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20 responses to “Kentucky Burgoo”

  1. Matthew Mitchell

    Brunswick Stew is what we called it in NC growing up. Love this dish, harder to find outside the mid Atlantic region…kind of like Country Ham.

  2. Matt

    Have been making something similar to this for a couple of years. Guess it’s just ingrained in us Midwesterners. I got to throw in my two cents though. Don’t disregard the pressure cooker for cooking your game. You can cut the time to make this dish in half with out any loss of quality. Some times it can make the taste a little flat but a little vinegar / hot sauce or if the tomatoes aren’t sweet a little honey will round it out.

  3. Cheryl

    I am born,raised and still living in the beautiful state of Kentucky..
    Burgoo is a beautiful configuration of a stew/soup, use what’s on hand basically …my recipe is from the Kentucky Derby museum cook book “Dead Heat Burgoo”….fabulous recipe..look it up and add some cayenne to your recipe Hank!
    Love your recipes and so glad somebody out there puts hunting in a positive spin…my husband and I hunt deer, turkey, grouse and quail.
    Meat in the freezer and beautiful time spent outdoors enjoying the peacefulness of nature

  4. Chris

    Vacationing in Virginia this summer we had something strikingly similar to this but they called it Brunswick stew. According to wikipedia it has the same basic rules.

  5. rl reeves jr

    Great piece. Here’s an article I wrote about burgoo:

    Growing up in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky meant a steady diet of lots of creatures of the woods: Rabbit, Deer, Quail, Grouse maybe the occasional Groundhog…all fair game and often, depending on the preparation, delicious.

    One of the hallmarks of Kentucky cooking is Burgoo, a rich hunter’s stew chock full of game and whatever vegetables happen to be on hand at the time of the cookdown. and the recipe

  6. Art Lander Jr.

    Hank, thanks for the Burgoo recipe. I will keep it with my others. For many Kentuckians burgoo is a way of life, for family, friends, even political gatherings. Keeneland Race Course in Lexington has the best “store bought” burgoo in my opinion, but the wild game recipes are probably closer to the original frontier burgoo

  7. Beverly Firme


    I can’t wait to try your recipe for Kentucky Burgoo, and this actually reminds me alot of Bigos, known in Poland as Hunter’s Stew. Bigos does not have beans or corn, but everything else is very similar to your Burgoo recipe. Traditionally Hunter’s Stew was made in Poland with whatever was caught that day on a hunting trip. Bigos also always contains 3-4 types of meats including pheasant, boar, and of course sausage. There is also potato, onion, pepper, red wine and some type of tomato as well. When I first made Bigos when I lived in Chicago I was told that nowadays this is made as a final ‘hot course’ for a party that’s going late into the night in the winter, but for a hunting party it was always made as hunters returned from their hunting, gradually adding their contribution to a pot already cooking over an open fire and then served later in the evening.

  8. Sarah G

    Sounds just like the Brunswick Stew I had in Macon, GA. The thought of squirrel just makes me a big squeamish. I have made it with chicken as the base. Perhaps I should use up my pheasant (that has spent too much time in the freezer) for something like this.

  9. Mike Dwyer

    I second Art’s comments…Keenland has some great burgoo. I haven’t tried to make it in years. I keep saying I am going to do some with some squirrels but I keep coming back to your cassoulet recipe.

  10. will

    In Minnesota and Wisconsin we have an almost identical stew served at fundraisers and church basements called booyah. Everyone has their own “authentic” recipe.

  11. Mike D

    Great recipe! I know it is cheating a bit, but I use a pressure cooker and use wild turkey legs, squirrels and tougher cuts of deer and cook them separately. I save the water which is essentially stock for the rest of the recipe and insures that the meat is tender. It saves a bit of time as well! So glad Burgoo is getting a little pub. Eating it all my life and have taken it with me to Illinois from KY and break it out when I want to feed all my hunting buds and their wives.

  12. dan

    I am looking forward to trying this. Moose,ptarmigan and snowshoe hare for meat.
    Hope you keep posting


  13. Max

    My kind of food! I’ll be making this for the super bowl. Thanks for the recipe.

  14. Jon

    Great recipe. I didn’t have any squirrel. Used venison, snow goose, and pheasant legs. It was great! Made it for a potluck. Some turned up their noses, it smells so delightful that they came back for ‘a small taste’ and then I had ’em.

  15. Mike A

    I grew up in Southeastern Illinois. The regional product was called “chowder”. Nothing like new England flavors. Rural churches and community groups still create 50 gallons per cauldron, both selling for fund raising and on-site consumption. Some area groups sponsor cook off competitions with the public casting their votes for top honors. The history in this locale is basically end of summer garden products and any meats, finely chopped so that the soup ingredients are barely identifiable after long cook times. The preparations of ingredients start the night before the early fire making and hauling of water for each pot of soup. The social event of the community scene, neighbors reunited perhaps for the first time since last years “Chowder”. Ladies made awesome salads and dessert favorites, even a pie auction might take place. Still happening in many areas, I think I will go back home in a few weeks for some chowder and fellowship.

  16. J.Michael

    Dang it Shaw You did it again. Been cooking for years and have refrained from adding tomato’s to my stews. Was always a brown stew guy. Had a limit of squirrels and decided to try this. Added 5 types of peppers because the end of year garden bounty. This came out so good that I will make it a staple every fall. I will put this up in quantity and eat from my Stanley food Thermos all year. You hooked me at stands a spoon up in it. Keep up the great work. J.Michael

  17. Coco in the Kitchen

    Looks and sounds a bit like Persian “Ahb Goosht” which translates to “Meat Water.” It’s a stew made with beef + marrow, beans, tomatoes, onions, potatoes. The broth is strained and eaten in a soup bowl with bread torn by hand over it. The meat, veggies are smashed and eaten with bread, fresh herbs, raw onion and good vodka.
    The is great winter fare.

  18. Adam

    This reminds me of what my mom would make. She called it hunter stew, only cause it was made from whatever wild game happened to be in the freezer at end of summer before the next hunting season, or as we call, restocking the freezer.

  19. Melissa

    I was introduced to Brunswick stew about a year ago while visiting a friend in North Carolina. I absolutely loved it and have made it several times since. Of course I live in CA so access to game is difficult. I was thinking of making some for dinner tomorrow when I ran across this yummy looking recipe. I’m going to have to try and find a local butcher shop or ride into San Francisco. I just don’t think I can do justice for this stew with supermarket meat. Oh also some are saying this reminds them of Brunswick Stew and I’m a bit confused. I thought that Brunswick Stew always had barbecue sauce in it. Anyway I can’t wait to make this stew, I’ll post how it comes out.

  20. Scott VanTassell

    Making this today…open fire in my cast iron dutch oven. Looking forward to the peek lamb and beef

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