Brunswick Stew Shopping Tips
Buy fresh herbs and spices to season your soup; fresh garlic, parsley, and thyme will enhance the flavor without being overpowering.
Brunswick Stew Cooking Tips
Most soups are better the day after their made. If possible refrigerate your soup overnight before serving.
Chenin blanc with cream soups; pinot noir, gamay, grenache, or other light red wines with tomato-based soups, including tomato-based seafood soups; sercial or bual madeira or fino or manzanilla sherry with consommÃ© or black bean soup; amontillado with black bean soup.
Southern Brunswick Stew
Brunswick stew is a deliciously simple Southern dish made of meat, vegetables, and a tomato-based broth. It is similar to burgoo, but this stew recipe has a barbecue twist. There are many variations on Brunswick stew (and everyone thinks theirs is the only way to make it) this recipe includes chicken or pork, creamed corn, and potatoes, with a bit of barbecue sauce and a little hot sauce to give this stew its fabulous flavor. Made with cooked meat and vegetables, the stew is super quick and a great way to use up leftovers. You can even use leftover pulled pork as the stew meat.
Along with the debate over the "right" way to make it, there's also disagreement about the origin of the stew's name. Virginia claims the stew was named for its own Brunswick County, while the state of Georgia says it originated in the city of Brunswick, Georgia. Regardless of where it came from, it is agreed that the Southern stew was originally made with squirrel or other small game and a few vegetables.
You can serve your Brunswick stew as the main dish, with freshly baked cornbread or corn muffins and a tossed salad on the side. It's also traditionally part of a barbecue meal that includes chicken or pork, baked beans, and coleslaw and potato salad. Don't worry if you have leftovers Brunswick stew tastes even better the next day.
- 4 ounces diced salt pork
- 2 pounds chicken parts
- 8 cups water
- 3 potatoes, cubed
- 3 onions, chopped
- 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
- 2 cups canned whole kernel corn
- 1 (10 ounce) package frozen lima beans
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
In a large pot over high heat, combine the salt pork, chicken and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, or until chicken is tender.
Remove chicken and allow to cool until easy to handle. Remove meat and discard the skin and bones. Chop meat into bite size pieces and return to the soup.
Add the potatoes, onions, tomatoes, corn, lima beans, Worcestershire sauce, salt and ground black pepper. Stir well and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour.
First the sauce:
In a 2 quart sauce pan, over low heat, melt ¼ cup of butter then add:
1¾ cups Catsup
¼ cup Guldens Mustard
¼ cup white vinegar
Blend until smooth, then add:
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more if you like a bit of heat)
½ oz. Liquid Smoke
1 oz. Worcestershire Sauce
1 oz. Crystal Hot Sauce or ½ oz. Tabasco (more if you like a little more bite)
½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Blend until smooth, then add:
¼ cup dark brown sugar
Stir constantly, increase heat to simmer (DO NOT BOIL) for approx. 10 minutes.
Makes approx. 3½ cups of sauce (set aside - to be added later).
Then The Stew:
In a 10 qt. pot, over low heat melt ¼ lb of butter then add: the onions and garlic in the butter for about 5 min. before adding potatoes and carrots.
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 cups diced onions
1 ½ to 2 cups slice or dice carrots
5 cups Medium diced potatoes
2 32 oz. cans of chicken broth
Bring to a rolling boil, stirring until potatoes are near done, then add:
1 whole baked or roasted chicken (white and dark pulled from the bone.)
2 16 oz. Jack Daniels BBQ pulled pork
4 bay leafs
1 14½ oz. can early peas
2 28oz. cans crushed tomatoes - (chop tomatoes, if you use stewed Tomatoes add liquid to the stew pot)
The prepared sauce
1 16 oz. can of baby lima beans
¼ cup Liquid Smoke
2 14½ oz. can corn
Slow simmer for 2 hours
How To Make Brunswick Stew
Get the complete ingredients list and instructions from the recipe card below.
- Heat oil and sauté onion in a dutch oven until soft.
- Add in garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
- Dump in the chicken or turkey, shredded pork, butterbeans/lima beans, sweet corn kernels, broth, diced tomatoes, ketchup, BBQ sauce, hot sauce (if using), salt, and pepper.
- Bring to a boil and then simmer for 35 – 40 minutes, slightly uncovered.
- Adjust seasonings as needed and serve.
Easy Brunswick Stew Recipe Tips
- You can make this with frozen meat, just be sure to thaw it overnight in the fridge before adding to the recipe.
- You can use leftover lima beans or pre-cooked lima beans.
