Traditional Canning Recipes: Canning Brunswick Stew

Brunswick stew jars
Canning Brunswick stew begins by preparing your chicken, pork, or beef and slow-cooking it until the meat starts falling apart. Add the shredded meat to a pot with veggies, herbs, seasoning, and BBQ sauce or ketchup. After cooking, hot pack and pressure can for 75-90 minutes.

What is the Best Canning Method for Brunswick Stew?

Pressure canning is the best method of processing Brunswick stew because it contains low-acid ingredients, including meat and vegetables. According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, a pressure canner provides the extra-high temperature of 240-250 degrees Fahrenheit necessary for destroying botulism spores, making your stew safe to enjoy.

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Canned Brunswick stew

Old Fashioned Brunswick Stew Canning Recipe

  • Author: Regie
  • Total Time: 75 minutes
  • Yield: 5 hours, 15 minutes 1x


Are you canning Brunswick stew for the first time? Here’s a simple guide to a flavorful, iconic kitchen staple that will shine alongside other southern-inspired dishes.


  • 1 ham bone (from a smoked ham)
  • 3 quarts water
  • 4 pounds stewing hen
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme or  2-3 fresh sprigs
  • 6 stems fresh parsley
  • 2 ribs/stalks celery
  • 2 onions diced
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 14.5 ounces canned, diced tomatoes
  • 1 chopped onion large
  • 4 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 2 cups butter beans or Lima beans
  • 19 ounces canned whole kernel corn
  • 18 ounces sweet and smoky bottled BBQ sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or one red pepper, chopped


  1. Wash canning jars, lids, and screw bands in warm, soapy water. Rinse well and keep jars in simmering water until ready to fill.
  2. Put several cups of water into a medium-large stock pot or cast iron saucepan. Place the ham bone, boil, and simmer it covered for 1 hour. Remove the ham bone.
  3. Add your stewing chicken, parsley, bay leaves, celery, onion, peppercorns, and thyme to the simmering pot.
  4. Uncover the pot and cook the chicken using medium-high heat for approximately 1 ½ hours or until it starts falling apart. Remove the cooked meat and set it aside on a clean cutting board to cool.
  5. Once cool enough to handle, carefully remove the chicken skin and bones.
  6. Shred the boneless meat into thin, fine pieces using a fork, then return to the chicken stock pot.
  7. Add chopped onions, whole kernel corn, butter beans, diced tomatoes, cubed potatoes, ketchup, BBQ sauce, salt, and red pepper flakes, as desired. Add hot water as needed for a soup consistency.
  8. Adjust the heat to low, cover your pot, and cook the stew 30-60 minutes until the veggies are beginning to get tender but not fully cooked. Turn off the heat.
  9. Ladle the hot stew with liquids into hot jars, leaving 1-inch headspace.
  10. Use a damp paper napkin or cloth dipped in vinegar to wipe the jar rims. Place lids on the jars, add the screw bands and screw until fingertip tight.
  11. Prepare your pressure canner per the manufacturer’s instructions by adding 2-4 inches of water and turn on the heat under the canner.
  12. Load the filled jars into your canner, fasten the lid securely, and bring water to a full boil. Remove the weight or open the vent to release steam steadily for 10 minutes.
  13. Close the vent pipe/petcock and bring the pressure to the level required per your canner type and altitude and process pint jars for 75 minutes and quart jars for 90 minutes:

Dial-Gauge Pressure Canners

  • 0 – 2,000ft: 11 lbs
  • 2,001 – 4,000ft: 12 lbs
  • 4,001 – 6,000ft: 13 lbs
  • 6,001- 8,000ft: 14 lbs

Weighted-Gauge Pressure Canners

  • 0 – 1,000ft: 10 lbs
  • 1,001ft and up: 15 lbs

Post Processing

  1. When the processing time is complete, turn off the heat. Wait for the canner’s gauge to reach zero before opening its lid.
  2. Remove the processed jars from hot water using a jar lifter or canning tongs. Set them on a wire rack or dish towel for 12-24 hours. Leave 1 inch of space between the jars as they cool.
  3. Press the lids at the center with your finger to test the seals. Lids popping up and down indicate unsealed jars. Refrigerate them and use unsealed jars within 5 days.
  4. For all sealed jars, remove the screw bands and label them with the canning date and contents. Store them in a clean, dry, cool place.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 264kcal
  • Sugar: 14g
  • Sodium: 806mg
  • Fat: 8g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 35g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 13g
  • Cholesterol: 36mg

What is the Difference Between Brunswick Stew and Chili?

  • Ingredients: Brunswick stew contains shredded meat, including pulled pork or chicken, and is less spicy. Conversely, chili uses ground beef or venison with lots of chopped fresh peppers and chili powder.
  • Preparation: Chili is tomato-based and often includes dry kidney beans, which should be soaked first. Brunswick stew is prepared using canned butter beans, offering a shorter preparation process.
  • Consistency: Brunswick stew is less thick, while chili carries a thicker consistency with less liquid.
Canned chili in mason jars on table
Canned chili

Why Should You Can Brunswick Stew?

  • An extended shelf life. Unlike other food preservation methods, canning stew gives it a longer shelf life of up to 24 months.
  • Convenience. A jar of canned Brunswick stew is a hearty meal reheated in minutes!
  • Flavor. This canned stew is spicy, meaty, smoky, and intensely flavorful.
  • Versatility. Canned Brunswick stew can be eaten from the jar alongside barbecued chicken, potato salad, or as a main dish with fresh cornbread.

How Long Does it Take to Can Brunswick Stew?

The processing time for Brunswick stew in a pressure canner is 75 minutes for pints or 90 minutes for quarts.

Cast-iron pot of Brunswick stew
Brunswick stew

Storage Tips for Canned Brunswick Stew

 Some tips for proper storage when home canning Brunswick stew include:

  • Avoid fluctuating temperatures. Keep your canned Brunswick stew at a storage temperature between 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Do not freeze sealed glass jars of canned Brunswick stew. Freezing alters texture, may burst jars, and break seals.
  • Keep the jars away from direct sunlight to prevent color changes and loss of nutrients.
  • Maintain cleanliness in the storage area to prevent cross-contamination
  • Store canned Brunswick stew in a moisture-free location. Dampness may cause corrosion and rusting of metallic lids, making the food unsafe for consumption.

How Long Does Canned Brunswick Stew Keep?

Canned Brunswick stew can keep for 2-5 years. For maximum nutrition, texture, and flavor, enjoy your stew within 12 months. Refrigerate open jars and consume them within 3-4 days.


Growing up as a farm girl, Regie assisted her grandparents in canning sheep meat and helped her mother sell canned carrots. This grew her passion for canning from a young age. As a writer, she uses her canning experience to give creative, practical ideas for preserving different foods to canning enthusiasts.

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