.
A good old fashioned meal on a frigid Saturday like today sounds good. Can’t wait to make dinner tonight.
Hi, I need to tell Lampert’s to read some of these posts because so many people love that place! Thanks for sharing your story.
In eastern PA in the hard coalfields city chicken was served at weddings, especially the Polish,Hungarian or Ukrainian ones. Big roasting pans overflowed. Now I live in Honolulu,Hawaii and will introduce it here. Mary
Hi Mary, how interesting about the weddings! I hope all the Hawaiians love it as much as we do!
Wow! It was great reading these comments. I too grew up in the 50’s in Northern Indiana eating city chicken. I lived in TN until the late 90’s before returning to Indiana. I was then able to buy it once again at Eby’s Old Fashioned Meat Market. I made city chicken about 20 years ago for my father but my mother had different instructions than you. Ingredients look to be the same as are the directions up to putting in casserole pan. My mother would put water at the bottom and set the pan fried city chicken on a rack. She then covered it with a lid. I did not have a rack so I made one out of a shredded head of lettuce and put that over the water. The city chicken was deliciously crisp. I think she did that to keep the meat moistened?
After reading all the comments nobody complained about dry meat. I can no longer find the recipe that adds water to the pan. I will be preparing city chicken in a few days but do i need to add water?
I am confused because I want these to be delicious. Thank you for letting me leave a comment.
Hi Carol, I have never heard of that way of making city chicken but I imagine her intent was to keep it moist. I think the type of pork you use will by nature be a drier meat. I would be nervous about using the lettuce because it might make the chicken soggy. Maybe you can use a plate or something that would elevate the meat? I’m sorry I’m not much help as I’ve never added water.
I found a website where they suggest using crumbled aluminum foil if you don’t have a rack.https://polishhousewife.com/city-chicken-a-polish-american-recipe/
I put some water and little rack, but I will try shredded head of lettuce . Meat doesn’t stick to the bottom. Very moisten and delicious
My mom has always used water!
I make my city chicken just like this except for the Parmesan cheese. I make it just like my mother did. I grew up in Detroit but my mother was born in Latrobe Pennsylvania and move to Detroit when she was about 12. I never knew this was a Polish-American dish and wondered why so many of my friends did not know what I was talking about. I’ve introduced it to several people who loved it. In fact I’m making it tomorrow for my brother and his wife. I can’t wait!
How nice! Latrobe is not to far from me. My nephew moved to Orlando and wanted to make pork and sauerkraut for New Years and everyone thought he was nuts. That’s another dish that I think is a local thing. Thanks for taking the time to comment!
was born in Pittsburgh but grew up in Erie. city chicken was definitely in a regular dinner rotation at my house. my mom used poultry seasoning egg wash and flour. no bread crumbs. I use bread crumbs and Lowrys. the only thing I wish I had was her electric skillet. whenever that came out I knew dinner was gonna be good. I’ve been craving this. and am making it tonight. my g.f. never had it before me but she now loves it. I live in Pittsburgh again now. it amuses me when I post about city chicken for dinner and no one outside the rust belt has any idea what I’m talking about. I always thought it was common everywhere growing up. like everyone in the comments I have very fond memories of city chicken. I saute onions down and use them and beef broth under them in the oven. make gravy with that. not for the city chicken, that’s weird to me but I serve it with mashed potatoes and creamed corn. thanks for the memories
It truly is a unique recipe! Thanks for commenting and sharing your story and tips. Some many people make this is a slightly different way but I’m sure they are all good. Take care, Denise
My mom always made gravy when we had city chicken and mashed potatoes. It was never used on the meat – only on the mashed potatoes. I had a taste for city chicken not too long ago (I live in Arizona) but I couldn’t find a butcher who knew what city chicken was. Finally found one who said he had a piece of veal that he could cut in chunks for me but I would have had to get second mortgage to afford it.
Hi Gayle, I have seen city chicken in the grocery stores here but most of the time I just use country boneless ribs and cut them into cubes and use that. I’m not that partial to veal anyway. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story!
My Mom made city chicken every once in a while, we all loved it. Troy, Michigan. She passed in 1989. None of the siblings left knew how to make this. Your recipe is exactly how she made it! I was getting teary eyed as I read your recipe. I can now make it like my mom did. Thank you sooo much! I will pass this on to my daughter and Son and have them pass it down to my granddaughters! Thank you ever so much again! I would give you a hug if you were here!