- Feel free to add some cooked potatoes to thicken up the stew.
- Choose a BBQ sauce style – sweet, tangy, or spicy – to suit your taste.
Brunswick Stew Variations
This Southern Stew is such a flexible recipe. Try some of these variations
- Swap the meat – ground beef, shredded beef roast, and diced ham.
- Add more veggies – diced carrots, green peas, and celery.
- Addfresh herbs – rosemary, thyme, and oregano.
Meal Prep and Prep Ahead
Yep, Brunswick Stew is one of those recipes that taste even better when it sits for a while, and the ingredients all meld together.
Prep Ahead – This is a great meal prep solution. Cook as directed, then store in the fridge or freezer and reheat when needed.
Store – This recipe will store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freeze – Follow the handy tips below for how to freeze Brunswick Stew
- Transfer the cooled stew to airtight storage containers or Ziploc freezer bags.
- If using bags, be sure to squeeze out the excess air.
- Label and store flat inside the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before reheating and serving.
Do I have To Use Leftover Meat In This Brunswick Stew?
The ability to use leftovers to make this stew is a big plus, but if you don’t have leftovers, no worries. You can easily cook the meat just before adding to this recipe.
Another great tip is to make this stew using a cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and some pulled pork from your favorite local BBQ joint.
Can I Make Brunswick Stew In A Slow Cooker?
Yes! This recipe is easily adaptable to a slow cooker. Simply sauté the onion and garlic, then add to your slow cooker with all of the other ingredients. Stir everything and then cover with the lid. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or on low for 6-8 hours. #easypeasy
Can I Cook Brunswick Stew For A Crowd?
Brunswick stew is always a crowd-pleaser. You can easily double or triple the recipe depending on your needs.
More Southern Recipes
Weight Watchers Points
There are 7 Blue Plan SmartPoints in one serving of this.
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A "Usual" Bowl
Most standard recipes use a tomato base. It can be made from tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, canned diced tomatoes, or ketchup. Oftentimes, one or more of these are used. Vinegar and/or vinegar-based hot sauces are usually added, sometimes along with Worcestershire sauce and/or liquid smoke. Chicken stock or broth is often used, too.
When it comes to meats, each cook has his or her own ideas what works best in their Brunswick stew recipes, but chicken, ground round or chuck, and shredded smoked pork are pretty traditional. On the other hand, some cooks make chicken-only versions, while others might prefer pulled pork-only versions. Culinary purists might prefer sticking to the old fashioned recipe by using meat from deer, wild boar, rabbits, squirrels, quail, ducks, and/or doves.
There are also some variations when it comes to adding vegetables, grains, and root crops. The most common include lima beans (or butter beans), whole kernel corn, creamed corn, garden peas, potatoes, and onions. Some cooks might add any or all the following, too: okra, rice, celery, field peas, black-eyed peas, bell peppers, or hot peppers.
- Author: Steve Gordon
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Yield: 12 - 14 Servings 1 x
- Category: Soups, Stews
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: American
Follow step-by-step, photo illustrated instructions to make our delicious, and hearty, Brunswick Stew. We’re combining Chicken, Pork BBQ, and some of our favorite vegetables, to make this stew from scratch. Brunswick Stew is a traditional side dish served in barbecue restaurants throughout the South, but it’s great as a main course of its very own. Just add saltine crackers or bread.
- 1 whole Chicken
- 1 lb. Pork Barbecue, fully cooked.
- 1 lb. Baby Lima Beans
- 1 lb. Corn
- 4 medium Potatoes, diced
- 1 can Tomato Sauce – 8oz.
- 2 cans Tomato Paste – 4oz
- ½ stick Butter
- ¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- ¼ cup Texas Pete Hot Sauce
- ¼ cup Ketchup
- 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- Rinse the fryer under cold running water.
- Place fryer in large stock pot and cover with water about 6 inches over chicken.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and let chicken cook for one hour.
- Remove cooked chicken from pot, set aside to cool.
- Place the frozen baby lima beans and frozen corn in a colander. Rinse well.
- Add the beans and corn to a large stock pot.
- Wash, peel and cut up the potatoes, add to the beans and corn.
- Add enough water to cover the vegetables by about 2 inches.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until vegetables are tender. About one hour.
- While the vegetables cook, pull the chicken meat from the bones. Discard bones and skin.
- Shred chicken into small pieces.
- When vegetables are done, remove any excess liquid, leaving just enough to reach top of vegetables.
- Add tomato sauce.
- Add apple cider vinegar
- Add brown sugar.
- Add black pepper
- Add salt.
- Add butter.
