Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Southern BBQ Pork Brunswick Stew

Ingredients have varied over the years, often using chicken or like here, leftover pork, but one thing is certain, and that is, no matter the region of The South, Brunswick Stew, sometimes called Camp Stew, is a southern favorite.

BBQ Pork Brunswick Stew

This Barbecue Pork Brunswick Stew was one of the recipes I had in mind when I bought that 9-pound pork shoulder recently. I started with a wonderful Spicy BBQ Crockpot Pulled Pork, but already had a couple of planned leftovers meals in mind from that one meal, and this was one of them. Now before I start, let me say I don't lay any claim to this being an "authentic" version of Brunswick stew. I'm not from the Brunswick area, so it's just my interpretation.

Truth is, there are many forms of Brunswick Stew these days, though Brunswick County, Virginia lays claim to the original, dating back to to 1828 when a camp cook for Dr. Creed Haskings, a Virginia State Legislator, created it in a large iron pot on one of Dr. Haskings hunting trips. The original stew was very simple, consisting of only squirrel meat, onion, a few seasonings and stale bread. (No squirrels were harmed in the making of my stew y'all! ;) A debate was stirred, however, when Brunswick, Georgia laid claim to the invention of this very same stew.

Photo Credit

The plaque on the pot situated in Georgia, states that "the first Brunswick stew was made here in the Brunswick - Golden Isles area in early Colonial days," said to be July 2, 1898, clearly after the first record of the Virginia Brunswick stew.  Other Georgians dispute that claim, however, saying that the first Brunswick stew was actually cooked in 1771, not 1898, under the direction of Gen. James Oglethorpe, the state's founder - well before the Virginia claim. The Virginia General Assembly attempted to put the debate to rest by issuing an official proclamation in January of 1988 that cited Brunswick County, Virginia as "the original home of Brunswick stew," but... I hear that Brunswick County North Carolina has a claim on this stew also.
Photo Credit
Sounds like any other good ole southern rivalry to me. This one runs deep enough, however, that there is actually a friendly competition held every year around October to determine the ultimate Stewmaster Champion, with many other mini-competitions that lead up to it. 

The ingredients have varied over the years since the original of course, with chicken generally replacing squirrel, or sometimes rabbit, and the addition of vegetables, but one thing is certain, and that is, no matter the region of The South, Brunswick Stew is a southern favorite.

Somewhere along the line, barbecued meats and sauce made it's way into Brunswick Stew, I'm guessing that it's because Brunswick Stew is often a staple dish served at barbecue cookouts, so some clever cook thought to combine the two, probably after having a bit of both leftover. It's entirely possible that barbecue joints had something to do with that, needing a way to recycle barbecue leftover from the day before. There's even a well-known and very old shortcut camp stew that used canned meats in place of fresh. I don't know if they even sell those anymore, and truthfully, I'd advise hitting the deli of your favorite market for their fresh cooked barbecue meats or even the freezer section instead. There are many more fresher options these days over canned meats.

Today a Barbecue Brunswick Stew might include barbecued chicken, beef, or pork, or even a combination of all three. I decided to go with leftover pork this time. A smokey barbecue sauce is usually added to the stew, for some people a little, for others a lot. I found a cup to be about perfect for me.

Since I had planned this stew for some pork leftover from the Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork, it seemed natural to start off with a bit of bacon - as if I need an excuse. Most traditional Brunswick Stew recipes aren't very likely to contain bacon and probably not The Trinity either, but y'all so know I'm gonna totally go there, don't ya?

Then we add in some tomatoes - I used stewed here, but you could use canned whole tomatoes and break them up, or use canned diced tomatoes. When tomatoes are in season, certainly use those. Let the tomatoes simmer for about 10 minutes before adding in 3 cups of chicken stock or broth.

Three diced potatoes are added in with the stock at the same time, brought up to a boil, and then allowed to simmer covered, for about 20 minutes.

Since canned goods are a pantry staple in this house, rather than the usual frozen vegetables, I decided to use canned tomatoes, corn, and beans as well. Thanks to the good folks at Allens sending me some coupons, I was able to use Allens products for my stew!

