Beans soaked overnight. Produce ready to be cleaned and preppedMeat waiting to be trimmed of excess fat skin and then boiled; Chicken, Lamb, and PorkProduce is prepped while meat is cookingAfter meat is cooked, remove from stock, let cool, remove all bones and excess fat. Then shred and get read to add back to the pots.This is what it looks like after everything is added back to the pots! Had several of these going today!In hot sterilized jars, start with 1-2 inches of beans that have been soaked and drainedLadle hot Burgoo into hot jars. Leave 1 inch head space. Properly clean rim and apply lid ring. Process pints at 10lb pressure for 75 minutes and quarts for 90 minutesHomemade Kentucky BurgooIt has been a LONG day! Many, many thanks to my parents, Rodney and Toni Maxwell for all their help today! I couldn’t have done it without themRings removed jars washed labeled and ready for storage

Until this weekend I had no idea what “Burgoo” was and would not have know that it was something that was edible until Matthew posted it on my FB page. From Wikipedia;

“Traditional burgoo was made using whatever meats and vegetables were available — typically, venison, squirrel, opossum, raccoon or game birds”. Today, local Kentucky barbecue restaurants use a specific meat in their recipes, usually pork, chicken, or mutton, which, along with the spices used, creates a distinct flavor unique to each restaurant.
Burgoo making in Kentucky often serves as a social event, where each person brings one or more ingredients.  In Brighton, Illinois, a local traditional burgoo is prepared and served annually at the village’s summer festival, the Betsy Ann Picnic. Franklin, Illinois is the Burgoo Capital of the World; they have their annual burgoo cookout over July 3rd and July 4th.
A typical burgoo is a combination of at least three things: a combination of beef, pork, chicken, and mutton, often hickory-smoked, but other meats are seen occasionally; vegetables such as lima beans, corn, okra, and potatoes; and a thickening agent, such as cornmeal, ground beans, whole wheat, or potato starch. Traditionally, soup bones were added for taste and thickening. Lawrenceburg, Kentucky is the self-proclaimed burgoo capital of the world.”

Matthew sent me his primary recipe he uses for Kentucky Burgoo! This recipe is safe since he doesn’t use the traditional thickeners so it’s basically an amazing soup! Matthew’s recipe made 70+ quarts but this was a project that included his family! It’s a project for a few to get involved in and by Matthew’s calculation less than a $1 a quart!

From Matthew “It is one of those dishes that has as many recipe variations as people who make it, and that is what makes it special. The meats are interchangeable based on what you like. I like to use chicken, pork, and lamb. “

For those of you that have canning groups this would be a great project for each of the members to bring something to add to the pot. You don’t have to do all of this as Matthew said but having a good combination of veggies is great fun! I’m sure there will be questions for Matthew and will make sure he comes and checks this post often to help answer your “burgoo” inquiries!

Also, Matthew recommends anyone interested in learning more about Kentucky Burgoo and how it came about, check out Thanks Matthew and Ashley for the pictures! 

Homemade Kentucky Burgoo

Here is Matthew and his parents day filled with prep and canning.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 40


  • 1 pc. Chicken
  • 12.5 lb pork bone in shoulder
  • 3 lbs Beef Steak
  • 1 pc. lamb shank
  • 40 oz dried mixed beans (weighed before soaked)
  • 1 small Bag Carrots
  • 2 small heads Cabbage
  • 8 Stalks Celery
  • 3 pc. Green Bell Peppers
  • 1 pc. yellow bell pepper
  • 1 pc. orange bell pepper
  • 7 pc. Small Onions
  • 6 pc. Jalapeño (seeded) 
  • 4-5 lbs Potatoes
  • Minced Garlic 
  • 1 bag frozen okra 
  • 4 oz bottle Lemon Juice 
  • 2 large cans diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups corn
  • Cayenne Pepper (avg 1.5 tbsp per 16 quart pot)
  • Red Pepper Flakes (avg 1.5 tbsp per 16 quart pot)
  • 32 oz Ketchup (homemade is best, one with no thickeners)
  • 8 oz Apple Cider Vinegar 
  • 8 oz Worcestershire
  • 12.5 oz Molasses


  • Combine all meat into large stock pot with enough water to cover meat by 2-4 inches. If desired, add salt (I wait to add salt at the very end when I put it in the jars - keeps it consistent). Bring to a boil for 2 hours. (I like to use the pressure canner for this because it is quicker)
  • While meat is cooking, clean and prep all of the veggies and seasonings. 
  • When meat is done cooking, remove meat (reserving the stock) - I place all of the meat on a large cutting board. When cool enough to handle, carefully remove ALL bones from the meat. Shred meat. (just when you are sure all bones are removed, I like to make one more pass through the meat to be sure). 

To finish the recipe without canning: 

  • Add all the ingredients back to the stock and add more water as needed to reach desired consistency. (this recipe makes a very large portion, so you will want to make sure your pot sizes are adequate. This recipe normally supplies me with anywhere between 50-70 pint size portions, so you can scale back as needed).
  • Once the pot(s) is full and simmering, let simmer at least 6 hours (12 hours is preferred - the simmering time is not really necessary if you are canning the recipe)
  • Put leftovers into freezer bags or freezer jars (Wide-mouth) 

To finish the recipe for canning:

  • Add all ingredients BUT the soaked beans back to the hot stock and add more hot water for the broth that will be added to the jars. 
  • To each hot jar add 1 to 2 inches of soaked beans to the bottom. 
  • Ladle filling the remainder of the jar up to 1" headspace with the veggie/meat burgoo from the pot. Make sure that you ladle enough liquid/stock/broth into the jars and not only produce and meat. It should look like the jars below. 
  • Remove the air bubbles with a plastic spatula and refill to 1" headspace as necessary. 
  • Wipe the rims of each jar with a papertowel that has vinegar on it to reduce the fat deposits on the rims. 
  • Add your hot lids/rings and tighten your jars finger tight. 
  • Process in a pressure canner at 10lbs of pressure for weighted gauge and 11lbs for dial gauge for 75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts. 
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