This is a traditional Brunswick stew recipe that uses leftover pulled pork and shredded chicken. This recipe makes great use of pantry staple items. It is easily put together to simmer on the stove or oven freeing you up to do other things while it cooks. A hearty meat and potato dish this makes great use of leftover produce.
Why this works
- Pantry staples - you can find a lot of ingredients for this Brunswick stew recipe in your fridge or pantry.
- Use your leftovers - this is a great way to use leftover pulled pork and chicken!
- Dump-and-simmer - this is pretty much a dump everything in and just let it cook away recipe. So easy!
Ingredients you will need
Here is a quick snapshot of the ingredients you'll need for this recipe. Scroll to the recipe card where you will find the exact measurements.
- Chicken thighs - I used skin-on, bone-in thighs for this recipe. You can use any chicken you have on hand though, and can even use up already cooked chicken for this recipe.
- Pulled pork - this is a great way to use up leftover pulled pork. Our pork was seasoned with our North Carolina BBQ sauce during the cooking process.
- Hot sauce - I used Crystal's hot sauce, but Tabasco or any other basic red hot sauce can be used.
- BBQ sauce - we like to use Stubbs but you can definitely use your favorite.
- Meat - the beautiful thing about Brunswick stew is that it is traditionally made with two types of meat. You can use what you have on hand like beef, rabbit, pork, chicken, or turkey. Only your imagination or your refrigerator can limit you.
- Vegetables - lima beans and corn are what is commonly used but you can use butter beans, peas, and green beans as well. Potatoes are great if you have them and will add to the heartiness of the dish, but can be left out if you don't have any. Okra is also commonly added to this recipe.
How to make this
Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. I used an enameled Dutch oven for this recipe as it is a tomato-based dish.
Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken thighs. Add a small amount of oil to the pan, and brown both sides of the chicken. Once finished remove to plate.
Add the diced onion and sliced celery to the pot. Saute until the onions are softened, or about 3-5 minutes. Add minced garlic, and cook until fragrant or about 30 seconds.
Add the diced tomatoes and chicken broth to the pot. Follow this with the corn and lima beans, bay leaves, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, BBQ sauce, and Worcestershire sauce then stir.
To this add the pulled pork, and cubed potatoes then stir. All the ingredients should be covered. If they are not then add a little water to cover.
Bring the Dutch oven to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for at least one hour. You can simmer this up to 2-3 hours if you like.
Prior to serving remove the chicken thighs to a plate. Remove skin, de-bone, and shred the chicken. Return the cooked chicken to the pot for serving.
If you used cooked chicken for your Brunswick stew recipe instead of raw you can simmer this on the stove once it comes to a boil for about 20 minutes then serve for a quicker dinner.
This recipe can easily be made on the grill, smoker, oven, or outdoor Dutch oven. Follow directions but once the Brunswick stew comes to a boil, cover, and cook in the grill at 325- to 350- degrees for an hour. Or, place in the lower third of a preheated 325-degree for the same amount of time.
To cook in a Dutch oven outside, prepare about 30 coals in your chimney starter. Place about 15-20 coals beneath the Dutch oven, and prepare the stew as directed. Once the stew is at a boil cover with lid, and place about 10 coals around the top edge of the pot. Cook for about one hour turning once through cooking, and stirring ingredients.
It was always a tomato-based stew made with leftover smoked meats along with small game like rabbit, squirrel, or opossum. It included various types of beans and okra.
If you've finished your stew but it is a bit watery you can thicken with a bit of cornstarch slurry. Mix equal parts of water with cornstarch to make this. Be careful as you add it by only adding a small amount at a time then stirring to see how thick it gets.
This dish is firmly rooted in Southern cuisine culture. However, exactly where it originated from Brunswick, Georgia to Virginia and the mountains of North Carolina are hotly debated with each state laying came to the original recipe.
This Brunswick stew recipe is a very hearty meal and is best served with a simple salad and a piece of buttered cornbread. If you skipped the cubed potatoes you can certainly serve this over mashed potatoes as well. You know another way to use up leftover pulled pork is for Nacho's!
Storage & Reheating
Serve immediately or store up to one week in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Tomato-based dishes like this Brunswick stew recipe that are cooked in cast iron need to be removed to another container quickly after cooking to prevent the food from taking on a metallic taste.
Brunswick stew can be frozen in freezer containers or freezer bags for up to 4 months.
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Brunswick Stew Recipe
- 2 ½ pounds chicken thighs skin-on or bone-in, can substitute any other cut or cooked chicken
- 1 onion diced
- 2 ribs celery sliced
- 1 Tablespoon garlic minced, heaping
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 ½ cups corn frozen, fresh, or canned
- 1 ½ cups lima beans frozen or canned, can substitute butter beans
- 1 cup BBQ sauce
- 2 cups leftover pulled pork can substitute with smoked turkey, brisket, or rib meat
- 1 ½ cups potatoes unpeeled and cubed, Yukon gold or red
- 1 Tablespoon hot sauce Crystals or your favorite
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Preheat a large Dutch oven pot over medium heat. Add a small amount of cooking oil to pot. Add in onions and celery then cook until softened.
- Add minced garlic and saute until fragrant or about 30 seconds.
- Add all remaining ingredients, and stir. Bring to a boil, and then turn down so the stew simmers. Cover and cook for one hour.
- This stew can be simmered for 1-3 hours if desired.
- Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to one week. Can be frozen for up to four months.
- Serve with a salad or buttered cornbread.