What is Brunswick Stew?
What does Brunswick Stew taste like?
Brunswick Stew is a hearty, savory stew that is loaded with flavor. It gets a smoky flavor from the smoked meat(s), liquid smoke, and some barbecue sauce. It gets savory, tangy flavor from tomatoes, vinegar, Worcestershire, and other acidic ingredients. Some people describe Brunswick Stew as “barbecue in a bowl,” and I can agree. It is comfort food at its best.
What meat is used in Brunswick Stew?
Smoked BBQ pork is the key meat in Brunswick stew. You can buy the pork at your favorite BBQ joint and use it to make this stew. This is the easiest way. You can also make your own. My recipe, perfect Boston butt pulled pork in the oven, is super easy and would go great in this stew. You might try Bobby’s Boston Butt on the Big Green Egg if you want to smoke your own BBQ pork at home.
My recipe for Brunswick stew also contains chicken. Sometimes I buy the chicken from a BBQ joint; sometimes I make my own. I simply make this all-white-meat chicken in the oven and season it with a little liquid smoke and jarred BBQ sauce before adding to the stew.
Frozen or canned vegetables in Brunswick stew?
Here is the breakdown for the vegetables that I use, as I use a combination of frozen and canned. Of course, you can use whatever you like; this is just what works best for me.
- Onion. I use frozen chopped onion that I saute and season is a skillet before adding to the slow cooker.
- Lima beans. I use canned, as I think they are softer and creamier than frozen. I drain them first (but do not rinse).
- Corn. I use canned creamed corn. It adds a creamy texture to the stew that you can’t get from niblet corn.
- Tomatoes. I use canned petite diced tomatoes.
- Potatoes. I use Simply Potatoes diced with onion (or any brand similar). I steam (to “just cooked”) and season with butter, kosher salt & pepper before adding to the slow cooker.
BBQ Sauce is a key ingredient.
BBQ sauce is a key condiment in making Brunswick stew flavorful. My Brunswick Stew includes ingredients for a “homemade BBQ sauce.” It is a mixture of vinegar, Worcestershire, ketchup, liquid smoke, and melted butter. It is a zippy sauce that adds great complexity to the stew. I also add some bottled barbecue sauce to my recipe as well. It adds another layer of barbecue flavor, and it also adds a rich color to the stew. If my stew looks too light, I simply add more barbecue sauce to make it a deeper color. You can add to your own taste, and you can use any barbecue sauce you like. When I buy my meat from my favorite BBQ places, I use the sauce they include with the meat. My favorite store-bought sauces are Bull’s Eye Original (a Cook’s Illustrated taste test winner) and Sticky Fingers.
Season ingredients separately.
As you prep your vegetables to add to the stew, season them as you go. Dishes taste better when ingredients are seasoned separately before being put together in the slow cooker. Here is how I season my ingredients in layers.
- Potatoes. Steam and toss with tiny pieces of real butter. Season with kosher salt & pepper.
- Onions. Saute in a bit of EVOO and butter. Season with kosher salt & pepper during & after cooking.
- Chicken. Make simple roasted chicken (here is my recipe). Once cooked, season it with a little liquid smoke. Toss it with your favorite BBQ sauce before adding it to the slow cooker.
How to make Brunswick Stew ahead of time.
How to serve Brunswick stew.
Our favorite way to eat Brunswick stew is with cornbread. We love this pimento cheese cornbread. It is made from Krusteaz honey cornbread mix and pimento cheese. We also love traditional Southern buttermilk cornbread. My recipe can be found in this post. My friend Bobby Hewitt (whose wildly popular Boston butt recipe is here on the blog) makes a fabulous Brunswick stew, and he serves it with Fritos corn chips and shredded sharp cheddar. DELICIOUS!!! However you choose to serve it, one thing remains constant~always have a bottle of hot sauce nearby. Crystal and tobasco are our favorites.
Listen to my Brunswick stew podcast.
A short video of my Brunswick stew.
In the video below, I show how to make my version of Brunswick Stew. If you watch to the end, you will get to see my favorite way to eat Brunswick Stew. This is the way most of my generation enjoys it.
I do hope you will try this fabulous Brunswick Stew! If you do, please leave comments below. As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Be blessed, and stay savvy!!!
- 3/4 pound cooked, chopped chicken (preferably smoked)
- 3/4-1 pound smoked Boston butt pork
- 1 cup diced potatoes (cooked until just tender)*
- 1 cup diced onion (frozen is fine)
- 1 can creamed corn
- 1 can lima beans, drained
- 1 can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 carton Chicken Broth (may not use all)
- 1 cup bottled barbecue sauce
- 1 TB Liquid Smoke
- 1 TB Worcestershire
- 4 TB melted butter (divided into 2 TB each)
- 2 TB white vinegar
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 bottle barbecue sauce (use your favorite)
- Tabasco (to taste)
- salt & pepper to taste
- Place chopped pork and chicken into slow cooker.
- In small bowl, mix 2 TB melted butter, white vinegar, liquid smoke, Worcestershire and ketchup. Pour over meat.
- Steam diced potatoes (I use Ziploc steam bag) 4 minutes our until just tender. Open bag to release air so that they don't continue to cook.
- Sauté onion in 2 TB until tender. Add potatoes; toss with onions.Sprinkle with kosher salt & freshly ground pepper.
- Add potatoes and onions to slow cooker.
- Add drained lima beans, creamed corn and diced tomatoes.
- With large spatula, mix ingredients well.
- Add barbecue sauce, stirring into ingredients.
- Add chicken broth a cup at a time until stew is desired consistency.
- Cook on high 4-5 hours or low 6-7 hours.
- Serve with saltines or cornbread, with tobasco on the side.
Nutrition InformationYield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per ServingCalories 237Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 36mgSodium 662mgCarbohydrates 33gNet Carbohydrates 0gFiber 3gSugar 15gSugar Alcohols 0gProtein 12g