Brunswick Stew with Brisket and Pulled Pork
Anyone who wants to be a true grill master has to know that one of the most important parts of a good BBQ dinner is the sides. One of the most popular sides at any BBQ gathering is easily the Brunswick Stew. Whether you serve it with cornbread, Texas toast, crackers, or just dip your steak fries in it, if it is going to stand out, the most important component in this dish is the meat. Now, you can make Brunswick Stew out of any kind of meat, but most people prefer it with a nice beef brisket and pulled pork combination for smokiness and a good, hearty spoonful of tenderness. Getting these two meats correct is very important in the process of perfecting this culinary delight.
Cooking The Brisket
First things first: the meats. You will need two slow cookers and a large soup pot for this recipe.
To make a perfect brisket that is good in every way including as an additive to Brunswick Stew, you need a few specific ingredients:
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp cumin
- cayenne pepper (to taste)
- black pepper (to taste)
- 2 cups beef broth
- olive oil (enough to coat meat thoroughly)
First, make sure that you have removed most but not all of the fat from your brisket. Next, add a freshly cut brisket to your slow cooker. You will need at least 8 hours if not more for a nice, tender cut of meat. Mix all of the above ingredients together and rub into the outside of the brisket before cooking. Coat the outside in a thick layer of olive oil and cover to cook to perfection. Add 2 cups of beef broth to the pan to make your brisket nice and juicy when it’s done. Once you take your brisket out of the cooker, throw it into a frying pan to make the outside crispy for that final touch of heaven on a plate. Set the brisket aside until time to slice it up.
Cooking Pulled Pork
Next comes the pulled pork. For this one, you also have to use the slow cooker, so it might be a good idea to do the meats at the same time (and boy, will your house smell good, too). Everyone has their own idea about how much pulled pork should be seasoned, but usually when using it for a savory stew, the BBQ sauce is left out of the equation in order to keep the flavor of the dish authentic. Just be sure when seasoning your meats that you remember some of the ingredients are in both dishes. You wouldn't want to overpower the rest of the ingredients.
For the pulled pork, the ingredients are easy, too:
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- coarsely ground black pepper (to taste)
- 4 medium sized white or yellow onions (minced)
- pork shoulder or butt roast
Make sure to trim any excessive fat from the cut of meat, leaving enough to help flavor and tenderize while it cooks, and then place all ingredients into the slow cooker, adding 2 cups of water to the bottom of the slow cooker. Make sure the entire piece of meat is coated with this mixture before setting it on high heat for 4 hours then on low heat for another 3-4 hours. Once the meat is fully cooked, remove it from the cooker, drain liquid, and shred the meat finely.
Putting Together The Rest Of The Stew
The easy part is putting together the rest of the Brunswick Stew ingredients. This filling, smoky, delicious stew can consist of just about anything left over in the kitchen after a day of grilling, but here is a great recipe for a stew that everyone will enjoy. You will need:
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions finely minced
- 1 bell pepper (any color will work)
- 2 celery stalks
- 2 cloves fresh garlic or 2 tbsp minced garlic
- pulled pork
- brisket, finely chopped
- 6 cups chicken or beef stock
- 3 cans diced tomatoes (do not drain)
- 1 cup ketchup or BBQ sauce, depending on your preference
- 2 cups corn (creamed works just fine in a stew too)
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- Salt, cayenne, and pepper to taste
The first step is very important in order to properly season your Brunswick Stew. Over medium heat, combine olive oil, onions, bell pepper, and celery. Sauté until softened and slightly browned. This usually takes about 10 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for about 3 more minutes. Gradually add your meats to the sauté mixture, coating all of the meat with it. This makes sure that your meat stays smoky and doesn't get overpowered by all of the other delicious flavors that are about to be piled on top of it.
One ingredient at a time, add the chicken stock first, then the tomatoes, corn, BBQ sauce or ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and all of your other spices. Cayenne pepper adds a nice kick to this masterpiece. Be sure to add liquid first so that the vegetables don't burn. Bring all ingredients to a nice, rolling boil and then knock it down to a simmer. Once the boiling has calmed down, stir occasionally until an hour has passed and your stew will be finished. Serve immediately with warm bread, some crackers, or a dinner roll.
You will have a dinner fit for a king or a queen, and will likely have enough to eat for a few days. Brunswick Stew can also be frozen and reheated for later if you make a big enough batch that you can't eat it all in a short amount of time. This recipe makes enough to share with the neighbors at parties and family gatherings, too. Take it camping or just make it at home in your own kitchen, but either way, enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Brunswick stew made of?
Brunswick stew is a traditional side dish in the American South. It’s made with a variety of meats and vegetables, but it’s always a tomato-based stew and sometimes contains beans. Traditional versions use shredded chicken. Since we’re making Texas-style Brunswick stew without any beans, and we like to double up the meats by using pulled pork and beef brisket.
Can you freeze Brunswick stew?
This recipe makes a lot of stew! Unless you’re feeding a very large crowd, there will likely be leftovers. The great news is that Brunswick stew freezes very well. Let it cool down completely before packing it into freezer bags. Freeze the bags flat and stack them once they’re completely frozen. You can also freeze the stew in round, freezer-safe containers so you can pop it into a soup pot to reheat without thawing it first.
What kind of vegetables can you put into Brunswick stew?
Traditional Brunswick stew vegetables include potatoes and corn, although you can use any vegetable you like. We love adding onions, bell peppers, and celery to our Brunswick stew, but green beans and fresh tomatoes are great additions, too.
How long does Brunswick stew last?
In the refrigerator, properly stored, cooked Brunswick stew will last for about 3 to 4 days. After that, you will need to preserve it in the freezer to keep it safe and delicious.
How do I thicken Brunswick stew?
You shouldn’t need to thicken this stew if you followed the recipe, but some people prefer thicker stews than others. You can either reduce the amount of liquid used or use cornstarch as a thickener. For each cup of liquid in the stew, use 1 tablespoon of cornstarch combined with 1 tablespoon water. Mix it into a paste and whisk the slurry into your stew. Bring the stew to a boil and cook for a minute or two, until the starchy flavor has disappeared.