Despite rumors to the contrary, Brunswick, Ga., is the birthplace of that old-time Southern favorite Brunswick stew.
A delicacy to be sure, it’s also destined to be one of your best one-pot meals and more excuse than you need to clean the BBQ leftovers out of the fridge.
With Memorial Day just passed, what better time to aquaint yourself with some warm and yummy summer food.
Brunswick stew is all about the meats
The fantastic thing about cooking with leftovers is that you can never put the wrong food in the pot.
Whatever you barbecued will make a decent Brunswick stew. Most of the side dishes just go right into the mix.
Special thanks to the Georgia Pig, quite possibly Florida’s best barbecue ever
Your Examiner has been very fortunate always to have enjoyed good barbecue everywhere she’s lived in the United States.
In particular, the Georgia Pig in Davie, Fla., has helped shape her BBQ aesthetic with regard to Brunswick stew.
In operation since 1953, the Georgia Pig offers pit-smoked barbecue pork, chicken, turkey and beef, Brunswick stew, chili, homemade soups and cream pies for dessert.
Should you find yourself close to Ft. Lauderdale, here’s the info:
- 1285 S State Rd 7
- Davie, Fla. 33317
You can’t beat the Pig for ambience and flavor.
Your Examiner’s Brunswick stew, excellent always, still aspires to theirs.
GJE’s Brunswick Stew
Using your barbecue leftovers, here’s a quick recipe that’s easy to adjust to your taste. See the list pages for more information about ingredients.
- Pan drippings and fat from your barbecue trays
- 3 lbs. barbecued meat – pulled pork, shredded chicken, chopped beef
- 2 qt. your favorite barbecue sauce – adds smoke
- 1.5 qts. chicken stock
- 2 c. grated white onion
- 1 lrg. can stewed tomatoes sliced
- Yellow mustard – to taste, start with a ¼ c.
- Cider vinegar – taste
- Tomato juice – ½ a lrg can.
- Leftover vegetables like barbecued or baked beans
- Spices to taste: Paprika, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, salt, cracked black pepper, chili powder
- In a large pot, big enough to hold a gallon, heat your pan drippings and fat over medium heat.
- Slowly add the meat, browning the meat long enough to carmelize it. Add more pan drippings as you need to.
- Once the meat is browned, add the onions and tomato and sauté for about 10 minutes until the onion is translucent.
- Add the barbecue sauce and bring to a slow simmer.
- After about 10 minutes, start adding the chicken stock a little at a time to add volume and adjust thickness.
- Stir in the mustard, vinegar, tomato juice, and leftover vegetables and bring back to a slow simmer.
- Taste the stew and add spices listed to taste. You want the stew to have a nice hot kick without masking the flavors of the meat and smoke.
- Slow simmer for 2 hours, adding liquid as necessary to adjust thickness. Retaste to adjust seasoning.
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As Emeril Lagasse says, pulled pork is a love thing. If your barbecued pork has been prepared with love, then you’ve rubbed a Boston butt (pork shoulder) with herbs and spices, then slow roasted it for 3-4 hours.
Then, when it’s fork-tender and ready to fall apart, you grab another fork and start pulling it apart.
Shredded chicken not just for tacos
Shredded chicken is another loving thing you can do for yourself after a barbecue. Unlike pulled chicken which is often stewed first, shredded chicken has been grilled or smoke. You can pull the leftover chicken off the bone with a fork, or pull off with your hands and then shred it.
Leave the skin on.
Chopped beef comes from brisket
Brisket, the breast or lower chest of beef cattle, is a large, heavy, tough piece of meat that takes hours to get tender when it cooks. Like pulled pork, chopped brisket is all about loving yourself and the work you put into the barbecue in the first place.
When you chop your beef, leave all the crust and carmelization on it.
In Brunswick stew, the darker and chunkier the sauce the better. If you used all the sauce from your last ‘Q, your favorite BBQ pit will sell you some more. If you have to used bottled sauces, which tend to be thin, beef it them up with more spices.
Know your spices
Although you’ll hear rumors to the contrary, cumin has no place in barbecue sauce, often imparting a mealy flavor than sits on the tongue and kills the high notes in the sauce.
Barbecue sauce is your palate’s preference for sweet and sour, hot and mild and thick and thin.
Dried spices are easier to use in soups and stews that cook over a number hours because their flavors release more slowly.
The most common spices used in Brunswick stew are salt, cracked black pepper, paprika, garlic powder and chili powder.