During the Christmas/New Year holiday, I was visiting with my oldest son, Caleb. While driving in North Carolina, we passed a Smithfield Restaurant and he told me they had the best Brunswick Stew. Flash back to the mid 80's (LAWD!!). I recall my first encounter with Brunswick Stew, prepared by my then mother-in-law, Bonzie. She was an amazing cook and introduced me to all sorts of new food experiences. I believe my love for cooking might have stemmed from fond memories around her table.
There seems to be some debate over where the stew originated. The honor is claimed by both Brunswick, GA and Brunswick County, VA. Some claim the stew is of German origin. But the dish is popular throughout the American South including the Carolinas where it is often referred to as hash and served over rice. The stew was created using wild game; rabbit, squirrel and venison were some popular options. Modern Brunswick Stew is generally pork or chicken based.
So here is my first attempt at preparing the stew. I froze half of the batch of stew for a meal later on. I opted to use a slow cooker and pork as my protein because I had it on hand. I also purposefully used simple, basic elements (no seasonings)in order to tweak the recipe. Of note, I used a sweet Barbecue Sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's). However, when I make it again I would opt for a Barbecue Sauce that is less sweet, it made the stew a little too sweet for my taste. I would also add garlic powder and a touch of cumin for the smoky flavor. Otherwise, I enjoyed the stew and will be making it for Caleb and his family on my next visit to North Carolina! Enjoy!
Easy Slow Cooked Brunswick Stew
Cook Time: 8 to 10 hours on low setting
1 1/2 lbs Boneless Pork Shoulder, trimmed and cut into 4 pieces
3 medium sized red potatoes, cubed (I left skin on)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (15 oz) can chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 cups frozen baby lima beans
1 1/2 cups frozen whole kernel corn
1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce (don't use one that is too sweet)
Combine pork and remaining ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 to 10 hours. Remove pork and shred with two forks; return to slow cooker.