brunswick stew recipe brunswick stew recipe

Brunswick Stew Recipe: A Beginner’s Guide to Southern Comfort

Origin of Brunswick Stew

A classic southern dish – Brunswick stew, has a long history: Americans believe the inspiration came from Native Americans’ stew recipe featuring hunting game food sources like squirrels, deer, and hominy.

The origin becomes controversial when, in the 19th century, two Southern states claim to have made this dish – firstly, Brunswick, Virginia (in 1828) with a soup recipe featuring squirrels, and then Brunswick, Georgia (in 1898) claiming the ownership to the original vessel of the recipe.

Fun Fact: Both states host a ‘Brunswick stew cook-off’ where the cooks are called stew masters. Check out this article to know more about the cook-off. 

It is a traditionally made fall stew in the Southern U.S., initially considered the hunter’s stew with game meat nowadays. The popular ingredients are pork, beef, rabbit, lima beans, tomato, and whole chicken, making it a complete meal.

More modern versions even add a bit of sweetness through barbecue sauce and ketchup; the broth also varies from thin to thick. The traditional cast iron pot is used for large quantities in notable community and family events.

In each southern state, the recipe varies – from seasonings to vegetables and meat. Let us look at some of the popular recipes.

We have provided some of the best recipes with tasty veggies and non-veg ingredients. Check them out.

1.1) Traditional (With Pork and Chicken)

With the original stew idea inspiration of using local and available ingredients, this features leftover pulled pork, chicken thighs, and veggies.

1.1.1) Ingredients

1) Unsalted butter (6 tbsp/3 ounces)

2) Chopped onion (1 and a 1/2 cup)

chopped onion
By Wavebreakmedia/ Copyright 2022.

3) Minced garlic (from 4 garlic cloves – about 1 tbsp)

4) Diced potatoes (3 cups)

5) Frozen baby lima beans (1 and 1/2 cups)

6) Frozen corn kernels (2 cups)

7) Chicken stock (3 cups)

8) Diced tomatoes (1 can)

9) Barbecue sauce (1 and 1/2 cup)

10) Worcestershire sauce (1 tbsp)

11) Brown sugar (2 tbsp)

12) Salt (1 tsp)

13) Freshly ground black pepper (1/2 tsp)

14) Cayenne pepper (1/2 to 1/4 tsp)

15) Cooked chicken thighs (2 cups – shredded chicken or chopped)

16) Cooked pulled pork/leftover pulled pork (shredded – 2 cups)

pulled pork
By zkruger/ Copyright 2022.

17) Optional for serving – Biscuits or cornbread, Coleslaw

1.1.2) Instructions

The prep time is 15 minutes, and the cooking time is 45 minutes. It serves eight people.

1) Gather all the ingredients.

2) melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and cook, while stirring, till they become translucent.

3) Add garlic and cook (stir for 2 minutes longer), then add the lima beans, potatoes, corn, tomatoes, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil.

4) Cover the pan, then reduce its heat and simmer (around 25 minutes) or till the vegetables become tender.

5) Add the Worcestershire sauce, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, black pepper, meat, cayenne, and pork (optional salt) into the pan. Mix them well.

6) Simmer the dish, uncovered, for around 15 minutes.

Your delicious Brunswick stew is ready to serve, and you can add the optional sides if you like.

Tips: If you comb pull pork and BBQ sauce, use only 1 to 1 and 1/4 cups of the latter.

1.2) For The Homesick

This might be the perfect choice for those missing home with smoked pork, savory barbecue sauce, and veggies. Try it out now.

1.2.1) Ingredients

1) Butter (4 tbsp)

2) Garlic (3 cloves)

3) Large yellow onion (1)

4) Fire-roasted tomatoes (1 can – undrained)

5) Chicken stock (4 cups)

6) Barbecue sauce (1 and 1/2 cup)

7) Worcestershire sauce (2 tbsp)

8) Brown sugar (1 tbsp)

9) Cayenne pepper (1/4 tsp)

10) Smoked pulled pork (1 and 1/2 pounds)

11) Frozen corn (8 oz.)

12) Frozen lima beans (8 oz.)

13) Salt and pepper (for taste)

1.2.3) Instructions

This preparation and cooking time is 1 hour 50 minutes. It will serve ten people.

1) Take a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and melt butter in it.

2) Add garlic and onions, and sauté them until soft (for about 5 minutes).

3) Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, Worcestershire, smoked pork, cayenne, lima beans, and corn. Stir them well, and add salt and pepper for taste.

4) Let the mixture boil, then reduce it to a simmer, cook on low heat for 1 and 1/2 hours, keep stirring occasionally.

1.3) Easy Recipe

Want a thick Brunswick stew with spicy and sweet ingredients and seasonings? Check out this easy-to-make recipe.

