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Brunswick Stew

This flavor packed Brunswick Stew is a hearty meal that the whole family will love. It features pulled chicken, along with smoked pork and brisket combined with classic lima beans and corn. Serve it with a side of hot buttered cornbread for a down home supper any day of the week.


Easy Brunswick Stew Recipe

What is Brunswick Stew? Brunswick Stew is a thick tomato based stew that’s super popular in the South. It’s typically filled with a variety of meat and vegetables then served piping hot with cornbread. The town of Brunswick Georgia claims to be the original birthplace of this classic stew claiming that the first pot of Brunswick Stew dates back to the late 1800’s. There are many variations of Brunswick Stew all over the South with each one featuring it’s own flavor, thickness and nuances. Regardless, it has certainly earned its spot on the list of beloved Southern favorites and unlike the original that most often included squirrel or rabbit, it’s usually made with a combination of more commonly found meats. Read more about the twisted history of Brunswick Stew here on Southern Living.


How to Make the Best Brunswick Stew Recipe

  • Ingredients you’ll need to make homemade Brunswick Stew: Pulled pork, chopped smoked brisket, shredded chicken, butter, onion, garlic, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce, North Carolina style vinegar based barbecue sauce, Carolina style mustard barbecue sauce, seasoned salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, allspice, hot sauce, frozen baby lima beans, frozen corn, bay leaves and fresh thyme.
  • Kitchen tools you’ll need: A 6 quart Dutch oven or similar large pot, measuring cups and spoons, a sharp knife and cutting board, large spoon and ladle for serving.
  • Please note: The vinegar based barbecue sauce in this recipe isn’t sweet. The mustard based sauce does have a level of sweetness. These aren’t to be confused with a classic tomato based sauce that’s super sweet and thick and most often used for basting smoked meats.
  • Should you choose to use pulled pork with sauce, don’t sweat it, it’s fine. No other adjustments needed.
  • You may opt to use only chicken, only pulled pork or just beef brisket to switch up the meat combination to suit your taste.
  • I use frozen lima beans and corn in this recipe. There’s no need to thaw them prior to adding them to the pot.
  • You can use classic sweet tomato style barbecue sauce in place of either of the sauces. Should you choose to do so, you may have to adjust the amount.
  • Vinegar based barbecue sauce usually includes crushed red pepper flakes. This may add to the spice overall depending on the brand used.
  • While potatoes aren’t classic to the original, potatoes are commonly found in Brunswick Stew here in North Carolina. You can add peeled and diced potatoes to this stew 15 minutes before the end of cooking, if desired.
  • How do you make Crockpot Brunswick Stew? In a skillet on the stovetop, cook the onion and garlic in butter. Next, add to a 6 quart crockpot with the remaining ingredients. Mix to combine then cover and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  • Brunswick stew is best served with a side of cornbread, crackers, garlic bread or biscuits. Serve hot sauce on the side for those who’d like to add a little more spice to their serving.
  • Store Brunswick Stew chilled in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in single servings in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stovetop over medium heat.
  • You can freeze Brunswick Stew for up to 3 months.

More Easy Soups and Stew Recipes to Make




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Brunswick Stew Recipe

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: best-brunswick-stew-recipe, brunswick-stew, brunswick-stew-recipe
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 370kcal


  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • 1 lb shredded cooked chicken
  • 1/2 lb smoked pulled pork butt shredded
  • 1/2 lb smoked brisket chopped or shredded
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 14 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2-3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cup Carolina style Mustard barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup Carolina style vinegar based barbecue sauce
  • 3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 2 cups frozen baby lima beans
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme plus additional for garnishing
  • 2 medium bay leaves
  • tomato paste to thicken, optional
  • cornbread and hot sauce for serving


  • In a large 6 quart Dutch oven or similar size pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, cooking for 5 minutes or until softened and beginning to brown. Add garlic and fennel seed cooking for 1 minute longer.
  • To the pot add chicken, pulled pork, brisket, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, chicken stock, mustard barbecue sauce, vinegar barbecue sauce, Worcestershire, seasoned salt, black pepper, cayenne, lima beans, corn, thyme and bay leaves. Mix to combine.
  • Bring to a boil then immediately lower the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 50-60 minutes.
  • Uncover and check thickness, use two forks to shed chicken further. Add additional stock to thin or add tomato paste to thicken.
  • Remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs then serve hot with cornbread and hot sauce, garnished with additional thyme, if desired.


  • You can add 2 cups cubed russet potatoes to the pot 15 minutes prior to the end of cooking, if desired. 
  • Crockpot Brunswick Stew: In a skillet on the stovetop, cook the onion and garlic in butter. Next, add to a 6 quart crockpot with the remaining ingredients. Mix to combine then cover and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 370kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 1179mg | Potassium: 554mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 316IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!


  1. What brand barbecue sauce do you recommend instead of the two North Carolina sauce. Can’t find those in Georgia area

    1. Any Carolina Gold barbecue sauce would be great! It doesn’t have to be expensive at all. Otherwise, you can use your favorite brand of tomato based barbecue sauce to suit your family’s taste.

  2. 5 stars
    Hey Melissa!! Good to see this recipe. One thing I recall about the old time Maine homesteaders I worked with on their farm back in the 1900s was thumbing through a well worn cookbook of New England fare from the mid 1800s, in Katherine’s pantry, in which I found a recipe for Brunswick Stew. It was something like boil 3 or 4 kinds of game for several hours. And here’s the part I remember word for word – “And don’t you go cluttering it up with any of them herbs and spices.” Simple as that! Them old time yanks was kind of spare, I suppose.

    We got a Brunswick up here to. You come up and see us. Have a bowl o’ chowdah! And blessings in the new year!

    1. Hi Benn, I love it thanks for sharing your story. Brunswick Stew has so many whimsical stories attached to it and I always enjoy hearing them. I’d love to have a bowl of “chowdah” that sounds great. Thanks so much for stopping by for a visit.

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