Brunswick Stew

It’s not often you get to include BBQ sauce in a stew!  This Brunswick Stew is loaded with smoked meats and veggies – perfect comfort food for a cold winter night!

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It's not often you get to include BBQ sauce in a stew!  This Brunswick Stew is loaded with smoked meats and veggies - perfect comfort food for a cold winter night!It’s no secret that I love my grills (yes, grills with an “s”) and my smoker.  We eat outside almost every night during the summer.  Summers in upstate New York are way too short, so we make sure to enjoy every single minute!  (As a Southern boy, I’m accustomed to summers beginning in April and ending in November.  Heck, I remember eating Thanksgiving turkey outside in shorts one year.)

Once winter hits, the grilling and smoking fall back a bit.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’ll still shovel a path through the snow to the grill.  I just won’t do it every night.  Instead, I spend almost every Fall weekend smoking all sorts of various meats, and then we vacuum-seal and freeze it for use on cold winter nights.  That way, we can still enjoy the outdoor flavor without having to put on snowboots to get to the grill.  By the end of October, our freezer is packed full of Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork and Smoked Brisket.  I can’t do much to stop the snow, but I can at least arm myself with delicious smoked meats to last through the winter!

It's not often you get to include BBQ sauce in a stew!  This Brunswick Stew is loaded with smoked meats and veggies - perfect comfort food for a cold winter night!Brunswick Stew

Winter is soups and stews season in our house, and one of our favorites is this Brunswick Stew.  Brunswick Stew is a traditional Southern dish, although it’s roots seem to be a bit murky.  Both Virginia and Georgia claim ownership for the creation of this dish.  Personally, I don’t care where it was created!  Brunswick Stew is delicious, and it’s the perfect way to stay warm on a cold winter night.

It's not often you get to include BBQ sauce in a stew!  This Brunswick Stew is loaded with smoked meats and veggies - perfect comfort food for a cold winter night!The cool thing about this stew is that you can adapt it to your personal tastes.  For us, we use a combination of chopped pulled pork and smoked brisket.  (Remember that freezer full of smoked meats?  This is one of the ways we use it!)  Like most soups and stews, there is no “standard” recipe for Brunswick Stew.  Walk into any BBQ restaurant in the South during the colder months, and you’re bound to find Brunswick Stew on the menu.

It's not often you get to include BBQ sauce in a stew!  This Brunswick Stew is loaded with smoked meats and veggies - perfect comfort food for a cold winter night!Every restaurant will have a different version, but that’s what makes it fun.  I’ve seen all sorts of combinations.  Generally speaking, this is a tomato-based stew that includes lima beans, corn and smoked meats.  The comedian Roy Blount, Jr. once noted, “Brunswick Stew is what happens when small mammals carrying ears of corn fall into barbecue pits.”  He’s not far off, although I do like to include smoked beef brisket when we make this at home.  Smoked chicken would also be a delicious addition here.  I’ve heard squirrels, rabbits, opossums and other wild game are good additions to this stew, too.  I can’t speak to that one.

It's not often you get to include BBQ sauce in a stew!  This Brunswick Stew is loaded with smoked meats and veggies - perfect comfort food for a cold winter night!How often do you get to make a soup with BBQ sauce in it?  Probably not too often!  My Mom used to make a version of this soup using ketchup, but we’ve adapted her recipe over the years.  One of the key changes was trading ketchup for BBQ sauce.  (We still include tomatoes…just in the form of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes instead.)  On a cold winter night, the smoky sweet smell of BBQ wafting out of the kitchen is sure to make your stomach rumble!  So grab a spoon and dig in.  There’s a reason why this stew is one of our all-time favorites!  Oh, and make sure to serve this with a batch of homemade cornbread.  Cornbread is a requirement for Brunswick Stew.

Did you make this Brunswick Stew at home?  Leave a comment.  Or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog)!

Looking for other tasty winter soups & stews?  Check out these other favorites, too:

Hearty Beef and Vegetable Stew
Slow Cooker Chicken Corn Chowder
Slow Cooker Pork Posole
French Onion Soup
Chicken Pot Pie Soup

It's not often you get to include BBQ sauce in a stew!  This Brunswick Stew is loaded with smoked meats and veggies - perfect comfort food for a cold winter night!

