Southern Cuisine: Georgia Brunswick Stew
Are you familiar with Brunswick Stew? The story is told of a tantalizing stew first made on St. Simons Island, just across the marsh and river from Brunswick, Georgia. In fact, a pot still found in Brunswick today bears a plaque that claims the first pot of this delicious mixture was made in that very vessel on July 2, 1898. And the rest, as they say, is history. Yes, I know that other locations in the United States claim the concoction as their own, but they're misinformed. I hereby state that it belongs to us Georgians, and I'm sticking to that. Nowadays, most every southern cook with any age on her or him - especially those who are native to Georgia - has a recipe for Brunswick Stew, and many are considered well guarded "secret recipes." Some are handed down from generation to generation, like other people might pass down heirloom jewelry. Yep - we're serious about our food down here. Consider yourself lucky that you found a real southerner who's willing to share some of her culinary secrets!
Brunswick stew is one of the most popular dishes in the South. It’s a standard part of any barbecue and is a frequent mainstay at Church suppers, fundraisers, and restaurants across the South. The original version most likely contained venison, rabbit, squirrel, or whatever meat or fowl the maker had on hand at the time. The modern versions of today's Brunswick Stew Recipes are usually a little different. We're not usually stranded on some remote island where we have to depend on what we can shoot for our dinner. Heck, we can head to a local supermarket and buy whatever we want or need. Of course, if you feel the urge, you're more than welcome to add some squirrel or rabbit to your Brunswick stew recipe, but you don't have to.
This recipe for Brunswick stew is hearty enough to stand alone as a meal. It’s also a wonderful accompaniment to grilled meats, barbecued chicken, and pork roasts. Heck, in the South, people eat it with most anything! Some folks like to eat it ladled over rice. Adding a bowl of the hot stew is a great way to warm up a cold sandwich, too. If you just happen to have a pan of homemade cornbread handy, try crumbling some up in your bowl of stew.
The original stew was cooked in a black iron kettle over an open fire by hunters who were sort of living off the land during their island hunting trips, but you can use a large stock pot or black iron Dutch oven. You’ll need one that has a lid and holds about two gallons. Of course, if you just happen to be camping when the mood for homemade stew hits you, by all means cook your Brunswick stew over the campfire! That would really add some authenticity to the dish.
Rate my homemade Brunswick Stew! Thanks!
- 1 stick butter
- 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
- 1 cup ketchup
- 2 cans chicken broth
- 2 cans diced tomatoes, with juice
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- salt, to taste
- hot sauce, to taste
- 1 pound BBQ pork, shredded
- 1 pound cooked ground beef
- 1/2 pound cooked diced chicken
- 3 cups cooked diced potatoes
- 1 can baby lima beans, drained
- 1 can creamed corn
- 1 small package frozen kernel corn, thawed
- 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
- Melt butter in a large pot and add next 11 ingredients.
- Blend well and simmer over low heat for 20-30 minutes. Stir occasionally – do not boil.
- Add remaining ingredients and simmer, covered, for at least one hour.
- Add more broth if Brunswick Stew gets too thick.
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