Kyle McCoy – Against The Grain

Jesse Valenciana – Against The Grain


Windy City Smokeout

August 4-7, 2022

1901 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60612 ( Madison & Wood)

The hours for Windy City Smokeout are Thursday, August 4: 4PM-10pm; Friday, August 5: 2pm-11pm; Saturday, August 6: noon-11pm; Sunday, August 7: noon-10pm.;
Gates open 2:00 PM on Thursday, 2:00 PM on Friday, 1:00 PM on Saturday, 1:00PM on Sunday.


Burgoo is a Kentucky tradition, much in the same realm as the Brunswick Stew of the deeper South. Often colloquially referred to as “Roadkill Stew,” burgoo is a hearty stew that exemplified the thriftiness of rural Kentuckians, who often had to scrape by to feed their families, using whatever proteins they could find, from beef and pork to squirrel and squab.

At Against the Grain, we smoke a lot of meat. Naturally, as a result of butchering and smoking, we have byproducts; trim from brisket, the end slices of a turkey breast, the bones we pull from the pork shoulder. Rather than ending up in a garbage can, these “waste” items all play important roles in making our delicious, stick to your bones stew we call “Burgoo.”

First, all of our pork shoulder bones, as well as things like chine and breast bones from our pork ribs, all go into making our pork stock. Because of the slow smoking process, we wind up with a thick, dark, smoky stock that makes the perfect base for our burgoo. After that, we add some seasoning ingredients to create our base broth, including hot sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, and other spices.

From there, our burgoo is filled up with all of our smoked meats. Brisket, pork, pork belly, bacon, turkey, chicken…. Anything and everything finds its way into the burgoo pot, it all just depends on what we have on hand that we’re trying to make sure doesn’t go to waste, just like grandma always did.

With all the tender meat falling apart in the broth, we then fortify the burgoo with veggies. Carrots, corn, lima beans, charred onions, and celery give the aromatic backbone to balance the heavy, smoky proteins. The finished product is something that works just as well in a soup bowl as it does in a pot pie. Tender, smoked meat, a brawny, spicy broth, and the little textural pops from the corn and lima beans created a well-balanced, delicious meal, only made better by some butter crackers and a dash of hot sauce to finish.

Our process includes lots of complicated steps, and it takes us 48 hours from start to finish, but making burgoo at home doesn’t have to be daunting or scary. Here’s a simple version that will make your family begging for “Roadkill Stew” every Sunday evening:

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 to 2 pounds pork shoulder

2 to 3 pounds beef (brisket/round/chuck)

2 pounds of ground turkey

1 large onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped

5 garlic cloves, chopped

2 quarts chicken or beef stock

½ cup white vinegar

12 oz can of tomato juice

2 large potatoes, chopped

1 bag of frozen corn, about a pound

1 bag of frozen lima beans

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp onion powder.

¼ cup Worcestershire or soy sauce

Simmer onions and garlic in the kettle until light browning occurs.

Add the remaining raw vegetables, withholding the frozen beans and corn.

Add all meats and allow to brown.

Add vinegar and tomato juice to deglaze, stirring with a rubber spatula or rubber spoon to scrape the bottom of the kettle.

Add the stock, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add frozen veggies, then spices.

Cook and stir frequently until meat breaks down, vegetables (particularly potatoes and carrots) are soft, and simmer until texture is rich and thick.

Serve hot with a side of hot sauce and a garnish of freshly chopped chives.