5 Must-Taste Foods 

in the Bluegrass, Blues & BBQ Region

A tray of mutton barbecue, slaw and other sides from the Bluegrass, Blues & BBQ region of Kentucky

Sure, bourbon and fried chicken might have put Kentucky on the culinary map, but have you tried our barbecue? Welcome to the region where a sauce can vary from county to county, and some claim that this is the true “Barbecue Capital of the World.” Head on down to Western Kentucky, specifically the Bluegrass, Blues & BBQ region, to try some mouth-watering dishes like burgoo, strawberry lemonade and, of course, ‘cue! 

1. Burgoo

Burgoo, a stew that's popular in Kentucky's Bluegrass, Blues & BBQ region.

Burgoo – sounds fancy, right? Nothing could be further from the truth. Kentucky’s most famous stew is hardly ever prepared the same way twice; it’s usually made with whatever you can find to toss in the pot. Burgoo is made with meats such as mutton, pork, beef and chicken. Yummy garden vegetables add color and flavor, like potatoes, corn, carrots, onions, celery and lima beans.

Try this Recipe: Eastern Kentucky Burgoo 

2. BBQ Mutton

A bowl of BBQ mutton, a specialty of Western KentuckyThis region hangs its hat on barbecue, and taste buds have been inspired for decades by one of the oldest forms of cooking. The distinctive taste of Western Kentucky barbecue is a result of patience – hours and hours of smoking mutton or pork in stacked coals from hickory wood. You’ll appreciate that patience as you dig into some of the most tender meat to be found. Hop on the Western Kentucky BBQ Trail to explore the many historic, hole-in-the-wall spots around Owensboro, dubbed the “Barbecue Capital of the World.”

3. Traditional BBQ Sides: Baked Beans, Coleslaw & Potato Salad

Is it truly a barbecue meal without all the fixings? The Bluegrass, Blues & BBQ region says no. Sweet-and-spicy baked beans are garnished best with bacon. Cabbage made into coleslaw – the creamy mayonnaise kind or vinegar-based, your choice – adds crunch to the meal. And potato salad rounds it all out perfectly. 

4. Strawberry Lemonade

Strawberry lemonade is popular in the region because it’s a deliciously tart drink that pairs well with BBQ, and because of the region’s plentiful strawberry patches. Several counties also have community strawberry festivals featuring field-fresh berries. 

5. Peach Cobbler

Peach orchards abound in this region, making peach cobbler a favorite dessert. Recipes vary, but all feature juicy peaches and plenty of sugar, best complemented by a scoop (or two!) of vanilla ice cream to turn it into a peach cobbler à la mode.

Savor More Regional Cuisine of Kentucky