1.3.1) Ingredients

1) Butter (4 tbsp)

2) Medium Onion (1 – diced)

3) Garlic (1 clove – minced)

4) Frozen lima beans (1 and 1/2 cups)

5) Diced tomatoes (1 can)

6) Tomato sauce (1 can)

7) BBQ sauce (3/4 cup)

8) Chicken broth (1 and a half cups to 2)

9) Frozen corn (1 and a half cups)

10) Tabasco sauce (1/2 tsp)

11) Black pepper (1/2 tsp)

12) Salt (1/2 tsp)

13) Dried thyme (1/4 tsp)

14) Diced cooked chicken/ Turkey (1 and a 1/2 cup)

15) Pulled pork (1 pound)

1.3.2) Instructions

The prep time for this dish is 10 mins, and the cooking time is 25 minutes; it serves eight people.

1) Place a Dutch oven over medium or low heat. Melt butter, then add onion and garlic (cook for about 5 minutes)

2) Add lima beans and cook for 2 minutes.

3) Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, BBQ sauce, and chicken broth (simmer for about 15 minutes)

4) Add corn, meats, and seasoning (simmer for another 5 minutes)

Your quick, easy, and tasty Brunswick stew is ready to eat.

Other variants: You can also add leftover mashed potatoes; here is a recipe to make one.

1.4) Old Fashioned Recipe

Want to cook a Brunswick stew for a large gathering? This recipe is a classic southern dish combining meat, barbecue, and vegetables.

1.4.1) Ingredients

1) Hambone (1 – country cured ham)

2) Water (3 quarts)

3) Stewing hen (4 pounds)

4) Bay leaves (2)

5) Freshly dried thyme (1 tsp)

6) Fresh parsley (6 stems)

7) Celery (2 ribs)

8) Small onions (2)

9) Black peppercorns (1/2 tsp)

10) Canned diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces)

11) Large onion (1 – chopped)

12) Medium potatoes (4 – cubed)

13) Butter beans or baby limas (2 cups)

butter beans
By shariffc/ Copyright 2022.

14) Whole kernel corn (two cans / 19 ounces – drained)

15) Sweet and smokey barbecue sauce (bottled – 18 ounces)

16) Catsup (1 cup)

17) Salt (2 tsp – for taste)

18) Optional ingredients: Red pepper flakes (1 tsp) or red chili pepper (1- chopped)

1.4.2) Instructions

The preparation and cooking time is 4 hours, serving 18 people.

1) add water and put the ham bone in a large pot. Bring the bone to a boil, then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer (about 1 hour)

2) Add chicken with bay leaves, parsley, thyme, celery, peppercorns, and onions to the pot.

3) Simmer till the meat is cooked (tender enough – approx. 1 and 1/2 hours). Once cooked, set it aside to cool down.

4) Remove the meat from the pot and discard its skin and bones.

5) Shred the meat, then return to the broth.

6) Add onion, lima beans, corn, diced tomatoes, catsup, barbecue sauce, salt, and the optional ingredients. If you want a thicker stew, add more water.

7) Cook for around 45 minutes to 1 hour (till the vegetables are tender)

Your hot and delicious Brunswick stew is ready to be served. Variations to the cooked chicken broth

To make the recipe easier, substitute the chicken and broth with the meat with rotisserie chicken and 8 cups of store-bought broth/ stock. Storing tips

Since this is a large recipe, the leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for almost four days (remember to store them in airtight containers).

If you want to freeze the recipe, fill them in zip-top bags (freezer-safe ones) for up to 3 months. If you want to eat it, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat it until it warms up.

1.5) Quick Recipe

If you want to cook a Brunswick stew for a small gathering, this is the perfect recipe – follow the simple steps and see for yourself.

1.5.1) Ingredients

1) Diced tomatoes (1 can)

2) Tomato sauce (1 can)

3) BBQ sauce (1 and a half cups)

4) Chicken broth (2 – 3 cups)

5) Frozen corn (1 and a half cups)

6) Frozen lima beans (1 and a 1/2 cup)

7) Cayenne pepper (1/4 tsp)

8) Black pepper (1/2 tsp)

9) Cooked meat (chopped – 1/2 rotisserie chicken/ 2 breasts)

10) Pulled pork (1 pound)

1.5.2) Instructions

The preparation and cooking time is 25 minutes. It serves eight people.

1) Take a large saucepan – add all the ingredients, and boil.

2) Then, reduce the heat and simmer (around 20 minutes)

Your short and delicious Brunswick stew is ready.

Storing Tip: While reheating the stew, add a little bit of meat broth to the leftovers, as it might get absorbed by the ingredients in the recipe if it’s kept in the fridge. Tips for the barbecue sauce

The BBQ sauce is crucial as it flavors the dish – some suggestions are Sweet Baby Ray, Stubbs, G. Hughes, and Williamson Brothers. Check out this article to see more recommendations. Optional Equipment

If you plan to make this stew recipe in a slow cooker or crockpot, put all the ingredients in and let it cook till they’re warm. You can even substitute cooked chicken with two chicken breasts (don’t forget to shred the chicken before.

