I always look forward to a new book from Albert Schmid. I met him many years ago at the Kentucky Book Fair. I was there signing The Social History of Bourbon that had been re-released by the University Press of Kentucky and I had written the new forward for the book. Albert was sitting next to me with his Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook. Albert was teaching at the culinary school at Sullivan University and I was working at the Filson Historical Society. We spent the seven hours or so talking Bourbon and became friends. This book is his latest cookbook. Albert also writes about cocktails and has authored books on the Old Fashioned and Manhattan Cocktails. His writing is always very entertaining and informative.

Burgoo, Barbecue & Bourbon: A Kentucky Culinary Trinity, By Albert W.A. Schmid, Photographs By Jessica Ebelhard. Lexington, Ky.: University Press of Kentucky, 2017. Foreword, Contents, Notes, Bibliography, Index, Illustrated, pp.168.

Burgoo has a long history in Kentucky, as does Barbecue and Bourbon. Schmid starts each chapter with a discussion of each subject and includes some of the history of Kentucky’s Burgoo tradition. This adds interest to the chapters and helps explain some of the recipes like the “Old Recipe for Burgoo” that calls for six squirrels amongst the ingredients. Burgoo is often made in huge pots cooked over open fire and is made to serve dozens of people at social events. Schmid has these recipes, but also recipes on a more reasonable scale for those that want to feed a family and not a crowd of people. He handles barbecue in a similar manner. He has a recipe for roasting a whole pig but he also has recipes of a more normal scale. Burgoo and Barbecue are often used to feed huge events such as family reunions and political picnics where there may be dozens, if not hundreds of people attending.

The book is complete with chapters on “Sides”, “Bread”, Desserts” and of course “Bourbon”. Sides includes a whole range of salads, beans, and casseroles. Recipes for vegetables that pair well at your summer barbecue. The breads are mostly versions of cornbread and biscuits, but there are a few other breads tossed into the mix. The desserts include a whole range of pies from the Kentucky classic “Transparent Pie” to apple and peach cobblers and of course variations on a Bourbon pecan pie. There are cakes, puddings and fried pies, as well. The Bourbon chapter has a variety of classic Bourbon cocktail recipes.

The book is well organized. There are not a lot of illustrations, and what exist are clumped together between pages 90 and 91. There are 18 color photographs on 16 pages. This means 14 of the images are full page. All are identified including page numbers referring back to the recipe illustrated. The index is well organized for a quick search for a recipe or a person mentioned as the source of the recipe. Each recipe usually has a brief paragraph discussing the origin or history of the recipe. 

This book is a must-have for any collector of cookbooks. It is also a must-have for Bourbon enthusiasts who want to create an authentic Kentucky summer barbecue complete with a pot of burgoo and Bourbon cocktails.

Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller