Brunswick Stew is the stew you never knew you needed in your life. It’s like the ultimate comfort food (BBQ) meets the other ultimate comfort food (stew) and has a comfort food baby. It’s hearty, it’s delicious, and it’s a perfect way to use up leftover BBQ.
What is Brunswick Stew?
Brunswick stew is a BBQ stew with a tomato base, vegetables, and plenty of meat. There are many variations to this simple stew, and it’s extremely versatile. I feel like Brunswick stew is the most common sense solution for any leftover BBQ you’ve got sitting around after a weekend of smoking.
In fact, the origins of Brunswick stew are shrouded in mystery, but I can just imagine some pit master having a crummy day of sales in his restaurant and contemplating what he can possibly do with all of his leftover smoked meat. Enter Brunswick stew! A stew packed full of meat, veggies, and more.
This stew is no frills, no fuss, a little of this, a little of that, and loads of comforting smoky BBQ flavor. Hunters have been heating up by bowls of this stew forever! So if you have BBQ leftovers just sitting around, this recipe will be your saving grace. Just dump, simmer, and enjoy.
As mentioned in the previous section, Brunswick stew is basically a stew of BBQ leftovers. This particular recipe is made with chicken thighs, pulled pork, and brisket (we had A LOT of leftovers this weekend).
Here’s the deal. If you don’t have a fridge teeming with 3 different kinds of smoked meat leftovers, don’t stress yourself out about it! You can still make a killer Brunswick stew by substituting any of the smoked meats in the recipe as follows:
- No smoked brisket? Sub in either stew meat (and increase the cooking time to 3 hours) or ground beef.
- No pulled pork? Use ground pork or cubed pork loin chops.
- No grilled chicken thighs? Just cook some up in the pan before you stir in the onions, celery, and peppers.
This Brunswick stew was made for customization and substitutions. It’s all about making awesome stew with what you’ve got on hand. Some people swear by throwing some frozen lima beans in the mix (my husband would have boycotted if I’d have even tried it, his hatred for lima beans traces back to some form of childhood trauma). Other people like to mix in some diced potatoes (that one I could get behind, but I was out of potatoes).
Basically, this is a simple recipe. Adapt away, just remember to add in lots and lots of meat. Meat (and better yet, smoked meat) takes center stage in this stew, so don’t hold back when adding in all that meaty goodness.
How to Make Brunswick Stew
Here’s the basics on making Brunswick stew. Remember: This is a no-frills recipe that you really can’t mess up, so go with it and let those flavors soar.
Brunswick stew is amazing cooked in a dutch oven, but you can use whatever you have on hand (pot on the stove works well too). Begin by heating olive oil and veggies (I used onion, celery, and bell pepper) and add in some fresh garlic.
Next up, you’ll add in all your leftover BBQ. For this recipe I went all out with leftover chicken thighs, smoked pulled pork, and smoked brisket, but you can use whatever you have on hand. Then add in all the goodies, including chicken stock, canned tomatoes, ketchup, corn, BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and salt and pepper (to taste).
Reduce the heat and let the stew simmer for a good while, approximately 45 minutes. You can cook longer if needed for the stew to thicken.
I like to serve this stew immediately with some good, crusty bread. If you have leftovers, this stew can be frozen and enjoyed at a later time! Oh, BBQ. You’re the gift that keeps on giving.
More Soup Recipes
Check out these other tasty soup recipes from Hey Grill Hey. They’re perfect for a nice, chilly evening in with your family.
Brunswick Stew Recipe
Follow the recipe, and I’ll teach you the simple steps to making your own Brunswick stew at home. Hey Grill Hey is dedicated to help you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero. You can find more of my smoking and grilling recipes and videos on YouTube, Instagram, or our Facebook Page.
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Brunswick Stew (AKA BBQ Stew)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion (chopped)
- 1 red bell pepper (diced)
- 2 stalks celery (chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (finely minced)
- 1 pound grilled chicken thighs (diced)
- 1/2 pound smoked pulled pork
- 1/2 pound smoked brisket (chopped)
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 3 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes (with liquid)
- 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- hot sauce to taste
- In a large Dutch oven, heat your olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onions, bell pepper, and celery until soft (about 10 minutes). Stir in the garlic and cook another 3-4 minutes.
- Slowly stir in the chicken thighs, brisket, and pulled pork. Pour in the chicken stock, canned tomatoes, corn, ketchup, BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and hot sauce.
- Bring the stew to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Place a lid on the pot and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes or until thickened to desired consistency.
- Serve warm with crusty bread.
**This post was originally published February 2017. It has since been updated with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.