You've got to try our Georgia Brunswick stew. It's full of tender pulled pork, juicy chicken, tomatoes, and a bunch of veggies brought together into one cozy dish. The rich flavors and tempting aroma of this stew will win over the whole family in a flash!
Georgia Brunswick stew is a thick, tomato-based stew made with smoked pork and chicken with corn and butter beans. It's tangy, bright and full of flavor, and it isn't too spicy.
There is a Brunswick stew rivalry between Brunswick County, Virginia and Brunswick, Georgia about which place had the first recipe. There seems to be more written evidence that it started in Virginia, but most food critics can attest that the Georgians have perfected the recipe.
Georgia Brunswick stew is so popular that in our coastal town of Brunswick, Georgia, the locals hold an annual Brunswick stew festival known as the Brunswick Rocking Stewbilee.
Why This Recipe Works
- Our Georgia Brunswick stew starts building the flavor by sautéing the aromatics, and then continues building the flavor by blooming the spices and adding the flavorings.
- It uses two kinds of meat (pulled pork and pulled chicken) that is infused the with the spices and flavorings before adding the rest of the ingredients.
- It has the right balance of flavors and textures. It's thick, and full of meat and veggies. It's tangy, bright, full or flavor, and isn't too spicy, so it's perfect for the whole family.
Our Georgia Brunswick stew uses ingredients that are easy to find at most large grocery stores. Let's talk about some of the key ingredients.
- Aromatics: We use yellow onion and freshly minced garlic.
- Spices: We use freshly cracked black pepper, salt and ground allspice.
- Flavorings: We use Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, hot sauce and two different kinds of BBQ sauce: vinegar and mustard style.
- Meat: We use equal amounts of pulled pork and pulled chicken.
- Vegetables: We use fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes, yellow corn and butter beans.
- Liquids: We use reduced sodium chicken stock.
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- Want it thicker? Cut back on the chicken stock or let it simmer with the lid off until the excess liquid has evaporated.
- Need it sweeter? Add a bit of sugar. If you accidentally added too much sugar, add some vinegar or lemon juice and a pinch of salt to correct it.
- Want other vegetables? Add sliced okra or diced potatoes.
- Need to lower the sodium? Use unsalted chicken broth and low sodium BBQ sauce.
- Need it spicier? Increase the Tabasco sauce to a tablespoon and add some crushed red pepper flakes so the Georgia Brunswick stew is just right.
How to Make Georgia Brunswick Stew
- Heat up the oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat until shimmering. Sauté the onion until soft, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant. (Image 1)
- Reduce the heat to medium low and add the spices, liquid smoke, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauce. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Image 2)
- Pour in the two kinds of BBQ sauce (one mustard style and the other a vinegar style). (Image 3)
- Add the pulled chicken and the pulled pork. (Image 4)
- Stir well to coat the meat. Cover and cook for 10 minutes on medium low heat, stirring occasionally. (Image 5)
- Pour in the drippings from the roasted chicken and the chicken stock. (Image 6)
- Stir everything together with a large wooden spoon, then add the canned and fresh tomatoes. (Image 7)
- Mix in the yellow corn and butter beans. Cover and bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring every so often to prevent it from burning. (Image 8)
- Once it starts to boil, lower the heat to medium low. Uncover the pot and let it simmer for at least 1 hour, stirring every 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings so the Georgia Brunswick stew is to your liking. (Image 9)
- Serve the Brunswick stew in a bowl with cornbread on the side. (Image 10)
It's a thick tomato-based stew that features smoked pork and chicken with corn and butter beans. Each family and restaurant makes it a little bit different by adding their own unique twist. Some is sweeter, some is tangier, and some is spicier. You'll find our version is mild/medium spiciness, tangy, and full of meat and veggies.
The hardest thing to decide is what kind of meat you will use. You can choose to make your own pulled pork and pulled chicken, or purchase smoked pork and smoked chicken from a local BBQ place--it's up to you. If you're cooking your own meat, buy a Boston butt (pork shoulder) and a whole chicken. Historically, Georgia Brunswick stew was made with game meat like squirrel, rabbit or opossum.
Yes, you most definitely can; in fact, Brunswick stew freezes really well! Just make sure to let it cool completely before freezing in airtight containers or zip-top freezer bags.
If each person gets a 6 ounce serving size, it will feed 20 people.
- Meat choices: Use fresh or frozen pulled pork and chicken, or smoked pulled pork and chicken from a BBQ place.
- Freeze: Put in an airtight container or zip top freezer bag for up to two months.
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Georgia Brunswick Stew
For the Aromatics
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cups yellow onion, diced
- 4 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
For the Spices
For the Meat
For the Veggies
- 48 ounces canned crushed tomatoes, no salt added
- 4 cups vine ripe tomatoes, 6 medium
- 4 cups yellow corn kernels, fresh or frozen (optional)
- 4 cups baby butter beans, fresh or frozen
Preparing the Aromatics
- Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat until shimmering. Saute the onions for a few minutes until soft, stirring occasionally, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring constantly.
Seasoning the Georgia Brunswick Stew
- Lower the heat to medium-low and stir in the first 6 spices. Let cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, then add the two BBQ sauces.
Adding in the Meat & Stock
- Add in all the meat, and stir well to coat the meat in the spices and BBQ sauce. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. This step makes the meat more flavorful.
- Pour in the chicken stock and drippings from the roasted chicken. (If you don't have any chicken drippings, just use additional chicken stock.)
Mixing in the Veggies
- Increase the heat to medium high, then add the canned and fresh tomatoes, corn, and butter beans to the stew. Cover and bring to a boil, stirring every few minutes to prevent the bottom from burning. This should take about 15 minutes. Once it starts to boil, stir and lower the heat to medium-low, uncover, and simmer for at least an hour to up to 3 hours so the flavors can meld.
- Taste the Georgia Brunswick stew and adjust seasonings as desired. Just note that this recipe is on the upper end of the mild range.
- Serve the Georgia Brunswick stew while it's still hot with fresh cornbread and homemade sweet tea.
- Have leftovers that need freezing? Allow the Georgia Brunswick stew to cool then place in an airtight container or zip top freezer bag for up to two months.
- Use smoked pork and smoked chicken or pulled pork and pulled chicken.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.