All New Burgoo Review

When did Arenzville start making burgoo?

1953 News Article on Arenzville Burgoo

1965 News Article on Arenzville Burgoo

How is Arenzville burgoo made?

What do you eat with burgoo?

What is kettle service?

When is the next Arenzville Burgoo?

What happens at the Arenzville Burgoo?

How do I get to Arenzville?

Is there lodging in the area?

How can I learn more about burgoo?

Where can I find burgoo recipes?


Stirring the Soup

In past decades, the soup was stirred by hand, requiring dozens of volunteers. Then a couple of farmers (Herb and Ed Tegeder) figured out a better way...

There are no formal plans or drawings for these inventions, but clever mechanics (i.e., most farmers) can probably craft a similar apparatus by looking through these photos and reading the descriptions.... that is, IF they can find the parts.

group of wooden paddles

Wooden paddles (usually used when making apple butter) were used to stir the soup for many years.

close-up of wooden paddle

These paddles are still kept available to stir soup at Arenzville because there is still a need to keep the soup stirred when the electric stirring mechanisms have been removed from the kettles. For example, if one of the stirrers malfunctions or if they are removed so that big ladles can be used to dip the soup out into smaller containers for serving, then the wooden paddles may be needed. The kettles are still very hot at this point, and if the soup is not stirred, it will scorch.

kettle full of ingredients

Arenzville burgoo starts with all fresh ingredients in an iron kettle over a roaring fire, so there is a need to keep the contents of the kettle moving to avoid scorching the soup. In this photo, you can see an electric stirrer, originally created by the Tegeder brothers (Herb and Ed), from an old washing machine motor and other mechanical parts. This particular stirrer apparently has a problem with some leaking oil, thus, the aluminum pan around the base of the motor to keep any unwanted contents from going into the soup.

Stirring mechanism mounted on a kettle

The stirrer is mounted across the top of the kettle on an iron beam that is secured to the kettle. Each stirrer is separately powered by electricity. If necessary, the cooks can disconnect the power and remove the apparatus.

stirrer with paddles attached

A stirring mechanism on the kettle, assembled and ready for use. Tony Thomas notes that his father recalled that there were a few experimental models before a successful design was achieved. The inventors got only one chance a year to test their ideas!

central shaft from stirrer extends into the kettle

The shaft from the gears protrudes down through the iron beam and into the kettle, where custom-made interlocking paddles are attached. Dale Winkelman said the Tegeder brothers salvaged parts from a John Deere 227 cornpicker for the gear mechanism.

stirring paddle shaped like a large D

An example of a set of the paddles for one kettle. The inventors experimented with different types of stirring paddles. One important criterion is that one part of the paddle must freely rotate close to the bottom of the kettle to keep ingredients from sticking.

stirring paddle in a double-D design

Another example of a stirring paddle for use in an iron kettle to make burgoo.

fully assembled stirrer over an empty kettle

A fully assembled stirrer in an empty kettle.

the code book

Because each kettle has a distinctive curvature and depth, it is not possible to interchange a stirrer made for one kettle to use in a different kettle. The Arenzville cooks have a VITALLY IMPORTANT code book that notes the marking system used to make sure each stirrer gets in the correct kettle.

collection of motors

Each time the stirrers are used, they are first checked for operational fitness and cleaned.

man cleaning te paddles

Between cooking kettles of soup, the cooks must also make sure that all parts of the stirrers are thoroughly cleaned.

group of men cleaning stirrers

An entire committee is assigned to maintaining and cleaning the stirrers each year. It is hot, grimy work. These guys are volunteers.

kettle full of hot soup

The stirring mechanisms must be capable of enduring high heat conditions because they are mounted over boiling kettles for 14 to 20 hours at a time.

stirring mechanism in use

In this photo, you can see how the iron beams are mounted across the top of the kettle and secured. The iron kettles are fitted with a "jacket" that supports the kettle and has a firebox below. Arenzville soup is cooked over wood-fired kettles. Some other places use aluminum kettles and propane. Other communities have also devised electric stirring mechanisms. For example, at the parish picnic of St. Mary of the Woods, Whitesville, KY, their stirring mechanisms are all connected to an overhead drive system which powers all the stirrers at the same time.

© 2015 Village of Arenzville  

This page last modified: 10/05/2022