State Plate Recipe: Kentucky Burgoo

And They’re Off…To Chow Down on Some Burgoo!

Burgoo is a hearty stew unique to Kentucky, and often served as part of a Kentucky Derby menu and at other big gatherings, including political and sports events and fundraisers. The Burgoo tradition dates back more than 100 years. Naturally, with such a long-standing history, the recipe varies, and most are closely-guarded family secrets. If you find yourself about to dig into a steaming dish of burgoo, you’ll probably enjoy ingredients including, beef, pork, chicken, mutton, rabbit in any combination or even a dish with all those meats! Anything goes! In fact, in the old, old days, whatever meat they could hunt that day went into the stew—from squirrel to venison to game birds. Other staples you’ll find in your burgoo are a variety of veggies with tomatoes, corn, potatoes, onions, lima beans and more.

While the ingredients might be open to the chef’s imagination, most people agree on one thing: it should be stick-to-your-ribs thick!

Invite about 16 of your best friends over and try this recipe.

Kentucky Burgoo

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 3 hours, 10 minutes

Serves: 12-16 hungry stew lovers! So throw a party!


  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3-4 lbs. pork shoulder or ribs, cut into large pieces (3 to 4 inches wide)*
  • 2-3 lbs. chuck roast, stew meat, or other inexpensive cut of beef, cut into large pieces (3 to 4 inches wide)*
  • 3-5 chicken legs or thighs with the bone
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 quart chicken stock or broth
  • 1 quart beef stock or broth
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 large potatoes (russets work well, or use your favorite)
  • 1 bag of frozen corn (about 1 pound)
  • 1 bag of frozen lima beans (about 14 oz.)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4-8 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • Tabasco or hot sauce of your choice, on the side

*Note: You will cut the meats into smaller pieces later in the recipe. However, it’s best to cook them in large chunks at first so they remain juicy and tender throughout the cooking process.


  1. Brown the meats: Heat vegetable oil on medium-high in a large soup pot (at least 8-qt). Salt the meats on all sides. When the oil is hot, brown all the meats in batches. Do not crowd the pan. You want the meats to brown, not steam. Do not move the meat while browning a side. Let the meat become seared. Place the browned meats in a bowl.
  2. Sauté onions, carrots, celery, green pepper in the pot. If they begin to stick to the bottom, add a bit more oil. Sauté for a few minutes then add salt to taste.
  3. When the vegetables are browned, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
  4. Add the meats, both chicken and beef broths, the tomatoes, and stir. Bring to a simmer, cover, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer for 2 hours—enjoying the mouthwatering aroma wafting through your house!
  5. After 2 hours, uncover and remove the meats. Strip the chicken off the bone and toss the skin if you prefer. Cut or shred the larger chunks of meat into bite-size pieces.
  6. Replace all the meat to the pot and increase the heat to a strong simmer.
  7. Potatoes: Peel and cut the potatoes into relatively the same size as the meat. If you’re using new potatoes, you can leave the skins on. However, if you’re using russets, peeling is recommended. Once cut, add potatoes to the stew and cook until they’re done, about 45 minutes.
  8. Once the potatoes are cooked, add the Worcestershire sauce, mix well, and taste to see if you need more salt and Worcestershire sauce.
  9. Add the corn and lima beans. Mix well and cook for at least 10 minutes, or longer, depending on your preferred texture.
  10. Before serving, taste again to see if you’d like to add more salt or Worcestershire.
  11. Serve with thick crusty bread or cornbread (for dipping and sopping up the last bits off your plate!) and hot sauce for guests who savor the heat.

Original recipe can be found at Simply Recipes.