Brunswick Stew – A thick, flavorful, and hearty one-pot meal with meat and vegetables stewed in a well-seasoned chicken broth. It sounds pretty basic, but with barbeque sauce and Creole seasoning, this stew boasts a unique and delightful flavor. It’s a must-have when the weather starts cooling off.
When soup season arrives, Brunswick stew is the first to fill my pot. It’s so fabulicious it’ll make you forget any nostalgia you were feeling for those hot summer days. It doesn’t get much better than cuddling up on the couch with a big bowl of this hearty stew. In fact, it’s what I plan to do all fall and winter this year. 😉
One wonderful thing about this stew is that you can use any meat you have. Leftover turkey, beef, pork, or chicken? Throw one, two, or all of the above in there. There’s a good reason I call this my “go-to-post-holiday stew!” 😆
Is It Really From Brunswick?
Is Brunswick Stew Really from Brunswick?
Brunswick stew is said to be a traditional Southern dish in the U.S., but its specific origins remain unconfirmed. Some claim it originated in Brunswick County, Virginia, but others say it’s from Brunswick, Georgia. I say when the food is this good, who cares where it’s from? 😜 This soup is so good, you’ll love it even if you aren’t a Southerner.
- Meat – I prefer pulled pork and chicken for my version of Brunswick stew, but you can use any meat you like. Definitely add two kinds of meat if you can, though, because the added flavor will surprise you.
- Liquids – Diced tomatoes and tomato paste add depth of flavor to the chicken broth base of this soup. A dash of Worcestershire and BBQ sauce take the broth that extra mile. 👌
- Seasonings – Thyme, garlic, cayenne pepper, and Creole seasoning all work wonderfully with this stew’s many ingredients.
- Veggies – Corn and lima beans are two common vegetables in Southern cooking and an integral part of Brunswick stew.
How to Make Brunswick Stew
Make the Base
- Saute – Heat the butter or oil in a large pot over medium heat. Then add onions, garlic, and thyme, and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until the onions are wilted.
- Add the Base – Next, add the tomatoes, tomato paste, Creole seasoning, and Worcestershire sauce and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Then, pour in chicken broth and BBQ sauce.
- Season with salt and cayenne pepper. Finally, bring to a boil before simmering for about 7-10 minutes.
Assemble the Stew
- Add the Meat – Throw in the chopped cooked chicken and pork and cook for about 15 minutes.
- Now the Corn and Beans – Next, add the corn and lima beans. Continue cooking for another 7-10 minutes or until the stew reaches your desired consistency.
- Taste Test – Finally, give it a taste test and adjust the seasonings as needed and the thickness of the stew with broth.
- Serve hot off the stove.
- All out of Worcestershire sauce? No problem. Substitute it with oyster sauce, fish sauce, or soy sauce. Don’t add more than a tablespoon, though, because these sauces have a strong flavor that can be overpowering.
- Get creative with your meat selection, but always add two types of meat. Traditionally, Brunswick stew called for squirrel, rabbit, or even possum. They may not be your meat of choice, but if you have a hunter in the family, you might find venison or rabbit Brunswick stew to your family’s liking. 🤠
- Swap out the veggies. If you aren’t a fan of corn and lima beans or don’t have them on hand, use any veggies you like. Potatoes, butter beans, okra, or celery would all work well with this stew.
Tips and Tricks
- The BBQ sauce you use will affect the flavor of the stew. I like to use my homemade BBQ sauce because it’s tailor-made, but you can use what you prefer. Do you like your BBQ sauce sweet? Throw in a sweet sauce. Prefer a spicy version? Use that. 😁
- Speaking of BBQ sauce, I like to drizzle a little extra sauce on top of each bowl when serving this stew. It adds a little extra flavor and makes for a lovely presentation too.
- Be careful not to burn the onions and garlic when you start cooking because the burnt taste will seep into the whole stew.
Brunswick stew is a great make-ahead meal! Simply make it as the recipe states, then store it in the fridge or freezer until you are ready to serve it. It actually tastes better the next day.🤩
Serving and Storage Instructions
Serve Brunswick stew as soon as it reaches the thickness you like. This stew tastes the best piping hot with a side of some kind of bread.
Store leftover Brunswick stew in an airtight container, and it should stay good in the fridge for 3-5 days and 3 months in the freezer. If you freeze it, let the stew thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then heat it up in a big pot on the stovetop until it starts to simmer. You can also use the microwave if you prefer. 😉
Beef stew only has, you guessed it, beef. Plus, it lacks the spicy elements and BBQ sauce that make Brunswick stew one of a kind. A good Brunswick stew can have whatever meat you have on hand, so it’s the perfect opportunity to use up your leftovers.
It should thicken nicely if you just follow the recipe instructions but if for some reason it seems too thin, mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cool water. Stir to make a slurry, then add it to the stew and stir until the stew thickens.
Choose a BBQ sauce that doesn’t have added sugar for a less sweet stew. If you’ve already made your stew and it tastes too sweet, try adding a dash of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and a pinch of salt. The extra acidity can help round out the sweet flavor.
What Goes with Brunswick Stew
I love serving Brunswick stew with homemade potato bread rolls, buttermilk biscuits, cornbread, or crusty no-knead bread. Other perfectly Southern sides for this dish include hush puppies or a tossed salad. Either one is a surprisingly delightful pairing.
More Comforting Southern Recipes to Try
Brunswick stew is destined to be your new favorite fall meal; I can feel it! Have you tried this Southern classic yet? Let me know if you fell in love in the comments. ❤️
Watch How to Make It
This post was first published in September 2018 and has been updated with additional tips and a video.
- 4 tablespoons (56g) butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2-3 teaspoons (10-15g) garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon (1g) thyme, minced
- 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon (16g) tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon (4g) Creole seasoning (adjust to taste)
- 1 tablespoons (17g) Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cups (500ml) chicken broth
- ½-¾ cup (142.5g-213.75g) BBQ sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon (1g) cayenne pepper (or more to adjust to taste)
- 1 pound (453.59g) cooked pulled pork
- 1 pound (453.59g) cooked chicken (or turkey)
- 1½ cups (247.5g) frozen corn
- 1½ cups (265.5g) frozen lima beans
- Heat butter or oil in a large pot over medium heat. Then add onions, garlic, and thyme, and saute for 3-4 minutes until the onions wilt.
- Add tomatoes, tomato paste, Creole seasoning, and Worcestershire sauce. Continue cooking for another 3 minutes.
- Pour in chicken broth and BBQ sauce—season with salt and cayenne pepper. Then bring to a boil and let it simmer for 7-10 minutes.
- Throw in chopped cooked chicken and pork, and cook for about 15 minutes.
- Finally, add the corn and lima beans, and continue cooking until 7-10 minutes or to desired consistency. Adjust seasonings and thickness of stew with broth.
- Serve warm.
Tips & Notes:
- You can make a big batch in a pot and store whatever is left in a freezer bag. It’ll last three days in the fridge and two months in the freezer.
- You can use either pork, turkey, or chicken—your call.
- You may substitute Worcestershire sauce with oyster sauce, fish sauce, or soy sauce, but don’t go overboard.
- Please remember that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on the products used.