Harry Young's Burgoo Recipe

"If it walked, crawled, or flew, it goes in burgoo." That old adage once applied to this stew that hails from Kentucky, originally made with an assortment of game and livestock cooked in giant cauldrons known as burgoo kettles. It's a classic Southern stew, made in huge quantities over a smoldering fire, stirred by cooks using boat oars long enough to reach the bottoms of the pots. They would prepare enough burgoo to feed an entire community, often selling it at fund-raisers or doling it out to attendees at political rallies and stump speeches. These days, burgoos are still meant to be shared, but they have been scaled back to feed large families instead of small towns. Most recipes, such as this one, still call for a variety of meats and a long list of vegetables—but only those found easily at a local grocery store. This hearty stew freezes well, which is  a good thing because it feeds a large crowd and you may have leftovers. It tastes even better the next day when the flavors have had time to marry.

Harry Young’s Burgoo
Photo: Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
5 hrs
25 serves


  • 1 (2- to 2 1/2-lb.) bone-in pork loin roast

  • 1 (3 1⁄2-lb.) whole chicken

  • 3 quarts water

  • 4 pounds 80/20 ground beef

  • 6 cups frozen whole kernel corn (about 2 lb.)

  • 5 cups frozen purple hull peas (about 1 3⁄4 lb.)

  • 5 cups frozen lima beans (about 1 3⁄4 lb.)

  • 3 cups chopped cabbage (about 16 oz.)

  • 3 cups diced russet potato (about 16 oz.)

  • 3 cups chopped yellow onion (about 12 oz.)

  • 1 (32-oz.) bottle tomato or vegetable juice (such as V8)

  • 1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes, undrained and chopped

  • 2 cups frozen cut okra (about 10 oz.)

  • 3 cups diced carrots (about 1 lb.)

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped green bell pepper (about 6 oz.)

  • 3/4 cup chopped celery (about 3 stalks)

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon celery salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper


  1. Combine pork, chicken, and water in a large Dutch oven; bring to a boil over medium-high. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 2 hours. Remove meat, reserving cooking liquid in Dutch oven. Let meat cool about 15 minutes. Remove and discard bone from pork; shred pork. Shred chicken, discarding skin and bones. Refrigerate shredded chicken and pork in airtight containers until ready to add to recipe in Step 2.

  2. Brown one-third of ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high, stirring to crumble, until no longer pink, 6 to 7 minutes; drain. Transfer beef to a large bowl. Repeat procedure twice with remaining ground beef. Stir ground beef, corn, peas, lima beans, cabbage, potato, yellow onion, tomato juice, tomatoes, okra, carrots, green bell pepper, celery, parsley, red pepper, kosher salt, celery salt, and black pepper into reserved cooking liquid in Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring often, 2 hours, adding in shredded pork and chicken during last 15 minutes.

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