Chef John's Brunswick Stew


My take on a Southern classic stew featuring pork, chicken thighs, and veggies. This comforting dish is hearty and meaty with a rich flavor profile.

Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
2 hrs 15 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 30 mins

Brunswick Stew – Now with 100% Less Squirrel

No one knows for sure where this delicious, hearty soup originated, with North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia all claiming to be its true home, but what everyone can agree on is that the original version most certainly was not made with chicken thighs and pork chops. This "stew" featured whatever small animals could be trapped, shot, and/or possibly run over…as I sneak in a quick "road kill" joke.

From what I hear, squirrel, rabbit, and opossum were very common additions, and it wasn't until much later that chicken and pork were introduced. Speaking of which, many modern versions include the scraps and trimmings from barbecued pork, which explains some recipes calling for copious amount of BBQ sauce to be added in.

As I explained in the video, I think that's a bad idea for several reasons, but if I was making a pot of this, and had some leftover pulled pork on hand, I wouldn't hesitate to throw it in. As far as the veggies go, corn and lima beans are mandatory, but after that, anything goes. Anyway, whether you make this as shown, or you come up with you own formula, I really do hope you give this Southern classic a try soon. Enjoy!


  • 4 ounces sliced bacon

  • 10 ounces thick-cut, bone-in, pork chop

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 (28 ounce) can chopped tomatoes

  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 ½ cups water, plus more as needed

  • 2 cups frozen yellow corn, thawed

  • 1 ½ cups frozen lima beans, thawed

  • 1 cup frozen cut okra, thawed

  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, diced

  • 2 cups cubed russet potatoes (1/2-inch cubes)

  • 1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, or to taste

  • cayenne pepper to taste

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • ½ cup sliced green onions


  1. Add sliced bacon to a dry soup pot and cook on medium-high until browned and almost fully rendered. After bacon is about halfway cooked, move it to the outside of the pot and set pork chop into the middle of the pot. Cook on each side until lightly browned, about 2 minutes each. Remove pork chop and add chicken thighs, skin side down, and also brown on each side. Browning is optional but it will add more flavor.

  2. Once the bacon has cooked, add onions and salt. Cook and stir until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. If the pot is getting too hot, lower heat to medium. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes, and stir to deglaze the bottom. Increase heat to high, bring to a simmer, and stir in garlic powder and black pepper.

  3. Add browned pork chop and chicken thighs back to the pot, along withany accumulated juices and water. Bring to a simmer, and reduce heat to medium-low, or low to maintain a steady but gentle simmer. Simmer until meat is very tender and falls of the bone, about 1 1/2 hours.

  4. Remove meat from the pot and transfer to a bowl until cool enough to be handled. Separate the meat from the bone and skin, and add it back to the pot.

  5. Add corn, lima beans, okra, red pepper, and potatoes, and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Stir in brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and cayenne pepper. Let the pot come back to a simmer (you can raise heat to do this faster, but reduce back to medium-low to maintain a simmer).

  6. Simmer until potatoes are tender, and everything is cooked to your liking, about 30 minutes more. Add water or chicken broth to the pot if it seems like things are getting too thick, but this is a stew, and should be fairly thick. Once done, stir in vinegar. Taste, adjust salt, and serve with green onions.

    Brunswick Stew
    Chef John

Cook's Note:

Instead of a pork chop you can also use 10 ounces pork shoulder or pork loin.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

519 Calories
23g Fat
44g Carbs
34g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 519
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 23g 30%
Saturated Fat 7g 36%
Cholesterol 103mg 34%
Sodium 820mg 36%
Total Carbohydrate 44g 16%
Dietary Fiber 7g 26%
Protein 34g
Potassium 1206mg 26%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

You’ll Also Love