Kentucky Burgoo Recipe

If you've ever been to a big Derby Day celebration, particularly if the event was held in the state of Kentucky, you may have encountered burgoo. This stew has long been associated with the Bluegrass State, but making it the authentic way can be a time-consuming process that takes up to a full day or maybe even more. Here, however, we're going with a kind of shortcut version using pre-cooked meats and frozen vegetables so the stew will be done in just 2 ½ hours.

One of the great things about burgoo is that it's very customizable. Some burgoo recipes call for hot sauce, others for steak sauce, but recipe developer Erin Johnson chooses to flavor hers with another Kentucky product: a few tablespoons of bourbon. If you don't drink the stuff, though, you can always leave it out. As Johnson herself says, "No two burgoo recipes are exactly alike, and this makes it easy to substitute whatever you have on hand." This means that you don't need to recreate her shopping list exactly in order to make your own burgoo as she allows that the dish "is a great way to use up leftovers and veggies." No matter how you burgoo, the results will likely be "absolutely delicious," she assures us.

Collect the ingredients to make Kentucky burgoo

If you would like to make the exact burgoo shown here instead of subbing in your own leftovers, here's what you'll need. For the meat, you'll be using smoked sausage, cooked chicken, and stew beef — the only uncooked meat in the mix. For the vegetables, you'll need an onion and some garlic plus frozen okra, lima beans, and vegetable soup mix. You'll also be using a can of crushed tomatoes and beef broth to make the stew base, then flavoring the dish with Worcestershire sauce, bourbon, salt, and pepper.

Pre-cook the meat and vegetables

Brown the stew beef in a pan along with the smoked sausage. Once this is done, take the meat out of the pot and toss in the onion and frozen vegetables. Stir in the garlic, then cook the mixture until you start to smell the stuff. Don't let it brown, though, as browned garlic can be bitter.

Combine all of the burgoo ingredients

Pour the canned tomatoes into the vegetables, then add all of the meats (chicken included) along with the broth, Worcestershire sauce, and bourbon. Add as much salt and pepper as you feel the stew needs although remember that you can adjust the seasonings again once it's cooked so there's no need to overdo it.

Simmer the burgoo for a few hours

Let the burgoo come to a boil, then turn the heat down so it's just simmering. Leave it to cook for 2 hours, although you might want to check on it from time to time and maybe stir it to make sure that nothing sticks to the bottom. If it looks a bit dry, or if you'd just like a soupier stew, Johnson says you can always add more broth. You can also add in the aforementioned steak sauce, hot sauce, or any other seasonings that strike your fancy. As Johnson says, "the possibilities are endless."

Leftover burgoo is good in the fridge for up to 3 days and the flavor may be even better on the second day. You can also freeze the stew to heat up in the microwave at a later date.

Kentucky Burgoo Recipe
5 from 47 ratings
This Kentucky Burgoo recipe has three different types of meat with veggies in a stew-like broth.
Prep Time
Cook Time
burgoo on blue plate
Total time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • 8 ounces beef stew meat
  • 16 ounces smoked sausage
  • 1 onion, diced
  • ½ cup frozen sliced okra
  • ½ cup frozen lima beans
  • 16 ounces frozen vegetable soup mix
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 16 ounces shredded cooked chicken
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • salt and pepper
  1. Brown the beef and smoked sausage, then remove the meat from the pot.
  2. Cook the onion and all of the frozen vegetables in the pot along with the garlic.
  3. When the garlic becomes fragrant, stir the canned tomatoes into the vegetable mixture.
  4. Return the beef and sausage to the pot along with the chicken, broth, Worcestershire sauce, bourbon, salt, and pepper.
  5. Bring the burgoo to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  6. Simmer the burgoo for 2 hours before serving.
Calories per Serving 590
Total Fat 23.4 g
Saturated Fat 7.1 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 142.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 50.0 g
Dietary Fiber 5.0 g
Total Sugars 7.7 g
Sodium 2,727.6 mg
Protein 42.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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