If you plan to use an instant pot, just heat the cooked stew on high pressure for 5 minutes.

1.6) Virginia Stew Recipe

Want to try an autumn chicken and tomato Brunswick stew? This recipe is perfect with all the delicious veggies and satisfying tastes. Try it out.

1.6.1) Ingredients

1) Thick-cut bacon (4 slices – chopped)

2) Diced onion (2)

3) Chicken soup (4 cups)

4) Russet potatoes (2 – medium, peeled, and cut)

5) Tomato paste (2 tbsp)

6) Rotisserie chicken (1) – the meat should be removed and chopped (4 cups)

7) Diced tomato (1 can)

8) Frozen or fresh corn kernels (4 cups)

9) Frozen or fresh lima (2 cups)

10) Frozen or Sliced fresh okra (2 cups)

11) Brown sugar (1-2 tbsp)

12) Distilled white vinegar (1 tbsp)

13) Worcestershire sauce (1 tsp)

14) To taste – Salt and pepper

1.6.2) Instructions

The preparation and cooking time is 1 hour 45 minutes. It serves 16 cups.

1) Take a large pot and cook the bacon on medium heat until it is crisp (around 5 minutes).

2) Put onion and cook till softened (another 5 minutes). Add chicken soup and potatoes, then bring to boil (wait till they soften – for about 10 minutes)

4) To low heat, stir the tomato paste, add meat, dice tomato, corn, limas, okra, vinegar, brown sugar, sauces, salt, and pepper. Stir them well.

5) Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If you want a thickened stew, simmer uncovered. For a thinner one, add more water.

Taste and season according to your preference. Ladle the stew into bowls, and you’re ready to serve!

Tips: To get the sweet and sour flavor of the stew, stir the ketchup or barbecue sauce instead of brown sugar.

1.6.3) Options for Side Dishes

  • Southern Buttermilk Biscuits: These crispy, light, and flaky southern biscuits will be a perfect side dish to your warm broth.
  • Skillet Cornbread:  This soft, moist, crispy, and brown southern skillet cornbread is easy to make and adds to the stew’s taste.
  • Corn Muffins: Fluffy and moist southern corn muffins served with delicious honey butter are made in 10 minutes and can serve as a side dish for any family meal.
  • Pumpkin Muffins: These healthy and tasty pumpkin muffins are made with just two ingredients and only 5 minutes of preparation. You can even make it after your dinner is ready!
  • Pumpkin Bread: Warm and spicy pumpkin bread can be served for all three meals – breakfast, snack, and even supper. Other than the stew, you can also have it with a hot cup of coffee.
  • Buttermilk Dressing:  This light and creamy buttermilk dressing is made of fresh herbs and lemons in just 5 minutes. You can use it with your stew or as a side dish.
  • Southern Fried Apples: These delicious fruity treats can be used as both a side dish and a dessert with only 3-4 ingredients in 15 minutes.

2) Other Brunswick Stews

Didn’t find your tastes in the above list? Don’t worry; we have some other suggestions picked out for you.

2.1) (For Summer)

This recipe is for a perfect summer stew with fresh veggies and meat of your choice. Just add sauce according to your tastes, and voila.

2.2) Fiesta Twisted

A traditional recipe mixed with modern meat like pork sausage is a must-try, especially by all moms out there. Using all the flavorings, veggies, and delicious meat, this would meet your expectations. Check out the recipe here.

2.3) Slow Cooker

This traditional stew made in the slow cooker, with the meat of your choice and frozen veggies, is a must-try. Check out the reviews and judge yourself. Click here for the recipe.

2.4) Vegan Recipe

Don’t worry; we have got all of you vegans covered with this delicious stew recipe that is made with a mix of jackfruit and hearty tempeh in a delicious barbecue sauce. Try it out now.

3.1) Burgoo

Traditionally an outdoor cooked dish on an open fire, today it consists of all the famous meats and veggies popular consumed in America.

3.2) American Goulash Recipe

This is a comforting stew made with various types of pasta, like macaroni or egg noodles, tasty veggies, and ground beef. Popularly served as a main meal, it can also be prepared with leftovers and delicious cheese.

3.3) Green Chili Stew

A popular dish in New Mexico, green and red chilis make their cuisine. The meat used in the dish can vary from pork to turkey, with all the delicious veggies. They can be served with fresh corn tortillas as well.

3.4) Asopao de Pollo

This is a famous Puerto Rican dish that can be considered a cross between stew and soup, with main ingredients like rice, the meat of your choice – from pigeon peas to seafood, various spices (especially pepper), and veggies.

3.5) Cioppino

This fish stew is popular in San Francisco and is made with wine sauce and tasty veggies. These can also be made with other seafood like crabs, mussels, shrimp, and scallops. Whatever the variant is, a toasted sourdough bread must accompany it.

Here are some of the best suggestions for a Brunswick stew and other stews of your tasting. Do try one of these. 

Last Updated on November 25, 2023 by Namita Soren


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