What the Heck is ‘Booyah’?

If you want to eat like a Wisconsinite, you’re going to have to try booyah.

If you’re from northeastern Wisconsin, booyah is the stuff of legend, of large-gathering-eating lore. The term may or may not have come from the French “bouillon” (broth). Green Bay’s “Bobby Booyah” Callahan likes the failed pronunciation attempt theory and says he learned from a local expert who “agreed to take him on” 30 years ago.

For fans, the aroma from the giant kettles conjures up community, folks rubbing elbows while devouring bowls of this colorful, rib-sticking chicken stew packed with vegetables. To carry on tradition means trust earned. This is no booyah-for-two recipe. Callahan’s soup sensei made it for close to 200 people.

The recipe, which he’s able to recite down to the minute detail, can feed 35. Callahan, who hopes to pass down the torch to his son, makes it for his own family every Christmas. As for rumors of superstitions related to booyah, he laughs. “No, we just have fun with it.”

‘Eat Like a Wisconsinite’ appears in the March 2018 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop.



Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.