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13 January 2021

This Brunswick stew recipe is a classic Southern dish filled with pulled pork and chicken, loads of vegetables and seasonings in a flavorful tomato-bbq sauce mix. It’s incredibly hearty and very easy to make!

We’re cooking up a big hearty pot of satisfying stew in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen today, my friends. Would you care for a bowl?

I’m a huge lover of stews, as they are very easy to make and incredibly adjustable with your own ingredients and seasoning preferences. You can make them spicy or mild, thick and chunky or thin and more soup-like, and anywhere in between.

This particular recipe is no exception. It is called Brunswick Stew, and once you taste it, it just might become one of your new favorite stew recipes.

Serving a scoop of Brunswick Stew from the pot

What is Brunswick Stew?

Brunswick Stew is a classic Southern recipe of unknown origin. Most recipes build from a base of tomato sauce and include a variety of vegetables, beans, meats and seasonings. Early versions were made with meats like rabbit and squirrel, though have changed to include more commonly used meats like chicken, turkey, pork, or a mix of them.

You’ll find Brunswick stew all over the Southern U.S., though it is slowly working its way northward. I never saw it on any menu in the Chicago area, but now that I live in North Carolina, I see it often offered as a side option to barbecue.

Give me some Brunswick stew with my brisket platter, please!

There are many different ways to make Brunswick stew with regional variations, and recipes will vary from cook to cook. You’ll find different mixes of vegetables, meats and seasonings, which make this recipe very easy to adjust and make your own.

Below is how I like to make mine, with a slightly spicy twist, of course.

Let’s talk about how we make Brunswick Stew, shall we?

A big scoop of Brunswick Stew

Brunswick Stew Ingredients

  • Main Vegetables. Onion, jalapeno peppers, (use bell peppers for milder), okra, potatoes, garlic, corn.
  • Beans. Lima beans (butter beans) are traditional. 
  • Tomatoes. Use either fresh or diced tomatoes. 
  • Liquids. BBQ sauce, chicken stock or broth, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce.
  • Seasonings. Brown Sugar, cayenne pepper, dried thyme, salt and black pepper.
  • Meats. Cooked chicken and pulled pork. Rotisserie chicken is great here for quick cooking and flavor.
  • Extras. Olive oil for cooking, 

How to Make Brunswick Stew – the Recipe Method

Cook the Veggies. Heat the oil in a large pot to medium heat. Add the onion, jalapeno peppers, diced potatoes and okra. Cook for 5 minutes to soften. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring. You can cook these down a bit longer if need to. Sometimes I like to add the potatoes earlier to make sure they soften up properly in the finished pot.

Cooking down the vegetables to make Brunswick Stew

Add Most of the Ingredients. Next, add the lima beans, corn kernels, diced tomatoes, bbq sauce, chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, hot sauce, cayenne, thyme, salt and pepper. Give it all a nice stir to incorporate the ingredients.

Simmer the Stew. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes to let the flavors develop and the vegetables to cook through. You can simmer longer if you’d like. I often like to simmer for 30 minutes or longer. Just turn down the heat and hang out a while. Taste and adjust for salt, pepper and hot sauce.

Brunswick Stew simmering in a pot

Add the Meats. Add the chopped chicken and pulled pork. Simmer for 5 minutes to heat them through. Again, you can simmer longer if you’d like to. Once it’s ready, serve it up in bowls.

Boom! Done! Brunswick stew is ready to go! It’s pretty easy to make, isn’t it? Very filling and it looks wonderful. And so easy to make it your own with your own preferred ingredients.

No two Brunswick stew recipes are alike. How will you make yours? I’d love to hear it.

Brunswick Stew in a bowl

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • The Meats. Pork and chicken are commonly used to make Brunswick stew, though you can easily use other meats. Turkey is also commonly used. Most add a mixture of meats. Brunswick stew originally incorporated game meats, like squirrel and rabbit, so feel free to add your favorites.
  • The Vegetables. You can also very easily add or subtract vegetables at will with this recipe. Some recipes skip potatoes and include carrots. Some skip the okra and include more beans. Some use it all. Toss in your favorites and make it your own. I love lots of peppers and extra okra!
  • The Seasonings. Most Brunswick stew recipes are tomato based with bbq sauce and extra seasonings to preference. You can easily go with tomatoes and bbq sauce alone, though the seasoning choices really bring this dish to life. Feel free to include some of your favorites, like a good Cajun seasoning or Creole seasoning blend. I love to include hot sauce and cayenne pepper, as I enjoy a spicy component to my dishes, though you can skip for milder flavors.
  • Serving Brunswick Stew. Brunswick stew makes a great dinner all by itself, though I often see it served on the side with bbq platters. As a main dish, serve it with jalapeno cornbread, homemade cheddar jalapeno biscuits or some tangy Southern vinegar coleslaw. Great combos!

That’s it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this wonderful Brunswick stew recipe. Let me know if you make it. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you and how you varied it up. Keep it spicy!

