Burgoo is a Kentucky tradition, especially around Derby Day (the first Saturday in May), where it’s the main dish of choice at Derby picnics and gatherings all over the state. It’s popular everywhere in Kentucky, but especially in Owensboro, which is considered to be the “Burgoo Capital of the World.” Owensboro holds an International Barbecue Festival every May where there is a Burgoo Cookoff; over 1,500 gallons of Burgoo is served.
A proper Burgoo is very thick – thick enough to stand a spoon in – and contains at least three kinds of meat or poultry. Early versions included game such as squirrel or possum, so if there’s a squirrel, raccoon, or possum sitting in the freezer, feel free to add it. Besides the meats or poultry, it should contain vegetables: potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, tomatoes, okra, lima beans, and corn. A good Burgoo has lots of flavor and even a little kick; most recipes call for at least one hot pepper or crushed hot pepper flakes and Worcestershire sauce. Generally Burgoo is time consuming, and is more manageable when two days are allowed for the preparation. The following recipe is made in the slow cooker, so even though it is prepared in two steps, hands-on time is minimal and the slow cooker eliminates the need to have someone stirring the entire last two hours of cooking. It’s easiest if the meats are cooked the night before; once they are deboned and defatted, the actual Burgoo can cook all day unattended. Make sure the Burgoo is accompanied by real southern cornbread (no sugar), hoe cakes, or hot water cornbread.
1 pound pork shoulder
1 pound beef stew meat
3 to 4 pounds whole chickens
1 tablespoon granular beef bouillon
1 tablespoon granular chicken bouillon
2 cups water
1 large onion, diced
4 large carrots, diced
1/2 cup celery, sliced
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
1 cup okra, sliced
1 cup lima beans
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 cups cabbage, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red hot pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste
1 cup cold water
1 cup flour
- Place the pork, beef, and whole chicken in the crock of a large slow cooker.
- Add the beef and chicken bouillon and water.
- Set the slow cooker to low and cook 6 hours.
- Remove the meats to cool and pour the juices through a fine sieve into a large container.
- Place the strained juices in the refrigerator or freezer to chill.
- Remove the fat and bones from the meats and chicken; chop and return to the slow cooker.
- When the juices have cooled, remove the fat from the surface and pour it into the slow cooker.
- Add the remaining ingredients, set the slow cooker to low, and cook 4-6 hours, or until the vegetables are tender.
- Taste and add additional salt, if necessary.
- Mix the cold water and flour; stir in during the last 30 minutes of cooking to thicken the juices; the consistency of this stew should be thick enough to stand a spoon in.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 396 Calories from Fat 151
Percent Total Calories From:
Fat 38% Protein 32% Carb. 30%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 17 g
Saturated Fat 5 g
Cholesterol 106 mg
Sodium 265 mg
Total Carbohydrate 30 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 32 g
Vitamin A 141% Vitamin C 43% Calcium 0% Iron 19%