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Best Burgoo in Kentucky: Firehouse Sandwich Stop

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Readers choose restaurant at Buffalo Trace Distillery as favorite

How do you burgoo? Unless you happen to have spent time in Kentucky’s “burgoo belt,” you might not be familiar with this highly regional stew that’s a staple on the menu of barbecue joints throughout the state. This dish has competing origin stories; some say that it came from Wales and found its way to Kentucky via Virginia. Others claim it was created by French chef Gustave Jaubert while serving a Confederate general in 1860. There are multiple variations of the dish as well, with meats ranging from beef, chicken, pork and mutton to pigeon, rabbit and squirrel finding their way into the stew pot.

  • Firehouse Sandwich Stop - Buffalo Trace Distillery
    Frankfort

    The Firehouse Sandwich Shop, located at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, serves up a range of Kentucky favorites, including a hearty Kentucky burgoo made by local burgoo master Russ Kennedy.
    Photo courtesy of Buffalo Trace Distillery

  • Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn
    Owensboro

    Hungry travelers in Owensboro craving a warming bowl of soup have two choices at Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn, a bean soup and a hearty burgoo, both served with two cornbread muffins and crackers. This version comes with mutton, chicken and a variety of vegetables.
    Photo courtesy of Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn / Facebook

  • Old Hickory Bar-B-Q
    Owensboro

    Old Hickory Bar-B-Q began in 1918 when Charles “Pappy” Foreman began barbecuing mutton on a pit in Owensboro. Today, Old Hickory remains in the same family, though the menu has expanded. The burgoo’s meaty mutton flavor is balanced with a tomato tang.
    Photo courtesy of Old Hickory Bar-B-Q / Facebook

  • Shack in the Back BBQ
    Fairdale

    Everything from Shack in the Back BBQ in Fairdale is homemade in their kitchen each day, and that includes the burgoo, available throughout the year.
    Photo courtesy of Shack in the Back BBQ

  • Keeneland
    Lexington

    A day at the races wouldn’t be complete without a cup of Kentucky burgoo, at least if you’re at Keeleland. The Keeneland Classic Burgoo features beef, potatoes, roasted corn and a serrano chile griddle cake on the side.
    Photo courtesy of Keeneland

  • Dave's Sticky Pig
    Madisonville

    The folks at Dave’s Sticky Pig believe a good burgoo should be thick and hearty with a variety of meats. If you stick a spoon upright in the pot, it shouldn’t fall over. This version contains five smoked meats – pulled pork, beef brisket, pork ribs, ham and chicken – as well as plenty of seasoning for extra kick.
    Photo courtesy of Dave's Sticky Pig

  • Mark's Feedstore
    Multiple Locations

    The famous burgoo from Mark’s Feedstore has been on the menu for more than three decades. This diner favorite is made with smoked chicken, pulled pork and beef brisket, as well as a variety of vegetables. It’s served with a warm sweet and savory corn muffin to help balance the heat.
    Photo courtesy of Mark's Feedstore

  • Stella's Kentucky Deli
    Lexington

    The folks at Stella's Kentucky Deli in Lexington know that a spoon shouldn’t sink in a proper burgoo. This version is made with beef, pork, chicken, and lamb, alongside corn, beans and other veggies. It comes with mini corn muffins for soaking up the meaty juices.
    Photo courtesy of Stella's Kentucky Deli

  • Talbott Tavern
    Bardstown

    In Bardstown, Talbott Tavern puts their own spin on Kentucky burgoo by packing it with four types of meat, vegetables and a secret blend of spices with just the right amount of heat.
    Photo courtesy of The Old Talbott Tavern

  • Knockum Hill Bar-B-Que
    Herndon

    The burgoo from Knockum Hill Bar-B-Que in Herndon is hearty and meaty. Each batch is made with a whopping five pounds of pulled pork, as well as a variety of vegetables.
    Photo courtesy of Knockum Hill Bar-B-Que

The top 10 winners in the category Best Burgoo in Kentucky are as follows:

  1. Firehouse Sandwich Stop - Buffalo Trace Distillery - Frankfort
  2. Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn - Owensboro
  3. Old Hickory Bar-B-Q - Owensboro
  4. Shack in the Back BBQ - Fairdale
  5. Keeneland - Lexington
  6. Dave's Sticky Pig - Madisonville
  7. Mark's Feedstore - Multiple Locations
  8. Stella's Kentucky Deli - Lexington
  9. Talbott Tavern - Bardstown
  10. Knockum Hill Bar-B-Que - Herndon

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning restaurants!

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Alan Cornett

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