origin: [possibly 1700's, definitely after the Civil War] unknown entomology, much speculation & attributed to French chef Gustave Jaubert (1860) from Confederate army.
The ultimate in "mystery stew".
Half-way between a soup and a stew, originating with the military on some level, burgoo's distinctively hearty quality begins with a combination of meats; in the past the flavor was wild game such as venison, rabbit, and squirrel. Currently, it's flavor is more likely to be found in chicken and beef. Regardless of type, the meat is commonly smoked.
Vegetables also reflect the Southern style, with corn and ocra being a staple, along with more commonplace potatoes, mushrooms, etc.
It's still a commonplace pot luck dish (sometimes each person brings an ingredient); burgoo is often spicy as well, along with any other combination of herbs, but no two recipes are quite the same -- with chefs commonly guarding their secrets.
Still a Kentucky favorite and commonly enjoyed while watching the Kentucky Derby itself (congratulations to American Pharaoh this year) -- ever since 1932, when a colt named "Burgoo King" won the Derby and Preakness (2/3 of Thoroughbred racing's famous Triple Crown). It also happens to pair nicely with mint juleps, just don't forget the important side dish of corn bread!