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Brunswick Stew

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  10 min
  • Cook Time:  1 hr 30 min
  • Calories: 503
a bowl of homemade Brunswick stew with a spoon next to a small bowl of cracked pepper for serving
Photography by Gayle McLeod

One-pot Southern comfort can be found in this cozy, flavor-packed, traditional stew with tender veggies and hearty chicken thighs.

Our Recipe For Brunswick Stew!

Brunswick stew is in a category of its own. Packed full of yellow corn, creamy lima beans, chunky potatoes, and meaty chicken thighs, it’s the only thing you need for a blustery cold day. Barbeque sauce lends its smokiness to the complex and rich tomato-based gravy. We like to use a North-Carolina style BBQ sauce which usually has a nice balance of tang from the vinegar and sweetness from the sugar. What results is a flavorful, hearty traditional southern stew, perfect for a crowd.

ingredients for Brunswick stew in bowls including spices, corn, lima beans, chicken thighs, potatoes and canned tomatoes

What's in Brunswick Stew?

And what was Brunswick stew originally made with? Brunswick stew is a classic southern stew filled with local vegetables and meats. Brunswick stew ingredients originally comprised of gamier cuts of meat such as squirrel, rabbit, and opossum, but today is made with chicken or smoked pork.

In our recipe for Brunswick stew, you’ll need the following:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil

  • Yellow onion

  • Garlic cloves

  • Fire roasted tomatoes

  • Russet potatoes

  • Chicken stock

  • Barbecue sauce - to be closer to the original recipe, choose a vinegar-based North Carolina-style sauce

  • Worcestershire sauce

  • Brown sugar (optional)

  • Cayenne pepper

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly cracked black pepper

  • Bay leaves

  • Chicken thighs

  • Corn

  • Lima Beans

onions and garlic being cooked in olive oil in a large pot for making Brunswick Stew
onion, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, chicken stock, bbq sauce, Worcestershire, brown sugar, spices and chicken thighs in a pot
onion, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, chicken stock, bbq sauce, Worcestershire, brown sugar, spices and chicken thighs in a pot
onion, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, chicken stock, bbq sauce, Worcestershire, brown sugar, spices and chicken thighs in a pot

Why Is It Called Brunswick stew?

Traditional Brunswick stew is said to originate in Brunswick, Georgia, in 1898. Now, a 25-gallon black iron pot sits to commemorate the first meal. But there has been rivalry with Brunswick County, Virginia, with written records dating 70 or more years back citing it as the birthplace of Brunswick stew recipes. It was created to utilize small game that was hunted. While both places claim it, there is only one thing we know for sure; it’s delicious!

corn and lima beans being added to a pot with the remaining ingredients for Brunswick Stew
a pot of homemade Brunswick Stew with a ladle scooping a serving out

What to serve with Brunswick stew

While this one-pot is comforting all on its own, we like to pair Homemade Cornbread or Cheddar Bay Biscuits and Classic Coleslaw. Cornbread with Creamed Corn and Jalapeño-Infused Honey, Spoon Bread, and Sourdough are also good options to sop up the deliciously thick and velvety gravy. We also love tangy Easy Homemade Pickles or Homemade Dill Pickles to complement the stew. On days we’re looking to incorporate more veggies, we like to add a side salad like a Classic Cobb with Buttermilk Dressing. To complete the southern-style meal, we like to end it with a big spoon of Fresh Berry Cobbler or a slice of Peach Pie.

How to Make Brunswick stew

Follow these step-by-step instructions for how to make the best Brunswick stew recipe:

  1. Cook the onions and release the flavor! When the oil glistens, add in the onions and then the garlic until fragrant.

  2. Make the base! Combine the tomatoes, potatoes, BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and chicken thighs. Simmer uncovered for an hour until the chicken is stewed and cooked through and the potatoes begin to soften. Remove the chicken and smash the potatoes using the back of a wooden spoon to thicken the stew.

  3. Shred the chicken! You’re looking for large thick, long pieces of chicken to give it a nice bite. Return the chicken to the pot. Add in the corn and lima beans here, too. Simmer until thick.

  4. Season with salt and pepper to your taste, and serve! Leftovers will last for up to 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge and only gets better with time. Enjoy.

a pot of homemade Brunswick Stew with a ladle scooping a serving out
a bowl of homemade Brunswick stew with a spoon next to a small bowl of cracked pepper for serving and a plate of cornbread

Tools You’ll Need for Easy Brunswick Stew Recipe

Keep Warm with Hearty Stews!

Like soups, stews are a staple once the weather starts to turn chilly. They’re usually pretty simple, with most of the time going to cooking, and really can be made with what you have on hand! Some of our favorites are:

a bowl of homemade Brunswick stew with a spoon next to a small bowl of cracked pepper for serving and a plate of cornbread

One Pot Deliciousness

Simple and oh-so-cozy, how did your Brunswick stew turn out? We want to know! Be sure to tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Brunswick Stew

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  10 min
  • Cook Time:  1 hr 30 min
  • Calories: 503

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5-oz) diced can fire roasted tomatoes,
  • 1 ½ pounds russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 ½ cups barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 ½ cups frozen corn
  • 1 ½ cups frozen lima beans
  • Cornbread or biscuits, for serving

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once the oil is glistening, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute more.

  2. Add the tomatoes, potatoes, chicken stock, bbq sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and chicken thighs. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through, potatoes are very soft, and soup has slightly thickened, about 1 hour.

  3. Remove chicken from the pot and transfer to a cutting board.

  4. Using the back of a wooden spoon, smash the potatoes against the side of the pot and stir to incorporate.

  5. Using two forks, shred the chicken and return to the pot along with the corn and lima beans. Return the soup to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until the lima beans are tender and the soup is thickened further by the smashed potatoes , about another 10 minutes.

  6. Season to taste with more salt and pepper and serve with cornbread or biscuits on the side. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories503
  • Protein33 g
  • Carbohydrates61 g
  • Total Fat18 g
  • Dietary Fiber5 g
  • Cholesterol100 mg
  • sodium1048 mg
  • Total Sugars29 g

Brunswick Stew

Questions & Reviews

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  • Jenn D

    This stew was so delicious. My family adored it and everyone got seconds!

    Thanks Jenn!