- Add Texas Pete Hot Sauce.
- Add tomato paste.
- Add Worcestershire Sauce.
- Stir well.
- Add chicken to the stew.
- Add pork barbecue to stew.
- Add Ketchup. Stir well.
- Return to stove top and simmer on medium, stirring often, until warm, prior to serving.
- Stock or liquid from vegetables may be added if needed to obtain desired consistency.
- Serve warm and Enjoy!
Brunswick Stew is always tomato based, and thick. Make it your own recipe by adding the vegetable ingredients you have on hand and like.
Keywords: Brunswick Stew, made from scratch, soup, leftovers, barbecue sides, southern recipes
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Lynn demonstrates how to make a delicious, simple Brunswick Stew. This is great as a main dish or to use as a side dish for barbeque chicken, pulled pork, or any other type of barbeque. This makes a lot, so it is also a great stew to freeze in individual containers and use as needed for a quick lunch or dinner.
- 4 pounds pork tenderloin
- 4 chicken breasts
- 1 can cream corn
- 1 can whole kernel corn, undrained
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 3 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup barbeque sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Hot Sauce, optional
Cook the pork and chicken in a pressure cooker or cover with water in a large stockpot, bring to a boil and simmer until done and can be shredded with a fork.
Chop or shred the pork and chicken very fine -- or process in food processor and place in a large stockpot or large crock pot.
Add all of the remainder of the ingredients. If cooking on the stove, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking for 2 hours. If using the crock pot, place all ingredients in the crock pot and cook for about 4-6 hours until everything is hot and the flavors are all incorporated with one another. You can add hot sauce if you desire for additional heat.
Official Brunswick Stew
Official, as in inspired by the Brunswick Stewmaster's Association of Brunswick County, Va. We have cut the recipe in half and tweaked it just a bit, but it still makes a lot of stew. So Smoke Signals columnist Jim Shahin recommends doing what the Brunswickians do: Stash some in your freezer, portioned in freezer-safe zip-top bags, and give some to friends.
It's best to have the ingredients prepped before you start hold the potatoes in cool water, if needed, to keep them from discoloring, then drain and dry before using. Fatback is available in most larger grocery stores (you might have to ask the folks in the white coats to bring it out), Asian markets and butcher shops.
It's preferable to use fresh corn and butter beans when they are in season.
Make Ahead: The stew can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 4 months.
When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.
Tested size: 10 servings 5 quarts
Combine the chicken and fatback in a large stockpot. Cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for about 1 hour the chicken should begin to shred easily. Discard the fatback.
Stir in the potatoes, onions, black pepper, cayenne pepper, salt and sugar. Increase the heat to medium-high once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are quite soft.
Stir in the tomatoes and their juices and the butter beans once the mixture begins to bubble at the edges, cook for 15 minutes, then stir in the corn and butter. Cook for about 1 hour, reducing the heat to medium-low if needed, so the stew becomes quite thick.
Serve hot, or portion into servings and cool completely before storing.
Adapted from the Brunswick Stewmaster's Association of Brunswick County, Va.
What I Love About Brunswick Stew Recipe
- Layers of intensely delicious smoky barbecue flavor
- Lots of tender pulled pork and succulent roasted chicken
- Single pot Dutch oven preparation concentrates flavor and contains the mess
- Great for meal prep and pleasing large crowds
Dave's Southern Grub
When I was a kid the senior class at our high school would always have a barbeque fundraiser to help pay for the annual senior trip to Washington, D. C. The menu was always the same year after year for as far back as I can remember--barbeque pork and Brunswick stew with a side of chips and sweet pickles, and of course, white loaf bread. It stayed that way until I was a senior when a fancy pants new teacher came along from some Alabama school like Troy State where she thought she was hot stuff and she knew better than we simpletons from a mill town. She decided a spaghetti dinner would be a better than "a silly ole bbq, who eats that trash anyway", but all she did was ruin a tradition, and cost each senior an extra hundred dollars for the trip to make up for the fiasco of a flop she served up as a senior dinner. We won't get into how she also ruined our yearbook, too. She was the first woman I ever knew who richly deserved to be called a bitch.
But I digress. The overnight ritual of cooking barbeque involved tending to huge wash pots full of a mysterious concoction that as the sun rose in the eastern sky over the Sportman's Club would somehow evolve into Brunswick stew. It was the job of the boys in the senior class, and anybody else they could recruit, to serve as laborers whose primary job it was to stir those pots containing the stew. Being young and stupid, (a dangerous combination, but not uncommon as adolescent boys go) we were thrilled at the chance to participate in the action. I must say, the first ten minutes or so of standing over a pot with a boat paddle to stir the mixture was shear delight. One would be so filled with such excitement and genuine pride at the idea of being part of the team, it sometimes took twelve or fifteen minutes for reality to set in and to realize how long a night could be and a whole lot of stirring was going to be required. Thank goodness there was always enough boys on hand to pass the paddle off. Still, this was an all-nighter that seemed to last a week.
