2022 Burgoo Bash Champion Returns to Defend Title
Toby Evans is returning to the Against the Grain Burgoo Bash to defend his 2022 champion title. From Orleans, Indiana, Evans attended the first annual Burgoo Bash in 2022 and presented judges with the winning product. The “notably spicy” world-class burgoo was voted best in show, and he is returning this Saturday, March 18th, to deliver another batch of world-class Kentucky stew.
When he entered the 2022 Burgoo Bash, Evans didn’t have much culinary experience at all. Growing up in the Midwest, Evans’s family cooked meals that were hearty and good, but lacking the spice and flavor that makes food great. He started doing his own research while cooking for himself, experimenting with spices and smoked meats. His nine years in the US Navy exposed him to global food as well. Even as his cooking skills developed, Evans never was professional—just providing his family and friends with consistently impressive meals. In 2016, Evans and his wife visited Against the Grain. Here, he ordered two bowls of burgoo and was instantly hooked on the Kentucky classic. “As soon as I got home,” Evans said, “I started researching burgoo recipes because I wanted to try to make my own. I would fix a batch and invite friends over to try it. From the get-go almost everyone really liked my burgoo.”
What makes his burgoo so special? Evans credits it to the combination of two of his favorite things; spices and smoked meats. He feels his burgoo is “complex, and has a lot of flavors that compliment each other.” To further personalize it, he adds hot peppers that he home-grows with his mother. He also makes his own spices and hot sauces, many of which are added to the burgoo!
Evans entered the Burgoo Bash after multiple friends and family members strongly encouraged him to. The only burgoo he had prior to cooking his own was that bowl he had back at Against the Grain in 2016! He had no idea if his burgoo even honored the standard of tradition—still, the encouragement from family was enough for him to enter.
The second annual Burgoo Bash will be held at Against the Grain’s Downtown Public House location. The contest has two divisions; professional and amateur. Contestants must prepare 3-5 gallons of burgoo prior to the competition, where hot-holding will be provided at the event. Registration is open until the start of the competition. The Burgo Bash brings in contestants from all backgrounds, from home-chefs to industry professionals.