Hi Joan, that is so sweet. I’m glad it brought back some memories for you!
Grew up in Pittsburgh and had city chicken a lot….my Mum added pineapple to the stick between the pieces of meat before breading, frying and baking…
That sounds good!
I have been eating “city chicken” since I was a little girl ( the 50’s).(my Mom was Bohemian & my Dad was English)
We loved it. Today I made it loose – no skewers involved.We never had gravy but I would like to try that.
I so enjoyed reading the comments.
Exactly how my mom makes this (cubes of meat, not ground), all the way to the end with sometimes gravy sometimes not. She’s from Central City PA.
Loved this recipe! I followed the recipe exactly EXCEPT did not make the gravy. This will be a favorite go-to recipe that can be made quickly yet be absolutely delicious in a flash. We’re originally from the Pittsburgh area. Saw “City Chicken” in Giant Eagle there and was happy to find it in our Ohio Giant Eagle, too. Served it with a mixture of carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. Thanks so much for the great recipe!
Hi Cheryl, so glad you liked it! It’s such an easy meal but a staple in our house.
I have so enjoyed reading through these comments. This was my favorite meal as I child and so many people I mention it to have never heard of it. I am originally from Youngstown, Ohio ( now living in Pittsburgh) and my Baba and Mom used to make this all the time! I just bought the ingredients and am so excited to try making this for the first time!!!
Hi Jamie, I continue to be amazed at how many people remember this recipe from childhood. Thanks for taking the time to comment and I hope you enjoy it!
Hi I’m also from Youngstown Ohio. My mom made this a lot. She would use chicken broth instead of water at the bottom of the pan when baking it. The only thing I don’t know is what temperature to put the oven at.
I used a 350°F for about 20 minutes.
This was such a pleasure to find this recipe. I was telling my husband the story about going home after church service to help my grandmother make city chicken. He had never heard of it and said that I must have forgotten that it was chicken on skewers. I was able to show him the recipe. I did forget that is a combination of pork and veal. I grew up in a small town outside of Pittsburgh,PA called New Kensington, I moved to the west in the late 70’s. I oozing and could never remember the recipe so out of sight-out of mind.
I remember the first thing she would do was to put one of her big aprons on me. I had a step stool that was just for me. She was in charge of the cooking and I was I was in charge of shaking the skews in the paper bag with all all the seasoned flour. She would dip them in egg and put the in the bag so I could shake them. Sometimes I shook it so hard the skews would rip the bag and flour went everywhere,she would look at me and we both laughed so hard. Those were the days gone by.
Thank you all again for brightens my evening.
Hi Diana, first of all I do know New Kensington. That’s about 40 minutes from me.
Thank you for sharing your memories with your grandma. That was a good one and helped brighten MY day. Food can make such good memories and everyone can use a few good memories right?
I’m from New Ken also , I add cream of chicken soup over my city chicken mixed with drippings after I brown the city chicken . It’s delicious 😋
We used to buy it at the grocery store. Up it was not cubes, it was ground and mixed together. It was breaded and on a skewer. I loved it.
It was pretty comical…we bought a freezer pack of meat that included city chicken. It’s been years since I made it, went to Pinterest to look it up and your recipe came up first. Imagine my shock when you said you got your meat from Lamperts…exactly where I got my freezer full of meat from. McKeesport folks here and thanks for the recipe!!
Hi Walt, that’s awesome you are from McKeesport! I need to go back to Lamperts. They have a great selection of meat.
Small world! My husband and I are from McKeesport – high school sweethearts from McKeesport Area Sr High! Now living in TX (but we miss PA every day). Lampert’s was in Grandview, right? I never shopped there, but my best friend LOVED Lampert’s. She lived in Grandview. I remember my Mom making city chicken. I loved it and was just thinking about it. I’m so glad I came across your article. I am definitely making it this weekend!
THat’s awesome! I need to go back to Lampert’s more often. Many people sing their praises and my son loves their fish sandwiches. Thanks for taking the time to comment!
