Burgoo

Yield: 12–15 portions

It doesn’t get more Kentucky than a simmering, slow-cooked pot of burgoo. Back in the day, it was made with whatever guests could contribute. That might mean anything they’ve recently hunted or trapped. But, don’t be scared off by that. Chef Newman’s version, as seen on Bravo’s Top Chef, features meats like beef, pork, poultry and lamb. But really, any of your favorites will work great.

Prep time
15 minutes
Cook time
4–6 hours
Total time
At least 4 hours 15 minutes

What to get

  • 6 oz. raw bacon, diced
  • 1 boneless turkey breast, diced
  • 2 lb. diced chuck roast or other beef roast
  • 1 lb. diced lamb stew meat or lamb shoulder
  • 1 lb. smoked bbq pork shoulder
  • 1 lb. smoked chicken, meat only
  • 3 white onions, diced small
  • 2 heads celery sliced thin
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 3 oz. (2 shots) Makers Mark® Bourbon plus more for garnish
  • 1 qt. Kentucky Wonder beans or other flat, Roma-style green bean
  • 2 lb. fresh-dug new potatoes
  • 6 ears of corn cut from the cob
  • 1 head of cabbage chopped
  • 1 lb. of lima beans
  • 2 lb. diced tomatoes
  • 8 qt. chicken stock
  • 1 cup Maker’s Mark Gourmet Sauce (or other bbq sauce)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • TABASCO® sauce

What to do

  1. Use a large, thick-bottomed pot. The key to great burgoo is to simmer slowly over a long time. The thicker the pot bottom, the less likely you are to scorch anything.
  2. At medium-high heat add the diced bacon. When it starts to render and release fat, stir. Remove bacon when crispy and reserve.
  3. In batches, sear the diced beef, lamb and turkey until golden brown. Remove meat, keeping the fat in the pot.
  4. Add onion, celery and carrot and stir well. Pour in the Maker’s Mark and stir to deglaze any bits sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook for 5–8 minutes until vegetables soften.
  5. Add chicken stock and bbq sauce and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add only the seared meat back to the pot and cook over low heat for 3–4 hours or until all meat is tender.
  6. Add all remaining vegetables and the smoked pork and chicken to the pot and cook for another 1–2 hours.
  7. Constantly stir and taste your burgoo. Season with salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and TABASCO® sauce as you go.
  8. Once all vegetables are tender and broth tastes good, let burgoo cool completely (at least overnight, but a few nights is even better) Rewarm slowly in another thick-bottomed pot and taste for seasoning.
  9. To serve, ladle burgoo into a large soup bowl and top with a splash of Maker’s Mark on top as garnish. It will add an incredible aroma and flavor.
Notes from Chef Newman
Go big
Burgoo just isn’t the same in small batches. It’s meant to serve a big crew and calls for several types of meat. If you have a hankering when no one’s around, burgoo tends to freeze well for later use.
Four or more
Virtually any land-based protein will work great in burgoo. So, use what you like, what you have on hand or whatever looks enticing at the market. Use no less than four types. And experiment with meat that might be less familiar, like rabbit, venison, duck or whatever catches your interest.
Make a splash
You could definitely cook bourbon into your burgoo if you’d like. But, floating a touch of Maker’s® in each bowl makes for a great garnish, adding depth and a new layer of enticing aroma.
Crock under pressure
Burgoo is meant to be simmered for hours. But if there’s no time to stand by the stove, using a slow cooker is a fairly foolproof way to safely cook your burgoo for an extended period of time.