Friday, March 6, 2009


This is Burgoo King, the colt who won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness in nineteen hundred and thirty two. Poor Burgoo would have been the third Triple Crown champion in history, but for his owners' alleged failure to file his paperwork. This may seem like just another odd racehorse name to the uninitiated yankee (other Derby winners include Jet Pilot, Iron Liege, Bubbling Over, and Hindoo). However, to Kentuckians, this horse reminds us of large vats of gamey meat.

Burgoo is a type of Kentucky stew with contraversial origins and debatable content. Traditionally, it contained opossum, squirrel, venison, and various birds. They're thrown into garbage-can-sized pots, along with vegetables and spices, and cooked for upwards of 2 days. The result is . . . well it's hard to say. There's no specific recipe for burgoo, and the taste can vary tremendously. Thankfully, most modern recipes have ditched the opossum and squirrel in favor of lamb, beef, and chicken.

Don't let the similarity to barf throw you off. Most are pretty tasty. More importantly, it's one of the traditional foods of the Kentucky Derby, which leads me back to Burgoo King. That poor horse died on a farm in Ohio . . . OHIO! Eight Belles may have been euthanized, but at least she died on Kentucky soil. Poor Burgoo King was put out to pasture in a foreign land. This May, I will salute the late Burgoo King by eating my weight in Kentucky stew, filled with untold meats. When I return to Chicago, I will look like that guy stirring the pot. Here's to you, Burgoo King!

No comments:

Post a Comment