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Chef John's City Chicken

Rated as 4.36 out of 5 Stars

"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. 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. Serve with honey mustard."
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1 h servings 233
Original recipe yields 6 servings


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  1. Cut tenderloin into three sections; the thick center section and two end sections. Cut the thinner end portion of the tenderloin into chunks. Slice the thick center section lengthwise into even halves. Cut the 2 center sections and thicker end portion into1/2-inch slices.
  2. Thread pork pieces, starting with the smallest pieces and working up to wider pieces, onto each skewer to resemble chicken drumsticks.
  3. Season skewered 'drumsticks' with salt, black pepper, thyme, and cayenne pepper on all sides.
  4. Whisk eggs together in a bowl. Pour flour into another bowl. Put the bread crumbs into a third bowl.
  5. Gently press the 'drumsticks' into flour to coat and shake to remove excess flour. Dip 'drumsticks' into egg and press into bread crumbs. Place finished drumsticks on a plate in a single layer and refrigerate, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  6. Heat oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until the surface of the oil is shimmering. Cook 'drumsticks' in the hot oil until golden brown on all sides and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate; let rest 5 minutes. Season with salt.


  • Nutrition:
  • The nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of the breading ingredients. The actual amount of the breading consumed will vary. We have determined the nutritional value of oil for frying based on a retention value of 10% after cooking. The exact amount will vary depending on cooking time and temperature, ingredient density, and the specific type of oil used.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 233 calories; 12.2 14.4 17.8 104 97 Full nutrition

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  1. 14 Ratings

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Most helpful positive review

A northeastern ohio/ western PA classic! I remember asking a butcher in NC for city chicken and he looked at me like I was crazy. This is exactly how we make city chicken. Sometimes we serve ...

Most helpful critical review

Good, but nothing special.

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Least positive

A northeastern ohio/ western PA classic! I remember asking a butcher in NC for city chicken and he looked at me like I was crazy. This is exactly how we make city chicken. Sometimes we serve ...

I've made City Chicken for 30 years. . .but with one twist. After frying, I put it in a covered oven safe dish and sprinkle liberally with water. Then bake for 2 hours in a low oven 275 - 300....

My mother and grandmother used to make this for me as a kid. I loved it with mashed potatoes and gravy. It was a simpler recipe minus the pepper and thyme and alternating cubes of veal, but de...

family loved it with mustard sauce, have used recipe many times

After reading some other recipes for city chicken I decided to improvise. After I browned everything I put a rack in my skillet, added some chicken broth and white wine to the bottom. I put th...

Absolutely fabulous!! My Mom has made this recipe "forever" and are entire family and friends just love it. Thanks Chef John for sharing!

yes i kike it there much trying to find the sauce recipe used for this dish

Good, but nothing special.

used dried Italian bread crumbs along with the panko