Brunswick stew is a southern dish with smoked pork and chicken, lima beans, corn, barbecue sauce, and apple cider vinegar. Pair it with a light salad, cornbread, or roasted vegetables for a balanced meal.
What is Brunswick Stew?
It’s a thick and smokey dish from Virginia made initially with wild game like squirrel and rabbit. Now it’s made with meats like leftover pulled pork, smoked chicken, brisket, or sliced sausages.
The spicy barbecue sauce adds depth to pulled pork stew, and the apple cider vinegar makes it tangy. These ingredients combine to create a flavorful and classic New England meal that is adaptable and easy to make all year long.
Ingredients you’ll need for this Brunswick Stew recipe:
- Shredded chicken
- Smoked pulled pork
- Lima beans
- Tomato puree
- BBQ sauce
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Worcestershire sauce
- Chicken stock
- Garlic powder
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
Brunswick Stew: Instructions
These are brief instructions on how to make this stew. See the Brunswick Stew recipe card below for more details.
Prepare the vegetables: Chop the celery and onion and prepare the lima beans and corn.
Saute the vegetables: Cook the onions and celery in a large pot on the stove.
Add the liquid and seasonings: Pour the tomato puree, barbecue sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, seasonings, and remaining vegetables.
Stir in the meat: Add the shredded pork and chicken.
Pour in the remaining ingredients: Stir in the beans, corn, seasonings, and chicken broth.
Simmer: Bring the pot to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer. Serve with cornbread or a salad.
Expert tips and variations
Some ways to make this Brunswick stew recipe fit your tastes and preferences with flavorful alterations and expert tips:
- Substitute frozen or canned corn or beans rather than preparing them yourself to save time.
- Use leftover pulled pork or chicken for a quicker meal.
- You can use wild game like squirrel or rabbit if you have some.
- Add liquid smoke for an even smokier flavor.
- Make spicy with cayenne pepper.
- Add other vegetables like potatoes, butter beans, peas, carrots, mushrooms, squash, or okra.
- Use canned diced tomatoes instead of tomato puree.
- Add other smoked meat like brisket or sliced sausage.
Two Different Ways To Make Brunswick Stew
Vegetable and chicken stew is made in a large pot on the stovetop; however, you can cook it in a crockpot or pressure cooker if you prefer.
1. Slow cooker
The slow cooker allows the meat and other ingredients to tenderize and the flavors to mellow while cooking.
Start by cooking the vegetables in a pan on the stove to give them more flavor. Pour them into the crockpot along with the rest of the ingredients—cover and cook on low for five hours or on high for three hours.
2. Instant pot
Pressure cookers reduce cooking time because they are self-contained and don’t release steam from the pot.
To use an instant pot for cooking this stew, use the saute function to cook the vegetables, then add the liquids and meats. Seal the lid and cook for 30 minutes.
When it’s done cooking, allow the steam to release for 10 minutes naturally. Then carefully release the rest of the pressure and remove the lid.
Types Of Barbecue Sauce
Brunswick stew originated in Virginia and uses a vinegar-based Carolina barbecue sauce; however, you can use whichever style you like best.
There are four different main styles to choose from:
- Kansas City barbecue sauce is smokey and made with brown sugar
- Carolina-style sauce is thin and vinegar-based
- Memphis-style sauce is sweet and tangy
- Texas-style sauce is thick and smokey
How To Serve The Brunswick Stew
Pulled pork stew is hearty and best served with side dishes that will contrast its flavors and textures. Since this stew is rich and spicy, the best side dishes are light, have crunchy textures, or are acid-based.
How to store
Keep leftover Brunswick stew in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
To reheat from here, spoon some soup into a serving bowl and cover it lightly with plastic wrap.
Then place the bowl in the microwave and heat it in 30-second increments until it’s hot all the way through.
Freezing stew is an excellent way to keep it fresh.
Use a measuring spoon to place cooled stew into quart-size freezer bags and lay them flat to freeze. Turn them upright to save space in your freezer when they’re solid.
Freezing them in smaller portions allows you only to thaw what you need for dinner without defrosting the entire batch.
To thaw the stew, place the frozen bag on a plate in the refrigerator overnight or microwave until it’s hot, stirring occasionally.
To meal prep:
To prep this dish ahead of time, chop the vegetables and portion out all the liquids into separate bowls or containers. Gather or cook the pork and chicken and keep them in a container in the fridge.
Get the pot hot and start cooking when you’re ready to eat.
How can I thicken Brunswick stew?
The best way to thicken this stew is to spoon some of the broth into a bowl, whisk in all-purpose flour, and stir it back into the pot. Remove all the lumps before pouring the mixture into the pot.
Another way you can thicken stew is to add diced potatoes; the starch in potatoes is a natural thickener.
Can I use beef broth instead of chicken broth in this recipe?
Yes, you can use beef broth instead of chicken broth for a heartier and meatier flavored stew.
Why is my Brunswick stew too salty?
All ingredients have some natural salt. After combining them in this stew, taste it before adding any extra salt. Tasting your food before adding additional spices, herbs, or other ingredients is essential in balancing the flavors.
- 2 cups shredded chicken
- 2 cups pulled pork
- 1 cup lima beans (fresh or frozen)
- 1 cup corn (canned or frozen)
- 1 cup tomato puree
- ½ cup bbq sauce
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 white onion
- 2 celery sticks
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 33 fl oz chicken stock
- Dice the onion and the celery sticks and reserve.
- In the Dutch oven or pot add the butter and melt it on medium heat.
- Sautee the diced onion and celery on medium heat until soft and translucent. Season with salt to help soften the veggies.
- Add the tomato puree, the bbq sauce, the apple cider vinegar, the
- Worcestershire sauce, the lima beans, the corn, the meats, and the chicken stock, and mix well. Season with garlic powder, more salt, and black pepper.
- Cover and let cook on medium-low heat for around 45 minutes.
Amount Per Serving Calories 659Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 117mgSodium 2765mgCarbohydrates 74gFiber 8gSugar 43gProtein 47g