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.
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 to make Brunswick Stew, shall we?
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.
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.
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.
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!
Storage & Leftovers
Storing your Grilled Salmon with Honey-Sriracha Sauce in an airtight container in the fridge may allow you to store the leftovers for up to 3-4 days. To maximize the storage life, make sure to refrigerate the dish promptly.
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
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.
Brunswick Stew Recipe
- 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
- 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.