Recipes for Brunswick stew from five Virginia barbecue restaurants.

While many still dispute the origins of Brunswick stew, one thing remains sure—this dish is a Virginia classic, stretching all the way back to 1828. Tradition calls for the use of squirrel or rabbit as one of the main ingredients, but as time has passed, most people now use chicken or pork instead. If you’re looking to try your hand at cooking up one of Virginia’s oldest dishes, take a peek at these five recipes from barbecue restaurants around the state.

Hank’s Grille & Catering

McGaheysville, HanksGrilleAndBar.com

1 large yellow onion, diced

¼ cup butter

1 cup red skin potatoes, diced

1 cup lima beans

1 cup corn kernels

1 cup tomato juice 

4 cups chicken stock

¼ cup smoked chicken, pulled and deboned

1 pound beef brisket, cooked

½ cup smoked pork butt, shredded

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon whiskey barbecue sauce

2 ¼ teaspoons poultry seasoning

½ tablespoon black pepper

2 cups canned tomatoes

Sauté onions in butter. Add potatoes, lima beans, corn, tomato juice, and stock. Bring to a simmer. Add the meats, Worcestershire sauce, barbecue sauce, seasonings, and tomatoes, and simmer for one hour or until potatoes are tender.

Serves 8


Virginia Diner

Wakefield, VaDiner.com

¼ cup pulled pork barbecue

⅔ cup chicken, pulled and cubed

⅓ cup potatoes, peeled and diced

¼ cup frozen lima beans 

¼ cup frozen corn  

1 tablespoon onion, diced

⅔ cup tomatoes, diced

⅔ cup ketchup

2 teaspoons sugar

pinch pepper

pinch red pepper flakes

pinch oregano

pinch poultry seasoning

½ teaspoon chicken base

1 cup water

Combine first 13 ingredients in a large stock pot. Combine chicken base with water and add to mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let simmer for 1 hour.

Serves 8


Buddy’s BBQ

Rocky Mount, BuddysBBQVa.com

1 quart water

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

½ tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 ¼ teaspoons Texas Pete

¾ teaspoon Kosher salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon white pepper

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ cup onion, diced

¾ cup potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly on a Mandolin 

2 tablespoons white rice 

¾ cup chicken breast, cooked and shredded

⅔ cup smoked pulled pork, unsauced

¾ cup tomato concentrate

½ cup Veg-All

½ cup baked beans

½ cup lima beans, mashed

½ cup sweet creamed corn

Bring water to a boil. Add butter, Worcestershire sauce, Texas Pete, spices, onions, and potatoes, and bring to boil. Add remaining ingredients, stirring constantly and bringing mixture to a boil in between each ingredient. Reduce heat and stir; stew is done when a metal spoon can stand in the center of the pot. 

Serves 8


Myron Mixon’s Pitmaster Barbecue

Alexandria, MyronMixonsPitmasterBBQ.com

½ large onion

¾ pound barbecue (brisket, pork, or both) 

1 ½ cups potatoes, diced

1 ½ cups cream corn 

1 ½ cups crushed tomatoes 

1 ½ cups tomato sauce 

1 ½ cups ketchup 

1 ½ tablespoons vinegar barbecue sauce 

1 ½ teaspoons hot sauce 

6 tablespoons chicken broth 

1 ½ tablespoons of sugar 

black pepper 

Fine grind onions, meat, and potatoes in a sausage grinder. Combine with remaining ingredients. Cook in a steam roaster at 300 degrees for 3 hours, stirring frequently with plastic spatula.

Serves 8


Shaffer’s BBQ

Middletown, ShaffersBBQ.com

4 tablespoons butter

2 medium potatoes, diced

½ large onion, diced

4 cups tomatoes, diced

1 cup corn

1 ¼ cups butter beans

1 teaspoon sugar

½ tablespoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper 

½ tablespoon black pepper

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

¾ pound pulled pork barbecue

¾ pound pulled chicken barbecue

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

½ cup Big Julie’s Tangy Virginia BBQ Sauce

½ cup Big Julie’s Bold & Sassy BBQ Sauce

1 quart chicken stock

2 tablespoons Texas Pete

Add butter to a dutch oven or stock pot, and sauté vegetables with spices. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, then add meats and liquids. Cook for several hours.

Serves 8


For more on Brunswick stew, pick up a copy of our Smoke & Salt 2019 issue.

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