Burgoo is not an obscure island off the coast of Indonesia, but a stew that is identified with dear ol’ Kentucky. The name certainly doesn’t sound like English, and the origins are unclear — possibly a mispronunciation or a combination of the words bulgur and ragout, maybe both. Whatever the case, this dish is a veritable melting pot in both origin and content. The earliest form of burgoo was a kind of porridge eaten by sailors, possibly made with coarse bulgur wheat (hence the bulgur-ragout combination).  

Modern burgoo-making can be a social event where each person brings an ingredient — more likely chicken, pork or vegetables than the roadkill of yesteryear. Owensboro, Kentucky has proclaimed itself to be the burgoo capital of the world, serving up 1,500 gallons of the tasty stuff at their International Bar-B-Q festival. If you’re into strangely named social stews, burgoo has a cousin from Michigan named booya (no joke). 

Use today’s Word of the Day: Sullivan Island’s Bacon and Shrimp Bog