My mother in law is an instinctual cook. She relies on taste and a little bit of this and that until she somehow knows that the dish is just right. We both love Brunswick stew and often buy it from the hot deli selections of the local market. However, she recently made her own version for a football viewing party and it was a hit so she kindly passed the recipe along to me.
I’ve always aspired to make Brunswick stew so this was a real treat. This particular stew and I have a long history. I remember eating Castleberry’s canned version as a kid. I always enjoyed it immensely on the rare occasion that someone in my family actually cooked it. I also briefly worked at a bbq restaurant in college that featured a wonderful version during the colder months complete with pecan smoked pork butt.
Brunswick stew is fabulous but honestly some places don’t quite do it justice. For example, it may taste too watered down, too oniony or will generally be lacking in depth. I like smokiness in flavor and heartiness with the combined texture of pork and veggies. I also favor a sassy sauce to tie everything together versus one that is too tomato based and reminiscent of a vegetable soup situation.
FYI, I adore Brunswick stew so much that I went hunting for the original cast iron pot that the very first batch was made in during my honeymoon. My new hubby and I were staying on one of the Golden Isles and I was researching things to do in the surrounding areas. I stumbled upon a Wikipedia article about the history of Brunswick stew and learned that a town “nearby” had the first pot that it was conceived in. I immediately envisioned cute honeymoon pictures posing with this pot so I looked up the address and we were on our way.
It was supposed to take less than an hour to get there. We arrived at the destination almost an hour and a half later. We parked near a museum and walked to the cute downtown area where it was located. The square didn’t look like the pictures I found on the web but I tried to stay optimistic. We searched everywhere for this pot and I was starting to worry that I had made a mistake. Meanwhile, we’re enjoying new discoveries such as the lighthouse, pastel colored little shops and cute restaurants around St. Simons Island. Yes, the name itself should have been my first clue but I was being stubborn. We made the best of it and snapped a few photos of each other with the charming live oak trees in the background but hunger and fatigue were starting to set in.
I finally whipped out my phone and re-googled the location of the famed pot. I suddenly realized that it was actually located in……drumroll please……you guessed it……Brunswick, GA!🤦♀️ Oh well! We laughed it off and deemed this as a happy little accident. We subsequently discovered Southern Soul BBQ where I got to enjoy a side of the delicious stew anyway. St. Simons Island is so quaint and unexpected and was totally worth the mishap. We’ve actually been back a few times since our initial side trip.
So, without further ado, let’s stew! See recipe below. Obviously fresh ingredients are awesome if you have the time and energy. However, this is an easy, cost effective version that still packs plenty of flavor. Enjoy and have fun with it like we did.✌️💜🍴
You will need: 1 large container of prepared pulled pork, 1 can of creamed corn, 1 can of whole kernel corn, 1 can of stewed tomatoes, 1 can of Lima beans, 1 standard bottle of your fave bbq sauce, a few squirts of ketchup, minced onion
*We used 1 small container each of pork with and without sauce
To prepare: Chop up the pork really fine and add to a large pot or Dutch oven heated on medium low.
Add the bbq sauce corn, beans and tomatoes and mix in with the meat. Add ketchup and season to taste.
Stir occasionally for 30 minutes or so to marry the ingredients and completely heat through. Serve with cornbread or your favorite crackers.
Make it your own: The initial ingredients will get you started but you can customize it to your preference. I used a whole bottle of hickory bbq sauce which made the stew a bit on the sweet side so I added some water, mustard and other spices to balance the flavors. My mother in law used chopped onion in hers but all I had was minced onion which worked fine for me.
Disclaimer: I just performed a third google search to better understand how I got the location of the original stew pot so confused. I closely studied the picture of the plaque underneath the pot acknowledging that the first Brunswick stew was made on “St Simon Isle.” However, the physical pot was located in the town of Brunswick which is about 7 miles away from St. Simons Island proper. In further research, it became apparent that Brunswick, VA also laid claim to be the origin site where Brunswick stew was created. There were many debates between Virginia and Georgia over the years involving friendly contests and “stew offs.” Ultimately, Georgia conceded and officially gave the credit to Virginia for inventing Brunswick stew back in the 1800’s. What a tasty, hot mess!😋
Mood Ring Kitchen
I’m a self teaching home cook and aspiring foodie entrepreneur. I enjoy coming up with creative ways to prepare flavorful food such as snacks, desserts and everything in between. Cooking is a way for me to challenge myself and satisfy curiosities about different ingredients.
The hope is to produce something thoughtful, memorable or every once in a while maybe even wonderful. I enjoy following my “gut” and exploring new recipes that can be comforting, exciting and nourishing. Above all else, I enjoy exploring the emotions surrounding food and writing about those experiences. 😝👩🍳👩💻