Brunswick Stew (a la Fearnow)

Brunswick Stew in home kitch

Kettle of Brunsick Stew

Brunswick County Virginia

This recipe is one that I have had since elementary school. It's based on the Mrs. Fearnow's brand of canned Brunswick Stew which which was made in Hanover County by the family of elementary school mate, Barry Fearnow. The recipe was freely given out to us in elementary school as it was sometimes what the cafeteria ladies served with biscuits. Some time in the late 1980's I came upon the Mrs. Fearnow's exhibit in the Better Living building at the Virginia State Fair . The exhibit was there for the purpose of promoting the Mrs. Fearnow's brand of several products. What I did not know at the time, was that the company had been sold to another food manufacturer and that the exhibit really had nothing to do with the Fearnow family I knew in Mechanicsville, VA. It made me dig out this recipe from Mechanicsville Elementary School and lock it away for posterity.

Every BBQ place on the East Coast offers their own version of Brunswick Stew. Many churches have an annual dinner or fundraiser around the production of Brunswick Stew. For a few years after moving to Mechanicsville, our neighborhood held a July 4th block party, closed the street, and placed a big kettle in the street and all of us contributed to the ingredients list. The stew started at breakfast and was finished by dinner. It was awesome! Below is an interesting addition to this recipe page, a poem about Brunswick Stew! Thank you to Garner's Barbecue for keeping Brunswick Stew the delicious, honest food that it is!


  • 1 pound chicken, fryer pieces, with skin
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1/2 pound lean ham, lean, diced
  • 1/2 C all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 diced red pepper
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 2 pints tomatoes (canned diced stewed)
  • 1 pint lima beans
  • 4 large Irish potatoes, diced
  • 1 pint corn, frozen or fresh
  • 1 whole dried bay leaf


  1. Using first 4 incredients: cut up a pound of Chicken and put it in a large pan with three quarts of water, 1/2 large onion, one half pound of lean ham, and simmer gently for two hours. This creates the essential stock for the stew. Remove chicken skin and bones.
  2. Place butter in heavy stew pot on medium. Add second half of onion diced, diced red pepper, salt and pepper to make a rue.
  3. Stir in two pints of tomatoes, one pint of lima beans, four large Irish potatoes diced, one pint of corn, reduce to simmer.
  4. Add meats and stock to stew pot.
  5. Cover and simmer for one more hour.
  6. Remove bay leaf!
  7. Serve with cornbread or biscuits. Be sure to have some Texas Pete on hand.
Nutrition: who knows!? Yield is 8 servings, and timing is around 3 hours total.
Brunswick Virginia  
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