I love a stew recipe, especially when it has a fun twist, like Brunswick Stew. Brunswick stew includes juicy, shredded chicken, pork, and beef. Of course, you can just buy all three meats ahead of time in preparation for this stew (I myself usually buy a rotisserie chicken for shredding, and purchase ground pork/beef while I’m at it), but you can also use leftovers for this recipe as well…in fact it’s a great way to clean out your fridge!
What is Brunswick Stew?
Brunswick stew is a tomato-based Southern stew recipe that also incorporates barbecue sauce for added smoky flavor! It generally uses both chicken and pork, and I like to throw some ground beef into mine as well. On top of that, a number of chopped and diced veggies are thrown in to create a diverse and flavorful stew that you won’t want to pass up! This recipe has evolved over time, as it used to use only game meat like rabbit, squirrel, and opossum. Turns out, that’s not my style…shocking I know! So I use more mainstream meat and my family loves it!
Let’s cover the rest of the essential stew-making ingredients! Here’s everything that you’ll need to round up before starting:
Butter: You can use salted or unsalted, it doesn’t really matter which.
Onion: I like to dice up a yellow onion.
Pepper: Dice a bell pepper (I usually use red or green) before starting.
Garlic Cloves: Minced, for added flavor.
Meat: Use a combination of ground pork, lean ground beef, and diced or shredded cooked chicken (I like to use a rotisserie chicken).
Tomatoes: Grab a can of diced tomatoes, undrained.
Tomato Sauce: You’ll need a can of plain tomato sauce – try not to use a flavored version because you’ll be adding your own flavoring.
Barbecue Sauce: I like to use Hickory BBQ Sauce.
Chicken Broth or Chicken Stock: You can use reduced sodium or regular, whichever you prefer.
Corn: Use both canned corn kernels (drained) and canned creamed corn.
Hot Sauce: For a little extra heat.
Seasoning: You’ll need black pepper, kosher salt, dried thyme, and cayenne pepper.
How to Make Brunswick Stew
The hardest part of making this stew is probably finding space on the counter for all of the ingredients. But make that room! These barbecue flavors must be experienced. Also, your kitchen will smell AMAZING by the time you’re done. Trust me.
Here’s what you’ll need to do to put this Brunswick stew together:
Sauté Onions and Peppers: In a large (7- quart) Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the onions and peppers and cook until soft, 5 – 7 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
Cook the Meat: Add in the ground pork and beef and cook until no more pink remains and the meat is cooked through. Drain any excess liquid and fat.
Mix in the Veggies and Sauces: Add in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, chicken broth, corn, creamed corn, hot sauce, pepper, salt, thyme, cayenne, and chicken. Stir to combine.
Let Stew Simmer: Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 – 45 minutes until thickened and the flavors combine.
Tips for Success
Looking for tips on how to perfect this tasty stew? I’ve got a couple for you:
Do I Have to Use All Three Meats? Not if you don’t want to! It’s kind of fun when you make it with all three, but you can absolutely use just chicken and pork, just chicken, just pork, etc.
Try It with Different BBQ Sauces: There are a lot of barbecue sauces out there. Sweeter BBQ sauces will offer different flavors than smokier BBQ sauces, so experiment to discover which sauce best fits your tastes!
Switch Up the Veggies and Add-Ins: A lot of Brunswick stews use lima beans, some use diced potatoes, etc. Add in what you like!
If the Stew Gets too Thick: Thin it out by adding a little water. Conversely, if it is too thin, let it simmer for a little while longer.
Add Beans: Baby Lima beans, butter beans, and pinto beans are great additions!
If you’re looking for suggestions on what to serve with Brunswick stew, you’re in the right place. Here are a few of my go-to options:
Cornbread: Is it really stew if you don’t have some cornbread to soak it up with? I love to make my Creamy Cheesy Cornbread or to go alongside this barbecue stew.
Biscuits: If cornbread isn’t your thing, try these buttermilk biscuits! Crusty bread is also a good option for any stew, really.
Salad/Roasted Veggies: There’s already a number of veggies in this stew, but if you’re looking for a light side dish to supplement the main course, a light salad or some roasted veggies is a great option.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Keep leftover Brunswick stew in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. To reheat, cook over low-medium heat in a pot on the stove (you may need to add a little more chicken broth), or just microwave.
Can I Freeze Extras?
Yes! Once it’s cooled, you can store leftover stew in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Remember to thaw it overnight in the fridge before reheating.