Monday, April 25, 2011

Canning Brunswick Stew

We recently took a vacation trip to St. Simons Island, Georgia where we visited James Gould's (Mr. Gould "Dear" of Eugenia Price's Lighthouse trilogy fame) lighthouse and attended Christ Church where the history of the island is abundant inside the beautiful old church built by the Rev. Anson Green Phelps Dodge, and among the headstones in the cemetery underneath the beautiful live oaks draped with Spanish moss. At night we stayed just up the road and across the intracoastal waterway and Marshes of Glynn in the coastal town of Brunswick.

On our return, the Canning Granny in me was bound and determined to can up some Brunswick Stew in honor of our stay on the Golden Isles of southern Georgia.

The states that...

"Brunswick, Georgia, claims to be the place of origin for Brunswick stew. A twenty-five-gallon iron pot  
outside that coastal town bears a plaque declaring it to be the vessel in which this favorite southern
food was first cooked in 1898. In truth, the one-pot meal is credited to a number of places with Brunswick in
their names, but the honor (so far as the name is concerned) must go to Brunswick County,
Virginia. There, according to an entrenched local tradition supported by a 1988 Virginia General Assembly
proclamation, Jimmy Matthews, an African American hunting-camp cook, concocted a squirrel stew for his
master, Creed Haskins, in 1828, the stew being named for its home county.

As Georgia humorist Roy Blount Jr. quipped, 'Brunswick stew is what 
happens when small mammals carrying ears of corn 
fall into barbeque pits.'"

The recipe I chose to use for my stew is Spanky's Seafod Grill and Bar's 
World Famous Brunswick Stew, a recipe with several steps...
I started with the sauce
In a 2 quart sauce pan, over low heat, melt ¼ cup of butter then add:
1¾ cups Catsup
¼ cup Yellow Mustard
¼ cup white vinegar

Blend until smooth, then add:
½ tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ oz. Liquid Smoke
1 oz. Worcestershire Sauce
1 oz. Crystal Hot Sauce or ½ oz. Tabasco
(I used Crystal Hot Sauce, very tasty!)
½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Blend until smooth, then add:
¼ cup dark brown sugar
Stir constantly, increase heat to simmer (DO NOT BOIL) for approx. 
10 minutes.
Makes approx. 3½ cups of sauce (set aside - to be added later).

DH decided the sauce would make a great BBQ sauce...
might mix some up
later and can it by itself for
basting chicken on the grill and such.
Now for the stew part of this yummy concoction...

In a 2 gallon pot, over low heat melt ¼ lb of butter then add:
3 cups small diced potatoes
1 cup small diced onion
2  14½ oz. cans of chicken broth
1 lb baked chicken (white and dark)
8-10 oz. smoked pork

Bring to a rolling boil, stirring until potatoes are near done, then add:
1 8½ oz. can early peas
2   14½ oz. cans stewed tomatoes -
(chop tomatoes, add liquid to the stew pot)

The prepared sauce
1 16 oz. can of baby lima beans
¼ cup Liquid Smoke
1  14
½ oz. can creamed corn

Slow simmer for 2 hours

Here's where I strayed from the recipe a little since I planned on canning 
this Brunswick Stew...
I added the onions, broth, chicken and smoked pork, stewed tomatoes, 

prepared sauce, liquid smoke, and creamed corn, but waited to 
add the potatoes, peas, and lima beans until just before filling my 
canning jars... didn't want my veggies to cook all to mush since 
they would be pressure canned for 90 minutes...
I added them last, just heating them through before filling my jars. 

And since the recipe I was using claimed to make one gallon of stew, 
I decided to double the recipe so I would have a full run of seven 
quart jars of stew and some left over to eat for supper.

Some of the ingredients for Brunswick Stew

Roasted chicken ready for shredding and
adding to the stew pot
Adding ingredients to the stew pot
Chopping roasted chicken

Potatoes diced and ready to add to the stew pot

I added the potatoes to the stew last so they wouldn't
turn to mush during the 90 minute canning process, just
letting them heat up without cooking through.
I sterilized my quart canning jars and simmered my lids and rings for 
10-15 minutes and kept them  hot till they were ready to use.

I filled the jars leaving an inch of headspace, then wiped the jar rims with a 
damp cloth to remove any dripped juice that might keep the lids from sealing. 
I removed the lids from the simmering water with a magnetic wand
(a handy gadget to have!) and tightened them onto the jars. Using my jar lifter
(because those jars are HOT!) I loaded them into the pressure canner for 


Following my canner's instruction book for the ingredient in the stew that 

takes the most time, I pressure canned the stew at
10 pounds of pressure for 90 minutes.

After allowing the pressure in the canner to drop to ZERO, I removed 

the canner lid and, once again using my handy dandy jar lifter,
I removed the jars from the canner and placed them on a
folded dish towel on the counter to cool.

The PING! sound of a successfully sealed jar is a 

beautiful sound indeed!

Check out this YouTube video DH and I made showing some of the 
steps to canning this delicious Brunswick Stew

Canning Granny©2011 All Rights Reserved


  1. Hi! I love love brunswick stew. I smoke my chickens and pork and have a great recipe. I'm a newbie and don't want to die, so I must ask...

    On this forum, , (search on stew), a user asked if it's safe to can brunswick stew and the answer was NO.

    Since you are still posting on your blog, I assumed you aren't sick and dying. Is there a rule of thumb on safely adapting recipes? I will certainly try your recipe, but would kinda like to use mine...

    Thanks! I love your blog. I'm a single Dad, so a lot of these tips/recipes work great for having quick meals for when the youngsters and I are on the go!

    1. Still alive and kicking here James! Sometimes recipes are said "No" to simply because they haven't been tested at all by the "experts." My philosophy is if all the ingredients in the recipe are safe to can, then the entire recipe is safe. All the ingredients in my recipe are safe, so I canned it... and it's GREAT! Look at the ingredients in your recipe... as long as you don't have any of the big "No-No's" like flour or other thickeners, grains, pasta, excess oils/butter... then it's fine for canning. ~~Granny

  2. Love your common sense advice. The biggest thing I learned was to process my foods by the ingredient in the recipe that takes the longest. Duh. But I needed someone to point that out. Thank you.


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  8. Do you happen to remember how many quarts this recipe makes?

  9. I have a question about the "grains" that you mentioned along with thickeners NOT to add. I add barley to almost every soup or chowder that I make..Are you saying barley should not be added if the soup or chowder is to be canned?
    Thank you

    1. "Officially" the rules say no grains, so no barley... I personally don't necessarily agree with all the "official" rules. Just sayin' ~~ Granny

  10. Pamela this is my 2nd year making this recipe and I just wanted to say again thank you for posting it! It is wonderful and really cans up nicely. This year I made 5 batches of it to can and honestly I might make a few more just to be safe :-) We have a pretty big family and they all love it. I also agree with your husband, that BBQ sauce is wonderful! I plan on making a batch of that alone to can for BBQ chicken. Thank you again for this wonderful blog and your "common sense" way of canning!

    Shannon King

  11. What type of beef is best suggested for this? I don't eat pork (the taste gags me!) Would like to change from pork to beef. best suggestion? Thanks much

    1. Won't be quite the same without the pork, but you could use beef stew meat or pretty much any lean cut of beef. ~~Granny


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