Okay the truth is, I already loved Allens products anyway - Sugary Sam's sweet potatoes, Veg-All mixed veggies, Popeye's spinach, Trappey's black-eyed peas, and of course all kinds of Allens vegetables and their newest line of Seasoned and Southern Seasoned vegetables. Open the doors of my pantry and it's a given that you'll find quite a few of those.

Allens is just a reliable and tasty canned product that I have loved for years, and I am happy to share them with y'all, but it was mighty nice of them to reward me for being a loyal consumer of their stuff. Besides, you gotta love a company where "serving up memories" is their motto!  Food. Family. Memories y'all.

Add in the corn - I use both whole kernel and creamed, the green lima beans and the leftover barbecued pork. You can certainly use a commercial barbecued canned or frozen pork if you don't happen to have any leftover. In fact, you can also add in some barbecued chicken and beef too if ya like!

Stir in the pork and add some barbecue sauce.

And let it all warm through. Easy. Simple. Delicious. And perfect for this upcoming blizzard.

Allens is family owned and operated and is 100% U.S. grown and distributed y'all, so be sure to pop by their site and check out their line of canned and frozen products and grab some great recipes too while you're there. Many of their products are gluten free and kosher by the way. Stop by and take a peek at their Southern Kitchen too. You're bound to find some southern memories and classics you'll love.

For more of my favorite stew recipes, visit my page on Pinterest!

If you make this or any of my recipes, I'd love to see your results! Just snap a photo and hashtag it #DeepSouthDish on social media or tag me @deepsouthdish on Instagram!


Recipe: Southern BBQ Pork Brunswick Stew

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 30 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup of chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup of chopped celery
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans of stewed or diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • 3 potatoes (about a pound), peeled and diced
  • 1 can of corn, drained
  • 1 can of creamed corn, undrained
  • 1 can of green lima beans, drained
  • 3-4 cups of shredded BBQ pork
  • 1 cup of smokey flavor barbecue sauce
  • Couple dashes of hot sauce, optional
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Cut the bacon into a pot and saute until softened. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the stewed tomatoes, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chicken broth and potatoes, bring back up to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. To that add the corn, lima beans, barbecued pork, barbecue sauce and hot sauce. Simmer until everything is heated through. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Serve with some cornbread, a side of coleslaw and some southern iced tea and you have one mighty fine southern meal.

~Cook's Notes~

Variations: For Chicken Brunswick, stew a whole chicken along with some aromatics (onion, carrots, celery) and covered with water until done. Remove, reserving the broth and deboning the chicken. Proceed with the recipe substituting chicken for the pork, using the homemade chicken stock, and eliminate the barbecue sauce, if desired. Don't feel like stewing a chicken? Just pick up a rotisserie or smoked chicken and debone it.

Tip: Can use leftover pork, or substitute an equal amount of canned or frozen commercial barbecue pork product. Be sure to include all of the sauce in the package. Can make BBQ Brunswick with a combination of pork, chicken and beef if desired. Can also substitute an equal amount of frozen corn and frozen lima or butterbeans, or use fresh, cooked vegetables.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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©Deep South Dish
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Check These Recipes Out Too Y'all!

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Disclosure: Allens provided me with free product.

Posted by on February 1, 2011
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  1. Oh mercy!!!

    I gotta print this out:)

    Sounds super DELISH.

  2. I just finished lunch, and you still got me drooling!

  3. Looks like another winner Mary. Brunswick stew is big among the southern BBQers

  4. It's fun to see the brands that other bloggers use for their recipes! I don't think we have Allens here in MA. I never tried Brunswick Stew. Looks tasty! :)

  5. I'm loving your version! I can't wait to try it soon :)

  6. I love Brunswick Stew and like so many I'm picky about the ingredients. We have to have smoked pork and chicken and open pit barbecue sauce, along with diced tomato, potato and corn. No lima beans here though. Always make a huge pot put some in the freezer for later.

  7. Growing up in Jacksonville, FL about 40 minutes south of Brunswick, I've always sided with the Georgia account:)

  8. fun!

    love the story and the recipe

  9. This is exactly what I have been looking for. I has about half a smoked butt leftover and looked everywhere for a recipe to use it. I found many recipes using ground beef-but I live in Savannah-and we use BBQ here. I only had fresh veggies on hand so I tossed it all in the crock pot. In 8 hours I guess we'll find out whether its fit for eatin or hound dog food. :)

  10. Well... I sure hope it ain't "hound dog food" although my hound dog eats pretty good the little bugger! Seriously fresh veggies would be great and I'm sure the stew turned out wonderful with those and the smoked butt. Sounds mighty good to me!!

