Brunswick stew

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Brunswick stew
Brunswick stew.jpg
Brunswick stew made with chicken
Place of originUnited States
Main ingredientsTomatoes, lima beans or butter beans, corn, okra, other vegetables, meat

Brunswick stew is a dish generally involving a tomato base, local beans, vegetables, and originally small game meat, though today often chicken, but usually smoked pulled pork. The origins of the stew are currently unknown. The states of Virginia and Georgia both make claims for originating the stew, in addition to claims of a German origin.


Recipes for Brunswick stew vary greatly, but it is usually a tomato-based stew, containing various types of lima beans/butter beans, corn, okra, and other vegetables, and one or more types of meat. Claims regarding authentic preparation call for squirrel, rabbit[1] or possum meat, but chicken is most commonly used in modern versions.[2] Some versions have a distinctly smoky taste. Eastern North Carolina Brunswick Stew has potatoes, which thicken it considerably. Eastern Virginia Brunswick Stew tends to be thinner, with more tomato flavor and less smoky flavor.

The main differences between the Georgia and Virginia versions have been the types of meat used. Tradition favors squirrel in early versions of both. The Virginia version tends to favor chicken as the primary meat, along with rabbit. The Georgia version tends to favor pork and beef. As there is no "official" recipe for Brunswick stew, it is possible to find chicken, pork, beef, and other types of meat included in the same recipe. North Carolina natives have been known for their unique concoction, similarly thick and tomato based, using chicken chunks (meat and skin, dark meat preferred) and pulled Eastern North Carolina–style barbecue (pork) as the meat.[3]

Squirrel Brunswick stew instructions are found in James Beard's American Cookery.[4]

Debate on origins[edit]

The original Brunswick Stewpot in front of the Farmers Market pavilion (on F Street where it meets Bay Street) in Brunswick, Georgia

Brunswick County, Virginia, and the city of Brunswick, Georgia, both claim to be the origin of the stew.[5]

A plaque on an old iron pot in Brunswick, Georgia, says the first Brunswick stew was made in it on July 2, 1898, on nearby St. Simons Island.[5] A competing story claims a Virginia state legislator's chef invented the recipe in 1828 on a hunting expedition.[6][7]

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, in her Cross Creek Cookery (1942), wrote that the stew, said to have been one of Queen Victoria's favorites, may have come from Braunschweig, Germany, traditionally known as "Brunswick" in British English.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Clayton, B. (1987). The Complete Book of Soups and Stews. Simon & Schuster. p. 373. ISBN 978-0-671-43864-7. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  2. ^ Harris, Ann Pringle (24 October 1993). "FARE OF THE COUNTRY; Who Invented Brunswick Stew? Hush Up and Eat". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  3. ^ "Bob Garner's Guide to North Carolina Barbecue". p. 35.
  4. ^ James Beard (28 February 2009). James Beard's American Cookery. Little, Brown. pp. –. ISBN 978-0-316-06981-6.
  5. ^ a b Tennis, Joe (1 September 2007). Beach to Bluegrass: Places to Brake on Virginia's Longest Road. The Overmountain Press. p. 46. ISBN 978-1-57072-323-0. Retrieved 4 December 2010.
  6. ^ "Brunswick County, Virginia website". Archived from the original on 2008-08-28.
  7. ^ "Brunswick Stew". New Georgia Encyclopedia.
  8. ^ Rawlings, Marjorie Kinnan (20 March 1996). Cross Creek Cookery. Simon and Schuster. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-684-81878-8. Retrieved 4 December 2010.

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