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What is the Kentucky Derby without a Hat and a Traditional Burgoo?

Mechele R. Dillard's picture

Burgoo is a must for this weekend's Kentucky Derby, and if you need a recipe for your own Derby party on Saturday, this is a great place to start!

The 2013 Kentucky Derby is just hours away, and a traditional Kentucky Burgoo is in order. Of course, there are probably as many “traditional” burgoo recipes out there as there are Derby hats, so one size may not fit all. But, this is a good recipe, as-is or just as a base to get you started with your own tweaks and additions to make it just perfect. Some people insist a burgoo is not a burgoo if it does not have venison and/or rabbit. But, seeing as deer and rabbit are not something commonly found in most grocery store meat departments, it is not included in this recipe—but feel free to add some if you happen to have some to add! After all, this stew should be nice and thick—if your spoon will stand up in it, you’ve got it just right!

Kentucky Burgoo (12 Servings)

You will need:

  • 3 tablespoons oil (coconut oil is good, but vegetable or canola oils are fine, too)
  • 1 pound cubed pork shoulder roast
  • 1 pound cubed beef stew meat
  • 1 1/2 pounds cut up boneless, skinless chicken thighs and breasts (many use a whole bone-in chicken, but do you really want to deal with that in your stew?)
  • 4 cups broth (chicken, beef or vegetable; I actually prefer vegetable broth)
  • 2 cups diced potatoes
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 (15 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite barbeque sauce (the sweeter the sauce, the sweeter your end product, so keep this in mind when you choose your sauce for this recipe)
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1 cup sliced okra
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 large yellow or white onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, low-sodium if you like
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Hot pepper sauce, to taste (and remember, you can always add more at the table, so don’t overwhelm your guests!)


  1. In a large stew pot, brown pork, beef and chicken in the oil.
  2. Stir in broth, potatoes and carrots, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about an hour.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil once again. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, for approximately an hour. Basically, when it is reduced and thick enough for your taste, it is done.
  4. Remove bay leaves before serving.
  5. Enjoy with cornbread or other good fresh-baked bread.

To learn more about this weekend’s 2013 Kentucky Derby, visit

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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