Brunswick Stew

This recipe is my favorite Brunswick Stew ever! It is my momma’s Brunswick Stew recipe. Hands down one of her best dishes. She adapted this recipe from a recipe she got from a BBQ restaurant in Valdosta, Georgia, called Road House BBQ, when she was living there in 1973. My version is slightly different, and yours can be too! This stew is perfect for feeding a group and stocking up in the freezer. Served alone or with grilled cheese, this is the perfect meal for cold weather!

Fun fact: Did you know the stew got the name Brunswick Stew due to its roots in Brunswick, Georgia? They claim to be the home of the stew. They have a twenty-give gallon iron pot monument in town with a plaque declaring it was the first vessel in which this favorite southern dish was ever cooked! I’d be curious to know what that stew tasted like!

  • 3 Chicken Breast
  • 1 lb of pork BBQ chipped (We use a local BBQ restaurant for this. Same one my mom has used for forty years.)
  • 2 lbs ground beef browned and drained
  • 1 lrg onion- I prefer vidalia.
  • 2 cans crushed tomatoes (I prefer crushed. You can use diced or chunkier tomatoes, but I don’t like that.)
  • 2 cans whole kernel corn
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 1 tblsp Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins in our go-to brand.)
  • 2 tsp paprika (smoked if you can find it)
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke (We use Colgin Brands, Liquid Smoke, Hickory)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 32 oz ketchup (Heinz household over here.)

This pot will make about 5 quarts. I use our large Le Creuset 5 quart pot my favorite Aunt Nancy gifted us. We use it almost daily. The gift that keeps on giving. It’s prefect for making soups. You can use just one pot to make this stew. A Crockpot will work too!

Start by boiling the chicken breast in about 4 cups of water. I just am sure to cover the breast adequately with the water. It doesn’t have to be precise. You will use this chicken stock later, so don’t go crazy with the water. Just enough to cover the breast and cook them. After the breast have boiled for a good 10-15 minutes. After they are cooked through, I remove them from the water and allow them to cool on a cutting board. I pour my chicken stock into a large bowl or measuring cup. I have an 8-cup measuring cup I love and use often.

In the same pot add the diced onion and ground beef. I salt and pepper the beef generously. Sautee the onions and brown the beef. I drain the cooked meat, but you can leave the extra fat if you want. Some people like it, but I do not. This is a lot of meat in this stew, and I do not like a fatty bits, greasy stew.

Shred the chicken breast. I use my hands and pull it apart. I’ve seen other tricks to speed up the work, but I like pulling it apart and picking out any grisle. I wear gloves, because I do not generally like having to touch meat, raw or cooked. Weird quirk.

Add the browned beef with onions, shredded chicken, chicken stock, chipped BBQ, canned tomatoes, corn, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, liquid smoke, and ketchup. Do not add the creamed corn until you are close to serving. It will stick to the bottom and scorch your pot. It will be a mess and you will not be happy.

I always have a carton of chicken stock on hand. Depending on how thick you like your stew,  you can add more to thin it down.

Now that’s momma’s recipe.

To this I add:

  • 1/2 cup dill pickle juice
  • 1 tblsp favorite hot sauce (we use Crystal)
  • 1-2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tblsp yellow mustard
  • about a 1/2 cup of the vinegar based BBQ sauce from where we got the BBQ
  • 1 tblsp apple cider vinegar

As you can see I like vinegar. You can leave these things out, but it does add an extra “wang,” as Taylor Melzer says, that I love.

Mix all the ingredients together in the pot and let it simmer. I would recommend a least a few hours, but the longer the better. Add the creamed corn a little closer to serving, if desired. It will add a little sweetness to the stew, so if you have your mix already perfect, you can totally leave this out.


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