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.
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 go any further, let me say this.  {Southern Style Hissy Fit warning...}

There will inevitably be someone who fusses at me about how I make this stew. I guarantee it will happen on social media, because... social media. Let me be clear to the naysayers.
There is nothing on my recipe that states this is an "authentic" Brunswick Stew. I don't lay any claim to this being an "authentic" version of Brunswick stew. I'm not from the Brunswick area. This is just my own interpretation of a Brunswick Stew, based on my research.
{tucking away the soapbox}

Now that we've got that out of the way, 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.

Although my version is different, there's even a well-known and very old shortcut "camp stew" that used canned meats in place of fresh, because, well... camping! 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 and most people pack coolers these days when they camp anyway. My camp stew is what we used to make back in my girl scout days, though it was typically made with ground beef.

Today, a Barbecue Brunswick Stew might include barbecued chicken, beef, or pork, or even a combination of all three. I'm not a huge fan of combining a lot of different meats together in one stew, so 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. You're bound to find some southern memories and classics you'll love.

For more of my favorite stew recipes, check out the collection on my Pinterest page!

Southern BBQ Pork Brunswick Stew

Southern BBQ Pork Brunswick Stew

Yield: About 4 to 6 servings
Author: Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 30 MinTotal time: 45 Min
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.


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


  1. Cut the bacon into a pot and sauté until softened. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. 
  2. Add 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. 
  3. 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.
  4. Serve with cornbread, a side of coleslaw and some southern iced tea and you have one mighty fine southern meal.


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.

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.

Recommended Products:

Stew, BBQ, Pulled Pork
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