Sunday, April 13, 2008

Whatever Happened to City Chicken? & What is it Anyway?

City chicken is a food entrée that consists of cubes of meat that are placed on a wooden skewer (approximately 4-5 inches long), breaded, then fried and/or baked. The origins of the entrée and its name are not entirely known, however it is rumored to have begun during the Depression Era, when people took meat scraps and fashioned a make-shift drumstick out of them. During this period, pork was cheaper than chicken in many parts of the country, especially those far from rural poultry farms. Sometimes the meat was ground, and a drumstick-shaped mold was used to form the ground meat around a skewer. Today, better cuts of meat (usually pork loin, beef, and/or veal) are used. In spite of the name, the dish usually contains no chicken.

City Chicken seems to be regionalized to the areas surrounding Pittsburgh, PA, ranging from Central Pennsylvania, Northern Panhandle of West Virginia, to as far west as the western suburbs of Cleveland, OH and Hamtramck, MI. It is also known as mock chicken.

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