Tasty Southern recipes can bring families together by enjoying homemade cooking at weeknight dinners, and this Georgia Brunswick stew recipe is no exception.  Pulled pork, chicken, tomatoes, and other veggies simmer together in this flavorful country comfort food.  May I have seconds, please?

Prep Time: 30 minutes
holding a bowl of Brunswick stew
Chicken, Main Course, Pork, Soups & Stews

Georgia Brunswick Stew

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This recipe was originally published on May 10, 2018.

Georgia Brunswick stew is so popular that in our coastal town of Brunswick, Georgia, the locals hold a Brunswick stew festival known as the Brunswick Rocking Stewbilee.  It started in 1987 and has been in the fall every year until recently, when they switched it to January due to Hurricanes Matthew and Irma.

holding a bowl of Brunswick stew

At the festival, local businesses and non-profits compete in a friendly competition to find out who has the best Brunswick stew recipe.  Most competitors also serve their favorite cornbread as the preferred side. 

bowl of Brunswick stew with plate of cornbread

What is Georgia Brunswick stew? 

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 stew 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.

What kind of meat do you use in a modern version of Brunswick stew?

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.

holding a spoonful of Brunswick stew

Can you freeze Brunswick stew?

Yes, you most definitely can; in fact, Brunswick stew freezes really well!  Just make sure to let the stew cool completely before freezing in airtight containers or zip-top freezer bags.

What do you serve with Brunswick Stew?

If you’re in my area of coastal Georgia, you’ll find that the locals eat it with fresh cornbread.  Other Southern states are known to serve it with hush puppies, coleslaw, or pickles; the choice is yours.  If you’re really in a pinch, serve it with a thick slice of bread.

side view of Brunswick stew with cornbread

How to Make Georgia Brunswick Stew

You might be curious how to make Brunswick stew.  It’s really quite simple; it just has a lot of ingredients, but don’t let that scare you.  

First, gather the ingredients for the aromatics and the spices.  Chop the onion and mince the garlic.

spices and aromatics for Brunswick stew

Next, gather the rest of the ingredients: chicken drippings and broth, plus the pulled meat and the veggies.

Chop up the fresh vine ripened tomatoes, and weigh the pulled chicken and pulled pork.

meat, veggies, and liquids for 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.

cooking onions in a large pot

Reduce the heat to medium low and add the spices, liquid smoke, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauce.  Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

adding spices to cooked onions in a pot

Pour in the two kinds of BBQ sauce (one mustard style and the other a vinegar style).

adding barbecue sauce to onions in a large pot

Add the pulled chicken and the pulled pork. 

adding shredded chicken and pulled pork to a pot

Stir well to coat the meat.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes on medium low heat, stirring occasionally.

mixing shredded meat and seasonings in a large pot

Pour in the drippings from the roasted chicken.  If you don’t have any, use chicken broth or chicken stock.

pouring chicken drippings into a pot

Pour in the chicken stock.

pouring chicken broth into a pot

Stir with a large wooden spoon before adding the canned and fresh tomatoes.

dumping chopped tomatoes into a pot

Finish by mixing in the yellow corn and Lima beans.  Cover and bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring every so often to prevent the stew from burning.  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.

adding tomatoes, butter beans, and corn to Brunswick stew

Once it’s done cooking, transfer most of the soup to a Dutch oven so it can fit in the fridge easier.

cooked Brunswick stew in a pot

Pro Tips for Making Brunswick Stew

  • Want thicker stew? Cut back on the chicken stock or let the stew simmer with the lid off until the excess liquid has evaporated.
  • Modern meat choices? Use fresh or frozen pulled pork and chicken, or smoked pulled pork and chicken from a BBQ place.
  • Traditional meat choices?  Use squirrel, rabbit, possum, or hog head; just let the meat simmer longer.
  • Need it sweeter?  Add a bit of sugar.  If you accidentally added too much sugar, add some vinegar to correct it.
  • Want other vegetables?  Add sliced okra or diced potatoes.
  • Need to freeze it?  Put in an airtight container or zip top freezer bag for up to two months.
  • 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.

If you have never tried a hot bowl of Georgia-style Brunswick stew, I encourage you to make it soon.  It’s so good, you’ll want seconds!

Our Go-To Kitchen Tools for Making Brunswick Stew

Your family will love this Georgia Brunswick stew along with these other Southern recipes.

skillet cornbread with a butter dish and kitchen towel person holding a ratafia biscuit above a plate of banana pudding three glasses of Southern sweet tea with sugar cubes, lemon, and mint

  • Skillet Cornbread: this slightly sweet, crumbly cornbread is sure to be a hit when it’s served with Brunswick stew or chili.
  • No Bake Homemade Banana Pudding: this refreshing Southern dessert is made of velvety vanilla pudding, fresh bananas, cookies, and whipped cream.
  • Southern Sweet Tea: learn how to make your sweet tea like a true Southerner with this super easy recipe.

