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Brunswick Stew (Stovetop or Crockpot)

This easy Southern Brunswick Stew recipe is a great way to use leftover meat and it’s on the dinner table in about half an hour!

a pot of easy an brunswick stew recipe on striped towel

Before we moved to Virginia twelve years ago, I’d never heard of Brunswick Stew. While I miss my home state of Wisconsin and my beloved California, I’m so glad I didn’t miss out on this beloved Southern stew!

The flavor of Brunswick stew is both familiar and foreign. It has all of the elements of traditional stew, but the addition of barbecue sauce changes it enough that it tastes new and different. The first time I tried it, I was unfamiliar with it and the initial taste threw me off my food game. But I was already in love.

If you’re curious about its history and origin, this article is a good one.

Any kind of stew is a welcome winter addition to our kitchen. I’ve made more pot roasts in my lifetime than I could possibly count (especially this one made with Balsamic and Dijon), but I like to put a spin on whatever I’m making to keep mealtime interesting. Once I was introduced to Brunswick Stew, I knew I’d be making it often and putting my own stamp on it!

a closeup of a pot of easy brunswick stew

What is Brunswick Stew?

It’s a tomato-based stew that uses at least one kind of meat, most typically chicken, but beef and pork are also common. Corn, lima beans, and okra are common vegetables, and barbecue sauce is added as well.

For this easy Brunswick Stew recipe, I omitted the okra and swapped the traditional lima beans for white beans. Feel free to use either okra or lima beans though as this easy recipe is also very versatile.

There are also two kinds of meat: pulled pork and cubed or shredded chicken. You can use whatever meat you have on hand, and I often use just chicken if I haven’t made my Instant Pot Pulled Pork recently.

When I make it to Costco, which admittedly isn’t as often as I’d like (and I’m thankful I don’t because who can get out of there for less than $300 on a good day??) I’ll pick up their Kirkland brand pulled pork and a rotisserie chicken. Whenever I make a Costco run, no one bothers to ask what we’re having for dinner, because they already know!

Why this recipe works

There is so much flavor in this one pot of stew and the leftovers are even better the next day. It has a unique flavor compared to most stews plus it’s a great way to use up any leftovers.

Have you ever had leftover chicken or pulled pork but couldn’t think of something new and exciting to do with it? You no longer have to make chicken salad or the same old pulled pork sandwich. Use up all of your leftovers at once and enjoy something completely new!

I often get questions from readers about how to cook for just one or two people. This is a perfect recipe for that since you can freeze the leftovers in individual containers. Make sure they’re airtight and enjoy within 3 months. More on that below!

a pot of brunswick stew on a table next to 3 pieces of bread

Ingredients

Don’t let the long ingredient list fool you – this is an incredibly easy recipe! With the exception of cooking the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic in a little oil, you’re mostly just dumping the ingredient into the pot and giving them a little time to simmer.

  • olive oil
  • onion
  • celery
  • red bell pepper
  • garlic
  • canned white beans (or frozen lima beans)
  • canned diced tomatoes
  • canned tomato sauce
  • barbecue sauce
  • canned creamed corn
  • frozen corn
  • pulled pork
  • cooked cubed or shredded chicken
  • salt and pepper
  • hot sauce
  • you could also toss in some baby potatoes if you can’t live without them!

Instructions

The process for making Brunswick Stew on the stovetop or in the crockpot are almost the same. The onions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic are sauteed in a pan or pot. For the crockpot version, you’ll add that to the crockpot along with the remaining ingredients, then cook it on low heat for 4-5 hours.

If you’re making it on the stovetop, you’ll add everything but the pulled pork, salt, pepper, and hot sauce to the pot and simmer it for about 20 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until it’s all heated through.

a closeup of a pot of brunswick stew with a spoonful of stew coming out of the pot

What goes with Brunswick Stew?

With so much meat and vegetables, this recipe is already a complete meal. Still, you can’t go wrong with a loaf of crusty bread for sopping up the stew gravy. If you want to take it a step further, try it with this stuffed garlic bread!

But my personal favorite is cornbread, which is just so good with the barbecue flavored tomato base. I’ve even served it with Sweet Corn Cake, which is far from traditional but man, is it delicious! Either put a scoop directly on the stew when you serve it or keep it as a side dish.

How long does Brunswick Stew keep in the refrigerator?

The answer to this really depends on when you first cooked the pulled pork and chicken for the recipe. If it was cooked just before adding to the stew, then it should last about 5 days in the refrigerator. Subtract a day for each day past the day you cooked your meat, just to be on the safe side.

If we don’t finish all of the stew within a day or two, I freeze what’s left in an airtight container. It reheats beautifully! Sometimes I double the recipe just so I can freeze half of it.

Please let me know if you try this easy Southern Brunswick Stew recipe. I always enjoy seeing pics, so be sure to tag me @thewickednoodle on all social channels. Be sure to mention if you put your own spin on it, too!

a closeup of a pot of easy brunswick stew

Brunswick Stew

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

This easy Southern Brunswick Stew recipe is a great way to use leftover meat and it's on the dinner table in about half an hour!

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can white beans (or frozen lima beans)
  • 1 14.5 oz cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 lb pulled pork, room temperature
  • 2 cups cooked cubed or shredded chicken, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (start with 1/2 tsp and add more to taste)

Instructions

Stovetop Instructions

  1. Heat a stockpot over medium heat. Add the oil and, when it's shimmering, add the onions, celery, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about another minute.
  2. Add the beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, creamed corn, and frozen corn to the pot, then stir well. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the pulled pork and chicken and simmer for a few more minutes to heat it through. Add the salt and pepper, adding more if necessary. Add the hot sauce, adding more if you want a bit more spice (I usually go to 2 tsp but I'm crazy for spice).
  4. Ladle into bowls and serve with a crusty loaf of bread or cornbread.

Crockpot Instructions

  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and, when it's shimmering, add the onions, celery, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about another minute.
  2. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the crockpot. Cook on low for 4-5 hours.
  3. Ladle into bowls and serve with a crusty loaf of bread or cornbread.

    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 363Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 1388mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 7gSugar: 24gProtein: 23g

    This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.

    Kristy Bernardo
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