Brunswick Stew

Brunswick stew has become a bit of a catch-all southern stew recipe.  To be truly authentic I would have to cook with squirrel or rabbit depending of course, if I was in Brunswick County, Virginia or Brunswick, Georgia.  Since we currently live in Virginia, we’ll assume the original pot of stew was made in 1828 by a camp chef working for a Virginia legislator while on a hunting expedition.  That legend gives this stew some serious southern charm and roots.  I do realize Georgia is pretty far south, but Virginia “is the South,” just ask anybody born here!
No matter where you’re from, Brunswick stew will probably be a tomato based stew containing lima beans, okra, corn and other vegetables, plus various types of smoked meats.  So now you ask, “what kind of meat did I use?”  Sorry, no rabbit in this pot today.  I used smoked chicken and pork and was extremely pleased with this thick, smokey, hearty, scrumptious stew.  The only thing to make it better would be a slab of warm crusty cornbread to sop up the broth.

I made this stew last weekend while camping in the Shenandoah Mountains.  We had the whole day to relax so I chopped my onions and garlic and combined all the ingredients in the cast iron Lodge Dutch Oven and let it cook.  We added a few charcoals from time to time to keep the heat at a constant temperature.  Other than that, we had an early dinner in about 4 hours.
When cooking in the Dutch Oven outdoors, add hot charcoal to the top of the lid and replace them from time to time as needed.
Brunswick Stew is meant to be thick and chunky, and cooked slow for a long period of time.
Since my brother David gave us the Dutch Oven, I had a cold beer in his honor.  And yes David, I remembered to freeze a bowl of stew for you.  Don’t let me forget when you come to the wedding in a few weeks and we’ll warm it up!
Was it good?  It was outstanding.  One of the best The best Brunswick stew I’ve ever had!
Brunswick Stew
(Inspired by a recipe on
2 large sweet onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoon jarred beef soup base (I used Better Than Bouillon)
2 cups water
1 1/2 pounds shredded smoked chicken *
1 1/2 pounds pulled pork *
3 (14.5 ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
4 ears fresh corn, cut from the cob (or 12-oz frozen)
1 can or package of frozen okra (approximately 12-oz)
1 (14 ounce) can creamed style corn
1 (9 ounce) package frozen baby lima beans
2 (12 ounce) bottles chili sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons BBQ Sauce
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon white Balsamic Vinegar
Hot sauce for garnish if desired
Heat the vegetable oil in a large 7.5 quart Dutch Oven over medium heat.  Saute the garlic and onions until tender.  Add all remaining ingredients (except Balsamic vinegar) and stir until combined.  Cover and cook stirring occasionally, on medium low heat until the vegetables are tender and the meat is falling apart, about 3 hours.  Before serving add the vinegar and stir to combine.  Serve with hot sauce if desired.
* I picked up smoked meat from a local BBQ restaurant.  Homemade BBQ pork, beef, brisket, chicken or any other meat would be great in this stew as well.  Let me know if you use squirrel or rabbit!
Camping has always been one of our favorite family adventures.  Whether hiking, laying around, cooking, reading or sleeping, it’s all about spending time together and doing whatever suits us at the time.  This trip my photographer Traveling Husband tried to teach me how to take pictures of the stars.  There are a bazillion stars in the Virginia night sky and believe it or not, he got some pretty great photos.
Isn’t this cool!  Twinkle, twinkle!
This long exposure shot captured a satellite slowly streaking across the sky.  So cool!
Then Traveling Husband started taking long exposure shots of the campfire.  I love this!
This is an early shot of the campfire – what a boy scout! Love the red glow and perfectly stacked wood too!
Thanks so much for stopping by!  Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday :)

Don’t miss out on dessert!

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  1. says

    Native Virginian here!! What? No 'possum? I grew up on Brunswick stew (sans 'possum', squirrel or rabbit). It was one of those dishes that changed with what was fresh at the market. I use the recipe from the original Williamsburg Cookbook now. Thanks for the reminder–it is soup weather around these parts.<br /><br />Best,<br />Bonnie

  2. says

    This sounds delicious. I've never tried brunswick stew. What an awesome camp meal. Love that dutch oven! Would you believe we've had a fire restriction in effect for the past FOUR years while camping? It's been so long since I cooked on anything other than a campstove, it's just wrong. My boys haven't even had a smore cooked on an open fire while camping. Smores on a campstove

  3. says

    Oh my goodness your star pictures are fabulous!!! What a treat to see a sky so full, we don't get that here in San Diego. But I always really enjoy it when we camp too.<br />LOVE the stew as well, and the idea of cooking it outside. I'm almost in a stew mood! But I haven't quite got there yet. This one is printed and saved for cooler weather though!

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