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Brunswick Stew Recipe

If you ask any Southerner about their favorite comfort foods, chances are Brunswick stew is in the top five. Make bowls full of this soul-warming goodness yourself with my family’s Brunswick stew recipe.

classic brunswick stew

Brunswick stew is a blend of sweet and savory, with a tomato barbecue sauce base and a flavorful blend of chicken, pork, or beef and various vegetables such as corn, tomatoes, and lima beans. As for the name, it’s up in the air between Brunswick, Georgia, and Brunswick County, Virginia over which place is the true namesake.

We do know it’s a cherished dish throughout the entire South. It certainly was in my town growing up. Along with Grandma’s Mac and Cheese and Chicken Pot Pie, it’s one of my tried-and-true comfort foods and continues to be a tradition for my family now.

While it’s delicious any time you make it, much like with chili, fall and winter just aren’t the same without it!

Ingredients needed to make Brunswick stew

Now that you know what Brunswick stew is, let’s talk ingredients. It seems like every Southern cook has a special take on it, especially when it comes to the type of meat and choice of vegetables. Here’s a rundown of what’s in our go-to recipe.

  • Smoked Pulled Pork: You’ll find that folks also use chicken, beef brisket – and sometimes a combination of two or all three. I’ve found that just one protein works fine. This is a great way to use pork butt leftovers after a cookout (or ordering out) barbecue.
  • Barbecue Sauce: I use Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce. I normally like the honey-flavored BBQ sauce, but I don’t use it in this recipe because it makes it too sweet. 
  • Chicken Stock: The rich, savory chicken broth balances the sweetness of the barbecue sauce in your base.
  • Garlic, Butter & Yellow Onions: You’ll use these three for the aromatic foundation of your stew base.
  • Tomatoes: While you’ll have some tomato flavor from the barbecue sauce, you’ll add more that are diced or fire-roasted.
  • Corn: Brings bright color, sweet flavor and a nice crunch.
  • Lima Beans: Adds more protein plus a tender, creamy texture and mild flavor.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: Adds depth of flavor and a bit of acidity to balance the sweetness of the base and the richness of the meat.
  • Spices & Seasonings: Cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper balance your overall flavor and give a bit of a kick.
  • Optional Toppings: I’ve noted how this resembles chili, at least as a cold-weather staple. You can add similar toppings, too. A few we have on hand are cheddar cheese, sour cream, Fritos corn chips, and cornbread.
  • Optional Brown Sugar: While the stew is already slightly sweet, you can add one to two tablespoons of brown sugar if you like it a little sweeter.
Brunswick Stew ingredients

Kitchen equipment needed

  1. Dutch Oven (or Crockpot)
  2. Wooden Spoon

What is Brunswick stew served with?

Whether you opt to use chili-style toppings like cheddar, sour cream and Fritos, I always serve Brunswick stew with cornbread – traditional buttermilk style or Jiffy from a box, if you must. On the other hand, I have a friend who prefers only Saltines with her Brunswick stew. Still others like it with a crisp, cool side salad.

So it’s really up to you and what your family’s preferences may be. Since there’s so much happening in a Brunswick stew, I recommend keeping the flavors simple with any side you serve.

The same goes for dessert. My Southern No-Bake Banana Pudding recipe is perfect. It’s easy to make, and the flavors are creamy, cool and sweet, which contrast well with the warm and hearty stew.

traditional brunswick stew recipe

FAQs

Here are the most frequently asked questions people ask about Brunswick stew. If you don’t see an answer to a question you have, leave it in the comments. I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Is Brunswick stew gluten-free?

This recipe is naturally gluten-free, but make sure to check the labels on any ingredients (and toppings) you use, such as barbecue sauce or Worcestershire sauce, to ensure they are also gluten-free.

How do you make Brunswick stew thicker?

If you don’t get the consistency you expected, try raising the heat and simmering the stew for about five minutes to evaporate some of the liquid. If that doesn’t work, make a slurry with two tablespoons of water and either two tablespoons of cornstarch or flour. Don’t add either directly to any stew without mixing them with water first – or you’ll probably have clumps.

How many days is Brunswick stew good for?

You can keep it for up to five days when stored in the refrigerator in a sealed, airtight container. You can also freeze Brunswick stew and store it for up to four months.

More Grandma-Approved Recipes To Try

If you enjoyed this Brunswick stew recipe, take a look at some of these other yummy recipes:

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Brunswick Stew Recipe

Brunswick Stew

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If you ask any Southerner about their favorite comfort foods, chances are Brunswick stew is in the top five. Make bowls full of this soul-warming goodness yourself with my family’s Brunswick stew recipe.

  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, or fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1.5 pounds of smoked pulled pork, approximately 3 cups packed
  • 8 ounces frozen corn
  • 8 ounces frozen lima beans
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Optional toppings:

  • cheddar cheese
  • sour cream
  • cornbread
  • Fritos corn chips

Instructions

  1. In a large Dutch oven, melt butter, then add the garlic and onions and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. 
  2. Stir in the remaining ingredients and simmer on medium-low for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. 

Make it in the Crock Pot Instructions:

  1. Follow the step 1 above on the stove top.
  2. Then transfer the onions and garlic to the crock pot and add the rest of the ingredients. 
  3. Cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours. 

Serve warm with cornbread or other toppings like sour cream, Fritos chips or cheddar cheese. 

Notes

  • You can substitute pulled chicken for pulled pork. 
  • I use Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce. I normally like the honey-flavored BBQ sauce, but I don’t use it in this recipe because it makes it too sweet. 
  • You can add an extra 1-2 Tablespoons of brown sugar if you like it sweet. 
  • Serve with some fancy Jiffy cornbread or traditional buttermilk cornbread.
  • Taste the stew before serving and add more salt or pepper, if desired.
  • You can keep it for up to five days when stored in the refrigerator in a sealed, airtight container. You can also freeze and store it for up to four months.
  • Author: Laura
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: American or German

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