It definitely is a small world! I shop at Lambert’s and the do have the best meat! Homemade kolbasi
Is great! I make it the same way. Was checking on how long to leave it in the oven.thanks
Hi, I have the meat in the fridge and wanted to look it up as always forget if brown it first so here I am. it was fun reading all comments. And you make it just like my mother did minus the cheese. This goes wayyyyy back to depression. And when I was young and living in Fla. I started to crave it so went to the store and got the butcher. I asked him: where is the city chicken ? He took me to the chicken area and we looked at each other. I told him I don’t want any chicken, I’m making city chicken, I think he thought I was nuts. I”m from Pittsburgh, Pa area and this was very common here but down south they never heard of it when I was there around 1972.
And I can still picture my dad heading to the fridge in evening and grabbing a cold one while watching TV , he loved it, we all did. I am also part Hungarian and Rusin . I guess it’s 60 plus years for me and city chicken , wow, getting old ! Love it and your picture is EXACTLY like when my mother made it. And yes, it’s pork and veal. Our Giant EAgle they had all beef ! I called the butcher out and told him that is NOT city chicken ! And I told him how to make it and NO BEEF is in it ! He didn’t know lol
Thanks so much for sharing your experience. Funny how food can bring back so many memories!
Bill La Paze
Grew up in Struthers, Ohio in 40′ and 50’s. City chicken popped i to my headBill. Favorite dish my mother made. It’ll be on the table tomorrow. Now in No. Calif. Hobby lobby here I come.
I am a Hungarian/Slovak. I made these last year for Christmas Eve. They were such a big hit, I plan to make them again this year. I bought the City Chickens from my local Giant Eagle store. My Mom used to alternate the pork with onion (like you would do for shish kabobs). So, for some of the City Chickens, I took off the pork pieces to alternate with onion pieces. My family said that they loved the ones with onion the best. I do believe the onion takes them to a whole new level. I’ll probably serve with mashed potatoes, corn and coleslaw or the traditional cucumber vinegar salad.
Hi Nancy, I love the onion idea! I will have to try that next time. Did the onion cook through?
I was raised in Irwin live in NC now miss my home town still visit my family there
I came looking for a recipe for City Chicken and this one sounds perfect. Like many-I grew up eating this as a child. My grandma migrated to the US from Poland when she was 4. The family spoke Polish even my dad. That’s who I’m making them for. He’s 80 and his cancer recently returned. I think this will make his heart smile. Thank you for making this available.
You are welcome! I hope they enjoy it!
My mother in law was from Michigan and I live in Alabama. Thankfully she taught me how to make this before she passed away. Now since I’m the only one who knows how to make it I’ve taught my sons how to make it. (no daughters)
She used pork, beef, onions and bell peppers on the skewers and she used Lipiton onion soup mix to bake it. Everybody loves it because they’ve never heard or tasted before.
Hi Melissa, I love hearing everyone’s stories of how they grew up with city chicken as well as their various ways to make it. Thanks for sharing!
This recipe is spot on! We go to the Polish Village Cafe in Hamtramk MI and I can’t tell the difference. I serve with mashed potatoes, gravy, corn and cucumber, onion, vinager and sour cream salad. Sunday dinner comfort food for sure.
That salad sounds really interesting! Thanks for sharing Donna.
Polish Village is amazing! I also grew up in the metro Detroit area and City Chicken was a special treat for a big Sunday dinner! I figured everyone ate it. One of my all time favorites. In fact in my town we are having a “peirogi drive up” event and the other foods you can get are Golabki and City Chicken dinners.
I grew up near Youngstown and this was a favorite for our family. I’m actually not sure if this recipe came from my mom’s or dad’s side of the family though-I’ll have to ask. I know it’s a fav of my dad’s, and since mom passed away 2 1/2 years ago, I made it for him on a recent visit. He loved it! Mom taught me to use plain breadcrumbs and she would vary the seasonings, but she always included sage for some reason. I add Mrs Dash and salt as well. Dad is still in Ohio and can get these already skewered, but I’m in Kansas and no one has a clue what I’m asking for!
Hi Dara, that’s so funny that no one knows what you are talking about. If you read the comments you will see that many people grew up with this dish and everyone seems to make it a bit differently. This week I made it again and just used boneless country pork ribs because I was in a hurry. My family loves it too….especially my father in law that lives with us.
