Brunswick Stew

5 from 5 votes
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This Brunswick stew is made with shredded pork, lima beans, and veggies in a rich, sweet, and tangy tomato-based broth with BBQ sauce mixed into it. It’s comfort food at its best!

Overhead image of Brunswick stew in a pot.


Brunswick Stew is a traditional Southern dish that’s hearty and flavorful, often made in large quantities for community gatherings. The stew is cooked slowly, allowing the flavors to meld together and the meats to become very tender.

Why We Love This Brunswick Stew Recipe

  • Hearty. Packed with pork and veggies, Brunswick stew is the ultimate comfort food for chilly days.
  • Great for leftovers. This dish tastes even better the next day as the flavors continue to stew together. Plus, it reheats well, making it perfect for meal prep on your busiest weeks.
  • Customizable. You can easily customize the recipe to suit your tastes. Use a spicy BBQ sauce, add extra veggies, and try chicken instead of pork.

What Is Brunswick Stew?

Brunswick stew is a hearty, traditional Southern stew loaded with meat, often pork, veggies, and lima beans in a tangy tomato-based broth. One fun characteristic of this warming stew is that it usually has BBQ sauce in it, which adds a wonderful tang and a note of sweetness. Uniquely delicious and filling, I can’t get enough of it.

Brunswick Stew Ingredients

  • For the Pulled Pork: canola oil, pork shoulder (or pork butt), bbq sauce, and water.
  • For the Stew: butter, yellow onion, salt, pepper, garlic, canned fire-roasted tomatoes, frozen or canned lima beans, canned corn, bbq sauce, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, and chicken stock.

How to Make Brunswick Stew

  1. Make the pulled pork. Turn the Instant Pot to saute and brown the pork on all sides. Whisk together the BBQ sauce and water and pour it over the pork. Cook on high pressure for 1 hour, followed by a natural release. You can also cook the pork in the Slow Cooker for 8 hours on Low.
  2. Shred. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and shred it with a fork.
  3. Sauté the veggies. Melt the butter in a large soup pot. Add the onion, season with salt, and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  4. Put it all together. Stir in the tomatoes, lima beans, corn, chicken stock, BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, and chicken stock.
  5. Cook. Bring the stew to a boil and then down to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Add the pork. Stir in the pulled pork.
  7. Season. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
A ladle scooping Brunswick stew.

Recipe Tips And Variations

  • Meats in Brunswick Stew: Pulled pork is a common ingredient, but other meats, such as chicken and ground beef or beef brisket, are also excellent choices.
  • Slow cooker method: If you don’t want to use the Instant Pot, cook the pork in the slow cooker. Secure the lid and cook on High for 5 to 6 hours or on Low for 8 to 10 hours or until the pork is tender and easily falls apart with a fork.
  • Brown the pork. Browning the meat gives it a deeper flavor.
  • Be choosy with BBQ sauce. The BBQ sauce that goes into this stew will impact the overall flavor. So make sure you pick one you really like.
  • Adjust the sweetness. Variations of this recipe call for brown sugar. I skip it because I find that the sweetness from the BBQ sauce is enough, but if you want a sweeter stew, add a little brown sugar to taste.
  • Consistency. Add extra broth to the stew if you like a thinner, soupier consistency.
  • Thicken. To thicken the stew, make a slurry of cornstarch and water and whisk it in while the stew simmers.

Serving Suggestions

Grab a slice of this Light Skillet Cornbread, or try my crusty No Knead Skillet Olive Bread. A chunk of this Focaccia Bread is also excellent, but go the Southern route and make my Skillet Biscuits with Garlic-Basil Olives. To break up the richness of this hearty stew, a fresh Green Goddess Salad would totally work, as well as a Classic Waldorf Salad or my Radish Cucumber Tomato Salad.

Photo of Brunswick stew served in a bowl with a spoon.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

  • Refrigerator. Allow the stew to cool completely before sealing it in an airtight container. You can store it in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow the stew to thaw in the fridge before reheating.
  • To reheat. Transfer the leftovers to a pot and heat over medium-low heat until warm.

More Stew Recipes To Try

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5 from 5 votes

Brunswick Stew

This delicious Brunswick Stew is prepared with shredded pork, lima beans, and veggies cooked in a savory and tangy tomato-based broth mixed with BBQ sauce.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 8


For the pork

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 pounds pork shoulder,, boneless
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce,, use your favorite
  • ½ cup water

For the stew

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large yellow onion,, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cloves garlic,, minced
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 cups frozen or canned lima beans
  • 1 can (15 ounces) corn,, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper,, to taste
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Make the pulled pork

  • Brown the pork. Set the Instant Pot to sauté. Once the basin of the Instant Pot is hot, add the oil. Sear the pork on all sides until browned. Turn off the sauté function and leave the pork in the pot.
  • Load the pressure cooker. Whisk together the BBQ sauce and water and pour it over the pork.
  • Cook. Close the lid and cook on high pressure for 1 hour while you make the stew. Let the pressure naturally release completely.
  • Shred. Once the pressure has released on its own, remove the lid of the Instant Pot, transfer the pork to a cutting board (discard the cooking liquid left behind), and shred it with a fork. Set aside.

Make the stew

  • Sauté the veggies. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the onion, season with salt, and sauté for 4 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for 15 seconds or until fragrant.
  • Make the broth. Stir in the tomatoes, lima beans, corn, chicken stock, BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, and chicken stock.
  • Cook. Increase the heat to medium-high, bring the stew to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes before stirring in the pulled pork.
  • Season. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve. Ladle into bowls and serve.


  • Brown the pork first to enhance its flavor; this step really brings out a richer taste in the meat.
  • Use the slow cooker if you’re not using an Instant Pot; place the pork inside, cover, and let it cook on HIGH for 5 to 6 hours or on LOW for 8 to 10 hours until the pork is soft and effortlessly shreds with a fork.
  • Select your BBQ sauce carefully, as its flavor will significantly influence the stew’s overall taste. Ensure it’s a brand or type that you enjoy.
  • You can adjust the level of sweetness in the recipe according to what you prefer. While I usually omit brown sugar because the BBQ sauce provides enough sweetness, you can add some if you prefer a sweeter taste.
  • If you prefer your stew to be more broth-based, don’t hesitate to add more broth until you achieve the desired consistency.
  • To thicken the stew, mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water until smooth to create a slurry, and then stir it into the simmering stew.
  • To store, cool down the stew before placing it in a sealed container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to four days, or it can be frozen for three months. Thaw it in the fridge when you’re ready to enjoy it again. To reheat the stew, gently warm the stew over medium-low heat until heated through.


Calories: 479kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 1514mg | Potassium: 892mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 1006IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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Recipe Rating:


  1. Sandra says:

    Such an amazingly comforting meal! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank YOU! I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

  2. Catalina says:

    Such a delicious and rich stew! I love the idea of using shredded pork for this recipe! Yum!

  3. Allyson Zea says:

    This is such a classic in the south! I always look for a yummy recipe and now I found one! YUM!

  4. Erin | Dinners, Dishes and Dessert says:

    Looks so good! Adding on our must make list!

  5. Beth says:

    This is the perfect thing for the fall and winter. It’s so hearty, and I love the flavors.