Burgoo has many different interpretations, and the "best" recipe depends on your tastes. I have never cooked burgoo myself so can't give you much advice on the preparation or ingredients. But if you're willing to try it for yourself, here are some recipes that I have located:
Elza Perry's Burgoo
Many people have told me that the Arenzville burgoo is based on Mr. Perry's recipe, which has been widely published in newspapers and cookbooks.. The cooking technique -- not recorded in this published recipe -- is as important as the ingredients, and there is no substitute for long hours of cooking over an open wood fire. A 1953 newspaper article reportst that Mr. Perry's recipe was used by the White House chef when President Franklin Roosevelt asked if he could try some burgoo.
- 25 lbs. beef
- 9 hens
- 14 cans (#2) corn -- Elza used cream-style
- 8 gallons of cabbage
- 8 gallons of tomatoes
- 3 gallons of carrots
- 1 bushel of potatoes (60 lbs.)
- 4 bunches of celery
- 3 gallons of onions
- salt and pepper -- 4 T.
- (Makes 50 gallons.)
Lydia Witte's Five-Gallon (Thick) Burgoo Recipe
Thanks to Marty Welch of Richmond, CA, for sharing this recipe.
- 1 chicken
- 4 lbs roast beef
- 2 large heads cabbage cut into 1- or 2-inch squares
- 3 lb bag carrots peeled and sliced thin
- 2 large onions
- 3 stalks celery
- 6 lbs potatoes peeled and cubed small
- 3 qts stewed tomatoes
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 1/3 cans corn (or 1 lb bag frozen corn
Brown beef, simmer one hr, and pull apart and add to pot along with water.
Cut up chicken, add to pot raw.
Add all remaining ingredients to large pot, bring to boil and simmer with lid on til done
Stir occasionally, add water sparingly. It is OK to use a potato masher to hasten the breakdown of the ingredients during the simmering phase.
Season to taste (ok to use chicken or beef bullion)
Beaumont Inn Burgoo
Burgoo recipe from Harrodsburg, Kentucky's famous Beaumont Inn (highly recommended place for an overnight stay! Their corn pudding is wonderful, as are the breakfast corn cakes!)
Many regional versions of this soup are thick enough to stand your spoon in. The cook at the Beaumont Inn developed this recipe to be a lighter first course soup. Its history dates back to before the civil war and is a favorite at Kentucky Derby time.
- 1 pound mixed cooked meats (beef, lamb, pork, chicken, game, etc.)
- 1/2 gallon chicken stock
- 1/2 gallon beef stock
- 1 ounce Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup tomatoes, diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1 small green bell pepper, diced
- 1 large potato, diced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 1/4 cup peas
- 1/2 cup okra
- 1/4 cup lima beans
- 1/2 cup yellow corn
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours, skimming the top as needed.
Moonlite BBQ Inn's Burgoo
Recipe from the Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn at Owensboro, Kentucky (serves a very generous evening buffet -- worth a stop if you're traveling through!)
- 4 pounds mutton
- 1 3-pound chicken
- 3/4 pound cabbage, ground or chopped fine
- 3/4 pound onion, ground or chopped fine
- 5 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 17-ounce cans corn or 2 cups fresh corn
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 3 10 3/4-ounce cans tomato puree
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3/4 cup distilled vinegar
- 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 1/2 tablespoons salt, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you like)
Some area cooks add dried beans or lima beans, tomatoes and a little boiled shredded beef or wild game)
Boil mutton in enough water to cover. Cook until tender, 2 to 3 hours. Discard broth and bones. Chop meat fine. Set aside. Boil chicken in 2 gallons of water in a large kettle until tender. Remove chicken. Add cabbage, onion, potatoes, corn, ketchup and 1 gallon water to chicken broth. (If you are following the area cooks' recipe, add those ingredients now.) Bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, chop chicken meat. Discard bones and skin. When potatoes are tender, add chopped chicken, mutton, tomato puree, lemon juice, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Simmer for 2 hours or longer, stirring occasionally as it thickens.
Makes 3 gallons.
Emeril's Kentucky Burgoo
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2000
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 pounds boneless beef shank, trimmed of excess fat
- 2 pound boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed of excess fat
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 medium onions, quartered
- 4 cloves peeled garlic
- 1 medium fresh hot red pepper, quartered
- Water, to cover 1 (3 to 4 pound) whole chicken or hen, cut into 8 pieces
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 2 cups medium diced carrots
- 1 cup medium diced green bell peppers
- 1 pound baking potatoes, like russets, peeled and medium diced
- 2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 pound fresh green beans, strings removed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 cups fresh corn kernels
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Serving suggestions:8 fresh cornbread muffins, hot
8 fresh biscuits, hot.
In a large, heavy pot, over medium heat, add the oil. Season the beef and lamb with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, sear the meat, in batches, for a couple of minutes on all sides. Add the onions, garlic, cloves, and pepper. Cover with water. (about 3 to 4 quarts). Bring to boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer until tender, about 3 hours.Season the chicken with salt and pepper. During the last 1 1/2 hours of cooking, add the chicken. Remove the meat, chicken and vegetables from the pan, set aside and cool. Discard the vegetables. Add the remaining vegetables and brown sugar to the pot of hot liquid. Continue to cook for 1 hour.
After the meat has cooled, cube the beef and lamb into 1-inch pieces. Remove the skin and bones from the chicken and discard. Dice the chicken into 1-inch pieces. Add the cubed meat and chicken to the vegetables, continue to cook for 30 minutes. Re-season if necessary. Ladle the stew into serving bowls. Serve with hot cornbread or biscuits. Garnish with parsley.
Yield: about 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours 15 minutes
(some of these are radical departures from anything I would recognize as burgoo, but if you like to experiment, perhaps you'll enjoy giving these a try)
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