My grandma made this for me as a child. It was always a favorite. I continued to use her recipe and my family beg for it. When I make it, I used eggs and milk with a ton of poultry seasoning. Double dip it in bread crumbs, fry until browned on each side, place in a roasting pan, add water to pan drippings and pour over city chicken until it covers the meat. We cook it for several hours until the meat is so tender it falls apart. Serve with mash potatoes and use the broth as gravy. I normally have to add some water during baking as juice starts to evaporate. It’s delicious!
I am also from Pittsburgh, PA
Hi Sharon, that sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing your tips for the other readers. So many of us remember this dish from our childhoods!
My husband grew up in the greater Cleveland area and he grew up eating this. His family is Polish and I have seen several other comments mentioning Polish heritage. Wondering if it’s a Polish thing or an east coast thing? I had never heard of it until we married and he asked me to make it. Without internet, I went to my Joy of Cooking and there it was! His mom died before we married so I always wondered if I was making it correctly, I was! We love it but forgot about it for years. It’s going on this week’s menu! 😋
Oh I didn’t know it was in the Joy of Cooking! It’s a family favorite of many people as I am coming to realize. 🙂
I make this all the time. *I was raised around Pittsburgh, Living in Ohio now. I use all pork on a skewers. ibread them like you do , but i add 2 cans of cream of chicken soup, plus 2 cans of water. Bake at 350 degrees for 2 hrs. covered. This gives you a great gravy to put on mashed potatoes or noodles. Enjoy.
My husband grew up eating this in Michigan and Indiana. I’m so glad his mom taught me how to make it.
It’s crazy to me how many people grew up eating this.
I have never eaten this before and I am going to try making it again .I say again because When I was 18 I made this for my new husband and sadly it turned out horrible , I was very disappointed and never tried it again. I am now 72 and will try it again . Wish me luck
Claudette, I am sure your new attempt will turn out amazing! My mouth was watering reading the recipe. Good luck!
Can this recipe be made in an instant pot?
Hi Michael, I don’t know. I think it would not have any crunch or crust and that really makes the dish in my opinion. Sorry I’m not much help.
My Mom made this all the time with six kids to feed, she would serve with her sweet sour cabbage… They were so good, my mouth is watering…
Hi Suzanne, I like the idea of sweet and sour cabbage. I can see how that would be so good with City Chicken.
Jane M Malloy
I grew up inIllinois eating these, but they were called mock chicken legs. Love them!!!
I haven’t heard that one before! That’s great!
I’ve got my meat coated and ready in the refrigerator to brown up. I didn’t grow up eating City Chicken, but my husband did (near Buffalo, NY). It was always his choice when he got to pick what was for dinner on his birthday. He says his mom used saltine crumbs for the breading and used a little poultry seasoning.
Oh that sounds like a good idea. I’ll have to redo this recipe and take new pictures. I’m always surprised at how many people have fond memories of this dish!
Your recipe is spot on! I would remove the veal & just eat the pork as a child. My mother would prepare exactly up until the baking. She would bake the fried City Chicken in 2 cans of Cream of Mushroom Soup & 1 can of water, first combined. Or enjoy the crispy, baked, no gravy style. Enjoy!
Hi Karen, thanks for sharing. If you read the comments for this recipe you will see that lots of people grew up with this recipe and there are many variations. So nice to hear about everyone’s memories!
City chicken, mashed potatoes and corn were a regular Sunday dinner growing up in Detroit. Nowadays, city chicken is something of a special treat, especially as the older generation is dying and small, family-owned restaurants are losing out to the fast-food chains. You can still get Polish treats in one of Detroit’s suburbs, Hamtramck, but then again, it is becoming a thing of the past as urban blight takes over and it becomes too dangerous to make a trip “just for” Polish food. Thanks for sharing this recipe.
Try Three Brothers Restaurant in Plymouth Mi. They have good city chicken.
My hometown. I now live in Phoenix and cannot find the skewers. City Chicken was holiday food in our family. my mom and grandma always baked the browned skewers in beef gravy. Yum. I do think it’s a Polish thing.
Amazon has the skewers.
Agreed! Brothers Restaurant on Joy Rd. In Plymouth Twp., Michigan serves great Polish food specialties.
I like to use Panko rather than breadcrums.
