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Beginning as a common type of porridge during early British times Burgoo was made from oats, but has changed over the years as different ingredients created different versions of the original recipe. Today, Burgoo is basically a meat and vegetable stew that at times, may be referred to as Burgoo Soup while others refer to it as a Burgoo Stew. Well known in the southern and middle U.S. states, Burgoo is often cooked for large gatherings where the meat and vegetables can be place in large food kettles and cooked over open fires.

Ingredients that are often used to make Burgoo include meats such as beef, pork, veal, lamb, and poultry; vegetables such as tomatoes, cabbage, onions, carrots, corn, okra, celery, sweet peppers, potatoes; and seasonings that may include herbs, salt, pepper, angostrua bitters, Worcestershire sauce, curry powder, and sherry. The meat is allowed to cook first to create a moist and tender array that is then combined with the other ingredients and slow cooked for 6 to 12 hours. When finished cooking, the stew has a fairly liquid consistency yet somewhat thick and stew-like in texture.

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