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Brunswick Stew (Traditional Recipe)

Brunswick stew is old-school Southern comfort food that will warm you to your bones!

Packed with juicy chicken, pulled pork, and veggies in a tomato broth, it’s one hearty bowl. 

A pot of Brunswick stew made with chicken, veggies and beans with tomato base.
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Easy and satisfying, it’s down-home cooking at its finest.

Ladle yourself a bowl of this belly-warming bliss, and savor the tradition of Brunswick stew!

What Is Brunswick Stew?

Brunswick stew is a Southern dish featuring meat and vegetables in a tomato-based broth. 

Traditionally, it calls for small game meat like squirrel, rabbit, or opossum. BBQ sauce, ketchup, and butter beans are also common. 

Virginia and Georgia both claim they invented it. Some sources even trace it back to Germany. So you can imagine there are many variations!

But my simplified version keeps things easy. It features chicken breast, pulled pork, veggies, and seasonings in a tomato broth. 

Savory, smoky, and meaty, it warms your belly and your soul!

A wooden ladle dipped in a pot of Brunswick stew made with tomato base, chicken, veggies and beans.

Ingredients 

What exactly goes into my simplified Brunswick stew recipe? It’s full of pantry staples, frozen and fresh veggies, and meat.

Here’s the full list of ingredients:

  • Meat – Chicken breast and pulled pork are what I use. It’s a scrumptious combination of smoky, fatty, and lean protein.
  • Chicken Broth – For the base of the stew. 
  • Canned Tomatoes – Use crushed canned tomatoes to flavor the broth. It makes the stew more robust.
  • Fresh Vegetables – Potatoes and onions are at home in this hearty stew.
  • Frozen Vegetables – Frozen corn and lima beans add more flavor, texture, and nutrients.
  • Condiments – Add barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Together, they make the soup bolder and more complex.
  • Spices and Sugar – Smoked paprika, brown sugar, salt, and pepper season it just right.
Top view of a pot of Brunswick Stew on top of a cloth on a wooden table.

How to Make Brunswick Stew

The key to Brunswick stew is letting it simmer low and slow. That way, the flavors have time to meld to create one mouthwatering meal.

Here’s how to make it:

1. Simmer the meat in the broth. In a large pot, simmer the shredded chicken, pulled pork, chicken broth, and crushed tomatoes.

2. Add the vegetables. Add the potatoes, onion, corn, and lima beans. Stir it well.

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3. Add the condiments, spices, and sugar. Stir in the barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir in the hot sauce if using. 

4. Cook. Simmer it for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

5. Serve. Serve it hot and enjoy!

Recipe Tips and Variations 

Brunswick stew is an easy meal perfect for chilly nights. You can make it all in just one pot, too!

As I mentioned before, though, it has many variations. So here are some tips and substitutions to get it just right:

  • Take a chicken shortcut. I love using leftover rotisserie chicken in this stew. It’s perfectly cooked and ready to use! Just shred it into bite-sized pieces. 
  • Vary up the veggies. The great thing about stew is it’s customizable. So you can add other vegetables like carrots, okra, bell peppers, and more. I say, use what you’ve got!
  • Take your protein pick. You can add smoked sausage, ground beef, brisket, black beans, or kidney beans. Or, keep it classic with game meat like squirrel or rabbit.
  • Season it up. Want the best Brunswick stew? Just tailor it to your liking! Adjust the condiments and seasonings to dial in the flavor just right.
  • Give it a kick. Give it some extra heat with jalapenos, cayenne pepper, or extra hot sauce. 
Wooden ladle scooping Brunswick stew on a ceramic gray pot.

How to Store 

Leftover Brunswick stew means you have lunch or dinner already made! I think the stew tastes even better the next day. 

Here’s how to store and reheat this stew:

To Store: Pour the leftover stew into an air-tight container. Refrigerate it for up to 4 days.

To Freeze: Transfer the leftover stew into a freezer-friendly air-tight container. Leave room at the top for expansion. Freeze it for up to 3 months.

To Reheat: Thaw it in the fridge overnight. Reheat it on the stovetop on medium heat until warm. Stir it occasionally. 

What to Serve with Brunswick Stew 

Brunswick stew is so hearty, you don’t even need a side! Although, I love serving this with bread for dipping to sop up every last drop. 

Here are some of my favorite pairings:

More Soup and Stew Recipes 

Cowboy Chili

Ground Turkey Chili

Texas Chili

Classic Tomato Soup

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

Brunswick Stew (Traditional Recipe)

Course: MainCuisine: American
Servings

6-8

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

1

hour 

This classic Brunswick stew is a Southern delicacy! It’s loaded with chicken, pulled pork, tomatoes, veggies, and delicious spices. You’ll love it!

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds chicken breast, cooked and shredded

  • 1.5 pounds pulled pork, cooked and shredded

  • 4 cups chicken broth

  • 1 (28-ounce) can of crushed tomatoes

  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 1 cup frozen corn

  • 1 cup frozen lima beans

  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, to taste

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, combine the shredded chicken, pulled pork, chicken broth, and crushed tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Add the diced potatoes, chopped onion, frozen corn, and lima beans to the pot. Stir well to combine.
  • Stir in the barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Add hot sauce if using. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
  • Reduce the heat to low and let the stew simmer for about 1 hour, or until the potatoes are tender and the stew has thickened to your liking. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • Once the stew is thick and the vegetables are tender, it’s ready to serve. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Serve it hot in bowls, perhaps with a side of crusty bread for dipping.

Notes

  • You can boil, bake, or use leftover rotisserie chicken. Once cooked, shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  • You can also add other vegetables to this stew, such as carrots or okra.
Brunswick Stew

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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