The Country Cook: Brunswick Stew

Monday, November 5, 2012

Brunswick Stew

Brunswick Stew. The story is told that it was invented right here in Virginia. Brunswick County, to be exact. So most folks here in Virginia lay claim to this hearty stew. Although, I've had the discussion with some friends in Georgia who think it was invented there. Either way, it's a great, hearty, rib-sticking stew that is known very well here in the South. Like any good, old recipe with lots of history, it has many, many variations. Kinda like barbecue.
Brunswick stew is a tomato based stew that contains different types of vegetables and beans.  It usually has a smoky flavor and contains one or more types of meat.  It's kinda like a vegetable soup with meat- only thicker. Back in the the day, this stew was probably made with whatever hunters could get their hands on; rabbit or deer. I've had many versions that included chicken and pork.   

When it comes to the veggies in this, I'll say that I really love it with okra. However, I still haven't quite gotten my hubby to enjoy okra as much as I do. So, the recipe I'm sharing today is one I created to appeal to a broader range of tastes. But if your family loves okra, please feel free to add that in here since it is traditional in this recipe.
2 lbs. ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 (18 oz.) bottle barbecue sauce
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cans corn, drained well
1 can northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, undrained
5 cups beef broth (or stock)

In a large pot, brown and crumble ground beef along with diced onions over medium heat.
While the meat is browning, peel and cube the potatoes.
 And drain and rinse the northern beans.
 I don't drain and rinse my pinto beans. I like to get the kind that is seasoned with pork. 
So I want to keep that yummy pork flavor and not rinse it away.
 Make sure to drain the corn too.
When the ground beef is cooked, drain excess grease.
Put ground beef back into large pot and start adding all the other ingredients. Add in can of crushed tomatoes.
 Add in can of pinto beans along with drained northern beans and corn.
 Now add 5 cups of beef broth.
 Add in diced potatoes and bottle of barbecue sauce.
Give it all a good stir. It looks and smells so good at this point. Now, all you really need to do is get it all warmed up and make sure the potatoes are cooked.
This is why you need a large pot because it will be full. Cover pot and simmer on medium heat for about 30 minutes (until your potatoes are fork tender). Or, you can put all of it in the crock pot to finish cooking and keep warm until you are ready to eat (about 4 hours on the low setting).
Serve with crackers.
Cook's Note: If you want to use chicken or other white meat with this, just substitute the beef broth with chicken broth.


  1. Oh yummy! We will be trying this very soon

  2. Such a warm and comforting dish. Perfect for this cold weather!

  3. Oh YUMMM! Comfort food at its finest. I love every one of these flavors...mixed together would make it awesome.

  4. Hot damn, this looks delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  5. I have never been a fan of Brunswick Stew, but I will be trying this one1 Yummy!!

  6. I would make a gianormous batch of this to serve for a game day party!

  7. was delicious! only change i did was used 2 drained cans of diced potatoes to save time.

  8. I found your website by searching for potato soup then couldn't stop looking at all the poke cake recipes! :D I needed a recipe for ground beef for dinner tonight cause I know my family was getting tired of spaghetti! I knew this was the recipe for me when I saw the Sweet Baby Ray's!! I've got it in the crockpot now and it looks, smells and tastes delicious!

  9. I used baby ray's honey BBQ sauce and it is goood, taste like a slow cooked BBQ stew. My sister liked it, but my brother could only taste the BBQ sauce. I see original was used here. So is honey BBQ too strong or is it suppose to be that way?

    I need to try it with a steak or roast for shredded instead of ground beef now. ^_^

  10. Yummy!
    I really love the recipes in your blog. They look delicious and easy to follow.
    This stew stuns me. I will do it tonight.

  11. This looks so yummy - going on my Sunday Soup Supper list STAT. Can't wait to try it this weekend.

    I never heard of it - maybe it's a southern (like you said Virginia) thing? Def. not a Minnesota thing - though a hearty warm soup is just what we need in the winter! :)

  12. as you stated early on , we used Rabbit ( taste like sweet chicken ) , an Squirrel ( sweet pork ) ,,, an homemade biscuits , an Granny was from Georgia...... my my it was good we would eat till we felt like we would be sick ,,, She would just laugh ....

  13. This looks like a great quick and easy recipe. I am from Georgia and Brunswick Stew is definitely a southern thing. I LOVE it and am therefore VERY snobby about my Brunswick Stew. I use cooked chopped chicken, smoked pork butt, ground pork, and ground chuck. I use baby lima's in mine but would never add okra.

  14. We made this tonight and I thought it was scrumptious!! The potatoes needed a little extra boiling time because they were not done after 30 minutes. My husband has been eating this for years from a restaurant in GA and he said it is supposed to look like hash...? Mine wasn't too "hashy." I love your site and your recipes are so great and easy to follow. Thank you for sharing your gift!! <3

  15. YOU know what I like about your recipes? they are MEGA EASY - my Brunswick stew recipes take ALL DAY LONG to make and are expensive to make - this is the time of year when I live off soups and stews - that with some cornbread or homemade biscuits & honey - this is PERFECT when I don't have one planned and want something to just throw together (and Sweet Baby Rays is the ONLY bbq sauce served in this house) another of my winter favorites is baked potato soup OMG - artery hardening and delicious on a cold winter day ... I use milk, butter sour cream, cream cheese, grated cheddar, chives sauteed onions vegan bacon flavored bits and potatoes chunked and lightly smashed (meat eaters can use real bacon) a loaf of homemade cheddar onion bread - seriously to die for

  16. this is on the stove right now:)

  17. I made this and it was very good. The only changes I made was I added lima beans and used chicken instead of ground beef.

  18. I made this for supper tonight. Slow cooked it all day in my crock pot. It was sooo warm and comforting on a cold day as today. I agree it definitely has a smokey flavor. The only difference I made was added a green pepper. My husband and I loved it. A super stew recipe for a cold Winter day. Thanks :)

  19. This looks so good but my husband is picky about tomatoes. Could. Use tomato paste or sauce as a substitute?

  20. I made this tonight and it was beyond amazing. Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe. My husband is a picky eater and he had two huge bowls of this!!!

  21. I made this and messed up by putting too much BBQ sauce it says on the recipe list to use 28 oz BBQ sauce and I used a little more than that (oops) when it really means to say 18oz!

  22. Made this tonight with a few changes, used tomato paste, only half of the BBQ sauce, Bushes baked beans and a dash of hot sauce. I left out the northern/pinto beans my hubby doesn't like them. It was yummy! Thanks for the wonderful meal ideas.

  23. I made this and everyone loved it! I had extra shredded chicken in the fridge and added that in addition to the ground meat. It made so much I got to freeze half of it :) thanks for posting!!!

  24. This turned out perfect and is great for a make ahead freezer meal!


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