Brunswick Stew

It's not often you get to include BBQ sauce in a stew!  This Brunswick Stew is loaded with smoked meats and veggies - perfect comfort food for a cold winter night!
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 507kcal



  • Using a Dutch oven or large stock pot, add butter and olive oil; place over medium-high heat. Once hot, add onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes or until onion has softened.
  • Add garlic and continue sautéing for 1-2 more minutes.
  • Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, lima beans, okra, corn, cream-style corn and tomatoes; stir until well combined. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Reduce heat to a low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add bbq sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, hot sauce, salt, pepper and thyme; stir until well combined. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add shredded meat; stir until well combined. Continue simmering for 5-10 more minutes, or until meat is heated through.
  • Divide into bowls and {optional} Serve with cornbread.


Don’t have piles of smoked meats on hand?  No problem!  Most grocery stores sell pulled pork and smoked brisket in the refrigerated meat section.  Or just stop by a local BBQ restaurant!  (If you stop by a local restaurant, make sure the meat doesn't have BBQ sauce on it already.)

It's not often you get to include BBQ sauce in a stew!  This Brunswick Stew is loaded with smoked meats and veggies - perfect comfort food for a cold winter night!

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    1. If you’ve never had Brunswick Stew, then please, please, please put this one on the menu, Kathy! It’s so good! All of the wonderful smoky flavors of summer…but in soup form. 🙂

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve never had Brunswick stew, but I would LOVE to try! Looks like all sorts of deliciousness! Hearty, flavourful and packed with memories of summer…sounds good to me! Just had me a big ol’ slice of bread to dunk in and I’m one happy lady! Also, we love to grill in the winter too. Makes everything taste that much better when you have to venture into the cold 😉

    1. So you absolutely need to put Brunswick Stew on the menu, Dawn! It might be cold outside, but this soup will totally remind you of summer in the best way possible.

      Haha…and I agree with you about grilling in the winter. That grilled food does indeed taste better when you come in from the bitter cold and stomp the snow off your boots. 🙂

  2. This is fabulous! I have never heard of it, but that’s not surprising since I’ve never really delved into southern american food much. sorry! But I love this stew! And I think I could make it work this week with all of the leftover goodies I have on hand. Thanks! (I love the description!)

    1. No need to apologize one bit, Mimi! However, with that said, I think it’s worth a dive (even if it’s a short one) into Southern American food here. Brunswick Stew is a classic way to use up those bits and bobs of smoked meats that you might have laying around. And it’s freakin’ delicious! 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    This sounds delicious–so cozy and warming! I love the addition of BBQ sauce. However, there’s no way I’d eat possum so if I ever encounter Brunswick stew at a restaurant I’ll be sure to ask exactly how it was made (thanks for the warning!). Have a fab week, David!

    1. Haha! To be fair, Kelsie, I suspect most restaurants aren’t including possum in their Brunswick Stew. Although there was that one restaurant way out in rural Georgia where we stopped one time…now that I think about it, I could see that place putting possum in their Brunswick Stew. Haha! 🙂 Hope your week is off to a great start, my friend!

      1. Hey Amy! I haven’t made this Brunswick Stew in the slow cooker, but it looks like it would work just fine that way. Sauteing the onions and garlic does produce extra flavor, but they would still soften in the slow cooker. I’d start with 4-5 hours on low temperature, and then check it from there. Great idea! I might have to try that out myself once it cools off here.

  4. Hi David! Yes, there so many recipes for this! Just like there are so many for chili. I’ve eaten bear, opossum and racoon, don’t want to do that again! However I do like rabbit (no offense bunny lovers). This is a hearty, comforting meal and, as you said, so easy to customize. Cornbread is a necessary side. I may be from the midwest but I’m totally southern at heart!!

    1. You’re totally right, Dorothy! Brunswick Stew is the soup version of chocolate chip cookies…everyone has a different family recipe. I personally like this version a lot!

      Now as far as all of the woodland creatures, I can’t really get behind the bear, possum and raccoon. I’ve tried rabbit, and it’s ok…but it’s not my favorite either. Now wild boar? That’s a different story! It’s just not easy to find wild boar around here. But you better believe if I could, then it would end up in this soup. Hope your 2020 is off to a great start so far, my friend!

  5. 5 stars
    This Brunswick Stew looks and sounds phenomenal (For a second, I thought it originates from our neighbours, New Brunswick). Normally, I am not into Southern cuisine a lot as it’s too compound (In terms of the list of ingredients and quite a heavy combination of proteins, carbs, and fats.) But I must admit I won’t be able to reject a bowl of this hearty stew – what a beautiful flavour profile. Besides, you know my love for everything smoked. Thus, I think a little touch of grated smoked cheddar on top won’t hurt this stew, right? 🙂

    1. Well I’m here to change your mind about Southern cuisine, Ben. Sure, there are often a lot of fried foods in Southern meals, but there’s a lot more out there if you hunt around a little bit. Take this Brunswick Stew, for instance. It’s absolutely delicious! And it’s a great way to use up whatever bits and bobs of smoked/cooked meats you might have around the house. And smoked cheddar? Yes, please!

