I love Brunswick Stew - hope you enjoy

Discussion in 'Side Items' started by jaxrmrjmr, Feb 23, 2014.

  1. jaxrmrjmr

    jaxrmrjmr Smoking Fanatic

    Well, I love Brunswick Stew!!! There is a very certain and distinct flavor that represents Brunswick Stew to me. However, everywhere I get it now, it tastes like vegetable soup in beef and/or pork stock - very watery with a little bit of meat here and there. When I was younger, I would go buy a qt of stew and a sleeve of saltines, then I was good for two meals.  After that, it slowly became watered down and more like a soup.  So, six or seven years ago I set out to make my own.  I think I have it where I want it.  It's basically a compilation of the many recipes I read (that sounds good or I'll leave that out). With the rough measurement in my head I started. Don't let the ingredient list scare you - it's pretty basic. This has become a big hit with friends and family.  More luck than skill but here is what I came up with and it's darn good.......

    Strange Brunswick Stew

    1 stick of butter

    3-4 cups of diced onions (I like the stronger onions for this vs sweet onions)

    1 cup of diced bell pepper ( I like more, the wife likes it how it is)

    4 cloves of garlic - smashed

    5-6 lbs whole chicken either smoked or roasted, then shredded

    3-4 lbs. of pulled pork

    2 -3 lbs. of beef (browned and drained ground beef or shredded roast)

    6 cups of broth (I usually use a mix of chicken and beef) (more or less depending on the desired thickness)

    2 oz Worcestershire sauce

    1 small can tomato paste

    1 lbs. fresh or frozen english peas - but NOT canned

    1 lbs. fresh or frozen whole kernel corn - but NOT canned

    1 "chub" of frozen creamed corn (yes, it makes a difference)

    1 1/2 cups of ketchup

    1/2 cup yellow mustard

    1/2 - 3/4 cup red, sweet BBQ sauce

    3 cans of diced tomatoes (I like the fire roasted, but it's non-traditional)

    2 oz liquid smoke (more or less, depending on your taste)

    Hot sauce according to taste - I use my homemade Datil Pepper sauce, but for a more traditional taste I would use a few oz of Franks or Louisiana and go from there.

    6-7 small potatoes cut into small cubes - about the size of a baseball or smaller (I like using a waxy potato so that it doesn't break down as easy)

    Salt and pepper to taste

    This recipe makes a little over 2 gallons of finished stew, so pick your pot accordingly.

    Melt the stick of butter in your stock pot. Add onions and bell pepper cooking until tender adding the garlic at the end. Add the rest of the ingredients down to, and including, the hot sauce. Cook this for a few hours at least. Low and slow, but be careful of letting the bottom scorch as there are quite a few sugars in it. When the stew has come together and the corn is tender, add the potatoes. Cook for another hour or so as they will breakdown if you add them too early.

    This is like spaghetti sauce or chili.....it's usually better the next day.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
    raastros2 likes this.
  2. blat

    blat Fire Starter


    10-13 LBS OF MEAT,

    and I thought I was making mine hearty.

    I am an new convert to brunswick stew and am simply obsessed with it.

    I am going to give yours a try you have several different flavors than what I use...

    I use cans of diced fire roasted tomatoes but have not added tomato paste or ketchup

    I only use frozen whole kernel corn and towards the end I will stir in some heavy cream instead of using creamed corn, lima beans instead of english peas and no potatoes or green peppers

    Smoke all of my meat so do not use liquid smoke, I have never liked liquid smoke so will leave that out.

    finally, I also add soflaq's finishing sauce (minus the brown sugar) in addition to the sweet bbq sauce.
  3. raastros2

    raastros2 Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

  4. jaxrmrjmr

    jaxrmrjmr Smoking Fanatic

    The chicken is a 5 lbs whole bird before being smoked and shredded.  I figure it might be 3 lbs of chicken when it's added.

    I should have noted that the liquid smoke is in case you used roasted meat instead of smoked.

    You have some interesting substitutions there.  Flavors may be a little different, but looks like the same basic elements.  Let me know what you think. 
  5. blat

    blat Fire Starter

    Kinda like the searching for the perfect margarita, always seem to be tweaking.

