Great Granny’s Brunswick Stew

by Ashley on November 9, 2011

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve looked forward to cold weather because I know it means our family will cook Brunswick Stew.  The recipe has been in my family for generations, but this particular one is credited to my Great Granny Burnette.  She is 95 years old and was born and raised in Oxford, NC where she still lives.  At the annual family reunion, Granny would cook a pot of heMedium pot of Brunswick Stewr amazing Brunswick Stew which can feed a crowd.

According to Brunswick County Historians, Brunswick Stew was developed in 1828 by chef Jimmy Matthews.  Since then, it has been prepared and altered by many stew masters.  Also referred to as “Virginia ambrosia”, the stew can be made in large batches and has been served at many fundraisers, church functions, family reunions and political pep rallies.

I went home to Tallahassee, FL last weekend to visit my parents.  My grandparents came in town along with my aunt, uncle and cousin so there was a full house!  My mom decided it would be a great opportunity to make a pot of granny’s Brunswick Stew since we had so many guests for the weekend so she pulled out her grandmother’s cast iron wash pot and started cooking.  Thankfully we had leftovers, so I headed back to my home in Gainesville, FL after the weekend with extra stew to enjoy throughout the week.

Granny’s Brunswick Stew Recipe

(compliments of my great grandmother, Laura Burnette)

Makes 48 qts. of stew – This recipe is designed to feed a crowd and requires a very large wash pot/stew pot so be sure to scale it down accordingly as needed.


  • 4 small or 3 large hens (about 10-12 lbs)
  • 10 pounds of beef chuck (boneless) or 12 pounds beef chuck (with bones)
  • It’s best to use bone in beef chuck to use in the bottom of the pot which helps prevent sticking.  As the butcher for extra bones if boneless chuck isn’t available.
  • 8 pounds of pork – boneless or Boston Butt
  • 2 gallons butter beans (these will cook to pieces)
  • 8 pounds of onions
  • 1 Tbsp. crushed red pepper
  • Salt – to taste
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • Water
  • 3 gallons tomatoes – crushed or chopped
  • 36 oz. of ketchup
  • 2 lbs butter
  • 10 pounds potatoes
  • 2 gallons of shoe peg white corn


  1. Precook the meat the night before.  Put meat in a large pot.  Pour enough water over the meat until it is covered.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for approximately 1 hour.  Refrigerate meat and broth until ready to make the stew.
  2. In a large cast iron pot, combine precooked meats, broth, beef bones, butter beans, onions, red pepper salt and sugar.  Add water until the meat is covered.
  3. Cook over low heat for 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Add tomatoes, ketchup, potatoes and butter and cook for 1 hour (or until potatoes are soft enough to mash on the side of the pot).
  5. Add corn and cook for 30 more minutes.  Stir every few minutes after adding corn to avoid sticking to the pot.
  6. Serve in bowls and enjoy!


  • Serve with Saltine Crackers or white loaf bread.
  • Have Tobasco sauce ready for those who like an extra kick.
  • This stew is great for freezing leftovers and enjoying later.
  • This recipe can be scaled down significantly and made in a large stock pot on the stove.

Ready to serve Brunswick Stew  Brunswick stew for dinner



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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Leith Finnegan , Murphy Finnegan November 9, 2011 at 10:03 am

Wow you are amazing! We love your blog we read it everyday!


2 Ashley November 9, 2011 at 11:19 am

Thanks Leith and Murphy :-) I appreciate the support as I’m getting the blog up and running. Love you guys!


3 Sharon Lee November 9, 2011 at 8:36 pm

I don’t know what kind of crowd you’re talking about, but it’s way outta my league. Sounds delish, but I’ll have to 10th it. That ain’t a crowd at your mom’s table either. I bet you had leftovers!


4 Ashley November 10, 2011 at 1:33 pm

She did 1/4 of the recipe for that weekend and there were still lots of leftovers :-)


5 Julie November 10, 2011 at 10:45 pm

We too were lucky enough to come home with leftovers.. Yum


6 CAMERON CURRIN November 10, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Hi Ashley,

I grew up in Oxford on Delacroix St. and have known your grandma Laura ever since she and Mr. Burnette moved on the street. I also knew your mom and aunts and grandparents and Mr. and Mrs Obrien. Actually my daddy was kin on the O’Brien side. I remember Mr Harold O’Brien’s mother and your granddaddy Charlies grandmother Aunt Emma O’Brien. I have eaten Mrs. Burnettes stew many times at my parents house, Jack and Evelyn Currin and in our own home via the frozen carton. My mother and Mrs. Laurs talk everyday.

Keep up the good work,

Rev. Cameron Currin
Zebulon, N.C.


7 Ashley November 12, 2011 at 8:46 am

Hi Rev. Currin. Thanks for the comment! I know that many people have enjoyed my granny Burnette’s stew over the years and I’m glad to hear you’re one of them :) I have a great family up there and wish I could make it up more often to visit. I have many fond memories of her home on Delacroix St. and she always made sure we were well fed when we visited!


8 CAMERON CURRIN November 10, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Hi Ashley,

I grew up on Delacroix St in Oxford and have known your grandma for years. She is one sweet lady and I have enjoyed her stew and desserts for many years.

Rev. Cameron Currin,
Zebulon, NC.


9 Mary Ann Lumpkins November 13, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Hi Ashley,
I called Laura as soon as I read the blog and told her she was on the internet. Because of her hearing that was quite an undertaking. She was so excited and I am sure she has called everybody from NC to NY and told them. People have been calling me asking for the site so they could see it. I just ran it off and will take it by to her tomorrow and give her a copy.
Love, Mary Ann


10 Ashley November 14, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Hi Mary Ann! My mom called last night and told me Granny was spreading the word – ha! So glad you were able to print a copy and take it to her. Give Granny a big hug for me! Hope you all are doing well and thanks for the note :)


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