The guru of stew was Mr. Jackson. Ed was his first name, I believe, but don't hold me to it. His recipe for Brunswick stew, as far as I am concerned, set the gold standard for what stew is supposed to taste like. Decades of experience has taught me that what makes a certain food taste good is what you were raised on. Barbeque and Brunswick stew are two of those foods.
Every summer, Southern Living magazine publishes its annual barbeque edition which is a compilation from around the south on what each region considers their best fare. From the Carolinas to Texas, from Kentucky to Florida and all points in between there are articles on different meats, cooking techniques, sauces and side dishes. To be sure, each is convinced his is the best what ever was. If you don't believe them, why hell, they have a trailer full of trophies to prove it! When you see what these folks try to pass off as legitimate southern cuisine, sometimes it's almost laughable. For the record, let's be perfectly clear: brisket (or anything else from a cow), lamb, goat, sheep, deer, 'possum, squirrel, shunk, armadillo, etc. is NOT barbeque. Barbeque is pork. Period. And Brunswick stew does not have potatoes, orka, beans or beef in it. To be legitimate, honest to God, Brunswick stew, it will be ground in a meat grinder and will contain corn, chicken, pork, tomatoes, and onions (with a few secret ingredients).
Enough said. Let me get to the point of this post: A couple of years ago my brother, Tim, gave me his recipe for stew. He told me it was the same one that Mr. Jackson used. I don't actually know if it is or not, but it sure does taste like real stew, the way God intended for it to taste. As a disclaimer, be forewarned you can't make a little bit of Brunswick stew. If you do this recipe as it is written, you will have close to four gallons--enough to give all your relatives and neighbors and still have some left over for your own. Hope you enjoy it.
Uncle Tim’s Old Family Secret Recipe Brunswick Stew
(The way God meant for it to be)
In separate pots, boil the pork shoulder and chickens until done. Reserve the chicken broth. Meanwhile, to occupy your time, run the corn, onions, and tomatoes through the grinder attachment to the Kitchenaide mixer (Don’t have a mixer with grinder attachment? Go get one--can’t do this without one if you want to learn to make good stew!). As you pass the veggies through the grinder, be careful not to push too hard or too fast. Don’t believe me? Go ahead, smart-ass, give that first can of tomatoes a good shove down the grinder mouth and redecorate the kitchen walls. My brother, Tim, whose basic recipe this is, taught me to run all the ingredients through the grinder twice, but it is a matter of personal preference. After squishing in the grinder, put into a large, and I do mean large, pot—a cast-iron wash pot works best (clothes removed from pot, of course). After the meats have fully cooked, remove from the bone, cool, and cut into cubes before passing through the grinder. After grinding, place meat into the pot and add ketchup and first dose of black and red peppers. Go light on the ketchup at first you can always add more later on as the stew brews, but you can’t take it away if you put too much in.
At this point you can turn on the heat, somewhere between simmer and low, and start stirring. I suppose it is time to tell you the real secret to good stew—elbow grease. That’s right, work. From the time you put the heat on, until it is finished and ready to eat, you will not leave the sight of this concoction. The last thing you want to have happen is for the stew to stick to the bottom of the pot, and believe me it will, unless you stir. Nothing ruins good stew faster than black wads of scorched stew that tells the whole damn world you were too lazy to stir a pot for a little while. So don’t be a slacker.
As the stew warms up, add one stick of softened butter and a cup of chicken broth. Now, here is your opportunity to be a little original—add Tabasco sauce, another stick of softened butter, a little more broth, black pepper and red cayenne pepper, and salt to suit your taste. The stew will cook slowly. The key is the flavor of the onions which will evolve from a predominate taste, and then it will melt into the stew and become almost imperceptible as it blends in with all the other ingredients. If you want to make good stew, be patient and take lots of time, cook low and slow, and stir often. You won’t be disappointed.
Footnote: Because it takes so long to cook this recipe, over time I have learned the best technique is to cook the meat, and grind the veggies and meat and put it in the icebox overnight and then cook the stew the next day.
As a rule, I half this recipe and it makes enough stew for an after-church Sunday dinner gathering and still send the preacher home with a covered dish for later.