Hi Daren, I’ll have to try that some time. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for the recipe and explanation. I remember my mom making a huge pan of city chicken. I thought it was pork and veal but I questioned my memory because of the cost of veal.now… we were not wealthy and she often stretched her grocery dollar to feed 7 of us. I still have her “sticks” so I’m going to make these for our next family gathering.
It’s really a simple dish but I’m always surprised how many people grew up with it! Hope you like it….check out other peoples comments about their versions as they are very interesting.
I also grew up in Warren Ohio and this dish was a staple in our house but with a twist. My mom would add sections of carrots into the covered baking dish to cook with the city chicken along with a little chick n stock to keep things moist.
Great idea! I’ll have to try that next time. Thanks for taking the time to comment.
I loved city chicken growing up! My grandma and mom would use crushed saltine crackers instead of breadcrumbs. Now living in California i must find a butcher that carries veal!
Hi Pat, thanks for sharing your tip! Good luck in your veal search. We just pork most of the time.
Im going to try this tomorrow, for anything I make breading for I always use half bread crums, half Ritz Crakers, BUT make sure you cut way back on any salt you put in the recipe……I dont add any at all!
I just love Ritz crackers for some reason so I can see why that would be really tasty. Thanks for giving us your tips!
I shop at Marc’s here in Cleveland and this week I was surprised to see City Chicken in the meat case. (So of course it’s now in my oven) Always been a favorite of this Uniontown Pa. girl. One of the oldest recipes in our slovak family. Grandma never put parmesan cheese in it tho.
I’m seeing that many people make this recipe and in so many different ways. I need to make it again myself! Thanks for stopping by.
Hobby Lobby usually has them
This is a favourite of our family as well. My Greek grandmother has made it her own and we marinade the skewers in lemon, oregano, and salt and pepper before dipping in flour, egg wash and flour again. So delicious!
What an awesome idea! I love the marinade flavors.
I grew up in Conneaut, Ohio and we often had city chicken. Reading the comments it appears as though this is a regional dish, something I didn’t realize!
Kay, I am still amazed that I get so many people coming to this recipe. It was just one my mother made and I didn’t think much of it. Apparently it’s a regional favorite. Thanks for stopping by!
Hi Kay – I grew up in Dorset and currently live in Ashtabula. What a small world!
Spotted a package of city chicken at Giant Eagle the other day and wanted to make it for dinner tonight.
Couldn’t remember how long to cook it so ended up here.
Have a great night, neighbor. LOL
I grew up in Ashtabula! I miss the lake! I now live in Alabama, nobody down here has ever heard of city chicken. My grandmother in Niles made it when I was little. I’m going to try to make it this week.
I hope you like it Heather!
I grew up in Conneaut too! My mil made this. Not my mom. I really liked it.
My grandmother used to make this fairly often when I was a kid. I know that she used to buy city chicken at the A&P ( which closed when I was in middle school). This was in Louisville, KY. She cooked it much like this recipe, but used seasoned flour instead of breadcrumbs.
It’s amazing how many people have had this recipe yet so many do not know about it. That’s interesting that your
Grandma used seasoned flour. I’ll have to try that next time. Thanks for commenting!
Mary Ann Summers
Thank you so much, I was telling my husband about it. I grew up in NE PA and the butcher prepared them. On occasion, since the family was large, mom would use. Ground pork, veal & beef and prepare it the same way. Didn’t know why it was called city chicken
Hi Mary Ann, I never realized this was such a lesser known recipe. I just posted it years ago because I remembered my mom making it and my in laws used to eat it too. It’s an oldie but goodie! Thanks for stopping by!
I’ve been looking for city chicken recipe and found your site. I haven’t had it since I left Michigan in the late 60’s. My family is mostly German, so thought it came from there. The “BIG” difference was that !om made it from ground pork and veal. I remember having it with red cabbage and boiled potatoes.
Wow that is a big difference but I can see how that would work wonderfully. Thanks for coming back and sharing!
My dad used to make this but we called it mock chicken legs he would also smother it in mushroom gravy made with Campbell’s chicken soup. Mmmm I loved this meal served with mashed potatoes and pickled beets. Funny how it can about because it was cheaper than chicken and now it’s more expensive than chicken. Dad would first fry them up for colour and then pressure cook them. They were so tender!