The pleasure of a 5-star review of this Georgia Brunswick stew would be greatly appreciated.

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holding a bowl of Brunswick stew

Georgia Brunswick Stew


  • Author: Brooke
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 18 cups 1x

Description

Tasty Southern recipes can bring families together by enjoying homemade cooking at weeknight dinners, and this Georgia Brunswick stew recipe is no exception.  Pulled pork, chicken, tomatoes, and other veggies simmer together in this flavorful country comfort food.  May I have seconds, please?


Scale

Ingredients

For the Aromatics

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (30 ml)
  • 3 cups yellow onion, diced (432g)
  • 4 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced

For the Spices

  • 5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (75 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon ground allspice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce, like Tabasco
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup Carolina vinegar style tangy BBQ sauce, like Heinz (354 ml)
  • 1 1/2 cup Carolina mustard style BBQ sauce, like Heinz (354 ml)

For the Meat

  • 1 pound pulled chicken, fresh or frozen (453g)
  • 1 pound pulled pork, fresh or frozen (453g)
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock (946 ml)
  • 3 cups chicken drippings from two roasted chickens, fat removed (or substitute with additional chicken stock) (709 ml)

For the Veggies

  • 48 ounces canned crushed tomatoes, no salt added (1.36 kg)
  • 4 cups vine ripe tomatoes (6 medium) (686g)
  • 4 cups yellow corn kernels, fresh or frozen (optional) (600g)
  • 4 cups baby lima beans, fresh or frozen (704g)

Instructions

Preparing the Aromatics

  1. Chop the onions and mince the garlic.
  2. 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 Brunswick Stew

  1. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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

  1. While the meat is simmering, dice the fresh tomatoes.
  2. 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.  I let mine simmer for 3 hours so the flavors could meld and the lima beans could soften.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.  Just note that this recipe is on the upper end of the mild range.
  4. Serve immediately with cornbread and sweet tea or let it cool and refrigerate.

Notes

  • The pleasure of a 5-star review for this Georgia Brunswick stew recipe would be greatly appreciated.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: southern, georgia

8 thoughts on “Georgia Brunswick Stew

  1. I love this stew! It tasted more vinegary the next day. I love the smoky flavor and enjoy eating this with cornbread.🌽 It tastes good with the pulled pork and chicken. The photos are great too!

  2. Squirrel is the genuine meat down here in Collins, GA…the season starts in December and runs through February. Overall, a very nice recipe.

  3. It’s now 2/25/19 and I found in my freezer an already cooked Hormel ham so I decided it’s time for more of this wonderful “stew/soup”. I made my own BBQ sauce, since I didn’t plan ahead for this, but I have frozen corn and cans and cans of butter beans, so off and running. Last time I used Smoked Pork Butt but this time have the ham, so I added lots of liquid smoke to make up the difference. I wanted my ham to be very soft, so put it into a slow cooker and cooked until soft; then I ground it. I also put a hand wand (immersion blender) in my soup/stew at the end, leaving some pieces so I don’t make it pure liquid. I have two large pots this time so when my neighbor comes over, they get their share and the freezer gets lots. For anyone that has never had it, think Pork BBQ sandwich – that’s what this tastes like.

  4. Quite a few years ago my son brought up to me in NJ from Georgia a container of Brunswick Stew. I started mixing things together after tasting this wonderful elixir and matched it fairly well. Oh, that was so many years ago. All of a sudden I have this desire for it so started looking up recipes – I since learned what it was called – and your recipe seemed to be the closest to what I remember. I just finished a jumbo pot full – Guess I have about 12 quarts now. In NJ we can purchase a special “Pork Shoulder Butt” which is smoked and it has the flavor for those of us who don’t have smokers. Anyway, I’m waiting for this delicious recipe of yours to cool so I can put up in containers in the freezer. Naturally as soon as my neighbor comes over, she gets to take home about 3 quarts for her freezer. Your recipe is excellent – I just made to taste as far as measuring since we don’t have the exact ingredients out here in rural Illinois where I now live – but since I order my Pork Butt from NJ I have the correct meat. Freidrich Pork Butt is the correct one in case you are interested. You can’t get it here in the mid-west.

    1. I’m glad this recipe was close to what you remember from the Brunswick Stew your son brought to you from GA.
      I hope you and your neighbor enjoys it as much as my family does. Thanks for the tip of the smoked pork butt.

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