  11. Made this today and it is so good. I followed the recipe pretty closely, but at the add the corn, etc step, I put it all in the crock pot and let it simmer all day. The only thing I would do differently is to add a little more BBQ sauce. It could be that my meat (from a church BBQ) didn't have sauce on it. It was my first time making Brunswick Stew and it turned out VERY good!!!! Thanks for the easy to follow recipes!

    1. Thank you so much Karen - glad you enjoyed it! Yes, the bbq sauce is something that you can definitely adjust to taste & you're right it likely will depend on the leftover meat that you use.

  12. It sounds good but we ALWAYS put vinegar in ours!! Just a tip some may want to try!

    1. Keep in mind that tabasco has vinegar in it, so the hot sauce may give it the vinegar flavor.

  13. It sounds good but we ALWAYS put vinegar in ours!! Just a tip some may want to try!

    1. Interesting Mindi! What kind of vinegar & about how much? I'd love to give it a try sometime.

  14. This is the closest recipe I've found for the Brunswick Stew that I grew up eating (in Georgia)!! My grandmother always added a good helping of okra to hers though, and I don't remember it having potatoes. I made this recipe adding BBQ sauce to my taste and serving it with tabasco on the side for those who don't like things with a spicy flavor. I omitted the potatoes and put in okra. Everyone loved it including my soup-and-stew-hating husband.

    1. Thanks Natalie - I'm glad that it was enjoyed by everybody & I do like that idea of okra in there too. I'll be going that route next pot!! Thank you!!

  15. Just made it for dinner. It was awesome! Thank u!

  16. thanks mary. i had a large amount of chicken stew left over from our last chicken & dumplings dinner. sister in law gave me about 3 pounds of some really smoky pork barb-q, i added that & then followed your recipe yum yum thanks again

    1. So glad you enjoyed it & thanks for stopping by to let us know!

  17. That's about the same recipe my family learned when we lived in Georgia. We use corn and peas and often smoke a chicken and pork butt. It's a yearly New Years meal for us.

  18. Awesome Stew.

  19. i have some left over bbq pork butt dont want it to ruin but i have potatos diced tomatos and rotel tomatos frozen corn and a can of green beans can i do anything with this?

    1. I don't know what you mean by that, but those are pretty much the very same ingredients as this stew so I'd go for the stew if you're looking to use them up all together. Otherwise, depending on how it was made and whether it's just the leftover pulled pork or if you already stirred in bbq sauce, you can use that meat to make tacos, burritos, sloppy joes, use it in a tomato based spaghetti sauce, make a green chilies and pork chili, tamale pie or make a filling for some hand meat pies. Lots of ways to use it up!

  20. We love this recipe!!! It has become a family favorite! we like adding chicken to it, along with the pork bbq....and the added bonus is when i make the chicken i then have chicken broth!!! Thanks for the recipe!!!!

  21. This stew was the hit of the party! The only additions I made were 3-4 chopped vine ripe tomatoes and a can of drained Rotel. Thank you for the recipe, it is now a family favorite!

  22. I’m going to try this it sounds just like what I use to get at Old Hickory House barbecue restaurant here in Charlotte N C. It went out of business in 2015 and broke my heart. Their stew was very very red and greasy with a lot of black pepper too. Corn and Lima’s and I heard them on NPR once and they said they added bread to thicken it up.

    1. It's so sad when we lose a favorite restaurant from our past. I wish some of them would reopen! I hope that you enjoy the Brunswick stew and while it may not be exactly the same, hopefully it will help to drum up some lovely memories Peggy!

  23. I made this Brunswick Stew today with two left over pork tenderloins. It is FANTASTIC~! I have only one problem; I believe the BBQ sauce I used was much too sweet. (Kraft- Hickory) Is there anyway I can tone down the sugar? Vinegar or Lemon????? HELP~!!

    1. Yes, something acidic might help but start with just a little, like 1/2 teaspoon little, taste & adjust!!


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