  6. 5 stars
    Love this Brunswick Stew David! And it’s definitely the time of year for lots of soups and stews like this. I might make this with some Venison as that’s my favourite kind of game meat and I think making this in Scotland would call for that. Yum!

    1. Oooo…you’re making me jealous with your talk of venison, Neil. Venison isn’t the easiest to find around here. My uncle and aunt in Texas hunt, so they always have venison around…but Texas is a long way from New York. I do think venison would go really well in Brunswick Stew!

  7. 5 stars
    Excellent read and very educational and all this time I suspected Brunswick stew was from New Brunswick. You know I don’t think I’ve ever had it, but it sounds rib-tickling. Very similar to Kentucky Burgoo I’m thinking. I must give this a try with some pulled moose I have in the freezer.

    1. I can see how you might think Brunswick Stew hails from New Brunswick. Our Canadian friends thought the same thing. But nay…it’s Brunswick, Georgia or Brunswick, Virginia. So I’ve never tried moose, but I suspect it would go quite well in Brunswick Stew. After all, I’m convinced this stew originated as a way to use up all the leftover bits and bobs of smoked meats that might be laying around. Also, I’m off to google Kentucky Burgoo now…

  8. 5 stars
    David, I LOVE your Brunswick Stew recipe. The cornbread looks great! Reminds me of when I worked in city government. Had both for lunch several times at a super popular barbecue restaurant. Also reminds me of when I left city government to work for myself. Thanks for the wonderful memories!

    1. I didn’t realize you worked in city government. It’s interesting to hear the stories that my e-friends all have. I used to work in college athletics – in fact, I was at Georgia Tech. That was 10 years ago, and while I miss college athletics, I don’t miss working at Georgia Tech at all. The food world is pretty darn fun, though! Thanks for stopping by, Bev! 🙂

    1. We’re all about the soups and stews here, too, Dawn! There’s something so comforting to heating up a bowl of stew at lunchtime on a cold day. Promise me that you’ll try Brunswick Stew sometime this winter? It’s delicious!

  9. 5 stars
    I had a good laugh at your story about BBQing in the snow, my friends in the UK were shocked when I insisted on making BBQ in January. They couldn’t understand why I’d go out in the cold! Anyway, I’ve never heard of Brunswick stew, but it sounds fantastic and hearty. Great way to use up the scraps!

    1. I’m right there with ya, Matt. At the beginning of the winter, I’m usually pretty good as we do a ton of grilling and smoking in the summer and fall. But by January, I can’t take it anymore. I need to get out to the grill! Fortunately, the grill isn’t covered with (too much) snow right now, so I’m going to bundle up and make a run for it this afternoon. If you don’t hear back from me, then tell my wife to look in the backyard. I’ll be a frozen statue! 🙂

      Also, please promise me to put Brunswick Stew on the menu this winter! It’s an amazing soup, and it really is a great way to use up scraps. Cheers, my friend!

  10. 5 stars
    It’s funny, we BBQ in the snow too. It can actually be fun if there’s not so much snow that we have to dig it out, lol!

    I’ve never had Brunswick stew, but your version looks hearty and delicious. Just the kind of thing I’m craving with how cold it is outside!

    1. I agree! Cold is one thing, but snow is another. (With that said, I have totally shoveled a path to the grill before. You gotta do what you gotta do, right?)

      So you should totally make a pot of Brunswick Stew sometime soon, Marissa! This stew is seriously amazing, and it tastes like summer…in a winter form. 🙂

    1. Hey Brittany! You can absolutely omit the creamed corn – this stew will still be delicious. However, the creamed corn does thicken the stew a bit, so without it, it might be a little closer to a soup than a thicker stew. Just a thought. Either way, it should still be quite tasty!!

  11. I used this recipe tonight and it turned out PHENOMENAL! I was born and raised in the south and I have had my fair share of Brunswick Stew. This was my first time making it so I must have compared 10-15 recipes in preparation. Your recipe seemed to just have all of the right qualities which made it stick out above the rest. It tastes just like home and I’m beyond excited that all of the right flavors were there! This recipe has already been saved and it will be used many mores times in the future! Thank you for sharing this and I was you and your family a Happy New Year!

    1. Hey Ryan! I’m so glad you tried this recipe, and I love that it reminds you of home! As a displaced Southerner myself, I always enjoy cooking up meals that remind me of home. This stew is a favorite in our house, and I always make 1-2 pots each winter. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and comment – I appreciate that! Happy New Year to you and your family as well!

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