Traditional Brunswick Stew With Pork and Chicken

brunswick stew in bowls

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 11 1/2 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
589 Calories
22g Fat
72g Carbs
30g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 589
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 28%
Saturated Fat 9g 46%
Cholesterol 120mg 40%
Sodium 1480mg 64%
Total Carbohydrate 72g 26%
Dietary Fiber 7g 24%
Total Sugars 35g
Protein 30g
Vitamin C 21mg 106%
Calcium 108mg 8%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 1341mg 29%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Brunswick stew is a Southern dish that features a tomato base with beans, vegetables, and meat. Early Brunswick stews were often made with squirrel, rabbit, even opossum, but these days pork, chicken, and beef are common. The original thinking was to use local ingredients and those you have on hand, which remains the same today.

This Brunswick stew is made with cooked pork shoulder or leftover pulled pork, along with shredded or chopped cooked chicken thighs and vegetables. The barbecue sauce and a touch of cayenne pepper add rich flavor to the classic stew. This recipe is a good use of leftover meat and vegetables, as well as taking advantage of what ingredients are in your pantry.

Serve this Brunswick stew with cornbread, pickles, and coleslaw or a salad on the side.

“A complex, hearty, robust and flavorful stew using pulled pork and shredded chicken thighs. Using a North Carolina style vinegar-based BBQ sauce is essential. Best to taste during preparation after the addition of the BBQ sauce to monitor the sugar level of the sauce added. Truly fabulous and complete when served with coleslaw and cornbread.” —Mary Jo Romano

Traditional Brunswick Stew With Pork and Chicken/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 6 tablespoons (3-ounces) unsalted butter

  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped onion

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic, from about 3 or 4 garlic cloves

  • 3 cups diced potatoes

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen baby lima beans

  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels

  • 3 cups chicken stock

  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes

  • 1 cup North Carolina-style (vinegar-based) barbecue sauce, more to taste

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar, optional

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more to taste

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more to taste

  • 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken thighs

  • 2 cups shredded, cooked pulled pork, or leftover pulled pork

  • Cornbread or biscuits, for serving, optional

  • Coleslaw, for serving, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    brunswick stew ingredients

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.

    diced onions sauteeing in pot

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  3. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute longer. Add the potatoes, lima beans, corn, chicken stock, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. 

    liquid and veggies added to pot for brunswick stew

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  4. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 15 minutes, ​or until the potatoes are tender.

    cooked brunswick stew in pot

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  5. Add the barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, if using, salt, black pepper, cayenne, chicken, and pork. Mix well to combine.

    bbq sauce and shredded chicken and pork added to pot of brunswick stew

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  6. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Adjust the seasonings to taste with more BBQ sauce, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper, if desired. Serve with cornbread or biscuits, along with coleslaw on the side.

    finished brunswick stew in pot after final simmer

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga


  • If using prepared pulled pork with barbecue sauce, use about 1 to 1 1/4 cups of barbecue sauce instead of the full amount.
  • If you don't have all of the ingredients called for in this recipe, you can eliminate some or substitute. You may also want to consider making Georgia-style Brunswick stew, which calls for fewer ingredients.