That sounds really good Bonnie! I’ll have to try it with the mushroom gravy and in the pressure cooker.
I too grew up with City Chicken with veal and pork. I don’t eat veal but pork and chicken is just as good. Thanks for the great recipe. I kind of forgot out this tasty dish.
I know, I forgot about it too until my father in law mentioned it.
This was one of my favorites that my grandmother used to make. She used pork and beef as a lot of us didn’t like veal. We also use cornflake crumbs seasoned , mixed with flour. The drippings make a great gravy. We are from Michigan.
Hi Audrey, thanks for taking the time to comment! We also didn’t like veal that much so my mom did the same. I’ll have to try the cornflake crumbs next time!
I was looking for something to serve with Haluski. I think this will be perfect. My son had Haluski at a street fair and loved it. We decided to try it at home. For the City Chicken I only bought pork, and have trimmed, cubes and skewered them for tomorrow night dinner.
I hope you like them Victoria! It’s a family favorite of ours.
A Cleveland area tradition!
I didn’t know that!
Absolutely! We love our city chicken in Cleveland. I make mine almost the same way. It’s so easy to get pork and veal here. And of course the sticks!
Hi Georgette! I’m surprised about how much people remember this recipe.
My mom grew up in the Cleveland area and this was a staple growing up. I just moved to NE Ohio and found City Chicken in the local market. Can’t wait to bring back memories.
I am constantly shocked at how much people love city chicken but love the good memories it brings and the stories people write in about it. Thanks for taking the time to comment!
my husband grew up in Ohio and on City Chicken. Living in Texas, it’s difficult to find the sticks. Bamboo skewers tend to splinter. Do you know where I could order the sticks from. I know my mother-in-law could get them from her butcher in Ohio.
Hobby Lobby usually has them
Lauren @ Sew You Think You Can Cook
What a great history with your recipe, I love it.
Thanks Lauren and thanks for stopping by!
I love the title of the recipe and the history of why it is called City Chicken. Oh, and great photos.
Who knew that City Chicken is pork? Even better. Like a breaded pork chop on a stick, yum.
I never made pork this way, it sounds delicious!
Thanks for stopping Cindy. I hope you like it!
I love learning the stories behind dishes! How fun and it looks delicious!
Wendy @ Wholistic Woman
It looks great, and so much more special because it’s from your mom.
That it is. I was looking at her recipes yesterday and it brought me to tears.
I went to college near Pittsburgh and remember this fondly. I’ve never attempted to make it at m=home. Your recipe looks wonderful – it’s time to try it!
Great! I hope you like it Monica.
You forgot to say what city, what time period, etc. This could be a good story. Were these leftover scraps of pork and veal that were skewered so they looked like a chop or a breast?
Very good point! I’ll have to quiz my father in law and see what he says. Thanks for stopping by!
Keith @ How's it Lookin?
Looks so good. Breaded chicken is always a tasty dish, thanks a lot
It’s not chicken though…it’s pork and veal…they started calling it city chicken because back in the day chicken was more expensive than pork…so they used pork and veal instead and called it city chicken.
We do City Chicken up here in NE Ohio too! In fact, it’s one of my specialties! My recipe is very similar to yours, but I love it with gravy. I usually only do pork and assemble it myself, like you said, most grocers carry packs with the meat cubes and sticks or you can buy pork sirloin roast when it’s on sale and cube it yourself. Just ask the butcher for the sticks! This is one of my all time favorite comfort foods ever. YUM!
Thanks Renee, I will try that next time with the pork roast. I probably have a million wooden skewers in my kitchen as I tend to collect things like that. The gravy was good to me, though I never grew up with it.
my husband grew up in Warren, Ohio.. I wish I could find the stick here in Plano, TX. The bamboo skewers tend to splinter. I would make city chicken in a heartbeat, if I could find the sticks. Any suggestions?
I just use the bamboo sticks you can buy in the grocery store. They seem to work for me. Maybe someone else will chime in with some help? Thanks for stopping by and good luck!
You need to soak your bamboo stick in hot water before using them. It makes them sort and pliable and they don’t break or splinter.
Uggghhh SOFT and pliable!
