Kentucky Burgoo is the must have dish for a Kentucky Derby party

Kentucky Derby at Home menu, photo provided by Kentucky Derby
Kentucky Derby at Home menu, photo provided by Kentucky Derby /

While the Mint Julep might be a Kentucky Derby party staple, this Kentucky Burgoo recipe from Churchill Downs’ Executive Chef, David Danielson, is a delicious version of the traditional stew. Although the name is fun to say, the flavor of this Derby dish has everyone coming back for seconds.

For Kentucky natives, burgoo is a traditional dish. Just like the exact origins of this dish can be debated, the versions of this dish vary. In some ways, the “this and that” added to this dish contribute to that variety. Although there are very specific recipes, many chefs add a touch of improvisation, which makes each bite even more intriguing.

Often burgoo features a smattering of proteins. Although most modern versions do not use game meat, the older versions featured ingredients from the hunt.

In addition to the ingredients, the stew gets it flavor from the long cooking process. Although some people say that a flavorful burgoo is the result of constant stirring, the reality is that a long, slow cook allows all the flavors to come together.

Churchill Downs’ Executive Chef, David Danielson shares his Kentucky Burgoo recipe.

For some Kentucky Derby fans, there is a superstition that says burgoo and bourbon must be enjoyed before each race. Whether it is a tradition or just a love of the food and beverage combination, the reality is that these two foods seem to be associated. Even on a warm May day, many people will happily serve themselves a bowl.

Here’s how to make Kentucky Burgoo from Churchill Downs’ Executive Chef, David Danielson.

Kentucky Burgoo (Serves 8)


  • 2 tablespoon canola oil, divided
  • 1 pound boneless sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ½ pound pork loin, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ½ pound turkey breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 quart chicken stock, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 large carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Idaho baking potatoes, peeled cubed ½ inch
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cut okra
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen butter beans
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • A couple springs of thyme
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained


  1. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil
  2. Working in batches sauté beef, pork, and turkey 5-minutes or until browned. Remove meat from pan
  3. Repeat procedure with remaining oil, beef, pork, and turkey until all has been browned. Remove from pan
  4. Add 2 cups broth, salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, scraping pan to loosen browned bits
  5. Add beef mixture, remaining broth, onion, bell pepper, carrot, and garlic to pan
  6. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 1-hour or until beef is tender, stirring occasionally
  7. Add, potato, beans, corn, okra, thyme, and 1 tablespoon parsley
  8. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30-minutes or until potato is tender.
  9. Stir in remaining ¼ teaspoon black pepper, sugar, and the remaining 4 ingredients. Simmer 30-minutes or until mixture is thick

One key item to remember with this recipe is that the stew should be thick, rich and flavorful. Also, while this is Chef Danielson’s recipe, it can be modified a little. For example, if you really don’t like okra, don’t include it. A recipe is a guide.

For this year’s Kentucky Derby party, why not make a Kentucky Burgoo and make some extra. You might want to enjoy it the day after, too.

light. Related Story. Tasty food ideas for a Kentucky Derby party

What traditional recipe do you love? Have you discovered a traditional recipe that you make every year?