Kentucky Burgoo

Kentucky burgoo recipe

The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic

  • Total: 3 hrs 30 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 3 hrs
  • Yield: Serves 10 to 12

Made with a variety of meats and vegetables, burgoo is a Kentucky tradition often cooked in large quantities and for events and barbecues. There is quite a bit of speculation as to the origin of the word burgoo, from a mispronunciation of the word barbecue to a mispronunciation of bird stew, but the origin remains a mystery.

This Kentucky burgoo is a typical version, a chicken and beef stew with cabbage, potatoes, okra, and lima beans.


  • 1 (3- to 4-pound) chicken
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper (coarsely ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 (29-ounce) can tomato puree
  • 12 small potatoes
  • 2 cups onion (chopped)
  • 1 medium head cabbage (finely chopped)
  • 3 (14 1/2-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 pound carrots (sliced)
  • 3 (12- to 15-ounce) cans whole kernel corn (drained)
  • 1 cup fresh sliced ​okra
  • 1 1/2 cups butterbeans (or lima beans, fresh or frozen)
  • 2 green peppers (finely chopped)
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons salt (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Kentucky burgoo
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  2. In a large pot, cook chicken and beef in chicken broth, beef broth, and water with coarsely ground pepper and cayenne pepper until chicken and meat are very tender - about 30 to 45 minutes.

    Cook chicken
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  3. Remove bones, dice and shred chicken and meat, and return to the liquid.

    Remove bones
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  4. Add tomato puree, potatoes, onions, cabbage, diced tomatoes, carrots, corn, okra, butterbeans, and green pepper. Season with a little of the salt and pepper and the Worcestershire sauce.

    Add tomato, onions
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  5. Cook slowly for 2 to 3 hours, stirring from the bottom to keep from scorching. Taste and add salt, to taste.

    Cook slowly
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  6. Add water, if necessary, to keep from sticking.

    Add water
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  7. Serve in a bowl and enjoy!

    Serve in a bowl
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic

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