My husband also grew up in Warren, Ohio. We now live in California. Mom always floured each city chicken before egg wash and bread crumbs. You can get the sticks at any hobby store, like Michaels or Joann’s. I love our City Chicken! I thought it was called that because you don’t see chickens running around in the city!
Carole, thanks for the tips!
Bamboo sticks soaked in water, then thrown in a compost heap will still be there a year later & will still splinter. Skewers can be MOST ANY NON-BAMBOO HARDWOOD. (Pine and other evergreens are “soft woods” and SOME can be toxic; Aspen & Maple are good choices.)
Some woodworkers/carpenter-craftsmen/hobbyists will be glad to make them (ASK FOR 6″ or 7 ” STICKS – since you should have a tiny handle! – with a rounded point.) Let them know: “It will come in contact with food.” Local craft stores sometimes carry quarter-inch.or 3/8 inch dowels, and if you just make a slight “x” with a paring knife, even a blunt-ended skewer will be better than bamboo. “See to ” them right away after the meal is over- a soapy water scrub, thorough rinse, dry well, then LIGHTLY coat with vegetable oil. Roll in a clean dry cloth of cotton or linen & seal in a zipper plastic bag.
This looks SO GOOD!! Any meat on a stick is delicious in my book, but I can’t wait to try this recipe. Seriously….
Thanks for stopping by Christie, I agree any meat on a stick! haha….or anything in a cup or jar.:)
There’s no way I’d find that out here in South Dakota, but my dad would make it all the time when I was growing up. Makes me miss it! I might just have to figure out what cuts of pork are used in it, get some skewers, and make it myself!
Hi Rachel, Renee suggested a pork sirloin roast. I hope you get to make it and think of your dad.
Interesting. I’ve never heard of this but it sounds really good and really easy.
It is easy and it is good too! I hope you get to try it and like it.
I made this years ago. Have not had it for more than 30 years. Thank you for reminding me.
now I will make it this week. I love it. I also like a little gravy.
I know….it’s an oldie but a goodie!
Looks incredible! I have to try it! Nettie
Thanks for stopping by Nettie. My father in law really liked it.
Try making this with rye bread crumbs…really good served with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes.
Oh that sounds wonderful!
I grew up with this too. It funny to see people reaction whe you tell them city chicken and they find out it isnt chicken LOL!
I know….I was just thinking the other day how I never thought it was weird that we called it city chicken and it was pork!
I bought city chicken at Lamperts today but couldn’t remember how long to bake it. Thank you for the recipe!
You are so welcome! Thanks for commenting!
You should top with sliced onion and garlic before going in the oven, better flavor.
that sounds delicious!
This is pretty much the recipe I have used for years. Was just looking to see if there was some way different. Thanks for sharing.
That’s all I’ve heard but maybe someone else is comment with a different way? Thanks for stopping by!
Yes! I’m new to the place but it’s so great and so close to me!
Hope I’m not disappointing you but City Chicken is not only pork but also veal. My father owned a meat market/smoke house in Detroit back in the day and I was called the “City Chicken Queen” as I would skewer the cubed meat onto the skewers. Mom always used Bisquick instead of bread crumbs, no egg wash just the water from when she rinsed them down, heat up some vegie oil, brown on all sides, put the top on and simmer for 20 minutes. I have tried your recipe of browning on all sides and then putting in baking dish with foil and continue to get them done in the over. Wonderful suggestion as Mom’s city chicken was great and tender as long as she simmered it long enough in the pan (with the top on) on the stove.
Enjoy everyone!!! Also, if you see it try Mock Chicken..,,,,,ground pork/veal breaded with bread crumbs on a skewer, brown in oil in a pan……..delish!
Hi Loretta, yes they still sell city chicken here in Pittsburgh with both pork and veal. I don’t have a taste for veal and it’s often expensive so I don’t usually buy it but I’m sure many do. Thanks for your suggestions….I can’t wait to try the Mock Chicken!
I made this recipe tonite..it was delicious! With mashed potatoes..yum
So glad you liked it!!
I grew up with city chicken it was made from whatever meat that was on sale. There was 7 kids and 3 adults to feed and money was always an issue so mom would improvise the different meats. When we went to the butcher shop they would sell her scraps and she would make city chicken from it. We loved it I even seen her use ground pork and ground beef. She would make meat balls and do it with them