Almost every place that serves barbecue in and around Owensboro, Kentucky (which has proclaimed itself “BBQ Capital of the World”), also offers the fork-thick vegetable soup/stew known as burgoo. Supposedly named when a Civil War cook with a speech impediment tried to say “bird stew,” burgoo traditionally contained meat from whatever small game the cook could get, usually including squirrel. Modern burgoo, a staple on Derby Day along with the mint julep, is made with barbecued mutton (the smoke-pit meat of choice in Western Kentucky) and also possibly chicken, pork, or beef. Its thick, hearty character is similar to Brunswick stew, but it tends to be spicier.


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