From the pioneer days of the Kentucky frontier comes a stew prepared by farmers and hunters. They called it Burgoo. No one knows where the name comes from, but the folks in Western Kentucky around Owensboro declare that the authentic and historical burgoo has to be made with mutton, or mature sheep. Folks in central Kentucky prefer beef or wild game. But one thing becomes very clear – the passion for whatever is called Burgoo, cooked in huge black iron cauldrons, is reflected in the titles given to the burgoo masters- they are called “Burgoo Kings”! And their reputations last beyond their years, as loyal stew masters rigorously maintain recipes and cooking traditions generation to generation. And along with making Burgoo comes a lot of leg-pulling, tall tales, and fellowship around the pot.
This film comes from Stan Woodward’s suite of documentaries about a family of Southern agrarian communal stews, all cooked on open fires in huge black iron pots, by stew masters and their crews, using folk-heritage recipes with secret ingredients, and sold as fundraisers for local community organizations. These works include the overview film Southern Stews: A Taste of the South and individual films on Georgia Brunswick Stew, Georgia Hogshead Brunswick Stew and Stewbilee, on South Carolina Hash and Frogmore Stew, Chicken Bog of the Pee Dee, and Gallivant’s Ferry Stump Meeting Chicken Bog, and on Virginia Brunswick Stew and the Sheep Stew of Dundas, Virginia.