burgoo n [Orig borrowed, presumably by sailors, from Arabic burġūl or Persian barghūl bulgur]
1 Chiefly among sailors: oat porridge; hence adj phr (as) thick as burgoo of fog: very thick. chiefly NEng obs
1767 PA Chron. & Universal Advt. (Philadelphia) 23 Feb 17/1, But if Indian corn were as disagreeable and indigestible as the Stamp Act, does he imagine we can get nothing else for breakfast?—Did he never hear that we have oatmeal in plenty, for water gruel or burgoo? 1830 Ames Mariner’s Sketches 184 MA, We were ‘fed and foddered,’ . . with a small allowance of meat, soup, vegetables, burgoo milk and buttermilk. [Footnote to burgoo:] Thin hasty-pudding made of oat-meal. 1918 DN 5.15 Martha’s Vineyard MA, Burgoo. . . Thick soup, porridge. “The fog was as thick as burgoo.” 1942 ME Univ. Studies 56.60, When it was thick fog or thick o’ fog it was said to be thick as bur′-goo, which was a name for sea soup. 1945 Colcord Sea Language 45 ME, Cape Cod, Long Island, Burgoo. The sailor’s name for oatmeal porridge.
2 also sp burgou(t); also attrib: A thick soup or stew made with a variety of meats, often including game, and vegetables, usu cooked outdoors in a large pot. esp KY, IL
[1841 W. Farmer & Gardener 2.174 KY, List of the Horses in Training in Kentucky. . . Burgout, 3 yr o[ld].] 1843 Spirit of Times 13.234/2 KY, Scott County will give a Free Public Barbacue. . . Bill of Fare. . . 300 Gallons first-rate Burgoo. . . It will be expected, that every gentleman who expects to eat Burgoo, will bring his cup and spoon. 1853 McConnel Western Characters 363, Around a burgou pot, . . he [=the typical politician] shone in meridian splendor. [Footnote to burgou:] A kind of soup, made by boiling all sorts of game with corn, onions, tomatoes, and a variety of other vegetables. . . So called from a soup made by seamen. 1859 Madison Daily State Jrl. (WI) [18 June 7]/1 (newspaperarchive.com) ceKY, Here for many years parties of gentlemen . . have been in the habit of meeting . . and feasting upon what is there called a “burgout”—a kind of camp soup . . made of fish, turnips, red pepper, &c., as much relished in the West as Chowder in New England. 1872 Turf Field & Farm 15.177/3 cnKY, It would take a much clearer head than I have just now to explain to you how burgoo is made, so in lieu of a careful analysis I offer you the terse recipe of Capt. Beard: “Put into a large iron kettle a little of everything and then boil slowly.” 1896 [see 3 below]. 1944 Chicago Daily News (IL) 4 May 21/1, Burgoo Stew . . is such an old and ancient dish in Kentucky that no two people tell the same story of its origin and no two people will give you the same recipe. 1964 Amer. Heritage Cookbook 474 KY, Burgoo. . . came to be associated with Kentucky, and to be even thicker [than the original porridge] by virtue of including hens, squirrels, beef, hogs, lambs, and a wide assortment of vegetables and seasonings. It was . . served at picnics, horse sales, church suppers, and on Derby Day. 1969–70 DARE (Qu. H36, . . Kinds of soup) Inf IL82, Burgoo; (Qu. H45, Dishes made with meat) Inf KY79, Burgoo. 1969 DARE Tape IL80, Burgoo [bəˈgu], the soup, is made in an outdoor kettle, and they put in chicken and beef and pork probably, and all different kinds of vegetables and cook it over an open fire. 1969 DARE FW Addit KY59, Burgoo: A soup or stew cooked outdoors and eaten for breakfast after a fox hunt. 1992 Jrl.–Courier (Jacksonville IL) 17 June 12/1, Burgoo. . . It’s just about everywhere in west central Illinois during the summer. Almost every burg in the area has a burgoo fest. 2015 Ibid 2 July sec B 1/1, “The burgoo stirring starts at 1 a.m.,” said Aleece Ford, who is on the committee in charge of planning the event.
3 By ext: a picnic at which burgoo is served.
1850 Xenia Torch-Light (OH) 10 Oct /5 DC, It is usual to make a frolic of the closing night of the session; but last night we had a Kentucky ‘burgoo’—a free and easy—a regular barbecue. 1872 Turf Field & Farm 15.177/3 cnKY, I had often heard of a Burgoo at McGrathiana, but never until to-day was it my good fortune to be present at one of the semi-annual festivals. 1885 Mag. Amer. Hist. 13.98, Burgoo.—A Southern and Southwestern term akin to barbecue. . . The feast, however, was furnished by hunters and fishermen—everything, fish, flesh and fowl, being compounded into a vast stew. 1896 Daily IL Courier (Jacksonville) 31 July 2/4, The first annual burgoo of the Shiloh church was held Thursday. . . Burgoo soup dinners are quite the rage in this county and there is hardly a church organization or society in the county that does not think its program for the year is incomplete without an occasion of this kind at some time during the burgoo season. 1929 Burman Mississippi 60, We was taking some chairs and things for a big burgoo and political meeting. 1969 DARE Tape IL80, The burgoo [bəˈgu] itself, the celebration is kind of a homecoming for the people in this area, and people generally try to come back and see all their friends at that time. It’s usually about two days. 1997 Jrl.–Courier (Jacksonville IL) 13 Aug 7/2, [Letter:] Every year the paper covers certain area activities, such as the Virginia Bar-B-Que, the Winchester Burgoo, the Arenzville Burgoo, the White Hall 4th Celebration, etc.