Brunswick Stew in a bowl, ready to serve

Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes

Mike taking a spoonful of Brunswick Stew from the bowl

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

A big scoop of Brunswick Stew
Print Recipe
4.63 from 8 votes

Brunswick Stew Recipe

This Brunswick stew recipe is a classic Southern dish filled with pulled pork and chicken, loads of vegetables and seasonings in a tomato-bbq sauce mix.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken, one pot, pulled pork, stew
Servings: 6
Calories: 336kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers chopped (use bell peppers for milder)
  • 8 ounces okra chopped (optional)
  • 1 pound potatoes peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 12 ounces lima beans canned is fine
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 30 ounces diced tomatoes 2 cans, or use fresh chopped
  • 1 cup bbq sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth or use vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce or to taste - Tabasco is great here
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional, for extra heat
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups cooked chicken chopped
  • 1 pound pulled pork

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large pot to medium heat. Add the onion, jalapeno peppers, okra and potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes to soften.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring.
  • Add the lima beans, corn, diced tomatoes, bbq sauce, chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, hot sauce, cayenne, thyme, salt and pepper.
  • Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes (or longer, if needed) to let the flavors develop and the vegetables to cook through. You can simmer longer if you'd like. Taste and adjust for salt, pepper and hot sauce.
  • Add the chopped chicken and pulled pork. Simmer for 5 minutes and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 336kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 650mg | Potassium: 1260mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 675IU | Vitamin C: 46mg | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 5mg

16 comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was a hit with the household, very hearty and satisfying. Well received. Reminds me a ton of my visits to the south.

  2. 4 stars
    We are new to NC and love Brunswick stew. I recently found a recipe from Publix that we enjoy. I find it’s great for leftover chicken. As I’m not a fan of lima beans, I leave them out. The special ingredient is the can of fire roasted tomatoes. Also, I use sugar-free BBQ sauce.

    Next time I will add the jalapeño peppers for some Chili Pepper Madness. Thanks for posting this recipe.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Lucy. I’ve had many variations of Brunswick stew, all of them good to me! Though I DO like to up the spice factor. Just the way I cook. Funny, I also love using fire roasted tomatoes with this and other soups/stews. Nice flavor builder! I appreciate the comments!

  3. Robert Smathers

    3 stars
    I suspect you’ve not been long in the Tarheel state. For a crash course in N.C. cuisine (including Brunswick Stew), may I strongly suggest North Carolina Barbeque, seasoned by time by Bob Garner. You may find it at a resale shop or an online reseller, but find it. You’ll be glad you did. It’s my guide for BBQ pork, slaw, hush puppies, banana pudding and, yes, Brunswick stew. I’m a chilihead and I like okra, just not in my Brunswick stew.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      5 stars
      Thanks for your comments, Robert. This is not a North Carolina version of Brunswick stew (I didn’t say it was, but DID mention I live in NC, so can see where that caused some confusion). That said, see my notes – “There are many different ways to make Brunswick stew with regional variations, and recipes will vary from cook to cook. You’ll find different mixes of vegetables, meats and seasonings, which make this recipe very easy to adjust and make your own.” MASSIVE respect to Bob Garner! I do know his recipe and his work. Super tasty! That said, I will stick with my own version for my own personal preference. Thanks again!

  4. George Vinicombe

    5 stars
    You sure know how to get a man’s mouth watering
    Going to cook over a fire in a heavy cast iron Dutch Oven
    Cheers Michael
    George

  5. Toni Spencer

    I am 69. I have made Brunswick stew for 60 years – my mother and father often made it in a huge iron cauldron over open flames, stirring fir hours. Chicken, beef, and or pork. Brunswick stew was made ftom the end of the garden season using the last of veggies – butter beans, corn,potatoes, tomatoes. Okra was used in gumbo along with seafood. This is NC style Brunswick stew. It was cooked for most of the day. People came from miles around while a pig was cooked in a pit – a pig picking. Stew and barbecue was served along with Cole slaw, cornbread, and various desserts. I am not sure where you are from but this is most def not NC or VA style stew.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Sounds wonderful, Toni. There are many, many ways to make Brunswick stew, with variations from place to place, as mentioned in the post.

  6. 5 stars
    I never never heard of Brunswick Stew, but I immediately wanted to find out what it tastes.
    I don’t have any lima beans in the cupboards, and there was none in the place where I did my shopping. So, (don’t hit me, please) I had to use red beans – white beans might have been a better idea? I think so – to late.
    I just loved the taste, the mixture of flavors is quite peculiar, can we imagine a cross between several types of cuisine, especially Cajun cuisine, here?
    Once again, that was a great recipe, dear Mike. Thanks a lot for that!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks! It’s definitely a good one. You’ll find interesting flavor combinations like this all across the U.S. Midwest, where I grew up. Very easy to adjust and customize!

  7. Janet Bradley

    5 stars
    I would only like to make two changes, but want your input got see if they would work.

    Could I use a can of Green chili peppers instead?
    Could I use a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes?

    Otherwise, I’m all IN on this recipe!!!!!!!!

    Cam’t wait for your response.

    Thanks, Jan

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Janet, absolutely! Great substitutions. Let me know how you like it! Enjoy.

  8. Larry Brooke

    Any reason why you coudn’t use a whack of sea food and/or shellfish in place of the meat????

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Larry, I think this would work great with seafood. If using shrimp or other shellfish, I’d tuck that in 5 or so minutes before serving so they don’t get rubbery/tough. I make seafood gumbo all the time with zero issues. Let me know how it goes if you make it!

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