    So far have made about 6 batches of stew, all slightly different. Looking forward to give yours a try.
  6. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Nice thing about Brunswick Stew is the total lack of any real traditional recipe. I believe the only specified ingredient is the pot.  Like Gumbo,  it's meant to utilize what's at hand and feed hungry people. Having spent a fair amount of time in Southern VA as well as Southeast GA, I guess I should be a fan of the stuff, but I've never really developed a taste for it. Lived in Kentucky and not a Burgoo fan either. Go figure :)
  7. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You know that NC, SC, Georgia all make it differently and of course claim theirs to be the only real Brunswick stew. Only real common thread in theirs is the corn and butter beans. Then there is with or without game, or tomatoes, etc.....

    When I was a kid I was told the story of "Rock Soup". Basically like Brunswick stew it was all about one large communal pot of food which everyone contributed to and everyone takes home the left overs and it all started with three large smooth rocks.

    Brunswick stew has to be in the top 10 comfort foods.
  8. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Jax,

    How funny, I was just thinking about Brunswick Stew in conjunction with another post that was asking about a favorite childhood recipe that we strive to replicate.  I grew up in North Georgia, and Brunswick Stew from the Old Hickory House was a special treat that we all looked forward to.  I've tried a few different recipes, but none match the taste or texture I remember from growing up.  I'll be book-marking your recipe and looking forward to a nice quiet weekend where I can try it out.

    Only thing is, where is the squirrel is your recipe?   LOL

    Just kidding, but someday I do want to see what Brunswick Stew with squirrel tastes like.  I doubt the Old Hickory House used it, unless it was a tight month.

    Thanks for sharing your recipe, I look forward to trying it out.  And, please post some pictures of your recipe next time you make it!!

  9. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I really appreciate you posting this recipe. It looks like one I will have to try. It is quite different from mine which is only ok so I am looking forward to trying yours.

  10. bigwheel

    bigwheel Smoking Fanatic

    Sure do look good. Thanks a lot for the recipe. Me and a pal used to snag a bowl or two of the store bought variant at a local chain joint called Red White and Blues. Seemed to be comprised of all types of leftover bbq in a beefy tomato base. Not authentic surely..but could warm a person up in cold weather. They also have sweet cornbread which is enough to drive anybody crazy huh?
  11. jaxrmrjmr

    jaxrmrjmr Smoking Fanatic

    Yeah, I'd love some feedback and I hope you guys enjoy it.

    It's one of those recipes that was on a folded up piece of paper with cross outs and tons of notes which started with the first time I made it.  I have currently been typing some of my handwritten recipes up as the oldest son is in the Army and stationed in Anchorage.  He asked for recipes from time to time and I have to stop and type them up so they are legible and he can understand all my scribbles.
  12. jaxrmrjmr

    jaxrmrjmr Smoking Fanatic

    I would add butter beans as well, but one of the kids has "mental issues" with them.  She'll eat full sized white lima's but won't touch a butter bean.

    I remember the rock soup story as well, Foamheart.
  13. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Its a classic! You know, I never knew my Pop has that same thing about limas as well as butter beans. I just feel sorry for people who don't like good food.
  14. hickorybutt

    hickorybutt Smoking Fanatic

    Brunswick stew...  one of my favorite sides with BBQ.  I believe a good Brunswick stew can set apart one BBQ joint from another (obviously outside of quality of smoked meat).
  15. chestnutbloom

    chestnutbloom Smoking Fanatic

    I remember hearing about "stone soup" from my grandma in the '70s when I was just a kid. I thought she was crazy until much later in life!   [​IMG]
  16. blat

    blat Fire Starter

    OK Jax,

    Went home at lunch and put a chuckie in the smoker with Hickory and Maple, gonna give your recipe a try tonight if I can stay out of the Whiskey, or at least not to deep into it.

    Will have Q view when I give it a try

  17. jaxrmrjmr

    jaxrmrjmr Smoking Fanatic

    Very good!  Keep me posted.
  18. jaxrmrjmr

    jaxrmrjmr Smoking Fanatic

    So, what did ya think?
  19. blat

    blat Fire Starter

    Hey Jax,

    Will get something posted with a few pics soon as I get a chance, served about half of it to a gathering of about 15 people who ate it till it was GONE!!!!  then fixed the other half and they ate it till it was almost gone.  The stew was just going to be the appetizer. They left half of my pulled pork laying there and asked for more stew.

  20. hambone1950

    hambone1950 Master of the Pit Group Lead

    You know , my late father in law (god rest his soul) would eat absolutely ANYTHING......except Lima beans. He said he ate so many of them in the army in WW2 that he swore he would never eat another.....and he never did.

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